DRAMA LEAD ACTOR
Michael Chiklis, “The Shield”: Winning for the first year of “The Shield” put Chiklis on the map, but while the show has remained one of the best on TV, voters have figured they honored him once and it’s time to move on. Big mistake. His fiery turns each week — five years later — are still worthy of awards attention.
Patrick Dempsey, “Grey’s Anatomy”: Seriously, it’s such a female-heavy show, the ladies have an advantage because they get to scream and cry every week and draw attention, but Dempsey should be given credit for his solid, nonhysterical contributions. Seriously.
Matthew Fox, “Lost”: Stuck on the Others’ side of the island for much of time, Fox has probably had more high-profile seasons than this one, but it’s tough to gauge which “Lost”-ie will reach into Emmy’s consciousness.
James Gandolfini, “The Sopranos”: The mob boss’s reign has just come to an end, and if voters feel that a fourth award for top drama actor is worthy, vote now or forever hold your ballots.
Hugh Laurie, “House”: Tough to believe that Laurie didn’t make the cut last year, but that’s likely to change as both Martin Sheen (“The West Wing”) and Peter Krause (“Six Feet Under”) are out of the competition. As long as “House” is on the air, he’s one of the candidates to beat.
Denis Leary, “Rescue Me”: Leary’s smarminess probably turns off some but, that being said, his love-him-or-hate-him onscreen presence makes it tough to turn away.
Ian McShane, “Deadwood”: The third season began airing a year ago, which will probably hurt the “Deadwood” gang — but it shouldn’t. McShane’s combative Al Swearengen had a handful taking on Gerald McRaney’s George Hearst for control of the camp and, though he lost a finger in the process, acted downright civil in the face of his rival’s cruelty.
Christopher Meloni, “Law & Order SVU”: Procedurals and Emmys have always made for an unhealthy marriage, but Meloni and his onscreen partner, Mariska Hargitay, have proved to be popular exceptions.
Kiefer Sutherland, “24”: After the series swam in critical praise during all of 2005-06, this just-concluded season suffered a major post-awards slump. That’s not the fault of Sutherland, of course, and it would be wrong to write him off just because the writers wrote him wrong.
DRAMA SUPPORTING ACTOR
Michael Emerson, “Lost”: A veritable onscreen Mona Lisa, Emerson’s expressions while portraying the mysterious Ben convey everything and nothing. The guy’s proactively inscrutable. No one makes you feel “Lost” the way Emerson does.
T.R. Knight, “Grey’s Anatomy”: Though the show’s creative juices may have suffered this season, Knight’s performances remained topnotch, especially in the emotional arc where his character’s father passes away