Several Leading Men Have Their Last Chance at Emmys

Leading Mens Last Chance for Emmy
Jason Raish for Variety

Though the TV Academy is often criticized for giving Emmy nominations to the same shows and performers year after year, 2015 is all about change. With “Breaking Bad” and its multiple Emmy winner Bryan Cranston out of the competition — plus seven comedy and drama acting slots instead of six — the lead actor categories could end up looking a lot different this time around.

There’s certainly plenty to choose from among new series, but several critical favorites ended their runs this season, giving Emmy voters one last chance to award their deserving performances. Steve Buscemi (“Boardwalk Empire”), Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”), Charlie Hunnam (“Sons of Anarchy”), Timothy Olyphant (“Justified”) and Ricky Gervais (“Derek”) all ended on a high note that could earn some attention.

Among last year’s six drama nominees, only three — Jeff Daniels (“The Newsroom”), Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards”) and Hamm — are eligible this year, which opens four slots for nominating long-overdue actors. Spacey has the only returning series and has never won. Daniels won once in 2013, but the final season of “The Newsroom” didn’t exactly earn raves. And Hamm, who has seven Emmy nominations for his role as ad exec Don Draper, has never won the trophy for a show that relies heavily on its brooding leading man.

“Sons of Anarchy” creator Kurt Sutter naturally hopes to see Hunnam get recognized for his pivotal, ultimately tragic role as biker Jax. Hunnam dug deep as Jax set out on his final course, a performance Sutter says was helped because his fate was unambiguous.

“Towards the back half of the season, he was able to bleed that into his performance, so that it wasn’t so much about rage and retribution,” Sutter says. “He was really struggling with this almost spiritual journey, and yet it means doing things that are incredibly painful and devastating. (That) was some of his really potent stuff this season.”

While Hunnam has never been nominated, Sutter says he’s glad for the attention from critics and fans, regardless of what happens with the Emmys.

“You really have to figure out how to make your show noisier just so it gets through, and some of that is about money and marketing,” Sutter says. “But my belief is that shows get good buzz because they’re good shows.”

Buzz buoyed Gervais’ “Derek” for its two-season run, which, like the British “The Office” and “Extras,” ended with a special this year and vies for attention in the TV Movie categories. The funnyman has an acting trophy for “Extras,” but has yet to win for his warm-hearted role as Derek.

“Derek’s slightly different,” Gervais says. “With the characters I usually create, we’re laughing at them. We’re laughing at their blind spot, whereas Derek doesn’t have a blind spot. So ‘Derek’ was instantly more of a drama. The reason I made the characters flawed superficially was so kindness could come along and trample that. They were losers but they were caring for other people and deep down they were winners because they were kind.”

Gervais made a joke of not winning at last year’s ceremony by delivering his acceptance speech for “Derek” while presenting the variety-writing Emmy. Nevertheless, he says it’s nice to be nominated for a project that he’s done on his own terms.

“When you start changing something thinking this might win an award or this might get a bigger audience, you’re finished,” he says. “You’ve gone to the dark side, and I don’t want to know you. If you do it your way and more people see it and it wins awards, then so be it.”

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  1. There are so many amazing actors that sadly will be left out. Personally I’m rooting for Charlie Hunnam. Regardless of my hatred for a lot of the writing on his show he always brought it with his acting. I’m still bitter Maggie Siff never got a nomination but maybe it will happen on her new show. I also agree about Masters of Sex. Micheal and Lizzy do such a beautiful job and I’m always so immersed in every episode.

  2. RyeemJelany says:

    Jon Hamm should finally win the Emmys because how powerful his acting was when he ***ed the dumb blonde who spilled the wine at the apartment and also what he did at the dirty alley…haha. But on a serious note , the final season and the last episode of the series was just subpar and not up to the standard to be honest. Last year’s was much a better season but however, Emmys will still reward him at last……

  3. Nancy Bonatz says:

    Charlie Hunnam is a wonderful actor The final season of Sons of Anarchy he dug deep and brought most people i have spoken to many tears.Charlie has played romance ,action, comedy and so ugly parts ,Cold Mountain,Children of Men ,he has said he would rather take a small part in a good movie than a lead in a bad movie. Charlie Hunnam deserves to be recognized !!!

  4. coats1234 says:

    Glad Hunnam is getting recognized. The man can act. He probably won’t win but at least the Emmy’s finally sees his talent.

  5. Oh my god I just realised the pic above haha that’s awesome, Jax in there with all those guys that’s pretty cool. I think Charlie Hunnam definitely deserve to win an Emmy for his role as Jax Teller in Sons of Anarchy, it’s way overdue he is outstanding and he’s also becoming a huge movie star 🌟 right now he’s got like 7 movies lined up right now

  6. Matt says:

    Has raylan gibbons ever been nominated for an award? Or justified for that matter? Is this an article about leading men who deserve awards or are you just pandering to Ricky Gervais whose recieved plenty of accolades for his great work, and nice Kurt Sutter quote I didn’t know he was such a sons of anarchy fan. Does Ham Drapper really need another blow job,
    isn’t that what Mad Men is about. Anyway, how about a nice paragraph about Timonthy Olphant aka Seth Bullock aka Raylan Gibbons, whose talented acting chops define leading man..his calm cooll allowed an enormous collection of talented character actors, some who came and went, some who never left, to shine there eccentricities whether it be pure evil or authoritative officials or comedic relief next to strait man Olphants reasonable cowboy. No he wasn’t by the book, but he was justified, and thus allowed the cast around him to flourish and create this totally insane but totally believable Harlan Kentucky. Or something like you could say. hashtag, ajustifiedemmy.

    • Viola says:

      You’re not being serious, right? About Kurt Sutter being a “fan” of SoA? It’s his show. He created it. I’m just going to go ahead and believe that you were trying to be funny.

  7. Taffy says:

    Charlie Hunnam is long over due for recognition for his acting chops.

  8. Dhouz says:

    Jon Hamm’s acting wasn’t that great in the final season of Mad Men. Something about his acting that felt a little bit out and unreal. No episode I would think he deserves a nomination even until it’s up to the finishing line. I believed he will still win only for the sake of winning because this would be his LAST Emmys and so does to the other of its lead characters who never won whereby the final series of the show are easily forgettable generally both in its writings and actings. .

  9. A says:

    lmao! y’all remember when Jeff Daniels won against Hamm for that mess The Newsroom is… Idk, i’m thinking that Emmy might just go to Steve Buscemi. Hamm should have won a long time ago circa 2010.

  10. Joanie says:

    Sam Heughan, Catroina Balfe and Tobias Menzies all from Outlander. They consistently did superb acting performances!

  11. Joanne says:

    Totally think that Sam Heughan from Outlander, should be nominated for best actor and best show,

  12. Paul says:

    Breaking Bad went out on top of the Television History Books.

    Right now, Mad Men is a crippled child who crawled to a cheap finish line after the crowds went home.

  13. Paul says:

    #1. No. There are only 6 acting nominees in all acting categories.
    #2. No. Hamm MIGHT be nominated again. WILL NEVER win.

    Mad Men hasn’t won a SINGLE EMMY the last 3 years.
    Mad Men wins/nominations by year:
    2012 – 0 for 17
    2013 – 0 for 12
    2014 – 0 for 8

    This is a sinking ship. It will be lucky to be nominated for Drama Series this year. It will CERTAINLY NOT WIN ANY EMMY AWARDS.

    Saying it will win Emmy’s because Breaking Bad did is nothing but hopeless wishful thinking.
    Breaking Bad wins/nominations by year:
    2012 – 1 for 13
    2013 – 3 for 13 including Drama Series
    2014 – 6 for 16 including Drama Series

  14. Its gonna be Jon Hamm. Its his last time at the EMMYS for Don Draper. Look at last year,Bryan Cranston won for his last season of Breaking Bad. History will be repeated!

  15. Mary M. says:

    Matthew Rhys definitely needs to be nominated. His work on The Americans this year was amazing.

  16. Bill B. says:

    While I’d like to see Olyphant finally get some recognition, I’d be surprised if Hamm doesn’t finally win this. Please do not choose Odenkirk! I’m tired of his performance already. Banks is great though.

  17. Stacey W says:

    I do not understand how Michael Sheen in Masters of Sex is not getting mentioned (or nominated for S2) in this category! His performance (and that of Lizzy Kaplan) blew us away in S2 and we were dumbfounded by the complete absence of recognition by the GG as well as the Emmy’s it would seem. The pained subtleties and nuances of his performance are stunning, and the lack of recognition of this goes far beyond unfortunate oversight. The subject matter they worked with last year makes his performance all the more poignant and unforgettable, and it should be acknowledged publicly and right along some of the other actors you’ve mentioned… some of whom were not nearly as consistent as his.

    • Stacey W says:

      My issue isn’t who will win, I don’t have an investment in that end – what I do have an investment in is noteworthy, significant performances in programs that are also profoundly relevant and on top of that, doing a pervasive service to humanity as a whole being completely disregarded… Masters of Sex was astounding in both its storytelling and performances last year, and how it could be completely cast aside in lieu of some of these other programs/performances is a great disappointment.

    • Jim T. says:

      I agree. Sheen NEEDS to be nominated. He’s extraordinarily good on that show. The depth of his performance is something to behold.

    • Jim T. says:

      Hamm needs to put out above average work to win. To date, that just hasn’t happened.

      • Jim T. says:

        Sorry that was meant as a reply to Bill B.
        Design fail to have the Reply button above the message.

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