Emmys 2015: Lead Actor in a Drama Series — Our 6 Dream Nominees!

Half of the contenders from the 2014 Emmy race for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series are ineligible for this year’s ballot. (If your memory needs refreshing, we speak of Breaking Bad‘s Bryan Cranston and True Detective‘s Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey.)

So forgive us if we’re a little overly optimistic that the members of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences might check out TVLine’s Dream Nominations gallery to help them inject the category with fresh blood.

In fact, in our version of the Emmys, we’d fancy a showdown among six fellas who’ve got a total of zero acting nods among ’em. (Bob Odenkirk, it must be noted, is a two-time winner for his writing work on The Ben Stiller Show and Saturday Night Live.)

Check out the gallery below — or click here for direct access — to see our fresh-blood ideas, then tell us if our picks warrant a “Jeah!”/”Blerg!”/something in between!

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. Karen says:

    Michael. Sheen. (Damnit!)

  2. Maz says:

    Charlie Hunnam ..YES YES YES
    Freddie Highmore
    Grant Gustin
    Michael Sheen

  3. Mr. Tran K says:

    James Spader. He got snubbed last year and I hate to wonder if the star of The Blacklist gets snubbed again.

  4. Amanda says:

    Yes and yes to Sam Heughan and Charlie Hunnam! I would also add Timothy Olyphant for Justified to the list!

  5. Maz says:

    Terrence Howard

  6. Sophie says:

    Yes Matthew Rhys! So deserving…Especially after the season his character has had this year

  7. Brittney says:

    Jensen Ackles. If any male on the CW is going to get nominated its got to be him!

    • Stephen S. says:

      Ackles is good but he’s now been pushed into 2nd place as far as guys from the CW. My new fav is Stephen Amell in Arrow. Even though season 3 was a bit uneven, admittedly, even when the show falters Amell is always great.

  8. Charlie Hunnam??? You’ve got to be joking. Yay for Rhys and Odenkirk.

  9. Nicolas Mancuso says:

    On my list, I would definitely include:
    Jon Hamm (who has NEVER won — this is his last chance)
    Aden Young from ‘Rectify’

    • Cass says:

      Yes to Aden Young. He performance is always great but his work in the finale last year was spectacular. Rectify has got to be the best show that no one seems to be watching.

      • Mr. Sunshine says:

        I agree. The acting on this show is superb!! You know the acting is really good when you become a blubbering mess over a prison death. IJS…. :-)

    • Miranda says:

      ADEN YOUNG!! I am ashamed to say I forgot about he was even in contention this year.
      Because anyone who has ever watched his TRANSCENDENT performance on Rectify will know that hardly any other TV performance over the last year mattered as much as what Aden achieved on that precious series.

  10. Kathy says:

    Anson Mount Hell on Wheels

  11. Angela says:

    we found ourselves marveling time and again at how Highmore was able to make the breakdown as heart-crushing as it was spine-tingling
    YES. Norman Bates is not an easy character to make sympathetic, but Highmore somehow managed. Perkins’ portrayal of Bates was iconic, of course, but Highmore’s done his own great take on the character and made it equally unique and fascinating.
    I was also greatly impressed this past season at how Freddie managed to mimic Vera’s mannerisms and style of speaking so perfectly when he was in “Mother” mode. He had that down.

  12. LAwoman says:

    I would be very happy with 5 of those 6. I don’t watch Flash so I can’t speak to that choice.

  13. mdbchud says:

    My dream is Highmore, Ackles, and Gustin. Sadly, the “academy” high brows will NEVER give them a chance.

    • Dude says:

      Highmore and Gustin aren’t so out of left field. (They gave a nod to Farmiga so why not Highmore?) but Ackles has no chance in hell.

    • Isobel says:

      Highmore maybe, but CW actors I agree probably not. I’d say Michael Sheen or Jon Hamm will probably be nominated over Gustin.

  14. Zeenz says:

    Sam Heughan for the win!

  15. Eric7740 says:

    Pay Jon Hamm his due!!! Seven seasons of an incredibly complex character and Hamm never faltered!!! Give him his LONG overdue Emmy!!!

    • Mike C. says:

      I could not agree with this more. It would be inexcusable for Hamm to never be recognized for one of the greatest portrayals in the history of television.

  16. I want it so badly for Charlie Hunnam. He’s incredibly talented and I was in tears with his work. He and Maggie Siff already should be emmy winners.

  17. KLH says:

    Sam Heughan… so deserving and I will admit I was skeptical at first. It is tricky with a character that beloved.

  18. Randall says:

    After reading about your dream emmy nominees for best drama actor,I came to the conclusion that you guys have weird and sick dreams.

  19. Phil says:

    Shame on you for leaving Terrence Howard off this list!

  20. lll says:

    Where is Jim Caviezel or Michael Emerson on this list?

  21. Guest says:

    Grant Gustin for sure :)

    • Okay Dude says:

      I didn’t even know he was considered an above-average actor until I read this list. Do people actually think he belongs in a list of actors, which, just last year, had Matthew McCounaghey, Bryan Cranston and Woody Harrelson in it? Even Kevin Spacey acts better than most actors on broadcast (with the notable exception of Mads Mikkelson, though I don’t know if he’s supporting or lead) let alone a teen heartthrob on the CW, whose cheesy angst is misinterpreted as good acting.

  22. JenE says:

    Sam Heughan has been a revelation! He is so incredibly good and took my breath away so many times over the course of the season. He has brought life to a MUCH beloved book character so flawlessly and delivered in every scene whether he was funny, sweet, loving, or in the depths of complete and total despair. What more do you need Emmy voters!!!!!

  23. Matt says:

    Where’s Andrew Lincoln on this list? Should be there!

  24. Dave says:

    Uhh, Timothy Olyphant and Jon Hamm? Both created terribly complex, intriguing, brilliant characters over the past several years, and this is the last chance for each of them. It’s a shame neither of them has won yet, and a crime that at least one, if not both, never will.
    At least you included Rhys.

    • Dont think Jon Hamm will win, certainly will be nominated. He will end up like Angela Landsbury for Murder She Wrote or Hugh Laurie for Dr. House with several nominations but no wins. I dont know, why the academy doesnt watch the Americans but this would be the only reason – I can think off – why both Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys arent getting nominated. The same for Tim Olyphant and Justified. Its a shame.

  25. Jenna says:

    This is a tough one. I have so much respect for all of these actors and what they brought to their roles, and I’m completely taken with Sam Heughan. That said, Odenkirk is the reason I’m hooked on BCS. He has made me care about, and even feel sorry for, a fairly unsavory character. The episode he discovered his brother’s betrayal was amazing, and heartbreaking. Odenkirk FTW.

  26. Ron says:

    Abomination alert: no love for Aden Young for his subtle, breathtaking, heartbreaking, complex portrayal on the unfortunately underrated Rectify.

  27. Josh says:

    Pretty outrageous to exclude both Jon Hamm and Aiden Young so you can accommodate four interchangeable 20-somethings like Hunnam, Gustin, Highmore, and Heughan — who are all good (but not great) leads on B-level shows. How is Hamm not one of your dream nominees? NO ACTOR ON MAD MEN HAS EVER WON AN EMMY!

    • Moonchild says:

      Absolutely!!! The fact that Jon Hamm in particular has yet to win is completely ridiculous, and calls into question the whole validity of the voting process. All you have to do is look at and listen to him on any talk show – he is totally different from Don Draper. Even his facial expressions and the way he carries himself as Draper is fascinating to watch. A stellar performance all the way around that has been inexplicably ignored. Emmy had better make this right.

      • misery chick says:

        YAAAASSSSSS, ITA! Jon Hamm as Don Draper was terrifyingly heartbreaking in the finale…yet another layer peeled, another revelation revealed in the integration of Dick Whitman/Don Draper…💔💕💔💕

  28. lynne cunningham says:

    Sam Heughan best dramatic actor on the screen in along time. He has my vote for Emmy Awards 2015.

  29. Terri says:

    After his performances in the last 2 episodes of the season, can we just give Sam Heughan the Emmy now?

  30. Spence says:

    Hell to the yes about Freddie Highmore. He was stunning every single episode this season. “Norman’s sleeping” still gives me chills. And I also feel Andrew Lincoln did some exceptional work as Rick trying to get readjusted into normal society on Walking Dead.

  31. Jon Hamm should get an Emmy and this is his last chance. I hope he will be nomineteed. I am sure they will not give any Emmy to Outlander ( at least this year) it would be great to see Sam Heughan as a nominee. Outlander is soooo underrated!

  32. B says:

    Heughan, Hamm, Olyphant.

  33. Stephen S. says:

    Where the hell is Timothy Olyphant?!!!

  34. Guy says:

    If the Emmy voters know anything about acting, 5 of the 6 spots will go to Olyphant, Hamm, Rhys, Highmore, and Odenkirk.

    • Take Highmore out and replace him with Aden Young. It is rather cruel towards Hamm to nominate him again and again and than dont give him the emmy. Thats said, I think its time to mix it up. Let actors like Rhys, Young, Olyphant, Odenkirk and others get some emmy love.

  35. Kate Robertson says:

    Sam Heughan, Sam Heughan, Sam Heughan! Very talented actor.

  36. lori says:

    Sam Heughan

  37. annna says:

    . Jon Hamm needs to finally win an emmy. No one deserves it as much as him. Matthew Rhys is the only one that can compare with him.

  38. Susan says:

    I have this premonition that perpetual nominee Jon Hamm will be given the Emmy for his body of work rather than anyone who did outstanding work this year….Sam Heughan and Aden Young notably.

  39. lynne cunningham says:

    Sam Heughan for best dramatic actor for his portrayal of Jamie Fraser in Outlander.

  40. Nick says:

    Love the inclusion of Grant Gustin. He’s so underrated. I also appreciate the love for Bob Odenkirtk. He’s so deserving. If there were someone missing from this list, I would have to say Aden Young from Rectify.

  41. NMiguelCosta says:

    Grant Gustin over Jim Caviezel, Michael Emerson or Jon Hamm? Is this a joke??

  42. Marjolijn says:

    Sam Heughan, obviously.

  43. benny says:

    Timothy Olyphant Justified!!!

  44. Lori says:

    Sam Heughan all the way!

  45. Valerie T says:

    Odenkirk totally deserves the Emmy. Love him, BCS and BB.

  46. Chase says:

    Why is Michael Emerson not on here ?

  47. nikki says:

    I love Grant, Freddie and Charlie but they will never ever ever got nominated. The Flash will not get nominated and I don’t think in our life any CW show will ever get a “big” nomination$

  48. KT says:

    Yes to Sam Heughan!!!

  49. S..W. Lingenfelter says:

    They should definitely have the guy that plays Jamie on Outlander. His acting in their season finale was the BEST I have ever seen. Something Is truly wrong if he Is not nominated.

  50. B says:

    Grant is an amazing actor. He made a character that could have been corny or gimmicky believable and he is able to make you laugh and break your heart in the same hour I’d vote for him!