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Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
• Kyle Chandler as John Rayburn on Bloodline (Episode: "Part 12") (Netflix)
• Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy on The Newsroom (Episode: "What Kind of Day Has It Been") (HBO)
• Jon Hamm as Don Draper on Mad Men (Episode: "Person to Person") (AMC)
• Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill on Better Call Saul (Episode: "Pimento") (AMC)
• Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan on Ray Donovan (Episode: "Walk This Way") (Showtime)
• Kevin Spacey as President Frank Underwood on House of Cards (Episode: "Chapter 32") (Netflix)
Should win: Jason Alexander never won an Emmy for playing George Costanza. Steve Carell didn't for Michael Scott, Martin Sheen didn't for Josiah Bartlet, Hugh Laurie for Greg House, Jackie Gleason for Ralph Kramden. So if Jon Hamm goes 0-for-8 in Emmy chances for playing Don Draper, he'll be in some good company. (Especially if Amy Poehler also, as I expect, doesn't win her final shot for Leslie Knope.) But it's an iconic performance that deserves recognition not just historically, but for his work in the final season, which stripped Don (or Dick) down to his core and forced him to reckon with all the bad choices he had made in his life.
Will win: I've seen a lot of people predicting that Hamm will win on his way out the door, just as Chandler did (in the year Hamm had "The Suitcase") for the final "Friday Night Lights" season. But Chandler's win was a historical anomaly (Sarah Jessica Parker for the final season of "Sex and the City" is the only other even vaguely recent one like it), and it very well may be that Academy voters enjoy his performance far less than TV critics and "Mad Men" fans do. Then again, that was a much smaller pool of voters that will be considering the category this year. For that reason, and mainly because I don't want to accept the idea that Spacey or Daniels might win, I'm going to pick Jon Hamm benefiting from the changed rules.