Will Arnett: Arrested Development
Seasons on show: Three
Emmy pedigree: One nom
Episodes submitted: “Making a Stand,” “S.O.B.’s”
Season highlight: Many, but one that stands out was his unwitting flirtation with mother Lucille while pretending to be a waiter.
Why he could win: It wasn’t just the writing. “Arrested” built its lofty reputation off the pitch-perfect delivery of performers such as Arnett’s self-indulgent Gob.
Maybe not: It’s a brutally tough field with many repeat nominees.
Quote: “I like his ridiculous confidence that’s based in nothing. What I like is also that he’s constantly incensed or feels like somehow he’s been wronged. It’s the people who completely disregard other people’s feelings who think they’re always being screwed over, so it’s kind of like this beautiful self-centeredness.”

Bryan Cranston: Malcolm in the Middle
Seasons on show: Seven
Emmy pedigree: Two noms
Episodes submitted: “Hal Grieves,” “College Recruiters”
Season highlight: His final scene with all the cast together. For all his antics throughout the season and the life of the show, you realized how convincing a father he was.
Why he could win: If anyone’s deserving of a serieslong achievement award, it’s the long-underappreciated Cranston.
Maybe not: The show has practically lost all of its heat, so acknowledging him now may be an uphill battle.
Quote: “I love how he surprised me. I didn’t know going in what kind of person he would be, but he became very sensitive and caring. He was based in fear, he heard footsteps behind him, and he would jump and yelp. He was afraid of failing as a father, he was afraid of failing at work and losing his job. I’m not that way. I plow straight ahead.”

Jon Cryer: Two and a Half Men
Seasons on show: Three
Emmy pedigree: One nom
Episodes submitted: “Ergo, the Booty Call,” “Weekend in Bangkok With Two Olympic Gymnasts”
Season highlight: Alan gets to explain to his son what a booty call is.
Why he could win: The ever-youthful Cryer has come a long way from his undeserved reputation as being a pilot killer. A win here and all will be forgiven.
Maybe not: “Men” was nommed for the first time as well, so it might take a couple of years for the skein — and its thesps — to get on the scoreboard.
Quote: “I love how repressed (Alan) is. It gives you a lot to play off, because everything drives him a little crazy. I think when I read him, I sort of knew this guy and sort of was this guy, but I could laugh at him at the same time. I think most people see a little of themselves in him.”

Sean Hayes: Will & Grace
Seasons on show: Eight
Emmy pedigree: Six noms; one win (2000)
Episodes submitted: “Alive and Shticking,” “I Love L. Gay”
Season highlight: His final moments with Karen (Megan Mullally), singing “Unforgettable” and commenting, “Sometimes I feel like we’re just supporting players on the Will and Grace show.”
Why he could win: Last dance, last chance for Hayes.
Maybe not: The series began to show its wear a few years back, and Hayes might not have the support he did in the show’s early days.
Quote: “I got the show when I was 27 years old, and I had no experience in sitcoms and very little in TV at all. It was a tidal wave of emotion, a life-changing experience, when I got the show. … I’m looking forward to other experiences in life that I haven’t had the opportunity to seek out yet,” Hayes told Zap2It.com.

Jeremy Piven: Entourage
Seasons on show: Three
Emmy pedigree: One nom
Episodes submitted: “The Bat Mitzvah,” “Exodus”
Season highlight: Watching Ari face life without a safety net in the aftermath of his failed agency revolt.
Why he could win: Piven’s electricity might be impossible to ignore. Despite his supporting billing, he owns practically every scene he is in.
Maybe not: Three farewell shows have nominees in this category, possibly endearing sympathy votes.
Quote: “Agents know this guy exists to a greater and lesser extent. He exists with an attention deficit disorder that’s more advanced than I’m showing and with a heart bigger than what I’m showing at times as well. I hope to become more ruthless and more emotionally accessible. I want the highs to be higher and the lows to be lower. Bring it! I’ve trained my entire life for this moment,” Piven told the L.A. Times.

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