Actor In a Drama Series: Who Will Win?

Critics battle McConaughey vs. Cranston and Dinklage vs. Paul.

by | August 21, 2014 | Comments

Peter Dinklage or Aaron Paul? Matthew McConaughey or Bryan Cranston? Critics make their picks for Lead Actor in a Drama Series, based on this year’s nominees: Bryan Cranston as Walter White in Breaking Bad; Kevin Spacey as Francis Underwood in House Of Cards; Jon Hamm as Don Draper in Mad Men; Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy in The Newsroom; Woody Harrelson as Martin Hart in True Detective; and Matthew McConaughey as Rust Cohle in True Detective.

He already won the Oscar this year so he’d be one of the few people to ever win an Oscar and an Emmy in the same year. He’s going to go up on stage and say, “Alright, alright, alright.”Alan Sepinwall, HitFix
There’s a lot of buzz. Particularly with people who don’t track TV as closely as critics do, they see True Detective as a revolutionary kind of thing, and he’s white-hot right now.Eric Deggans, NPR
This [is] the final time we’ll be seeing Marty Hart, Rust Cohle or Walter White, so maybe let’s give it to one of them. I say McConaughey.Drew Grant, New York Observer
He has the benefit of the people voting in this category having seen him in two episodes where he does very different things… He’s also in a lot of Woody Harrelson’s submission.Todd VanDerWerff, Vox Media
His performance as Rust Cohle, the existential detective-philosopher was stunning. And no, it’s not a spillover sentiment from Dallas Buyers Club. McConaughey’s depiction of a traumatized, emotionally wounded man across time periods was mesmerizing.Joanne Ostrow, Denver Post
I am so not rooting for Matthew McConaughey. The whole the time that show was on and everybody was raving about him, I constantly found myself in the position of having to say, “But what about Woody Harrelson?” He was so much better. But who will win? It’s got to be Bryan Cranston.Matthew Gilbert, Boston Globe
I don’t know if True Detective is going to get it, but Matthew McConaughey is going to win — he’s got the Oscar behind him, and he’s just the hot hand right now. Bryan Cranston has already gotten a few from the Emmys, so I don’t think people feel as obligated to give him an award. He would be a forerunner, but I think McConaughey is going to take it, and I want to see him take it too.Ben Travers, IndieWire
Walter White. I’m very close to saying McConaughey on that one, but for what Bryan Cranston did overall for Walter White and where he brought this character… it’s a testament to what Bryan Cranston was able to do.Kristian Harloff, Schmoes Know
I would love to see Jon Hamm win that because he just keeps getting denied it. But I think it’s more likely Bryan Cranston will win.David Hinckley, New York Daily News
It’s neck and neck between him and Cranston, but Cranston hasn’t won since 2010, so they might be done with him.Michelle Stark, Tampa Bay Times
The Academy is going to love the idea of making him the first lead actor to win the Emmy and the Oscar in the same year. I’m pretty sure he’d be the first person to pull that off.Brian Tallerico,
The Emmys have more surprises than the Oscars do, but I think Cranston’s the solid bet.Betsy Bozdech, Common Sense Media
The near-inexplicable critical acclaim for True Detective this year has in no small part been informed by Matthew McConaughey’s fierce, alternately self-aware and self-serious commitment to Rust Cohle’s philosophical ramblings.Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine
They have given [Cranston] that award many times in the past and Matthew McConaughey — the timing of that show being a little more recent, the buzz factor that surrounded that performance, which was fantastic, the Academy’s penchant for being a bit starstruck at times with big movie stars — I think this one is Matthew’s.Lori Rackl, Chicago Sun-Times
This is the most stacked category this year; anyone of these guys could’ve taken it in a vacuum, but I have to go with Matthew McConaughey. He became Rust Cohle.Bonnie Stiernberg, Paste Magazine

Peter Dinklage or Aaron Paul? Matthew McConaughey or Bryan Cranston? Critics make their picks for Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, based on this year’s nominees: Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad; Jim Carter as Mr. Carson in Downton Abbey; Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister in Game Of Thrones; Josh Charles as Will Gardner in The Good Wife; Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenson in Homeland; and Jon Voight as Mickey Donovan in Ray Donovan.

Aaron Paul is likely to win his third Emmy for exposing Jesse Pinkman’s tortured soul more fully and richly across the final batch of Breaking Bad episodes.Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine
The Academy has a lot of love for Game of Thrones and this might  be the way they’re going to show it.Lori Rackl, Chicago Sun-Times
Dinklage did such a good job in those trial episodes. And this is a great field. All these guys did amazing work.Eric Deggans, NPR
He had such a strong season this year. He had that great court scene and his character has really developed into tremendous speeches.Drew Grant, New York Observer
He makes the show worth watching.Matthew Gilbert, Boston Globe
I don’t think anyone can top what Peter Dinklage is doing right now. Peter Dinklage steals scenes even when he’s not on screen. You wonder where Peter Dinklage is when he’s not there. He’s so good as Tyrion Lannister.Kristian Harloff, Schmoes Know
I think Aaron Paul will win for Breaking Bad.  But I’d like to see Josh Charles take it for The Good Wife, especially since this is his last chance to win for that role.Ben Travers, IndieWire
I’d love to see Jim Carter win that for Downton Abbey, but for some reason I think they’re going to go with Peter Dinklage again —  who’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with his performances.David Hinckley, New York Daily News
It’s the last chance to honor Breaking Bad, and honor his work as that character, especially in that last episode. He’s the one to beat in this category. Bonnie Stiernberg, Paste Magazine
Game of Thrones became such a huge thing this year and I don’t see a lot of other places where they could reward it.Todd VanDerWerff, Vox Media
Probably Aaron Paul is going to win just because I feel like it’s going to be a big night for Breaking Bad… but never in a million years would I have predicted Bobby Cannavale last year. Alan Sepinwall, HitFix
There’s no clear frontrunner. I’m going with Aaron Paul largely by default.Brian Tallerico,

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