Can Kevin Spacey, Jeff Daniels or Matthew Rhys break the field?
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Kevin Spacey of 'House of Cards'
Kevin Spacey, "House of Cards"
Nomination Status: The Top 3 in this gallery are all 100 percent locks. Here's where things start getting unsteady.
In His Favor: A two-time Oscar winner, a two-time Emmy nominee and a pretty consistent candidate for every award under the sun, Kevin Spacey made a big commitment in signing on for a two-season run of a project from the relatively unproven Netflix. For the most part, it paid off. Yes, people have had some quibbles with the veracity of "House of Cards" and you'll hear criticisms of Spacey's accent and of the necessity of the character's wall-breaking conversations with the audience, but for the most part, people have felt like "House of Cards" was an ambitious swing for the fences and that Spacey was the glue that held the production together. The combination of Spacey's performance, Spacey's stature and the possibility that "House of Cards" was a gamechanger within the TV paradigm really ought to make this a no-brainer nomination.
Working Against Him: Playing a grandstanding politician in a well-received drama ought to have made Kelsey Grammer a no-brainer last year and he had a Golden Globe on his mantle, too. As much as Kevin Spacey and David Fincher are known factors, Netflix and "House of Cards" are not, at least Emmy-wise. Since Netflix doesn't believe in silly things like "ratings," it's impossible to know how many people watched "House of Cards" or how much of "House of Cards" they watched, so there's really no way of guessing at pervasiveness and potential traction in any quarters. This seems like an easy nomination, but if Spacey is snubbed, we'll all look foolish for playing guesswork.