“Parade's End” (HBO)
Emmy history: Cumberbatch was nominated last year for his role in PBS Masterpiece's “Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia.”
The case: Cumberbatch tossed his dashing leading man status for a role as a priggish English gent. The role could have made for quite a boring parade of manners under a lesser actor.
Trivia: The resourceful Cumberbatch couldn't find a film crew during the holidays to tape his two required audition scenes for “Star Trek,” so he did it himself on his iPhone and sent them to J.J. Abrams.