Emmys

Emmys 2012: Who Should Win Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series? Take Our Poll!

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After a one-year hiatus from the Emmy race for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, Breaking Bad‘s Bryan Cranston is back — and that’s probably not good news for his fellow nominees.

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!




Comments (51)

  • Damian Lewis is my pick hands down.

    Comment by ben – August 16, 2012 02:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree. Cranston may be everyone’s favorite but he’s already won this multiple time, so let someone else take the stage.

      Comment by Jimmy – August 16, 2012 04:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • It’s not about giving it to somebody new, it’s about giving it to whoever deserves it the most. And as great as Damian Lewis is, Cranston is still the king.

        Comment by Superhero – August 16, 2012 04:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Exactly. Completely agree.

          Comment by De Niro – August 17, 2012 06:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • I agree that Cranston is the best, the comments system here doesn’t make it clear who I’m replying to. Anyways, Cranston is the best.

          Comment by De Niro – August 17, 2012 06:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree. He’s great.

      Comment by nick1372 – August 17, 2012 04:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Bryan Cranston…2 words “crawl space”

    Comment by Glenn B – August 16, 2012 02:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • That scene was effing amazing, as was Cranston. Still scares the shiz out of me. So hoping Cranston wins but if he doesn’t, it will only be because BB will take home Best Drama (I hope both win).

      Comment by Kevin H. – August 16, 2012 02:36 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • That’s the episode he submitted too.

      Comment by Britta Unfiltered – August 16, 2012 03:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • First off I’ve followed all these shows. In reply to Gleen B’s comment. You hit the nail on the head with this one man. Cranston at the end of “crawl space” was the best acting I’ve seen come through my television screen, movies included. The chills I experienced watching this scene has forever changed the way I watch shows. If Cranston doesn’t win the Emmy you know somebody bought it, not earned it.

      Comment by Matt – August 20, 2012 11:17 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Sigh, Michael C. Hall and Jon Hamm are going to be like Hugh Laurie. They should have won earlier, but at this point, they probably never will, no matter what they do.

    Comment by Emily – August 16, 2012 02:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • So true. I want at least one win doe Michael. :(

      Comment by Vetle – August 17, 2012 01:22 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I fear living in a world where Jon Hamm doesn’t get an Emmy for his portrayal of Don Draper. So I will pick him for every poll, every year.

    Comment by Ashley – August 16, 2012 02:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Golf derby reported that his submission wasn’t very good

      Comment by Jake – August 16, 2012 04:53 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • He didn’t really have a standout episode like The Suitcase. Last year was his best chance at getting a win, and at this point I don’t think he’s ever gonna get it.

        Comment by Superhero – August 16, 2012 05:02 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • At least it’s still possible for Hamm. I imagine he’ll have some good stuff whenever Mad Men decides to end. But it’s no longer possible for Hugh Laurie to win. Now THAT is a crime IMO!

      Comment by Stephen S. – August 19, 2012 04:09 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • any win that isnt a downton win is good enough for me

    Comment by Alan – August 16, 2012 02:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • hahaha, I hear ya.

      Comment by Leah – August 16, 2012 02:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • My sentiments also

      Comment by Maryann Craven – August 16, 2012 03:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Cranston (Crawl Space) and Lewis (Marine One) have the strongest episode submissions. It really only is a battle between the two of them

    Comment by BH – August 16, 2012 02:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Cranston. Unless all of the main actors from Game of Thrones could somehow be nominated as one, he is unstoppable.

    Comment by Seedless – August 16, 2012 02:43 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • As much as I love Jon Hamm and he’s past due for a win. Bryan Cranston hands down. the last 5 seconds in “Crawl Space” alone deserves a special award.

    the emmy should have been Hamm’s last year with the Suitcase especially with Cranston out of the running, but somehow Chandler sneaked in there. UGH!

    Comment by VCI – August 16, 2012 03:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The only thing John Hamm and Mad Men are good for is putting me and my kid to sleep. I gave that show two-and-a-half seasons to show me something, which is more than i give any show before I give up. What a bore. Hamm is a good actor, but i personally find him and the show overrated

    Comment by Seedless – August 16, 2012 03:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I totally agree! I just CANNOT. GET. INTO. IT. And I’ve watched two seasons! It’s weird when people constantly tell you how amazing a show is and you just don’t see it. I felt the same about the Wire. I watched the first two seasons and it was such a struggle and a chore to work through the loooong boring stretches for the occasional good moments. thats how i feel about Mad Men.

      Comment by Mark – August 16, 2012 04:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Count me in as well. I have watched every episode, burning through the first 4 seasons in quick time, and still see nothing special about it. It’s so damn dull a lot of the time,and Hamm and the character of Don Draper are nothing to squeal about. There was a few plot points in the first season that hooked me and that’s why I continued on, but those things were either forgotten or amounted to nothing much in the end. I love that there are people who aren’t drinking the Mad Men Kool-Aid. It’s terrible stuff!

        Comment by Tammy2 – August 16, 2012 08:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Yes, the Mad Men Kool-Aid is definitely sugar-free and quite bitter. Too many annoying characters, too. Pete Campbell and “Birdie” make me want to stick forks in my ears and eyes.

          Comment by Seedless – August 17, 2012 09:06 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I wish I could vote for Jon Hamm or Damian Lewis here. I really do. Sigh. But yeah, I voted for Cranston. How could I not? The Emmy voters for sure will feel the same way. Hopefully Hamm at least gets an Emmy for the guest actor in a comedy category so he doesn’t go home empty-handed.

    Comment by Britta Unfiltered – August 16, 2012 03:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Crawl Space….nuff said

    Comment by KND – August 16, 2012 03:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think this category has been wasted on too many previously nominated actors and actors who get nominated because of who they are (Buscemi). Many other deserving actors out there.

    Comment by itsme – August 16, 2012 04:46 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love Cranston but there is no better show on tv the Boardwalk Empire! Steve Buscemi is by far the most talented actor on the list!!!!

    Comment by Dani – August 16, 2012 04:52 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Jason Isaacs. Nathan Fillion. Hugh Laurie.

    Oh… wait…

    Comment by John DeMayo – August 16, 2012 05:02 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Nathan Fillion? Good one. Thanks for the chuckle!

      Comment by tripoli – August 16, 2012 08:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I would give it to Damien Lewis. I wish Jon Hamm had won when Don was still an interesting character. He’s never going to win an Emmy now.

    Comment by anna – August 16, 2012 06:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Damian Lewis. He’s always snubbed by awards, especially for Homeland. He gets a nomination, but he never wins. I felt really bad for him at the Globes when both Homeland and Claire Danes won and he didn’t…

    Comment by This – August 16, 2012 06:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • That thumbnail of Lewis looks straight out of Band of Brothers from far away.

    Comment by This – August 16, 2012 06:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Sad that Hugh Laurie will never win an Emmy for his brilliant performance as House.

    Comment by maggie – August 16, 2012 09:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree. One of the best characters ever. Such a shame.

      Comment by Seedless – August 17, 2012 09:08 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Bryan Cranston without question.

    Comment by Jay – August 17, 2012 02:07 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I honestly don’t care who wins. I’m just happy that TV is so great right now that 5 out of 6 of the nominees are from fantastic shows, and the other is a decent way to kill an hour.

    Comment by Scott K – August 17, 2012 03:22 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • If not Bryan Cranston – the clear favorite and gives an acting masterclass every week – then definitely Damian Lewis. He broke my heart on Homeland, more than he broke Carrie Mathison’s for sure.

    Comment by Alexis – August 17, 2012 06:01 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • they never gave an emmy for Hugh Laurie in 8 years
    and this year they didin’t nominated Robert Carlyle

    nothing against Cranston but the emmys i realy don’t know what to think about who votes in this things

    Comment by peter – August 17, 2012 08:04 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • UM….how do u spell emmy?
    John Hamm in the Suitcase Episode.

    Nuff said

    Comment by justine – August 17, 2012 08:42 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • ***Spelling correction**** Emmy is spelled C-R-A-N-S-T-O-N

      Comment by Seedless – August 17, 2012 09:10 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • He submitted that episode for last year, but he didn’t win. He submitted “The Other Woman” this year, but I think Cranston will beat him again. I don’t watch Homeland. Apparently Damian Lewis is the only one enough juice to score an upset.

      Comment by Alice – September 10, 2012 12:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Seriously, how many times does Bryan Cranston have to win?! Michael C. Hall, because he’s earned a win.

    Comment by Lily – August 17, 2012 02:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • He’s deserved every single one of his wins, and I don’t really think I have to say this again but ok: It’s not about giving the ones that haven’t won before an award, it’s about the best, and Cranston has always been the best.

      Comment by De Niro – August 17, 2012 06:16 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Timothy Olyphant. Oh, wait. He’s not nominated. Stupid emmy voters! :( Since Olyphant isn’t nominated I’ll gladly see Damien Lewis win instead. I love Cranston. But it’s time for someone else to win and I REALLY hope it’s Lewis.

    Comment by Stephen S. – August 19, 2012 04:11 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Crawl Space. “Skylar!!! Where is the Emmy?!!!”

    Comment by Greg – August 20, 2012 11:20 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • My money is on Damian Lewis this year, Brody’s character is one of best of past season and Damian’s performance is amazing

    Comment by Lily – August 22, 2012 09:58 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • One of those actor is the best actor that television has seen for the last decade, and that actor should win every time he competes. That said, since they’ve already honored Bryan so much, there’s the possibility that the prize will go elsewhere, maybe in Hamm’s hands.

    Comment by lucaltair815 – August 28, 2012 09:05 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Bryan Cranston all the way! Everyone that I know loves Breaking Bad. There isn’t a better show or Lead Actor on TV. In fact ever since I had the pleasure of watching the first episode I thought it was way too good for TV (not that I’m complaining) Cranston is definitely the King. These other shows are jokes by comparison.

    Comment by elle – September 23, 2012 11:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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