I hate trying to predict the Emmy awards, particularly in a category where I’m invested in a particular show or actor. I don’t claim to be objective, nor do I want to be. I refuse to sidestep the fact that I really want Hugh Laurie to win Best Actor in a Drama this year. He deserves it, certainly, for his nominated performance in “Broken,” and for the five previous years (including the second season, which he was incredulously not nominated at all).
All six actors nominated in the incredibly competitive category are outstanding in their nominated episodes and are indeed the best actors currently on the small screen. I’ve watched several Mad Men episodes (and now I’m intrigued because Draper’s 10 year old daughter seems as obsessed with Ilya Kuryakin on The Man From U.N.C.L.E., as I was at that age!). Jon Hamm plays a generally pretty unlikable character in a cast of unlikeable characters. He’s excellent, underplaying his role and speaking volumes with a twitch or a quirk of his eyebrow.
I loved Bryan Cranston in Malcom in the Middle, and his character in Breaking Bad couldn’t be more different. Cranston has range and brings a lot of sympathy to his character. Michael C. Hall is probably the favorite among TV critics for his work on Dexter, and he’s already won a slew of awards this for his performance as the serial killer with a peculiar ethical code. Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights) and Matthew Fox (Lost) are also good candidates, and you could make arguments on their behalf as well. But I would like to think this is Hugh Laurie’s year, finally.
“Broken” is a two-hour showcase of exactly why Laurie is the best actor around. The episode’s writers (who absolutely should have been nominated for their wonderful script) provided the material for House’s journey from Hell, but Laurie infused the writers’ words with every emotion possible: terror, anger, bitterness, menace, frustration, desperation, amusement, pathos, fury, elation and so much more. He so embodies this character with whom he’s lived for six seasons, that it’s easy to forget that Laurie is not playing himself. The only thing the two share are their love of music, motorcycles and expansive intelligence.
So, I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that come Sunday night, the Emmy people will finally give Laurie his due (and one of those nice gold statuettes). But like I said, I’m not objective—and the most deserving are often not rewarded come Emmy night. So, I’ll hedge my bet and suggest that if not Laurie, the Emmy will go to Michael C. Hall.