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2016 Emmy Contenders: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

When Jeffrey Tambor won the Emmy Award last year for his groundbreaking portrayal of transgender Maura Pfefferman on “Transparent,” he acknowledged backstage that though his show is a comedy, it deals with very serious issues. “Lives are at stake,” he said. “This (award) is bigger than me.”

Tambor could well repeat his win this year, though he faces strong competition, often from other actors who combined pathos with their comedy. Previous nominees Anthony Anderson, William H. Macy and Will Forte all manage to find laughter while tackling such topics like racism (“Black-ish”), alcoholism (“Shameless”) and the extinction of the human race (“The Last Man on Earth”). Freshman series “Master of None,” “Difficult People” and “Baskets” gave leading men Aziz Ansari, Billy Eichner and Zach Galifianakis, respectively, the chance to show a more serious side.

Previous nominees who could repeat include Don Cheadle, who already has four consecutive nominations for “House of Lies,” and four-time winner Jim Parsons of “The Big Bang Theory.” As for the newcomers to the category, look to  Golden Globe winner Gael Garcia Bernal (“Mozart in the Jungle”), Patrick Stewart (“Blunt Talk”) and Thomas Middleditch (“Silicon Valley”).

FRONTRUNNERS
Anthony Anderson (BLACK-ISH)

Aziz Ansari (MASTER OF NONE)

Gael García Bernal (MOZART IN THE JUNGLE)

Don Cheadle (HOUSE OF LIES)

Will Forte (LAST MAN ON EARTH)

William H. Macy (SHAMELESS)

Thomas Middleditch (SILICON VALLEY)

Jim Parsons (THE BIG BANG THEORY)

Patrick Stewart (BLUNT TALK)

Jeffrey Tambor (TRANSPARENT)

 

ON THE BUBBLE
Rob Delaney (CATASTROPHE)

Tommy Dewey (CASUAL)

Billy Eichner (DIFFICULT PEOPLE)

Johnny Galecki (THE BIG BANG THEORY)

Zach Galifianakis (BASKETS)

Chris Geere (YOU’RE THE WORST)

Dwayne Johnson (BALLERS)

Rob Lowe (THE GRINDER)

Randall Park (FRESH OFF THE BOAT)

Paul Rust (LOVE)

Andy Samberg (BROOKLYN NINE-NINE)

Fred Savage (THE GRINDER)

 

DARK HORSES
Fred Armisen (DOCUMENTARY NOW!

Will Arnett (FLAKED)

Jay Baruchel (MAN SEEKING WOMAN)

Bruce Campbell (ASH VS. EVIL DEAD)

Jerrod Carmichael (THE CARMICHAEL SHOW)

Andrew Dice Clay (DICE)

Andy Daly (REVIEW)

Ben Feldman (SUPERSTORE)

Jay R. Ferguson (THE REAL O’NEALS)

Jim Gaffigan (JIM GAFFIGAN SHOW)

Jeff Garlin (THE GOLDBERGS)

Bill Hader (DOCUMENTARY NOW!)

Derek Jacobi (VICIOUS)

Ken Jeong (DR. KEN)

Ashton Kutcher (THE RANCH)

Denis Leary (SEX & DRUGS &ROCK & ROLL)

Marc Maron (MARON)

Ian McKellen (VICIOUS)

Chris Messina (THE MINDY PROJECT)

Greg Poehler (YOU ME HER)

John Stamos (GRANDFATHERED)

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