Emmys 2014: Who Should Win Lead Actor in a Drama? Take Our Poll!

Pop Quiz: When did Breaking Bad‘s Bryan Cranston last take home the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series? If you guessed 2013, 2012 or 2011 — a red ‘X’ and a loud ‘bzzzt’ are being sent in your direction.

This isn’t to say the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences hasn’t been good to Cranston — after all, he snagged the statuette in 2008, 2009 and 2010. But after sitting out 2011 due to ineligibility (Kyle Chandler triumphed that year for Friday Night Lights), Cranston has been beaten the last two Emmy seasons by Homeland‘s Damian Lewis and The Newsroom‘s Jeff Daniels.

RELATED Emmys 2014: Who Should Win Lead Actress in a Drama? Take Our Poll!

The latter actor is back in the race in 2014, and he’s bringing two extra members of his HBO family with him: Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, from the freshman crime drama True Detective.

Rounding out the field? Seven-time bridesmaid Jon Hamm (Mad Men) and Kevin Spacey (in the race for the second consecutive year for House of Cards).

RELATED Emmy Nominations 2014: The 43 Biggest Snubs

What would you do if you had the power to honor one of these fine actors when the Emmys are handed out on Aug. 25 ? Take our poll below to vote for your favorite, then hit the comments to justify your pick!

Every day for the next couple of weeks, 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!

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. Matthew Weber says:

    Kevin Spacey is always amazing.

  2. Eric7740 says:

    Next year, the Emmy better go to Jon Hamm for a spectacular run and being overlooked when Mad Men and his character were at there peak!!!

  3. MotherChucker says:

    Tatiana Maslany …. Oh wait

  4. Tran says:

    Bryan Cranston was robbed last year because of Jeff Daniels. Really hope he will redeem himself this year. I’ll be shocked if Jon Hamm finally takes home an Emmy or perhaps Kevin Spacey or even Matthew McConaughey (ALL RIGHT ALL RIGHT ALL RIGHT).

  5. Dani says:

    None of the above. They are six good actors but as far as I’m concerned two other actors deserve to be nominated.

  6. ... says:

    I voted for Hamm, but I think that it’ll be Cranston or McConaughey that takes home the trophy. They won’t repeat Daniels (I was surprised he got nominated a second time, honestly), Spacey’s best chance to win was last year, Harrelson’s performance was caught in the shadow of McConaughey’s, and I don’t see Hamm ever winning an Emmy for this role. It would have been nice to see somebody like Michael Sheen get nominated here, but alas.

  7. Superhero says:

    Not gonna lie: a small, small part of me wants to see Jeff Daniels win it again, just to see everybody go nuts about it.

    But in all seriousness, it should be McConaughey.

  8. EJ386 says:

    Charlie Hunnam?!?

  9. Ame says:

    Matthew McConeghy! No comparison.

  10. Jerry says:

    The Emmys were often quite dull and consistent, but it does like to throw surprises in leading male categories (Jon Cryer and Jeff Daniels winning). So I don’t think it’s going to Jeff Daniels, but all of the rest can actually win.

  11. Simon says:

    Jon Hamm is the Steve Carrell of this category. Deserves the nom. and the win but always overlooked.

  12. Tran says:

    Really hope James Spader gets Emmy nominated next year for The Blacklist.

  13. Junior says:

    Breaking Bad’s 5th season was weak, the ending was terrible and predictable… Bryan Cranston doesn’t deserve an award for being the exact same character he was when he started. Fans think Walter went through this massive change throughout the series… He was who he was from the very first episode, only action movie cliches and cheesy dialogue lines helped these teenage viewers think they were witnessing the return of Jesus himself on the small screen

  14. Nick says:

    If you didn’t vote for Bryan Cranston…you’re wrong.

  15. Tom McC says:

    It should be Jon Hamm, hands down. Don Draper is one of the most richly layered and complex characters in TV history, and Hamm plays him impeccably. He often conveys multitudes of meaning and emotion in a scene with just a look. It is astounding that more people don’t see what is right before their eyes. Just like Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad, Jon Hamm in Mad Men is giving a tour de force performance, he deserves to be finally recognized for it.

  16. Matt says:

    Andrew Lincoln…who should have been nominated!

  17. Angus says:

    James Spader should be on this list. He’d win hands down. Ohhhh but it’s not a cable show.

  18. kirads09 says:

    I voted for a tie btwn Mads M and Hugh (Hannibal) – oh wait… :-/

  19. Ron says:

    Bryan Cranston. He played a significant part in one of the best seasons of television…EVER! And for that, he deserves the win. However, this category kinda just peeves me off. Those nominated are mind-boggling. I was shocked Jeff Daniels won last year. I was even more shocked he was nominated again this year. No offense to Jeff, but quite possibly one of the most undeserved nominations this year. Kevin Spacey’s performance in this season of HoC wasn’t really Emmy worthy. I don’t blame him; I blame the writing. Honestly, Robin Wright single-handedly held this season of HoC together. Jon Hamm by far did NOT do his best work on Mad Men this past season, so I’m struggling with his nomination, too. I just can’t get my mind around these nominations when there were so many more deserving nominees this year: either (or both) leads from Hannibal, Demian Bichir for The Bridge, Charlie Hunnam for SoA, way too many more to be named…

  20. mrspeel2 says:

    Actually James Spader SHOULD win, but unfortunately he wasn’t nominated!!

  21. jimmy53 says:

    I watched every single one of these shows, and while all of them were amazing, none of them deserve it more than McConaughey.

  22. MaryAnn says:

    You should have had “none of the above” as a choice in your poll.

  23. Alex Potter says:

    If the emmy voters watch Bryan Cranston in Ozymandias I cant imagine this would even be a close contest

  24. Leah says:

    Everyone crying foul about Spader, well, Spader won this category several times in years I thought he wouldn’t, or shouldn’t. It happens. Anyway, I’d put Michael Sheen or Matthew Rhys up there ahead of Spader.

    • Sam says:

      I like both of your choices, but I wouldn’t put either one of them ahead of Spader. He is terrific in this part.

      • Mike Bee says:

        I would put BOTH of them ahead of Spader (especially Sheen, who is just incredible.) I always did think that James Spader was just BEING James Spader…..very over-rated as an actor.

        • Sam says:

          He has had a variety of different characters over his career, and they were not all the same. Also, having met Spader I definitely don’t think he is just being James Spader. Very different people.

    • Stephen S. says:

      Timothy Olyphant and Andrew Lincoln also deserve nominations and never get it. Both are incredible. I’m hoping since next season is Justified’s next season, he’ll be nominated next year along with the equally amazing Walton Goggins!

  25. Kathy says:

    It would great if Woody wins this, but something tells me it going be either Bryon(who is amazing and if he is lucky probably will be nominated for a Emmy next year for the role he won the Tony for LBJ) or Matthew.

  26. dreamlife613 says:

    While I think Bryan Cranston would be very deserving as well as the True Detective leads, I would like to see Jon Hamm finally win an Emmy for 5+ years of amazing, under-appreciated performance. I don’t like The Newsroom, so I find it bizarre that Jeff Daniels is nominated.

  27. I am okay with anyone except Jeff Daniels (because I don’t watch his show and I’m biased – I admit it). Seriously, I cannot pick amongst all the others. I just wish Jon Hamm got recognized with more than just another nomination. He should have won a while ago. But then I think about Kevin Spacey and I’m torn. And then there’s Matthew McConaughey…yeah, I can’t decide.

  28. Britta Unfiltered says:

    If I could give an Emmy to Jon Hamm, I would do it. He’s my pick, but I know it’s a pipe dream this year. McConaughey has got it in the bag. Next year will be the year I will really freak out if Jon Hamm doesn’t finally win.

  29. Mike Bee says:

    I voted for Jon Hamm ’cause it’s got to FINALLY be his year! Most shocking score: I would have voted for Woody Harrelson over Matthew McConaughey, yet there is Woody at the bottom of the heap, even scoring less votes than Jeff Daniels! INCREDIBLE!

  30. Miranda says:

    Matthew McConaughey obviously going to win – there is no way the Emmys will resist the opportunity – but surely Bryan Cranston stands head and shoulders above any other dramatic performance over the last 5/6 years?