2010 Emmy Award Predictions: Lead Acting in a Drama Series

Lead Acting in a Drama Series

August 26th, 2010

The Lead Acting awards on the Drama side this year are polar opposites: one has a clear frontrunner and a slightly tired set of nominees, while the other category has a ridiculously packed lineup of potential winners where no clear frontrunner exists and where I’d be happy with anyone winning the trophy.

Lead Actress in a Drama Series

  • Glenn Close (Damages)
  • Mariska Hargitay (Law and Order: SVU)
  • Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife)
  • Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights)
  • January Jones (Mad Men)
  • Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer)

In terms of Actress, Julianna Margulies is close to a clean sweep: she won the Golden Globe, she won the SAG Award, and she even won the TCA Award for Individual Achievement in Drama. The fact of the matter is that she has won everything she could have won, which means that she has all of the momentum heading into a category where she stands to benefit from her series’ success as well as her previous awards pedigree: I don’t mean it as a diss when I suggest that she is a comfortable winner from a comfortable show, someone who the Academy knows very well who is on a show which fits their sensibilities. Combine with the fact that she’s actually pretty great in the role, plus all the previous buzz from other awards, and you’ve got a pretty clear choice.

Mind you, it’s possible that January Jones could break into the winners’ circle with a strong submission from a big story for her character, but I think that Mad Men’s best chance is with the Supporting actresses at the end of the day. Similarly, Kyra Sedgwick has yet to win this award for The Closer, but there’s nothing noteworthy about her performance, and the same goes for two-time winner Glenn Close. Sadly, I don’t think Connie Britton’s submission is enough to get her into the competition, but she’d certainly be my personal pick here, if only out of loyaly for four outstanding seasons.

Lead Actor in a Drama Series

  • Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights)
  • Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)
  • Michael C. Hall (Dexter)
  • Jon Hamm (Mad Men)
  • Hugh Laurie (House)
  • Matthew Fox (Lost)

However, you’ll have to put a gun to my head to get me to make a final decision on who will win Lead Actor in a Drama Series. As much as I love Bryan Cranston’s work on Breaking Bad, and as much as I think he deserves a third Emmy, this feels like a year for a perennial bridesmaid to finally break through. Kyle Chandler is fantastic on Friday Night Lights, and Matthew Fox absolutely deserves his first nomination for his work in Lost’s final season, but they’re in a category with a strong incumbent and with various contenders who nearly won the award in the past.

What’s bizarre is that Jon Hamm, so fantastic on Mad Men and probably my personal choice here, is probably the least likely of the three regular nominees who could take this home. His submission is fantastic, but he’s fighting against a better submission and a better story. In terms of the submission, Hugh Laurie has been carrying House on his back for a few years now, and he’s been fantastic since the beginning: he should already have an Emmy (blame James Spader’s dominance for that one), but if there’s ever a time it’s when he has a two-hour mini-movie like “Broken” which focuses entirely on his character and shows some substantial range. It’s the kind of Emmy submission that’s perhaps even too perfect, but it could be the submission to finally win him his Emmy.

However, Michael C. Hall has a similarly strong submission, and benefits from two other factors. First of all, we can’t ignore the fact that he did recently beat cancer, which is never a bad way to get Emmy voters to cast some voters in your direction. That being said, this win wouldn’t be all about sympathy: Dexter’s fourth season paired him with Emmy-winning guest star John Lithgow, and his haunting work in the season finale really was indicative of how amazing he’s been. While Laurie deserves a win and has a tape to do it with, Hall has deserved a win since the first season of Six Feet Under, and yet he never won for that show, and has yet to win for Dexter either. With all of that taken into account, I think his story wins the day, although whatever direction it goes in will hopefully be writing some form of Emmy wrong.

And yes, this is the first time I’ve ever rooted against Bryan Cranston in pretty much anything, I know how weird it is.

Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Predicted Winner: Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife)

Biggest Threat: January Jones (Mad Men)

Personal Choice: Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights)

Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Predicted Winner: Michael C. Hall (Dexter)

Biggest Threat: Hugh Laurie (House)

Personal Choice: Jon Hamm (Mad Men)


Filed under Emmy Awards

3 responses to “2010 Emmy Award Predictions: Lead Acting in a Drama Series

  1. Regarding Lead Drama Actor: while I too believe this could literally any of six ways, I’m not sure that Hall is a lock that everyone thinks he is. The whole ‘cancer’ story was resolved if not at the Globes, then at the SAGs. I’m not sure it’s as much of a story as people seem to think it is. If anything, the tapes themselves are going to be extremely prominent this year, as there’s very little separating the nominees.

    As for Lead Drama Actress: I agree that Margulies is going to take this in a cakewalk, but am not sure that Jones is creeping up in the wings. If this was Season 2, then yes… but she was more subdued this past season. If anything, I’d argue for Britton herself… but if Margulies doesn’t take this, I’ll eat another shoe!

  2. Mimi

    Where can I find out which episodes the actors submitted?

  3. Pingback: 2010 Emmy Award Predictions: Outstanding Drama & Comedy Series « Cultural Learnings

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