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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  1. Rach says:

    Emmy people have been depriving Laurie of this award for 6 years! His performance in ‘After Hours’ was totally amazing; one of his best so far in my opinion.

    • Cecília says:

      I totally agree on you, Rach! Hugh Laurie deserves the Emmy! In my opinion, a long time he should win this award!!! Sorry, I’m from Chile and my english is not so good.

  2. Teresa says:

    All are really good. Can´t pick only one.

  3. erie says:

    I would have voted for H Laurie in Season 1-6 but unfortunately the genius,drug addict stick is really,getting OLD. You know what might have earned him an emmy? How about redeeming the character. Showing the long trip back being clean.

    I used to think that could happen for his character but after the season 7 finale,Hugh should just pack it up and MOVE ON. There is nothing more he can do with the character he is a irredeemable and nobody really cares .

  4. Guy says:

    If i picked the Emmy’s 3/4 of the nominees in all categories wouldn’t be there. There are a lot of poor choices this year. Sorry but there are a lot of other actors, actresses and shows more deserving than the ones chosen.

    In this one Hugh Laurie all the way.

  5. nitemar says:

    Maybe Hugh Laurie will get it since House is a cranky genius who happens to be a junkie and if he was not concvincing enough how about a homicidal or almost one who tried to harm his ex–girlfriend..maybe he’ll do it this time Emmy people, ..hey 13!!

  6. Kora says:

    Angela Lansbury was nominated for eighteen Emmy awards.
    I hope that Hugh Laurie will get faster

  7. Enough with Jon Hamm says:

    Jon Hamm isn’t much of an actor. He’s overrated. I have seen him in “The Suitcase”, too. The Emmy should go to Kyle Chandler!

  8. luis says:

    kyle chandles is the one…i would vote for HL but damn house has lost his magic..so clear eyes,full hearts, cant loseeeee!….texas forever!!

  9. Amy says:

    Hugh Laurie deserves the Emmy! The man should have won a long time ago. He is brilliant as House and he is always at the top of his game. He manages to bring so much to the character and he can express so much with just his eyes.

    The fact that he has not won yet shows how messed up the Emmys truly are.

  10. Christie says:

    I’ve never seen Friday Night Lights, but Kyle Chandler must be pretty impressive to beat out these guys.

    My vote goes to Timothy Olyphant. His performance in Justified is so enthralling that I devoured both seasons in three days. He’s got some really interesting nuances, and he pulled of dark drama and comedy simultaneously. He deserves it. I’m so glad to see him nominated this season.

  11. Laverne Flannigan says:

    Timothy Olyphant for justified which is best show on tv. With the most talented cast ever assembled

  12. Lily says:

    Jon Hamm has deserved an Emmy for years for his role as Don Draper. Granted, last season was a disappointing one, but that show would not be what it is without him. It won best drama 3 years in a row, yet he hasn’t won once.

  13. KHS says:

    Kyle Chandler, hands down! His portrayl of Coach Eric Taylor often brought me to tears and laughter. His performances are so understated, yet so full of passion. I think Jon Hamm and MCH are both extremely talented and deserving, however, this year (and the past four) truly belongs to Kyle Chandler. He is a class act and I am hoping that the Emmy voters do not not vote for the ‘political favoite’ (Steve B) and vote for the best–Kyle Chadler. Clear eyes, full hearts. Can’t lose!

  14. D says:

    Coach Taylor.

  15. Darth Dingdong says:

    John Noble should have been nominated

  16. Michele says:

    If Timothy Olyphant can’t win then I want Kyle Chandler. I agree with the poster above who said Jon Hamm is overrated. I’m rooting for TO in an upset. He IS Raylan Givens and makes it look effortless….that’s brilliant.

  17. arlette says:

    I wish this year’s Emmy for best drama actor out for Hugh Laurie. no doubt that we have moved house a lot, especially for all the ups and downs that have been through every season. hugh is the actor who gave life and has become an icon for television. deserves to win, not only because his talent is undeniable, but it became a house in one of the most beloved and respected of recent years. Hugh has worked hard to play this great character and all those merits and that great subtlety and perfection that characterize it, deserves to be honored as the best of the best. hugh I wish to win, and continue to marvel at much longer. I love you hugh laurie! ♥

    • Claudia says:

      I agree on you, Arlette! Hugh Laurie deserves the award for the best actor in dramma! I’m brazilian. In my country we don’t understand why he not ever win the Emmy. A long time he deserves! Sorry, my english is not good, but I would like to give my opinion. Kisses a lot!

      • arlette says:

        Thanks for your comment. the truth is that Hugh Laurie is a phenomenal actor, and I’m glad you have so much support and has so many fans. the only thing I hope is that a once and for all give him this award so richly deserves, and that Sunday is one of the winners of the award. and do not worry, my English is not the best, I use the google translator because I do not handling much with the language. I send lots of hugs and kisses from chile, and ¡luckily for hugh! =)

  18. Jay says:

    Hugh Laurie all the way. His Emmy is looooooooooong overdue!!

  19. lawyerchick99 says:

    If Hugh Laurie wins (always a possibility) it will be for all the other times he lost in this category (6 is a fair amount, although not Susan Lucci territory). To me that is a payback win not necessarily based on the actual work of the prior TV season.

    Never watched FNL and love Kyle Chandler but you all know he will not win.

    I would be happy if any of the other 4 wins. Have been in love with Hamm since the very beginning of Mad Men, have loved Olyphant since Deadwood, loved Buscemi in Fargo and Sopranos, and loved Hall since Six Feet Under.

  20. penly says:

    team hugh laurie!

  21. zoe says:

    Jon Hamm is overrated. Give it to Kyle Chandler!

  22. John says:

    Hugh Laurie!!!!!!!!!! It’s his time to win!!!!! YES SEASON 7 WASN’T THE BEST BUT HUGH WAS THE BEST…. I read a message where somebody said that Hugh deserved the Emmy the previous times but NOT this year…well the idiots = voters is time to give him FOR THE PREVIOUS TIMES ….I can’t understand or think that House Hugh Laurie is not gonna get even an Emmy for his overall work as House… This is truly unfair and ridiculous ….. One of the best and most beloved characters on TV without Emmy? Jesus where you leave guys… I love Michael C hall and John Hamm but it’s gonna be unfair for Hugh to lose AND this time…yes the two were better than House this year but House was better the 5 previous times…Don’t you think ?

  23. Aleksandra says:

    Of course, Hugh Laurie. He a great actor!

  24. lisa says:

    I’m brazilian and in my counstry we love Hugh Laurie. Only an actor so good as him csn be so loved for people around the world. Sorry, my english is not good! I think that Hugh Laurie deserves emmy award more than others. He is the best actor for a tv drama! I agree on Jane ” 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”.

  25. Alex says:

    So much love for Kyle Chandler!! He’s my pick too. Every one of these actors deserve it (except perhaps Steve Buscemi for playing a super boring character) but since this is the last chance Kyle will be nominated for the greatness that was FNL, I think he should win it.

  26. LA says:

    Jon Hamm, you dill weeds!

  27. Angela says:

    Michael C Hall should’ve won for season 1-4 as Dexter… Especially season 4. Dexter is one of my favorite shows of all time and Michael C Hall makes it such a fascinating show to watch season after season! Go MCH!

    • ClayDavis says:

      Are you drunk? Bryant Cranston deserved all those awards and he was the clear winner with nobody close. The only reason this is even open to debate is AMC delayed the show enough that Cranston couldnt get his 4peat.

  28. kierahillmin says:

    I am in the minority here, but I honestly think that Boardwalk Empire and Steve Buscemi deserve to win. Boardwalk Empire is an amazing show and Steve gives an incredible performance as Nucky Thompson. But Timothy Olyphant is a close second for me, his performance in Justified is incredible, and I find that Justified is an extremly underrated show.

  29. luísa says:

    I’m from Argentina! Here we love House!!! For many people in my country:

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

  30. Lena says:

    hugh laurie is a genius!! .. he have to win

  31. Stephen S. says:

    I’m not fully caught up with Mad Men, so I haven’t seen any of last season yet. But Hamm is an excellent actor. That said, my vote goes to the AMAZING Hugh Laurie. I don’t agree with the consensus surrounding House. I think it’s still a compelling and actually quite ballsy show. Laurie is the best actor on television. BUT, I would also LOVE to see Timothy Olyphant win as well. God, I LOVE Justified and Raylan Givens is one of my favorite characters on television!

  32. Celia says:

    Hugh Laurie é, sem dúvida, o melhor ator de tv atual. Sua performance como House é impecável. Não entendo por que ele ainda não gannhou o Emmy. Só pode ser insegurança de críticos que acham que só americanos devem ganhar. Sou brasileira e aqui, no Brasil, só dá House. Tomara que este ano corrijam uma injustiça que ocorre há pelo menos 8 anos.

  33. Саша says:

    Даешь награду ХЬЮ ЛОРИ! Он самый гениальный актер!
    Give an award Hugh Laurie! He is the most brilliant actor!

  34. Kora says:

    Take our poll below to vote for your favorite – TVLine voting closes Sept. 13, so act new
    On 14 September, and where the results?

  35. natasha says:

    I think hugh laurie should get it! Because of his acting just watching him on the tv makes house more interesting because you can feel what the caracter feels because hugh pulls it off so well! He should get it because he is acting with passion and you can feel it! He does a brillient job and he should be rewarded for that! David shore will not get ecognition for that because it hugh that makes david look good! I vote hugh laurie a talent to be reconed with and a legend!

  36. natasha says:

    I think hugh laurie should get it! Because of his acting just watching him on the tv makes house more interesting because you can feel what the caracter feels because hugh pulls it off so well! He should get it because he is acting with passion and you can feel it! He does a brillient job and he should be rewarded for that! David shore will not get. recognition for that because it hugh that makes david look good! I vote hugh laurie a talent to be reconed with and a legend!

  37. Jeanne W says:

    Hugh Laurie deserves the Emmy hands down. At this point they might as well make it a “a parting gift”. Although, and this is a big one, I would keep watching “House MD.” as long is HL is in it, regardless of what happens to any other character in the show because his portrayal is so solid!

  38. Jackie says:

    Hugh Laurie deserves his moment as a recipient on stage at the Emmys. Year in and year out he’s consistently delivered performances worthy of multiple Emmys only to be denied time after time. “After Hours” was outstanding and I am glad that this was his Emmy submission. He is the one actor on broadcast tv that I will watch from week to week to see what is happening to his character. Given the limitations by the FCC as to what the plot can be, dialogue, etc., has Hugh working at a disadvantage compared to what airs on the cable networks. Every year his single episode tapes are phenomenal only to have a Spader or Cranston take the moment away from him. Whether the Emmy panel of judges votes him the award this year or next season if indeed season 8 is the swan song, please let it happen already.

    I am waiting for the time when there will be two separate awards for Best Performance by an Actor in a TV Drama Series – broadcast and cable and then others will reap the benefits of change when Hugh Laurie should have had multiple Emmys by now, let alone even one! Surely the Screen Actors Guild (2) and Golden Globes (2), Television Critics Association (2) as well as other organizations have come through with their votes whereas the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences has been nowhere to be found up until this point. Here’s hoping that Sunday, September 18, 2011 sends Hugh home with the Emmy at long and most deservingly last!!

  39. Lisa says:

    So many actors deserve the award. I vote for Laurie and his phenomenal ability to show, even in the latest season, sides of Houses’s personality that he had not shown before. If we lived in a just universe, Laurie, Hall and Hamm (and Chandler, if you want), would have already been awarded at least once. But their efforts have been constantly frustrated by multiple wins by Spader (!!!) and Cranston, whose latest Emmy last year was a gracius gift in the face of Hugh’s phenomenal performance in Broken.
    I am curious to see if Cranston will win his 4th Emmy (no doubt he will be nominated for the 4th season of BB)because his present performances in BB are good as usual but absolutely nothing new.But Emmys love repeats.