Lead Actor In A Drama Series Emmy: Who Will Win? Who Should Win?

Categories: Emmy Awards Predictions

Written By

September 16th, 2012

This is one of our "2012 Emmys, Who'll Win? Who Should?" posts, to see all our posts on the Emmy Awards click here.

The 2012 64th Annual Emmy Awards nominations are in.

Using my predicting, without predicting, method I use each year of simply choosing the previous year's winner (which is beginning to wobble a bit, but I'm sticking with it!) is in the strictest sense impossible for the Lead Actor In A Drama Series since last year's winner, Kyle Chandler, wasn't nominated (because Friday Night Lights was canceled). So, I'm calling an audible and going with 2010's winner, Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) who'd probably have won last year if he could have been nominated.

In a double poll, here's your chance to tally who you think WILL win, and who you think SHOULD win.

Feel free to explain.

The 2012 64th Annual Emmy Awards airs on ABC on September 23, 2012.


  • john

    Bryan Cranston should win.

  • omabin

    Bryan Cranston will win. I am pulling for Damien Lewis though, I thought he was absolutely incredible during Homeland first season. I would also love to see Michael C. Hall finally winning. Say what you may about Dexter’s season 6, but his acting was still top notch and it still hurts me that he has yet to win one.

  • JJ

    Bryan Cranston… Is there really another choice?

  • Justin121

    Bryan Cranston will.

  • glover

    Will: Bryan Cranston.

    Should: Damian Lewis. I do not watch these other shows.

  • Dan S

    Bryan Cranston owns this category until Breaking Bad ends. His character is very chilling & ruthless & will be a show talked about for years to come. As runner up I would pick Damien Lewis for Homeland.

  • Jared K

    Should Win: Bryan Cranston
    Also Worthy: Damian Lewis, Jon Hamm

    Will Win: Bryan Cranston
    Dark Horse: Damian Lewis

    I’m wary of saying that any actor has an unbeatable submission episode after Jon Hamm failed to win for ‘The Suitcase’, an episode that Matt Weiner clearly wrote as a “get Jon Hamm and Elisabeth Moss their Emmys” episode. Having said that … Bryan Cranston in ‘Crawl Space’ comes pretty damn close. That final image is just so haunting that Emmy voters would have a hard time shaking it from their minds even if they didn’t already love Cranston and his work. This is one case where voter inertia is well and truly earned. Damian Lewis is probably Cranston’s biggest threat because he’s new to the category and we don’t know how much support he actually has (his extra-long submission episode is also very good). I don’t think it’ll be enough, though. Not this year, and probably not until Cranston leaves this race two years from now.

  • jake3988

    I want to see Michael C Hall finally win, but Dexter still has two seasons left and based upon the trailer Michael has a good chance of winning next year.

    For now, it’s Bryan’s to lose IMO.

  • velouria00

    Cranston should win, and he probably will.

    Jon Hamm isn’t that good, Buscemi is miscast on Boardwalk and the writing is weak, Dexter is long past its prime, and Hugh Bonneville has no shot.

    Damian Lewis is phenomenal on Homeland, but I think they’ll have to settle for Danes winning.

  • Amy

    Hugh Bonneville? Hahahah! Worst actor on that show.

  • BH @ TV Recaps/Reviews

    Bryan Cranston and Damien Lewis are the only ones on this list that have the tapes to win this award. If it goes to Jon Hamm, it would be more out of sympathy for never receiving an Emmy – but if Mad Men wins in Drama Series, he will get an Emmy trophy since he’s now a producer – so that argument is the greatest. Cranston, in all likelihood repeat again – and he really goes deserve it. His performance in “Crawl Space” was phenomenal! Lewis is the only legitimate possible upset.

  • Nick

    Will Win: Bryan Cranston
    Should Win: Damian Lewis

    I’ve never seen any of the other shows, but Damian Lewis was excellent as the antihero that you got to know and maybe even like a little, without making it cheesy.

  • Sam

    As much as I would be thrilled to see Bryan Cranston win another Emmy for Breaking Bad, I would be 100x more excited to see Ginacarlo “Buggin’ Out” Esposito take home the Supporting Actor in a Drama Emmy. He deserves a Lifetime Achievement Award just for the astonishing variety of characters he’s played over the years. My jaw literally dropped to the floor the first time I found out Gus Fring and Buggin’ Out from Do the Right Thing were the same actor. I had no idea because of the complete differences between the characters.

  • Jimmy

    “I am the one who knocks”

    After that bit of dialogue, Bryan Cranston’s fourth emmy was cemented. I will be floored if he doesn’t win.

  • Tiger

    Bryan Cranston without a doubt

    the man did Damian Lewis step up his game in Homeland! very impressive

  • a p garcia

    It makes me wonder why Michael Emerson and Jim Cavesel were left out. Yes, the list contains great actors but so are these 2.

  • Tom

    The lack of support for Hamm is amazing. He deserves to win, though Cranston will.

    Cranston is great, but Mad Men just had an amazing season and Hamm was fantastic again.

  • Concerned Citizen

    Bryan Cranston should and will win. It physically hurts me to have to deny Damian Lewis, and there are several other worthy actors, but the king stay the king.

  • Rebecca

    I’ve only seen Mad Men and Breaking Bad from this list, but Bryan Cranston all the way. It’s his last season, and who would have thought the funny/nerdy dad from “Malcolm in the Middle” could be such a great ruthless character in a top notch drama? Fine actor.

  • Philla

    B. Cranston will probably win, because Emmy voters like repeats. And even if he did not do anything on the screen he would win anyway. He will win for that only hysterical laughter. I’d like Hamm to be recognized, but there is no hope.
    But the astonishing thing is that Hugh Laurie has never won for House and he’s not even been nominated for his final season. What a travesty. Cranston is not even worth polishing Laurie’s shoes, as we say in Italy. Do not misunderstand me,he is an excellent actor, but his show overrated and it’s high time someone else were rewarded.

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