LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA
Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Matthew Fox, Lost
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Hugh Laurie, House
Honestly, this category is so packed with great performances that its not impossible for any of these six men to walk away with the prize this year. Of course, they can't all win, and the least likely to do so is Chandler. Although the nomination is a major victory for the constantly-ignored Friday Night Lights, voters most likely won't reward him with a win for that same reason. Although Fox had a fantastic performance in the Lost finale and deservedly (and finally) earned a nomination for playing Jack Shepard, don't count on him to win unless there's a major Lost sweep (based on the Creative Arts Emmys, I doubt that will happen, unfortunately....). Its hard to believe Laurie still hasn't won an Emmy for playing Dr. House, and even though he was always terrific, this past season has been House's weakest yet. But he chose the excellent season premiere for his submission episode, so he definitely has a chance. Hamm is also consistently wonderful, but his work may be overshadowed again this year. Cranston is never the favorite, but he's won two in a row so far, and his show is coming off a superior season, so he certainly stands a chance for a third. But I'm better on Hall to win this year, namely because he has three things working for him: a major story arc this past season (I still need to catch up), he's got the sympathy vote for overcoming cancer, and he's already won the Golden Globe and the SAG. This is his year.
BEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights
Glenn Close, Damages
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
January Jones, Mad Men
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer
There's some new blood and old favorites here. The Hargitay nomination is a little lazy, considering she's always nominated. And since she's already won this prize before (2006), she probably won't win again this year. Sedgwick, too, is a routine nominee, and her work probably won't be enough to stand out this year. Britton has finally earned a nod for her FNL work, but just as in Chandler's case, the lack of attention her show has received in the past means she probably won't pick anything up this year either. Jones had a pretty great arc last year on Mad Men, but no actor has ever won for this show, and she doesn't seem likely to be the first. Its really a showdown between Close, who has won this twice in a row, and Margulies, who won for her stint on ER. Given the limited love Damages received this year, count on Globe and SAG award winner Margulies to win the Emmy.