Emmys 2012: Who Should Win Best Lead Actor in a TV Miniseries or Movie? Take Our Poll!

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The 2012 race for Outstanding Lead Actor in a TV Miniseries or Movie has a decidedly British feel, with 50 percent of the nominees hailing from across the pond.

The English contingent is comprised of Idris Elba (Luther), Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia) and 
Clive Owen (Hemingway and Gellhorn), while their U.S.-born counterparts include Kevin Costner and 
Bill Paxton (both from Hatfields & McCoys
), as well as Woody Harrelson (Game Change).

Of the nominees, Cumberbatch, Paxton, Costner and Owen are all Emmy neophytes. Elba, meanwhile, scored two prior nods (both in 2011, for Luther and The Big C, respectively), while Harrelson is now on his seventh nomination (he won Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for Cheers in 1989).

What would you do if you had the power to honor one of these talented gents when the Emmys are handed out in September? Take our poll below to vote for your favorite — TVLine voting closes Sept. 14, 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 follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV for up-to-the-minute alerts of when our Emmy polls launch!

Comments (27)

  • I ended up voting for Kostner just because I thought Hatfields & McCoys was really well done. However, even though it was Bill and Kevin who got Emmy nods, I found it was really the ensemble of women who really made that show what it was.

    Comment by Ally – August 3, 2012 09:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Benedict Cumberbatch gave an outstanding performance in Sherlock. I;d like him to win.

    Comment by Hetty – August 3, 2012 10:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’d say either Idris or Benedict will take it. As much as I love Mr. Elba, I think Cumberbatch had the more nuanced performance. Although Emmy’s love awarding “movie stars” so who knows

    Comment by Mína – August 3, 2012 11:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • You know I only watched Luther because idris Elba got nominated, but I have to say that I was rather impressed…i watched the second season before the first, and within five minutes of Elba being onscreen, I knew exactly who that character was as a person, he was that good! He gets my vote.

    Comment by Nick – August 3, 2012 11:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • “Benedict Cumberbatch is a fascinating and highly-skilled actor. Steals the show the moment he comes into frame, regardless of how much or how little screen time he has. Conveys volumes in the lift of an eyebrow or a twitch at the side of his nose. He does not so much inhabit a role as the role inhabits him. As Sherlock says the physical is “just transport”, so Ben becomes transport for the characters he plays, and they come truly alive in his head, then projects them fully formed into the camera’s lens.”

    Comment by victoria – August 3, 2012 11:52 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Sherlock is the only thing I even watched here, but I can’t imagine liking anyone more than Benedict Cumberbatch.

    Comment by Britta Unfiltered – August 4, 2012 12:22 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Can’t stand the guy. Give it to anyone else and I’m fine.

      Comment by tripoli – August 4, 2012 03:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Wish Dylan Mcdermott was here for american horror story

    Comment by sam – August 4, 2012 12:46 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Either Cumberbatch or Elba work for me.
    Both Sherlock and Luther are remarkable series that deserve acknowledgement.

    Comment by Polly – August 4, 2012 01:01 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Luther is an awful show.

    Comment by babs – August 4, 2012 04:45 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Cumberbatch took a character that 75 or so actors have played over the years and made it His Own! There are just a few who are truely connected to the character over the years – Rathbone, Brett and now Benedict. He lets you know how the character is feeling, as has been said, with just a look, a move. In season 3 one of his greatest scenes is just watching someone who is lying and as that person keeps talking you can see his changing look as he observes the person.
    Am afraid they may go for the “known” person to them. And there are many who do not even know this show was on the air and that may include people voting. But it would be amazing for Benedict and the show to win an Emmy. And how about Martin Freeman as Watson – they are as good a duo as there is on t.v.

    Comment by Bobbi – August 4, 2012 04:49 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Since Benedict Cumberbatch I really can’t imagine anyone else playing Sherlock Holmes ever.His performance(s) are flawless.Benny for the win!

    Comment by RD – August 4, 2012 05:45 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Elba is wonderful as Luther, and I wouldn’t be sad if he won. I also only watched Luther because he was in it.

    But if I were voting, I’d vote for Cumberbatch (and all the other nominations for Sherlock). I waited a very long time to watch Sherlock because I just didn’t think it could work. It does–chock full of win and heartbreak in large part due to his outstanding performance. In the nominated episode, I’ve yet to meet a viewer who didn’t squirm at the Christmas party scene, giggle through the palace scene, or sigh at the twisted, complicated interactions between Sherlock and Irene.

    As others have noted, he can convey a world of character with the smallest facial expressions. In a different episode (The Blind Banker), just watch as Sherlock (for presumably the only time in his life) says to his old schoolmate “This is my friend” before that’s ripped away from him–followed soon by the schoolmate saying “We all hated him.”

    Comment by a – August 4, 2012 05:46 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Benedict Cumberbatch all the way. I’ve read all the Sherlock Holmes stories and for the first time ever, Sherlock finally becomes a believable human being in the hands of the excellent and peerless Mr. Cumberbatch. He’s not simply the genius detective but a man as blessed with incredible intelligence as he is burdened with all the difficulties and challenges of a life that is both illuminated and shadowed by such prodigious mental powers. That expressive face and those compelling eyes convey a wealth of thought and emotion with something as subtle as the flicker of an eyelid, the curl of a lip, the twitch of a muscle in his cheek, the quicksilver flash of feeling in his eyes. If this man does not go home on Sept. 23rd with the Emmy he so rightfully deserves, then the Emmys will cease to have any meaning or relevance for me.

    Comment by Unicorn – August 4, 2012 08:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • i love idris elba, and the character he played. he got my note too.

    Comment by puti reese – August 4, 2012 09:03 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Luther is an awesome show and recently I heard a movie is in the works. Idris put in major work – he gets my vote…

    Comment by sladewilson – August 4, 2012 12:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • if benedict cumberbatch (best name ever) doesnt win i will be officially disregarding everything to do with this years emmys

    Comment by Alan – August 4, 2012 01:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Idriss or K.Costner

    Comment by raynald doe – August 4, 2012 01:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Someone said they couldn’t stand him – so guess they meant Benedict. But you should read what people say who know him and work with him – he’s admired and loved and amazed by his intelligence and work eithic – he really cares about what he does – and he’s so much fun to be around. “Genuine” is a word they use. Others, including Tom Stoppard said they are “blessed” to have him in their project.
    I think maybe some may think he is just like “Sherlock” but as Moffat & Gatiss said while seeing a play back of a Sherlock scene – “where did Benedict go” because he is so different from the character. (Other than he IS smart). Just what being a great actor can do.
    Of course when any one is nominated they are good enough to be nominated so not saying others aren’t good, just that would like to see Benedict and the show win, and any others they’d like to give of the 13 nominations.

    Comment by B.B. – August 4, 2012 03:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I did like Woody Harrelson in Game Change. I also liked Idris Elba in Luther. The man just delivers a very compelling and complex character. I liked Sherlock, but I’m not as enamored with Benedict Cumberbatch as so many on here are. I won’t be rooting for the series to win. However, it won’t surprise me if it does. Hatfields and McCoys was very well done and the actors gave terrific performances. So, I’ll be happy with either Coster, Paxton or Elba.

    Comment by Tania – August 4, 2012 05:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Benedict Cumberbatch, hands down. He is absolutely amazing in Sherlock.

    Comment by Mikaylah Roggasch – August 4, 2012 08:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think…..
    no one like benedict.
    he is amazing!

    Comment by grace sanny – August 5, 2012 01:02 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • People are only picking Benedict b/c they haven’t seen anything else. Drissa just kills it.

    Comment by KS – August 5, 2012 08:48 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Benedict Cumberbatch .
    He’s very amazing.I love him~~~

    Comment by Jan Blues – August 5, 2012 09:05 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I know most Sherlock fans get into a froth over Benedict Cumberbatch but for me Idris Elba gives the better performance. Apples and oranges, of course, but I am a sucker for tragic, tormented characters.

    Comment by Alexis – August 14, 2012 07:20 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

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