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Drama Supporting Actor

Alan Alda: The West Wing
Seasons on show: Two
Emmy pedigree: 31 noms; five wins (“MASH,” 1974, ’77, ’79, ’82)
Episodes submitted: “Two Weeks Out,” “The Last Hurrah”
Season highlight: The live debate between Alda’s Republican Sen. Arnold Vinick and Jimmy Smits’ Matthew Santos.
Why he may win: Few in TV have as stellar a pedigree as Alda, whose seminal work on “MASH” already put him in the small-screen pantheon.
Maybe not: The fact that he lost the presidency might not portend good things for his Emmy chances as well.
Quote: “I feel bad when people ask me, ‘Well, if you become president, and you’re a Republican, you’re going 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 told CBS News.

Michael Imperioli: The Sopranos
Seasons on show: Six
Emmy pedigree: Four noms; one win (“The Sopranos,” 2004)
Episodes submitted: “Luxury Lounge,” “The Ride”
Season highlight: His decision to break things off with Julianna when he finally realizes they’re just feeding each other’s addictions.
Why he may win: With the show’s only thespian nod, Imperioli might act as a representative for the entire ensemble.
Maybe not: Besides Christopher’s on- and off-again drug use, there was nothing particularly different about his character this season than in seasons past.
Quote: Asked if knowing characters can get killed off at any time frees him up as an actor or scares him, Imperioli told CNN: “I think it frees you up because you got to make everything count, every moment. You know, every scene has got to count, because it might be your last.”

Gregory Itzin: 24
Seasons on show: One (as a regular)
Emmy pedigree: One nom
Episodes submitted: “3-4 a.m.,” “6-7 a.m.”
Season highlight: The phone call that revealed Logan wasn’t the ineffectual leader viewers assumed but, rather, a major player in the whole conspiracy.
Why he may win: His sliminess was a key element in helping “24” to one of its finest seasons, and his longtime work in TV in a ton of supporting role makes him a highly visible player.
Maybe not: Being an Emmy newbie might work against him.
Quote: “I think the challenge in this role is to be very good in making him very bad, and perhaps out of that, something good will come,” Itzin told TV Guide.

Oliver Platt: Huff
Seasons on show: Two
Emmy pedigree: Three noms
Episodes submitted: “Red Meat,” “So … What Brings You to Armageddon?”
Season highlight: When Platt is with a prostitute, both of them getting stoned, and then she suddenly dies in his arms.
Why he may win: If fans of the show were to pick their favorite on the show, Platt would probably win. Whether that translates to votes is the question.
Maybe not: His competitors’ shows have larger audiences, and “Huff” was recently canceled.
Quote: “I do find him very relatable because he’s a very extreme case of somebody who’s scared of living, he’s just terrified. He’s running away from a lot of different stuff. He’s self-destructive. I think we all have those compulsions; the question is what do you do with them?” Platt told FilmMonthly.com.

William Shatner: Boston Legal
Seasons on show: Two
Emmy pedigree: Four noms; two wins (“The Practice,” 2004; “Boston Legal,” 2005)
Episodes submitted: “Witches of Mass Destruction,” “Live Big”
Season highlight: Denny pining for his newest ex-wife after she caught him cheating on her at their wedding reception.
Why he may win: Nearly 40 years past his first “Star Trek” voyage, Shatner has become an Acad fave with three noms and two wins in the past three years.
Maybe not: Three consecutive wins would certainly be considered rarified air.
Quote: “I’m very much aware and very fearful of dementia. My father-in-law died of Alzheimer’s. I saw that happen. But the mystery is, is Denny really that way or is he just pretending to be that way? And that’s the mystery I play,” Shatner told TV Guide.

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