Emmys

Emmys 2011: Who Deserves the Award for Best Actor in a Drama?

Whoever wins the 2011 Emmy for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series should probably thank the suits at AMC. Because the network scheduled the fourth season premiere of Breaking Bad after the Emmy eligibility period for the 2010-11 TV season, its star Bryan Cranston won’t be competing for the statuette that he’s won the last three years.

Cranston’s absence increases the chances for a first-time win by Mad Men‘s Jon Hamm or Dexter‘s Michael C. Hall, both of whom are nominated in the category for the fourth consecutive year; Friday Night Lights star Kyle Chandler, in the race for the second straight year; or perhaps House‘s Hugh Laurie, who’s up for the sixth time in the last seven years. That quartet will take on Steve Buscemi and Timothy Olyphant, who join the Emmy battle for the first time for their respective series Boardwalk Empire and Justified.

Which one of these fine gentlemen most deserves to take that proud walk to the podium when the Emmys are handed out Sept.18? Take our poll below to vote for your favorite — TVLine voting closes Sept. 13, so act now! — then hit the comments to justify your pick!

Every afternoon for the next month, we’ll launch another “Who Should Win” Emmy poll, so come back to TVLine.com every day to weigh in on who’s most worthy of TV’s biggest honor, and to stay up to speed on all our races, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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124 Comments
  1. DL says:

    I hear great things about Kyle Chandler, but I’ve never gotten into FNL. So I’m going to have to vote for Michael C. Hall. He’s long overdue for some awards love, and while Season 5 of Dexter clearly wasn’t the best overall, I think it gave Hall a wealth of great material, and he took it to some incredible places.

    • Will says:

      I agree with your points on Michael C. Hall, but the award should go to Kyle Chandler, he did amazing work as Coach Taylor. Hopefully, they will give it to him as an Emmy for his amazing work on all 5 seasons of Friday Night Lights.

      • DJ says:

        I agree Will …. Michael C. Hall is great but Kyle Chandler really should get the emmy…..Besides…. Clear eyes, Strong hearts, can’t lose :-)

      • Cecília says:

        A long overdo EMMY for HUGH LAURIE.
        It may be his last chance.
        I can’t imagine him not getting an EMMY for HOUSE!
        His character operated on himself this season!!!!!!
        He is an AMAZING actor

    • Kate says:

      I have to agree with you on MCH. He’s amazing!!! While I know some people weren’t happy with the season overall, MCH was fantastic as always. He allowed Dexter to become softer as he realized what it was to love his son and later his stepdaughter, which I loved but made me worry Dexter was going too soft Minutes later he had me cheering as he killed the bad guys. I don’t know any other actor that can melt your heart and be murderously bad within a matter of minutes and make you love him for both. I appreciate a lot of actors, but MCH is the only one who has ever made me really marvel at how unbelievably great he is.

    • Dexterina says:

      If I believed in telepathy, I would’ve said you stole my lines, DL!
      That’s exactly what I was going to post. Now you’ve done it for me!
      Totally agreed!

    • Adam Newland says:

      Kyle Chandler has been great, but I hope they don’t give him the best actor award as a “series achievement.” Timothy Olyphant has to get some recognition for his performance on Justified. I know it isn’t the most watched show on television, but he is outstanding, and the show is great.

      That being said, Hamm probably deserves it. He’s been Emmy-blocked by Cranston the past few years, and he has earned this award. I will agree with Hamm this year if the academy agrees to give it to Olyphant next year.

      • TOFAN says:

        I agree it’s time for Timothy Olyphant to win…this show is so great, lots of comedy and drama, what more could you ask for.

    • Claudia says:

      I desagree on you DL. Hugh Laurie deserves this award hands down! Hugh has deserved this award for many years. There is no other character on television that is multi dimensional as Gregory House. In his portryal of House, Hugh has taken us through drug withdrawl, arrogance, humor, among many other facets in this characters life. It is safe to say Gregory House is truly a unlikeable character but thanks to Hugh’s portray of him, we actually have empathy for this man. We also tune in weekly and root for this man to kick his drug habit, get his life on track, save people and get the women of his dreams Cuddy. I wonder if any other actor could have brought to this role what Hugh Laurie has for the last 7 years

  2. Jake L says:

    Kyle Chandler.

    All of these guys do great work, but his show is over, so they won’t be able to award him for this one later. The others all have more seasons to come.

  3. Melanie says:

    Hugh Laurie!!!!!!!!!! It’s his time to win!!!!!

    • Rbotha says:

      House should come to a close now, House is a tiresome character.

    • TQB says:

      Oh come on, I love Hugh and the show, but for him to win for *this* season would almost be an insult. Not good!!

      • maggie says:

        Hugh Laurie should win just for the next to last episode, “After Hours.” He was brilliant all season, even when the writing sucked. But that episode was great on so many levels. THAT should have been the season-ender, not the horrible mess that they gave us as the finale.

      • J.Norman says:

        I have very mixed emotions on this one with regards to Hugh Laurie

        On one hand, I think his acting over the years has been beyond suburb (and that includes the last 5 episodes where I thought the story lines blew chunks) and he deserves the honor.

        However, I don’t want to see the show get accolades because that would on some level reward David Shore and the writers and give them reason to praise their scripts.

      • LMAO!!! That’s exactly why the WILL win!

  4. Rbotha says:

    John Hamm’s going to take this one, but my ideal pick would be Kyle Chandler.

    • mariana says:

      This one is really difficult. Jon Hamm was astounding in The Suitcase. But this is Kyle Chandler’s last year to win for a show he should have already won for.

  5. Lisa says:

    Coach Taylor for the win!

  6. Emily says:

    William H. Macy

    Oh, wait… he was snubbed. :(

    • Emmy says:

      As were Sean Bean and John Noble. So from the list, i’m going with Michael C Hall.

      • Sam says:

        As much as I love a good “John Noble got robbed!” outcry, he would be in the supporting category.

      • Steph says:

        So true… Don’t watch Fringe but Macy & Bean I thought were shoo-in’s. It’s especially disappointing that Sean Bean wasn’t nominated since his character was offed so quickly & he won’t be eligible next year.

    • Katie says:

      Absolutely!! Bill Macy’s character on Shameless is one of the greatest I’ve ever seen!

  7. victoria says:

    Hugh Laurie all the way!!

  8. Smidnite says:

    Steve Buscemi or Michael C Hall

  9. ali427 says:

    Clear eyes, full heart, can’t lose. Coach Taylor FTW, finally!!!

  10. sandra says:

    Michael C Hall

  11. V says:

    Timothy Olyphant!! Love Justified!

  12. NoOceanInKansas says:

    The win should go to Kyle Chandler. Friday Night Lights was hands down the best show ever to grace my television set. Watching him bring the character of Coach Eric Taylor to life every week was pure joy. Out of all the tv shows I’ve ever watched, the FNL characters are the only ones I’ve ever felt were “real,” with the sense they are alive and well and living in Dillon, Texas. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!!

    • Yo says:

      You said that beautifully. I so loved that show. I loved most that the characters were both flawed and principled; they were emotionally palpable.

  13. Soso says:

    Kyle Chandler finger in the nose !!

  14. Rebecca Parker says:

    Jon Hamm. He was absolutely brilliant this past season of “Mad Men” and especially in “The Suitcase” which is what he submitted. He is an acting master class and it’s a crime he hasn’t won yet.

    And this coming from someone who also adores Kyle Chandler and Michael C. Hall. Against anyone else, I would be rooting for them, but Jon Hamm is the real deal and if he doesn’t win, it will be a travesty.

  15. Zilly88 says:

    All are worthy, but seriously, Timothy Olyphant is amazing as Raylan Givens. His work this season was exceptional. Justified is also the best show of the bunch, so I say vote for Tim!

  16. Sam says:

    I think Michael C. Hall did the best work this year. Jon Hamm and Kyle Chandler also went through a wide range of emotions this year, while Steve Buscemi’s character was a little stagnant. I don’t think the character of House is on the same level of Laurie’s talents, so I won’t shed any tears if he walks away empty-handed.

  17. Stephanie says:

    Chandler!!! A thousand times over!!!

  18. Captain says:

    Kyle Chandler can’t lose!

  19. Amanda says:

    Love Michael C Hall and Timothy Olyphant. Dexter and Justified are fantastic shows. But Kyle Chandler has deserved to win for a long time and this will be the last chance for him to win for Friday Night Lights. Coach Taylor ftw

  20. Anna says:

    Watch “The Suitcase” and you’ll have a case for Elisabeth Moss and John Hamm and their Emmys.

  21. Ashley says:

    Kyle Chandler. I’ve been a fan of his for over a decade and he always gives the kind of fantastic, understated performances that deserve awards but often don’t get them because they’re not showy.

  22. Kiki says:

    Kyle Chandler – love him. Who doesn’t want Coach Taylor as your husband?

  23. quince says:

    Oh, Hugh all the way! He absolutely deserves it!! :)

  24. dre says:

    JOHN NOBLE!!!! …. er… oh, ya, right.

  25. Amy says:

    Kyle Chandler should win. He is brilliant as Coach Taylor. What he communicates with his eyes and expressions alone should win him an Emmy. Seriously, this man is a genius. From his confrontation with the TA to his “Please take me to Philadelphia” plea to Tami, he continuously wowed me.

  26. Renee says:

    IMO this is obscenely impossible to choose. Any single one of them could win and it wouldn’t be a bad choice.

  27. Jay says:

    I watch a few of these shows, and while they are all fantastic actors, my vote is for Kyle Chandler. C’mon it’s his last opportunity, and he did an amazing job as Coach Taylor. So long overdue.

  28. madeline says:

    CLEAR EYES. FULL HEARTS. CAN’T LOSE.

  29. Pam says:

    I so want to say Kyle Chandler since FNL was an awesome show but I think Timothy Olyphant did a fantastic job this year so I voted for him. If either of these guys win, I will be very happy.

    I wonder if that is how sometimes these “whut?!” people win – a voter cannot decide between the best so they just randomly pick someone. You would hope that is not the case but how truly invested in this process are the Emmy voters. I bet they get tired of reading through everything and just start to tick boxes, like checking all Cs during a test.

  30. Rod says:

    Steve Buscemi will win if there is a sweep for Boardwalk Empire. The Emmy folks love series like that.

    • John says:

      Emmys are judged by episode submissions. The episode Steve submittec was probably the weakest of the bunch. Julianna Margulies lost the Emmy after sweeping all the other awards. The same will likely happen for Steve

  31. Tyler says:

    John Noble…wait.

  32. max says:

    the suitcase is jon hamms knockout performance to win the emmy.
    would it b the first performance to win where someone has thrown up been in a drunk fight and seen dead people

  33. Vanessa says:

    In an ideal world, Kyle Chandler.

  34. Brian says:

    Hamm all the way. No one else can compare. Buscemi’s part of an overrated show, Hall and Laurie would be getting rewarded for the body of their work on their respective shows, both of which had their worst seasons, and Olyphant and Chandler are amazing but didn’t come anywhere close to plumbing the depths that Hamm did this year. There’s really no other choice.

  35. Junior says:

    Open your eyes here people! Kyle Chandler deserves that award more than anyone there and you all know that! It’s long overdue and I won’t forgive the academy if they overlook him for anyone else. I love many of this years nominees (Jon Hamm and Timothy Olyphant are incredible!) but Kyle Chandler has to win for Friday Night Lights.

  36. Niobe says:

    The people are feeling the Kyle Chandler love. It is his last season. Hope he gets it. :)

  37. Jake says:

    Its funny how Steve Buscemi coes last in the poll and everyone is guessing he’s going to win for Boardwalk Empire.

    That Said, i really hope Kyle Chandler wins! he was amazing on FNL!

  38. Huddy 7 says:

    Hugh Laurie portrays one of the most talked about characters of our time. We pull for him and we care what happens to him. People are passionate about House because they became so vested in him. Whether he is riding a skateboard, twirling a cane, solving a case, making outrageous comments to the people that share space with him we love him and want to see him happy.
    The American audience fell in love with this misanthrope doctor and finding out what an amazing guy portrays him was a huge bonus. Season 7 was not my favorite but Hugh was great in the script that was given him.

  39. Jane E says:

    Hugh Laurie deserves this award hands down! Hugh has deserved this award for many years. There is no other character on television that is multi dimensional as Gregory House. In his portryal of House, Hugh has taken us through drug withdrawl, arrogance, humor, among many other facets in this characters life. It is safe to say Gregory House is truly a unlikeable character but thanks to Hugh’s portray of him, we actually have empathy for this man. We also tune in weekly and root for this man to kick his drug habit, get his life on track, save people and get the women of his dreams Cuddy. I wonder if any other actor could have brought to this role what Hugh Laurie has for the last 7 years,

  40. Grace says:

    A long overdo EMMY for HUGH LAURIE.
    It may be his last chance.
    I can’t imagine him not getting an EMMY for HOUSE!
    His character operated on himself this season!!!!!!
    He is an AMAZING actor.

  41. Jon says:

    It should go to Kyle Chandler or Jon Hamm, but knowing how the Emmys love movie actors who switch TO tv, they might give it to Buscemi. I hope bnot though.

  42. Jon says:

    It should not go to Hugh Laurie. He should have won it 5 or 6 years ago. NOT NOW.

  43. Amber says:

    I’m so happy to see Kyle Chandler winning at least amongst the TVLine voters! You guys are awesome! He is my definitely my choice too. I think Michael C. Hall and Hugh Laurie are both great actors, but thanks to seasons that weren’t well-received, they probably don’t have a shot. I am scared that Steve Buscemi is going to take it since he won the golden globe. I pray that won’t happen. I think he is the most overrated actor and Boardwalk Empire doesn’t look even remotely interesting to me. I do think Jon Hamm has a really good shot this year since he’s never won before, and his performance is pretty much perfection on Mad Men. I really like Justified, and I would love to see Timothy Olyphant win, but I think he’s the underdog here. Justified’s most likely only win will go to Margo Martindale and emmy voters will consider the show compensated for that win. My guess is this probably goes to Jon Hamm, though quite frequently the one I like the least wins the emmy…which means Steve Buscemi in this case.

  44. Anon says:

    Clear eyes. Full heart. Can’t loose! Kyle Chandler for the win! He deserves it! Close second: Timothy Olyphant.

  45. WhiteWolf says:

    Thank God! There freaks don’t decide the Emmys. I mean Kyle Chandler and Hugh Laurie the top 2? If you’d only let your emotions sit aside, you’ll realise that Jon Hamm has won every award in the build-up. So, why won’t he not get the main statuette is beyond my understanding. And since single episodes are submitted for consideration, “The Suitcase” is just too much of a giant to be defeated.

  46. Romy says:

    It’s a though choice… Jon Hamm is always fantastic on Mad Men, Hugh Laurie’s acting was incredible during a crappy House’s season and Michael C Hall is awesome in Dexter. As for Kyle Chandler… I know he’s a great actor, but I never got into FNL. Timothy Olyphant? I don’t watched Justified. But Steve Buscemi? Boardwalk Empire is my new favorite show, so guess you know where my vote goes to.

  47. Lily says:

    Timothy Olyphant. Justified had an amazing season, and after being overlooked the year before, he deserves both the nomination and the win.

  48. rebecca says:

    Kyle Chandler!!! No one else can compare.

  49. smkemper says:

    Hugh Laurie should win. He’s deserved to since the first nomination.

  50. pia says:

    I know season7 of House was craptastic but HL is still allways spot on and utterly brilliant by portraying House.

    If I´m right he submitted After Hours. His performance in this episode was simply heartwrenching & outstanding great. IMO he has good chances to win if the voters only value the acting in this episode and forget how bad written the season was.

    Of course Jon hamm is the one to beat. He deserves the emmy as well.

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