Breaking Down the Emmy Awards Nominees: Best Actor

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Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Louis C.K. as Louie on Louie

LK: It’s undeniable that Louie C.K. is one of the most prolific comedians in the business. This man has shattered what it means to be a modern stand-up comic and his show is practically revered. At least, by everyone except the Academy. Neither C.K. or Louie can get the awards everyone believes they deserve. The hardest working man in comedy simply can’t catch a break. Can this be his year? Many people hope, but it’s not likely. Chance of winning:Average.

Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels/FX Networks
Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels/FX Networks

MP: Personally, I think Louis C.K. should win all the awards. And it’s not really surprising that he’s been nominated for a few years in a row. I think the only thing that would differentiate him this season is that the show seems to have generated a lot more buzz than in past seasons. I doubt he’ll take it home, but I would be pleasantly surprised. Chance of winning:Average.

Don Cheadle as Marty Kaan on House of Lies

LK:House of Lies is a show that is definitely under the radar. It doesn’t get a ton of viewers compared to other subscription channels, it usually comes and goes without much fanfare, and Don Cheadle is literally the only aspect that gets any recognition. And why wouldn’t he? The guy’s an excellent actor. There is no way he’ll pull this one off though despite it being his third nomination. Chance of winning:Low.

MP: Does anyone even watch House of Lies? I’ve never met a single person who likes this show. I tried to watch it because I like everyone on it (and I will literally watch anything that has Kristen Bell in it), but… meh. And does it reallllly qualify as a comedy? I’m just asking the important questions here, folks. Chance of winning:Low.

Ricky Gervais as Derek Noakes on Derek

LK: This was an incredibly shocking pick. No, it’s not because Ricky Gervais isn’t funny. The man’s practically a legend. It’s mainly because Derek doesn’t have that massive of an audience and some people have been straight up offended by the show in the past. It does average mainly positive reviews though with plenty loving Gervais as the main lead. Will that actually translate to a victory? No. Chance of winning:Low.


MP: I mean. This is a joke, right? I generally really like Gervais, but Derek is a very strange show. I don’t find it funny at all, which to me does not scream “nominate me for a comedy Emmy.” But, knowing my feelings towards the Emmy’s and their choices in general… he’ll probably win. Chance of winning:High.

Matt LeBlanc as Himself on Episodes

LK:Episodes has been a great way for Matt LeBlanc to finally shed his image as Joey from Friends. Okay, we’ll never forget Joey, especially since Friends is syndicated on every freaking channel, but this Showtime hit has allowed LeBlanc to grow. He’s a regular nominee for this category too. He’s certainly not a front runner by any means, but he’s not entirely out of the picture either. Chance of winning:Average.

MP:Episodes is a really good show, and Matt LeBlanc is very funny on it. He’s able to play what could almost be considered the worst version of himself, while remaining likeable. But I don’t think his performance is necessarily standout – this show works best as an ensemble. And in fact, if I were to nominate anyone from Episodes, it would be Tamsin Greig. #SillyAcademy Chance of winning:Low.

William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher on Shameless

LK: This nomination caught a ton of people off guard. For starters, it’s because many consider Shameless as more of a drama than a comedy. That’s a big complaint a lot of people had with Orange is the New Black. But it’s also because Shameless has also flown mostly unnoticed by the Academy for a while. Clearly marketing it as a comedy this year was the way to go. William H. Macy has the recognition to bring his nomination up but I don’t expect him to take this. Chance of winning:Average.

MP: Though it does have it’s funny moments, I would not consider Shameless to be a comedy. It embraces its drama full force. However, I can’t blame the show’s creator for deciding to put it up for the comedy category, as it finally did score this one nomination. William H. Macy is honestly my least favorite part of the show – and it’s not because he’s bad, he’s great at playing Frank. Frank is just undeniably unlikable, and I don’t enjoy it when he’s on screen. I think that will hurt his chances, to be honest. Chance of winning:Average.

Jim Parsons as Dr. Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory

LK: Really, it’s almost no contest. Jim Parsons has won this award three times already, and would’ve had a fourth if the Academy didn’t pick Jon Cryer for surviving the Charlie Sheen debacle in 2012. Last year I totally expected C.K. to finally take it home, but he unfortunately did not. Now the category is basically the same save for Macy and Gervais who don’t exactly have a shot at winning themselves. It’ll be Parsons again hands down. Chance of Winning: Very high.

MP: I agree with Luke. The rest of these contenders honestly feel like filler. Chance of Winning: Very high.

Luke’s Pick: Jim Parsons. He’s both the safe and obvious pick.

Marla’s Pick: I would love to see Louis C.K. take it, but it’s definitely Parsons.

Who Marla Thinks Should Have Been Nominated: Well I’m sure by now this is obvious to you, but I not only think Andy Samberg deserves to be nominated for Brooklyn Nine-Nine, I also think he deserves to win. I am also rather surprised that Silicon Valley earned a nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series, yet T. J. Miller was overlooked in the Lead Actor category. Any time I hear people discussing Silicon it is almost exclusively accompanied by an outpouring of love for Miller’s portrayal of Erlich, and with good reason.

Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Bryan Cranston as Walter White on Breaking Bad

LK: Right off the bat, we have the front runner. Bryan Cranston absolutely dominated the final eight episodes of Breaking Bad and was even called out by Sir Anthony Hopkins for basically being the best (I’m paraphrasing). He hasn’t won this award in four years and it is time for him to take it home one last time. Chance of winning:Very high.

Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels/AMC
Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels/AMC

MP: We have had this discussion. Last season, most beloved show on television. He’s got this, man. He’s got this. Chance of winning:Very high.

Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy on The Newsroom

LK: I’m still befuddled by Jeff Daniels’ win last year. How did that even happen? Sure, his performance is solid, but not the best by any means. And now he’s back for round two. He wasn’t a front runner last year and he definitely isn’t this year. Chance of winning:Average.

MP: I stopped watching The Newsroom after season one. I have come to realize that I just don’t like Sorkin. I’m sorry if that offends anyone, but I don’t. And the majority of what happens on a Sorkin show is not so much acting as it is “Sorkining.” Oh, you know it’s true. They do one thing, and they do it quite well. Sorkining. Jeff Daniels is a stellar Sorkiner. Chance of winning:Average.

Jon Hamm as Don Draper on Mad Men

LK: Poor Jon Hamm. With six lead actor nominations under his belt and zero wins, he’s a perfect example of a “groomsman but never a groom,” so to speak. Will this man ever take the prize? Since Mad Men is officially ending next year, there’s a great chance he will in 2015. It’ll be a way for the Academy to thank him for all of his hard work. As for this year though, tragically, he’ll likely go home empty handed again. Chance of winning:Average.

MP: I’m gonna agree with Luke here. I doubt Breaking Bad’s last season is Jon Hamm’s time to shine – but maybe next year! He’s Jon Hamm, though. He should definitely win next year! Chance of winning:Average.

Woody Harrelson as Martin Hart on True Detective

LK: Woody Harrelson was excellent on True Detective, but there is no way he’s taking this home over his co-star. He’s here for recognition and nothing else. Chance of winning:Low.

MP: I haven’t watched True Detective yet, but I could tell just by what kind of show it is and peoples reactions that it was Emmy bait. I’ll follow Luke’s lead here, assuming he knows everything. Chance of winning:Low.


Matthew McConaughey as Rustin Cohle on True Detective

LK: Speaking of Harrelson’s co-star, Matthew McConaughey is the other front runner for this award. Many people are expecting him to take this home and really bring the McConaissance full circle. It’s tough to disagree with them too. Rustin Cohle was a truly breakout performance that absolutely blew everyone away. If there is one person who can deliver a worthy performance to beat Cranston’s masterful work in “Ozymandias,” it’s McConaughey. Chance of winning:Very high.

MP: One time Matthew McConaughey was a mostly naked, dancing cowboy in Magic Mike. One time he was a very skinny, dying cowboy in Dallas Buyers Club. Is he a cowboy on True Detective? If not, I don’t think he should win. Chance of winning:Very high.

Kevin Spacey as Vice President Frank Underwood on House of Cards

LK:House of Cards is a crazy show, and it takes a stellar actor to lead all of the insanity. Kevin Spacey is that actor. He’s why we sit there and binge watch a program that is beyond ludicrous with its story. Does he have a shot of winning this award though? Not particularly. McConaughey and Cranston handily beat him. Yet if there is a dark horse, it is Spacey on talent alone. More so than Daniels, at least. Chance of winning:Average.

MP: From what I know of House of Cards, people like Kevin Spacey, but they really love Robin Wright. I don’t really feel like he has a shot of winning with Cranston and McConaughey in the running. Chance of winning:Average.

Luke’s Pick: It’s close, and both men are deserving, but I’m backing Bryan Cranston. This is the year of Breaking Bad and not even True Detective can stop it.

Marla’s Pick: I think it’s safe to say that in its last season, Breaking Bad will arise victorious. Personally, I’m not much a fan of any of these shows, though.

Who Marla Thinks Should Have Been Nominated: I strongly believe that both Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen of Hannibal were snubbed for nominations.

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