Will it finally be Jon Hamm's year? Or will "Boardwalk Empire" gangster Steve Buscemi take the leading actor gold in a heist?An will Alec Baldwin reclaim his comedy trophy, or will he lose it in a Big Bang upset once again?
The battles for the outstanding lead actor awards at the 2011 Emmys are heated, tossup affairs, with old favorites and new names going neck and neck in perhaps the most intriguing races. Hamm, the "Mad Men" star who delivered perhaps his most nuanced and varied performance as crumbling ad exec Don Draper, is nominated for his fourth straight year, and, finally doesn't have to worry about three-time defending winner Bryan Cranston, of "Breaking Bad," to foil his dreams of glory.
Instead, that honor could go to Steve Buscemi, who drew critical raves in the debut season of "Empire." set during prohibition, he plays the bad guy with a heart who bosses Atlantic City. Hugh Laurie, who is on his sixth straight nomination for "House," is also a feel good candidate, as is Michael C. Hall, who is on his fourth nomination for "Dexter" in addition to his 2002 nod for "Six Feet Under."
A dark horse is Kyle Chandler, who wrapped "Friday NIght Lights" and is finally receiving long-deserved awards recognition.
As for the comedy field, Baldwin will look to reclaim the dominance that saw him nab two straight awards before Jim Parsons swooped in and took the prize last year. Steve Carell is the sentimental choice, as he just finished his run on "The Office," the legendary part for which he's been nominated five times before without winning.
Louis CK, the writer/producer/star of the semi-eponymous "Louie," earned a surprising yet deserved nomination, while Matt Leblanc has made an unlikely return to stardom with "Episodes," for which he got a nomination.