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

Get More: Awards, Emmys, Polls

The competition for the 2011 Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series can be broken into two distinct categories: Those who’ve already won an Emmy, and those who got their very first nomination just this year.

In the former group, we’ve got five-time Emmy winner Michael J. Fox (The Good Wife) and three-time winner Beau Bridges (Brothers & Sisters), both of whom are veterans of the Guest Actor wars, albeit for different series than the ones for which they’re nominated in 2011. (Bridges scored nods in 2010, 2009, 2007, and 1995 for The Closer, Desperate Housewives, My Name Is Earl, and The Outer Limits; Fox won in 2009 for Rescue Me, and was in the hunt in 2006 for Boston Legal.) Meanwhile, Robert Morse, who took home the Emmy statuette for Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Special for American Playhouse back in 1993, seeks his first win after three Guest Actor nominations in the last four years for Mad Men.

Conversely, Big Love‘s Bruce Dern, Harry’s Law‘s Paul McCrane, and Justified‘s Jeremy Davies are all celebrating their first moment of Emmy anticipation this year.

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 day 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 (43)

  • I really would like to see Morse win if for no other reason than I really get a kick out of his transformation from aspiring executive J. Pierrepont Finch to Bert Cooper, daffy executive extraordinaire. And y’know, not having seen any of the other shows, I really can’t offer any insight into their actual quality.

    Comment by Sarah, not Sarah – August 13, 2011 04:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree. I saw Bobby Morse on Broadway in the original How To Succeed with Michelle Lee, Rudy Vallee, and Charles Nelson Reilly. Morse was perfect as Finch and has proven to be a versatile actor over the years.

      Comment by Sable – August 15, 2011 12:04 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Michael J Fox

    Comment by Dessy – August 13, 2011 04:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Jeremy Davies!

    For sure, or Morse.

    Comment by Kirkland Fox – August 13, 2011 05:05 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Jeremy Davies. Because he’s great on Justified, and also because he was robbed for Lost.

    Comment by Kristen – August 13, 2011 05:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I voted for Jeremy Davies. That guy is a god to me. But I do think Michael J. Fox is going to win it. MAYBE Robert Morse, but probably Michael J. Fox.

    Comment by Amber – August 13, 2011 05:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I voted for Jeremy Davies as well. He took a role that could have been cliche and made it something special. The whole field this time is fantastic. Everyone on that list deserves to win, but I think it will be Michael J Fox who gets the statue.

      Comment by Rowan – August 13, 2011 06:05 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love the good wife and think michael is amazing however I think Paul McCrane from harry’s law deserves this he was excellent balanced a bit of comedy along with drama.

    Comment by t.t – August 13, 2011 05:46 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Jeremy Davies. Cmon. He is just so phenomenal and kept me in love with Dickie even as he was beating RayRay with a bat.

    That’s talent.

    Comment by Molly – August 13, 2011 05:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Jeremy Davies. Because he played an terrible person and yet still made me want to sleep with him.
    Also, this whole guest-vs.-supporting thing confuses me. He was in eleven episodes of Justified this spring. Mary-Louise Parker won the Emmy for Best Supporting Actress when she was just guest-starring on The West Wing. So what gives? Does it have to be “special guest star” or something?

    Comment by Sam – August 13, 2011 05:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The one who should win, but isn’t one of the nominees, is Bob Newhart for his turn on NCIS. He was robbed!

    Comment by Kate – August 13, 2011 06:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Please stop with the NCIS Emmy stuff…I LOVE Bob Newhart…he was robbed for all his years on his eponymous sitcom and Newhart….but there has never been anything on NCIS worthy of an acting Emmy.

      Comment by Z – August 13, 2011 07:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • In your opinion maybe- but everyone is entitled to their own thoughts. I happen to be in the camp that thinks NCIS deserves more recognition than it’s given. It’s not just ‘another procedural.’ there’s more to it than that in my opinion. Be nice and respect other peoples’ opinions… Ps- Did you SEE the episode ‘Requiem’? Enough said.

        Comment by Jala – August 13, 2011 07:52 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • You’re right, Newhart was deserving of an Emmy nod.

          Comment by fireball – August 13, 2011 09:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • i still think that johnny lee miller’s performance on dexter should have granted him at least a nomination, that said i do love michael j fox’s good wife character and hope he wins!!!

    Comment by noo – August 13, 2011 07:29 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m gonna have to say Jeremy Davies as well. Great performance, great writing, and a character “I loved to hate”. He deserves this win!

    Comment by Adriaan – August 13, 2011 07:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Jeremy Davies!!! He was wonderful. Is MAGS nominated too?

    Comment by sash fan – August 13, 2011 08:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Andrew McCarthy in White Collar

    Comment by Becky – August 13, 2011 08:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I have only seen Michael J. Fox on The Good Wife, and he was brilliant, so I vote for him. But I will also cheer for Jeremy Davies as I am always a fan of any Lost alum.

    Comment by Amy – August 13, 2011 09:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Agreed – either MJF or JD will make me happy. Both performances were amazing. MJF’s shark-like lawyering on The Good Wife; or JD who is obviously not the favorite son and trying to prove his worth to Mags with devastating consequences on Justified (one of the best shows on TV). Decisions, decisions, decisions…

      Comment by Poppy – August 14, 2011 02:49 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Definitely Jeremy Davies.

    And Michael J. Fox after him.

    Comment by Sourabh – August 13, 2011 11:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • IMO Jeremy Davies should win, but Michael J. Fox will win.

    Comment by Renee – August 14, 2011 06:31 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • DENIS O’HARE from True Blood! Can’t believe he wasn’t nominated…

    Comment by Liz – August 14, 2011 07:30 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Who cares.
    This category is basically a place for the Hollywood community to award someone who THEY deem is worthy of recognition. The may be for political statements, “good soldiering”, reward for past performances, or even sympathy.
    The rules for what constitutes a “guest performance” can vary from one to as many as 20 appearances per year (e.g. Cloris Leachman in Raising Hope)
    Cynical? Yes,
    Truthful? also yes.

    Comment by J.Norman – August 14, 2011 08:37 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This category once made perfect sense as pretty much everyone on every TV show was either a regular or a guest star (and the same shows would use the same guest actors over and over in different roles). But in the modern era of the serialized drama and the recurring character, the Emmys need to drop the hammer here and create four distinct categories: Lead, Supporting, Recurring and Guest Star. Lead vs. Supporting could be tough to quantify, so I’d let the actors continue to decide but the others are easy: if you are listed in the credits as a regular, you’re Supporting. If you’re not and you were in more than one episode, you’re Recurring. And if you’re in only one episode you’re a guest.

    Comment by Lamar – August 14, 2011 08:57 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Not the worst idea ever.

      Comment by Ben – August 14, 2011 02:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree. This makes perfect sense.

      Comment by MrMank – August 14, 2011 05:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Excellent idea! The only thing I’d add – if an actor was just in a two-parter, that still qualifies as guest. Most of the nominees that come from the procedurals (the CSIs, NCIS, Criminal Minds, The Closer) or medical shows like Grey’s Anatomy are just in one episode but other nominees, like many of those this year (Mary McDonnell, Bruce Dern, etc.) are really recurring characters (especially those named since McDonnell has been on at least two seasons of The Closer for multiple episodes and Bruce Dern has been part of Big Love for its entire run).

      Comment by Snsetblaze – August 14, 2011 08:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Absolutely!

      Comment by E – August 15, 2011 05:36 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • No Robert Wagner on NCIS?

    Comment by carole – August 14, 2011 12:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Jeremy Davies!! he was brillant as Dickie but I think Michael J. Fox is gonna win this one cause everybody loves the guy.

    Comment by MJ – August 14, 2011 12:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love Michael J Fox. Everyone loves Michael J Fox. He is a fantastic actor, I love just about every character he touches. Should he win this Emmy? No. Jeremy Davies should. I hope Fox doesn’t because I think it would be more a vote for Fox than a vote for what is actually on display in this case.

    Comment by Ben – August 14, 2011 02:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • None of the actors put forth are as worthy of an Emmy as Jonny Lee Miller in the 5th season of Dexter. His portrayal of Jordan Chase was perfection. There is no better actor (or even one as skilled) on stage or in films or television.

    Comment by JLM4ever – August 14, 2011 04:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I feel another Fox win coming on, but I simply can’t get enough of Morse in Mad Men.

    Comment by MrMank – August 14, 2011 05:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I would love it if Beau Bridges took the award! He was delightful on Brothers & Sisters.

    Comment by Matt – August 15, 2011 12:49 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Michael will win. There is not doubt about it.

    Comment by Teresa – August 15, 2011 03:29 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • You confuse me sammybabe. First, a coherent thought actually related to the article and then spam for a dating website. I… I don’t know what to think.

    Comment by 8daysaweek – August 15, 2011 08:28 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • None of the above. I’m still pissed that Denis O’Hare got snubbed for ‘True Blood’.

    Comment by Aprilcot26 – August 15, 2011 08:31 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Fox will win because of the name game.

    I watched all of these gentlemen’s shows and all were great. I voted for Bruce Dern because he made a total (insert expletive here) seem somewhat human, and Big Love totally got the short end of the HBO nominations. Jeremey Davies made me forget that he was ever on Lost, so that is a herculean feat alone.

    I also agree that Johnny Lee Miller was totally awesome in Dexter and got robbed.

    Comment by lawyerchick99 – August 15, 2011 10:45 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Jeremy Irons for SVU!! But he was snubbed. Fantastic performance

    Comment by Katie – August 15, 2011 12:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Jeremy Davies! What an amazing chamelion-like actor. He went from angelic in Lost to an absolute cretin in Justifed and really held his own opposite Margo Martindale and Timothy Olyphant. He probably doesn’t stand a chance though since he’s the youngest of the nominees.

    Comment by Alex – August 20, 2011 06:46 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • My vote goes to Michael J. Fox.

    Comment by kierahillmin – August 26, 2011 09:16 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Jeremy Davies by far! Brides and Fox are good, but c’mon! Davies was truly outstanding!

    Comment by Stephen S. – September 8, 2011 03:09 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

Leave a Reply

Comments on TVLine.com are monitored. So don't go off topic, don't frakkin' curse, and be gone with your offers of discount leather goods. Talk smart about TV!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s