Cranston has won three consecutive statuettes (2008-2010) for his work as a high school teacher-turned-meth-dealer Walter White, only sitting out the 2011 race because his AMC drama didn’t air during Emmy’s eligibility period.
Of course, Cranston will have to have to overcome a trio of a perpetual Emmy bridesmaids, plus two neophytes, if he hopes to go for the four-peat. Chief among his competition are Michael C. Hall and Jon Hamm, who’ve both been nominated five years running for their respective work in Dexter and Mad Men. (Hall also scored a nod in this category in 2002 for Six Feet Under.) Similarly, Boardwalk Empire‘s Steve Buscemi is making his second straight run at the Lead Actor statuette (after racking up three additional nods — and no wins — in various catgeories between 2001 and 2008).
Perhaps Cranston’s most imposing rival, though, is Damian Lewis from Showtime’s freshman hit Homeland, nominated by Emmy for this first time this year. Hugh Bonneville, up for his role on Downton Abbey, is the category’s other first-time contender.
What would you do if you had the power to send one of these fine actors to the podium 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 to stay up to speed on all our races, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!