Thursday, September 8, 2016

Emmy Predictions 2016 - Who Will Likely Win for Lead Actor in a Drama Series?

The nominations are in for The 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. The final round of voting has occurred. So now, it's time to speculate on who is likely to win in each major category. Next up for analysis is Lead Actor in a Drama Series.

The Nominees:
  • Kyle Chandler for Netflix's Bloodline - Episode: "Part 23"
  • Rami Malek for USA's Mr. Robot - Episode: ""
  • Bob Odenkirk for AMC's Better Call Saul - Episode: "Klick"
  • Matthew Rhys for FX's The Americans - Episode: "The Magic of David Copperfield V: The Statute of Liberty Disappears"
  • Liev Schreiber for Showtime's Ray Donovan - Episode: "Exsuscito"
  • Kevin Spacey for Netflix's House of Cards - Episode: "Chapter 52"

A year ago, the race for Lead Drama Actor produced one of the most memorable moments of the awards ceremony. Jon Hamm finally won for playing Don Draper on Mad Men. It was such a celebratory moment. But now, Hamm is gone. For the first time in awhile this category will crown someone new. That makes this race very intense and unpredictable. It could go to the veteran of the category Kevin Spacey. He's always a solid contender. Or it could go to first time nominee Rami Malek. He delivered a stellar performance on a strong new show. The rest of the nominees have some good odds as well. So, this could be one of the more surprising categories of the night. Drama isn't nearly as exciting this year as the comedy and limited fields. But some of this races will produce winners and moments that will be fun to watch on the stage.

If Mr. Robot loses to Game of Thrones for Best Drama Series (which is a strong possibility), then giving an award to Malek would be the nice best thing. Mr. Robot simply wouldn't have worked without Malek in the lead role. It's so unique and special. The show frames its worldview in a way that can be alienating and uncomfortable to viewers. Malek's look and voice can do the same thing. And yet, all of that is done with purpose. This is a show about the fringes of the world and how fleeting control may actually be. It tackled some big and ambitious ideas in its first season. Malek was at the center of all of it. He has a strong submission in going with the series premiere. Right now, I'm predicting him to win because it's such a strong and distinct performance on a first year show that was actually nominated a couple of times in the drama fields.

However, Matthew Rhys probably has the best performance of the category. After years of voters refusing to honor The Americans, it finally happened this year. That's rewarding enough. But it sure would be great if the show won something big. One of the lead acting races could be enough celebration for FX. "The Magic of David Copperfield V" is a great submission for Rhys - as well as for Keri Russell over in lead actress. It's a devastating and intense hour where Philip and Elizabeth finally reach their breaking point with their lives on the job. And yet, I do have to be realistic. The show wasn't nominated for its first three shows. Sure, it has the support now. But that makes this an uphill battle for Rhys to win. It's a great performance but the voters may just want to do something else that they just like more. The Americans isn't always an easy show to watch and that's especially true in this episode.

Of course, Spacey isn't exactly playing a likable role either. In fact, all of these actors nominated are playing characters with hints of darkness to them. So that may not be a factor in this race and who wins at all. There's different shades to this generalization though. With Spacey, his darkness comes from a massive amount of scenery chewing. It's fantastic to watch but may not be as deep as some would want. Meanwhile, Bob Odenkirk's character is much more playful and comedic with the darkness. Better Call Saul is the lightest in tone in this race. That could be an important distinction. And then, there's Liev Schreiber who embraces the stoic darkness of his character. It may not be as flashy as some of his competition. But he still got in the race despite some heavy competition. And finally, Kyle Chandler is the one person who has actually won in this category before. Sure, it was for a much better role on a much better show. But sometimes all it takes to win an Emmy is to already have an Emmy. Though an Oscar helps in Spacey's case as well.

Should Win: Matthew Rhys
Will Win: Rami Malek
Dark Horse: Kevin Spacey