2014 Emmy Contenders – Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Reminder: For our annual Emmy contenders coverage, Sepinwall does his personal preferences, while I handicap mostly in terms of likelihood of landing nominations. As usual, the first six slides in each gallery are my nomination predictions. The next eight or nine slides are the actors and shows most likely to sneak in, based on precedent, quality or something nebulous. And then at the end of each gallery, I tend to throw in a couple oddballs who have no chance at all of being nominated, but who I think deserve to be a part of the conversation, or might accidentally become part of the conversation, just because.

Our next category:


When it comes to depth, here's how I describe the difference between the Lead Actor and Lead Actress in a Drama fields. There are absolutely more nomination-worthy potential Lead Actor contenders and I could make strong personal cases for at least 20, albeit with different levels of passion. But when I look at the potential nominees, I think there are maybe eight or nine actors with legitimate chances to actually earn nominations. The Lead Actress in a Drama list of candidates is much smaller, but that's the nature of the business. What sets that category apart is how deep — 11 or 12 or 13 — the list of conceivable nominees goes. So Lead Actor in a Drama is a great category, but I'm much more intrigued and mystified by what the Lead Actress in a Drama nomination field could look like.

Last Year's Nominees:
Jeff Daniels
Hugh Bonneville
Bryan Cranston
Jon Hamm
Damian Lewis
Kevin Spacey

Attrition: All six actors from this stacked category return, but I'm trusting Emmy voters to realize that Damian Lewis wasn't close to a “lead actor” on “Homeland” this year and that as good as he may have been in his three or four episodes, he was a glorified guest star and nothing more. But booting Lewis only makes room for the inevitable nomination for “True Detective” star Matthew “I Have An Oscar Now” McConaughey. If anybody else is going to break into the field, somebody else will have to fall. And Woody Harrelson should definitely break into the field, so let's get to clawing.

Here are Sepinwall's personal picks.

My predictions are below.

Your thoughts? Predictions? Analysis?