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Supporting actor in a drama

Road to the Emmys: The Actors

Alan Alda, “The West Wing”
Seasons on show: One
Emmy pedigree: Three wins (1974 (twice), ’82); nine noms (1976, ’77, ’78 (twice), ’80, ’81, ’94, 2000 and ’01)
Episode submitted: “In God We Trust,” “King Corn”
Season highlight: Putting all the political bluster aside, he and Martin Sheen sit down for some ice cream in the basement of the White House to discuss the future.
Why he may win: Still popular from his days as Hawkeye Pierce on “MASH,” he has the strongest set of acting credentials of any nominee.
Maybe not: Though the series had a creative rejuvenation last season, many voters might have turned away from the show when it was seemingly running out of gas.
Quote: “I feel bad when people ask me — and I get asked this in most interviews about ‘West Wing’ — ‘Well, if you become president, and you’re a Republican, are you going to have to say all these Republican things? Will you be able to do that?’ And my answer is: ‘Have we so convinced ourselves that we’re either red or blue, and we can’t listen to one another?’ ” Alda says.

Naveen Andrews, “Lost”
Seasons on show: One
Emmy pedigree: None
Episode submitted: “Solitary,” “The Greater Good”
Season highlight: Sayid discovers a wire, follows it and winds up being trapped and tortured by a French woman who’s been on the island for many years.
Why he may win: On one of the best-reviewed new series of last season, Andrews offers the perspective of an Iraqi character rarely before seen on television.
Maybe not: He is competing against another show regular, veteran Terry O’Quinn.
Quote: “We’re all very different actors. Some of us, I guess, try to go for as much of the reality as we possibly can. Eventually, we’re all going to have to start looking like skeletons at some point. But at this point in time, it’s still too early to show things like rotting sores,” Andrews said to About.com.

Terry O’Quinn, “Lost”
Seasons on show: One
Emmy pedigree: None
Episode submitted: “Walkabout,” “The Moth”
Season highlight: Locke has a flashback in which he meets a woman who claims to be his mother.
Why he may win: Quinn has been paying his dues as an actor for more than 25 years and his hard work is finally coming to fruition.
Maybe not: He is competing against another show regular, Naveen Andrews, and being a first-time nom might hurt his chances.
Quote: “It would be nice to think about more doors opening, to be able to pick and choose roles. But I’m not anxious to go anywhere else right now. I could do this for a while,” said O’Quinn to the Associated Press.

Oliver Platt, “Huff”
Seasons on show: One
Emmy pedigree: One nom (2001)
Episode submitted: “The Fucking Cabin,” “Crazy, Nuts & All Messed Up”
Season highlight: Russell is approached to defend Pepper, a girl he picked up at the liquor store for a night of fun a while back.
Why he may win: Platt’s buoyant personality brings much-needed comedy to his friend Huff’s often miserable life.
Maybe not: Thanks to Showtime’s stellar marketing efforts, the show received more noms than anyone thought possible, but it might be hard to turn those into wins.
Quote: “He’s one of these people who is, um, so desperately bent on having a good time — and making you think he’s having a good time — that he’s obviously not,” Platt said on “Tavis Smiley.”

William Shatner, “Boston Legal”
Seasons on show: One
Emmy pedigree: One win (2004); one nom (1999)
Episode submitted: “It Girls and Beyond,” “Tortured Souls”
Season highlight: Denny is caught having an affair with the wife of the firm’s biggest client.
Why he may win: Nobody thought he’d win last year before he pulled off a huge upset. Never count out Capt. Kirk.
Maybe not: Winning two years in a row might be pushing it.
Quote: “I think that we don’t know whether he’s dumb or smart, whether he’s cunning or stupid, whether he knows what’s going on all around or is totally unaware. I think that’s part of the fun of playing it,” Shatner told the Associated Press.

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