2013 Emmy Nominations Review (Lead Actor in a Drama Series) – Who Should Win?
For the next few weeks I will be reviewing the nominations of all the major categories. For the Drama and Comedy categories, the actors will have to choose one episode that represents their best performance for Emmy consideration. I will use these episode submissions (along with some other factors) to determine who I believe deserves the Emmy the most. Bookmark this website or subscribe to be updated on new posts and categories.
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Here are the nominees for Lead Actor in a Drama Series…
Bryan Cranston – Breaking Bad (“Say My Name”)
Hugh Bonneville – Downton Abbey (“Episode 5″ – Episode 6 in the UK)
Damian Lewis – Homeland (“Q&A”)
Kevin Spacey – House of Cards (“Chapter 1″)
Jon Hamm – Mad Men (“In Care Of”)
Jeff Daniels – The Newsroom (“We Just Decided To”)
I watch all these shows regularly, except House of Cards and The Newsroom.
As much as I like all these nominees, I have a clear top 3 and a clear bottom three. So, let’s start with the bottom three. In sixth place is Hugh Bonneville. Hugh Bonneville is a really solid lead character for the show. And, you know, I really commend him for choosing an episode where his character is pretty unlikable for a huge bulk of it, as opposed to the season premiere where him losing the estate’s money gives him a bit of sympathy from the audience. His episode takes place after the death of Sybill. Most of the episode revolves around Cora’s anger towards Robert over the death. The last scene where the doctor tells them that Sybill probably would have died no matter what action they would have taken is pretty devastating and gives us a nice tearjerker scene between Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern. But, honestly…I wouldn’t have even put him in my top 6. There’s just nothing about the performance that truly blows me away.
Despite not watching the two shows regularly, I’m actually really impressed with what Kevin Spacey and Jeff Daniels are doing. I actually really like Kevin Spacey’s boastful, slightly douchey Southern accent. It works for him. He does a nice job of narrating the show and connecting with audience, almost as if he’s sharing a secret with the Netflix viewers. He submitted the first episode. While it’s an effective episode that sets the scene well, I don’t love the episode and I don’t love the performance in the episode. On the other hand, the first time I watched The Newsroom pilot, I actually really admired it. The second time I watched it for this post, I enjoyed it even more to be honest – enough to watch the second episode afterwards. Yeah, the “scenes” can be a bit too long and “talk-y,” but I appreciate what the show says on politics and television and Jeff Daniels gives a really fiery and passionate performance (as does the whole cast). He’s safely in my 4th place position.
I don’t have much objection to the last few wins for this category, but it’s still a little sad that Jon Hamm (similar to Steve Carell) will probably never win an Emmy despite creating such an iconic, and beautifully haunted role. He’s just stuck in a competitive category. But, anyway, his performance in this episode…is probably the best I’ve ever seen from him…maybe even better than “The Suitcase” and “The Gypsy and the Hobo”? That scene where (during that Hershey’s Chocolate Bar pitch) he pretty much reveals his messy, disturbing childhood aloud is heartbreaking and is probably my favorite scene in this semi-disappointing season. My other favorite scene is at the very end where he takes his children to his decrepit childhood home.
But he’s just not as GREAT as Damian Lewis and Bryan Cranston. Cranston is such a bulldozer. It almost gives me chills how amazing an actor he is and how great he is in this role. I know it’s sort of cliche (at least in the Emmy-world) to say “so and so could have submitted any episode…”…but Cranston could have literally submitted any episode. Ultimately he chose a great episode where Walter White’s evilness is taken to the heights. Not only does he refuse to get out of the meth business despite objections from everyone around him. But he also unnecessarily kills an already out Mike…for no real reason except he can. Despite showing a little remorse by the end, it’s clear that White will only sink lower and lower…and I cannot wait to see how far Cranston’s performance goes during this sure to be last 8 episodes.
But…this year, my vote is for Damian Lewis to repeat. I’ve been a really big champion for “Q&A.” In fact the episode has been number 1 on all fronts, except for in the direction. It’s a wonderful episode filled with extremely difficult and complex performances. But as much as I love Danes and Friend and the writing and even the direction…Lewis, IMO, is the best thing about this episode. I don’t know how Lewis could possibly play such a conflicting role. One part of Brody is a “terrorist,” another part of him feels bad for what he’s done, another part of him is a genuinely caring father and husband. It’s a hard, somewhat polarizing, role, but Lewis plays it so convincingly, so intensely. Despite it being nearly a year since the episode has aired…nothing much has reached the heights of the episode’s quality or the episode’s performances.
More coming soon!
Official, objective predictions will be revealed closer to the ceremony’s air date. More categories coming soon! Thanks for reading. Click here for more Emmy posts.