Emmy season is upon us! Voters have until June 26 to fill out their nomination ballots before the big announcement on July 16. We have a few selections in mind ourselves. Up next: our wish list for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.
Charlie Cox, Daredevil
Playing the blind vigilante meant Cox didn't get the luxury afforded most actors: emoting with his eyes. Instead, Cox does it all with his captivating screen presence, an intoxicating mix of guilt, anger, hope and warmth that has made Matt Murdock the most grounded and believable of the latest influx of superheroes. When he gets hurt, he actually feels the pain, and you definitely don't (pardon the pun) see that every day.
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
This is your annual reminder that Mad Men has never won an acting Emmy. It's an absurd 0-34 and Hamm is the biggest loser in this category at 0-7. The final run of episodes didn't give Hamm loud material, like "The Suitcase," but he was just as riveting and devastating as Don embarked on his journey of self-discovery and reflection. You can debate whether Don made the Coke ad, but there's no debate that Hamm needs to be recognized for giving us Don Draper.
Freddie Highmore, Bates Motel
Like Mads Mikkelsen on Hannibal, Highmore has the burden of making an iconic character all his own. If there were any doubts about his ability before, they were all put to rest in Season 3 when Norman's descent into the psycho began in full force. As Norman tried in vain to control the "Mother" inside him, Highmore was never more creepily disturbing and profoundly heartbreaking. If Highmore, who moved up from supporting, doesn't get in this year, you have at least two more chances to right that wrong, voters.
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
You'd be forgiven if you went into the Breaking Bad spin-off expecting the same kind of comical, cocky bluster from Odenkirk. There were glimpses of the future Saul Goodman, but what Odenkirk did so superbly was create a whole other identity to someone we already knew and loved. Jimmy McGill wanted to do good and Odenkirk made sure every struggle felt real — none more so than the palpable pain when Jimmy realized that Chuck had betrayed him and wanted him to fail: "I thought you were proud of me." We are, Jimmy.
Matthew Rhys, The Americans
The Soviet spy business, which had him seducing a teenager this year, and the secrets and lies began to take their toll on Philip — and it showed in the contours of Rhys' face. It's not elastic, but every subtle gaze and look sketched the unease bubbling inside him, down to the season's final moments when he seemed a second away from defecting. And of course, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention Philip, with the deadliest of stares, taking off his Clark wig for Martha in a scene more frightening than any horror movie.
Aden Young, Rectify
Everything about Young's performance as Daniel is small — the silent glances, the economy of his movement, the sparse choice of words — and it's easy to overlook it (and the show itself). But if you watch it, you won't be able to shake it from your mind. Anyone can recite pages of monologues, scream and cry; it takes a lot more care, craft and precision to say it all without actually saying much at all.
Who would you nominate?