Gallery: The Actor Nominees
A collection of Emmy veterans, everyone in this group has either won or been nominated in past years.
The respective roles for which these thesps are being celebrated could not be more different, representing male archetypes across all lines of race, age, class and socio-economics.
Two-time Emmy winner Andre Braugher (“Homicide: Life on the Street,” “Thief”) embodies the struggling middle-aged family man in “Men of a Certain Age,” hitting every note of his weekly performance as Owen Thoreau Jr., a fledgling Chevrolet salesman trying to do what’s best for his wife and children while coming to terms with his midlife status and lackluster career.
“Lost” co-stars and former Emmy champs Michael Emerson and Terry O’Quinn are island residents struggling with their pasts.
Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman, the former chem class student on “Breaking Bad” who makes one bad decision after another, is in constant conflict with his present life. For three seasons Paul has been gaining plenty of admirers for his “Bad” perf, and has now been recognized by the Acad two years in a row.
Martin Short’s sinister lawyer catering to the wealthy and well-established on “Damages” was a welcome dramatic turn for the longtime comedian. And twice-nominated “Mad Men” star John Slattery plays Roger Sterling, the womanizing, cavalier 1960’s New York ad exec, to three-piece-suit perfection.
“Men of a Certain Age”
Emmy pedigree: Two wins, plus two previous noms
Best scene: In “Powerless,” Braugher’s car salesman character Owen delivers a heartfelt monologue that serves to convince a city employee to grant him a permit to renovate his house. He emerges from the municipal building throwing his arms up in the air a la Rocky Balboa.
Why he might win: Long respected and admired for his work in “Homicide,” Braugher’s now in another series that’s gotten strong reviews. “Men” also targets the mid-to-late 40s male demographic, so Academy voters of that age will identify and could vote Braugher’s way.
Maybe not: With two Emmy wins already on his resume, voters might chose between Emmy virgins Paul or Slattery instead.
Emmy pedigree: Two wins, plus two previous noms
Best scene: In the final episode outside of the church where Ben Linus (Emerson) tells John Locke (O’Quinn) he doesn’t need his wheelchair anymore.
Why he might win: His four consecutive nominations prove his work is greatly valued by the Academy, and that they feel he’s turned in consistently award-worthy performances.
Maybe not: Ben, whose had his share of seminal “Lost” moments, wasn’t at the forefront in the last season, and it may be difficult to justify a win over O’Quinn.
Emmy pedigree: Two prior noms, one win
Best scene: The scene together with Emerson outside of the church in the finale episode is top-notch.
Why he might win: He and Emerson have been neck-and-neck in this race since 2007, the year Quinn won. It seems like one or the other always stands a solid chance of winning over the Academy.
Maybe not: In a scenario where voters feel torn between Emerson and Quinn, they could turn to another actor instead.
Emmy pedigree: One previous nom
Best scene: In “One Minute,” Jesse is beaten to a pulp by Walt’s DEA agent brother-in-law. While recuperating in the hospital, Walt comes to visit, and that’s when Jesse vows to destroy Hank: “Your scumbag brother-in-law is finished.”
Why he might win: Talk to folks inside the TV business, and “Breaking Bad” consistently comes up as one of their favorite shows. If those same folks are in the TV Acad, Paul could benefit from the skein’s goodwill.
Maybe not: By far the youngest nominee in the category, voters might decide to award one of the older actors who have more of a full resume.
Emmy pedigree: One win, plus six previous noms
Best scene: As attorney Leonard Winstone, Short has been outed by his father as a crook and decides he’s going to go against the family who to whom he’s dedicated much of his life.
Why he might win: Talk about going against type. Short, known for decades as a standup and comedic film actor, showed terrific range in a highly dramatic role.
Maybe not: His “Damages” turn is most likely to be one season and out, and voters might decide to honor those who have made long-term commitments to their respective shows.
Emmy pedigree: Two prior noms
Best scene: “The Grown Ups” episode, in which President Kennedy is assassinated. Sterling, ever quick with zingers one-liners, can’t think up a single joke but doesn’t understand why. It takes Joan, Sterling’s former mistress, to remind him that what he’s feeling is called sadness.
Why he might win: Roger’s often lackadaisical attitude in and out of the office isn’t as easy to portray as one might assume, and he can be tough when necessary.
Maybe not: For all the critical praise of the show and acting nominations during its first two season, none of the “Mad Men” thesps has ever won.