Emmys 2017: Lead Actor in a Drama Series — Our 6 Dream Nominees!

There’s a decent chance that this year’s Emmy race for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series could be a carbon copy of 2016, with all six nominees — Bloodline‘s Kyle Chandler, Mr. Robot‘s Rami Malek, Better Call Saul’s Bob Odenkirk, The Americans‘ Matthew Rhys, Ray Donovan‘s Liev Schreiber and House of Cards‘ Kevin Spacey — all back in the hunt for gold. 

However, we at TVLine are hopeful that Academy members will boldly think outside the box when they reach the Lead Actor section of their ballots. While we totally endorse the inclusion of one of the six aforementioned names, we respectfully ask that voters consider adding five “new” faces to the mix.

For the record, 2017 Emmy nominations will be voted on from June 12-26, and unveiled on July 13. The 69th Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony, hosted by Stephen Colbert, is slated to air Sunday, Sept. 17 on CBS.

Check out the gallery to the right — or click here for direct access — to see our ideas, then tell us if our picks warrant a “Woot!,” a “Whaaaat?” or a crisp slap of rebuke!

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. ABG says:

    Dan Stevens would be a really inspired and deserving choice.
    Matthew Rhys
    Rami Malek
    Sterling K. Brown
    Kevin Spacey / Freddie Highmore.

    • Annie Sisk says:

      Agreed, with Dan Stevens or Sterling K. Brown being top of my list and switching off as my preferred winner. Great category though – highly competitive this year.

  2. darkangel200 says:

    Big YES(!) to Justin Theroux, Mathew Rhys, and Rupert Friend. I really hope Justin finally gets due props for The Leftovers, but all three amazed.

  3. LizWebberFan says:

    I think Sterling K. Brown should go for best supporting actor. This is Us is an ensemble show. There is no true lead. I also think he would have a much better shot at winning best supporting actor.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Brown, Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore are competing in lead categories.

      • KayCeeCee says:

        Both Milo and Sterling are great in This is Us. How awesome would it be if they are both nominated and they both win!

        • Toppiri says:

          ^ This! I am so in love with this show, I really, really hope they both win! On a side note, I’d love to see Chrissy Metz win instead of Mandy Moore. She’s incredible.

    • Dean Eton says:

      Hi co stars are all going for the lead categories, he can do the same.

  4. Angela says:

    Really hoping Highmore finally gets noticed by the Emmys this year. There’s no question he’s earned it.

  5. JJ says:

    Dan Stevens is definitely deserving bit sadly he think he will be overlooked

    • Broadwayfan says:

      James Spader has been totally disrespected and ignored for THE BLACKLIST for 3 years. It will continue this year. I’m surprised any network actors are even mentioned.

  6. Joey Padron says:

    Hope Sterling gets nominated again this time for This Is Us. Hope Freddie and Dan will get nominated next month!

  7. webly3 says:

    I agree with every choice. I haven’t finished the season of Homeland because from what I’ve seen it was a slog, so I have Bob Odenkirk instead of Rupert Friend.

  8. kirads09 says:

    Agree with Justin. He’s just been incredible
    Obviously, Bob Odenkirk
    Thomas Jane – The Expanse (if just for “HOME” episode alone)
    Again don’t know if streaming series count but:
    Richard Dormer as (Consultant/Sheriff/Governor? Crazy? Evil? Possessed?) Dan Anderssen – Fortitude S2 What a performance
    Edi Gathegi – Start Up (could easily nominate Martin too)

  9. Carrie says:

    Question to team TV Line.. are your choices based on knowledge of which category actors are actually submitted? I’d see Rubert and probably Sterling in the supporting category.. all excellent work to be sure but my (holds her breath) vote goes to Justin!

  10. kirads09 says:

    Ooh I honestly don’t know if they would be considered leads or supporting but both
    Rufus Sewell and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa for Man in High Castle. *again – unsure if streaming originals are eligible?

  11. Margie Clark says:

    I think Matthew Gray Gubler, from Criminal Minds, should be nominated. Although he may fit better in the supporting actor category, since he is part of an ensemble cast. Gubler did a marvelous job of portraying someone wrongly accused and sent to prison.

  12. funnibone says:

    YES YES to Rupert Friend!

  13. Spence says:

    Dan Stevens and Legion as a whole deserves all the awards. I was stunned by the beauty and intelligence of every episode! (Freddie, Justin and Matthew are also soooo deserving!)

    • Desiree says:

      Agreed. I’m afraid that they will be snubbed, but I really hope I’m wrong. That show is a total mind-f%&$…in the best possible way!

  14. Kevin Tran says:

    Rupert Friend should get Emmy nominated. His performance in Homeland Season 6 is MVP worthy even though his character Peter Quinn went out in a blaze of glory (or bullets) in the season finale.

  15. I would be thrilled if Justin AND Freddie both get nominated!

  16. What a great group to choose from. I stopped watching Leftovers after three or four episodes in Season One. Imagine my consternation when critics and audiences began raving about its vast improvement in Seasons 2 and 3. So, I have added this to my TV Binge Bucket List along with The Wire (“There’s no easy way to tell someone that you never watched the Wire.”–Pete Holmes). Thus, I have to recuse myself with having an opinion about Theroux. Each of the others above were great, but I’m hoping Rhys or especially Highmore win, as they have been overlooked for five seasons of stellar work. Friend and Stevens both blew me away with their work this season, so I certainly wouldn’t clutch my pearls if either won. #Hightime4Highmore.

  17. Juke says:

    My dream list of nominees would be Sterling K. Brown, Bob Odenkirk, Matthew Rhys, Dan Stevens, Justin Theroux and Aden Young (Rectify).

  18. mikw says:

    How about Ray Liotta?

  19. Kate says:

    Not only was Friend’ performance amazing, but the choice to portray a bad-ass action hero as suffering the consequences and continuing to be bad-ass was so unusual and refreshing. Until the finale, the character was also inspiring to wounded veterans and an interesting challenge to gender assumptions, but then Gansa caved to conventional stereotypes. A nomination to Friend would send a great message.

    • N!loofar says:

      I wish Carrie died and they rebooted the show, she’s just grating now. Twitch, bug eyes, chin shake… lather rinse repeat. Ugh, you CD will get nominated for doing the same thing she’s been doing for 6 years. 100% agree on RF.

  20. Nicole says:

    Big yes to Freddie Highmore! I would also love to see Stephen Amell from Arrow. His performance in the second half of the season was just outstanding!

  21. abz says:

    I will forever be annoyed at how The Leftovers have been shunned from the Emmys year after year. Justin Theroux needs to be nominated. And a big yes to Dan Stevens and Freddie Highmore. Sadly, I have a feeling that we’d be lucky to get one of these three nominated. Emmys have become way too predictable.

  22. dan says:

    Although season 3 of Bloodline was uneven (being kind in my description), Kyle Chandler was outstanding as usual. Although I wasn’t a big fan of episode 9 which has received a lot of negative chatter, Kyle was tremendous in it. He also was great in the series finale. I would also like to see Sterling K. Brown in the running for This Is Us although his decision to put himself into the Lead Actor category may hurt him (I think he’d be a shoo-in for Best Supporting Actor).

  23. Cobra says:

    Ewan McGregor
    Bob Odenkirk

  24. Jec says:

    Yes to all. Especially Justin Theroux. That was such a fantastic, subtle, powerful and overall gorgeous performance. I’d love to see him and Carrie Coon win. What a series!!

  25. arlene says:

    Freddy Highmore! Rupert Friend. Matthew Rhys. Sterling K. Brown. And again from ‘Underground,’ Alano Miller, the actor who played Cato. Aden Young, Rectify.

  26. Sasha says:

    Just hand Freddie Highmore his Emmy and be done with it. Seriously. He has given the best performance of the season and I know what I’m talking about, I watch EVERYTHING.

  27. DarkDefender says:

    Sterling K. Brown should be nominated and should win. The episode where he broke down was amazing, as was the episode with the trip with his dad.

  28. Donna Salvi says:

    matthew rhys
    freddie highmore
    dan stevens

  29. TvPeong says:

    I wish there was a way to nominate both Sterling K. Brown and Lonnie Chavis. They both do an amazing job with Randall

  30. pickles says:

    Rupert Friend was amazing this year. Liev Schreiber made me cry at last year season finale and Matthew Rhys is awesome and dynamic in all his scenes. This is a tough one. I haven’t seen This is Us yet, but I plan to watch in a couple years .

  31. LAwoman says:

    Those are all great. It’s a tough category! But Matthew Rhys, Freddie Highmore and Rupert Friend are probably my faves.

  32. HTGAWMFan says:

    Freddie Highmore!!!!

  33. N says:

    Justin T.

  34. Carol says:

    Aaron Stanford – 12 Monkeys

  35. bbweyecandy says:

    Oh my yes, Rupert Friend was simply amazing. I truly hope he gets nominated for his gutsy portrayal of a man paying the price for his service to his country.

  36. JMark (formerly JM) says:

    Such a tough category with so many outstanding performances! But I have to say that if Freddie Highmore doesn’t get nominated for the last season of ‘Bates Motel’, a criminally underrated series, then it would be at travesty. But not surprising, considering the best show ever made, ‘The Wire’, never got a thing.

  37. Hannah says:

    Sterling K Brown is phenomenal. The Thanksgiving episode, the cabin trip, his breakdown, the Memphis trip, etc. were merely standouts amongst a fantastic season – he portrayed anger, betrayal, contempt, anxiety, loss, and more so beautifully.

  38. matty says:

    My dream nominees would be:
    Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us
    Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
    Matthew Rhys, The Americans
    Justin Theroux, The Leftovers
    Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
    Liev Schriber, Ray Donovan

  39. I am so excited for the Emmys, I think Sterling Brown would be a great nominee.

  40. Broadwayfan says:

    I adore Sterling; he’s amazing! And, granted I’ve cried over him more than anyone else on THIS IS US. But it seems an argument for him, and ignoring Milo, just isn’t right.

  41. Alice says:

    Seriously you just snobbed Travis Fimmel and Andrew Lincoln? And where is Jamie Dornan? Are you out of your minds?
    Pfft, trash list!