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2016 Emmy Predictions: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Kevin Spacey goes for his first Emmy as a few fresh faces try to delay the inevitable one more year.

Kevin Spacey and Nathan Darrow in "House of Cards."

David Giesbrecht/Netflix

Quick Hits

  • Last Year’s Winner: Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”
  • Was It an Upset? No
  • Still Eligible? No
  • Hot Streak: More like a cold streak: Kevin Spacey has never won an Emmy, and he’s zero for three with “House of Cards.”
  • Fun Fact: Jon Hamm, Bryan Cranston and Kyle Chandler all won Emmys for the final seasons of their respective programs — the only men to do so in the 2000s — but Cranston is the only actor to win for an episode that wasn’t the series finale. His submitted, winning episode was “Ozymandias,” the third-to-last entry in “Breaking Bad” Season 5.

READ MORE: ‘Mr. Robot’ Star Rami Malek on Making an ‘Indie Film’ on USA Network and Its ‘Iconic’ Potential

Well, it finally happened. Matthew Rhys fought his way into the Outstanding Lead Actor actor category, officially being recognized for what we all had known for years. His performance is one of TV’s elite turns, but can he continue to overcome an inexplicable bias and make his way to the winners’ circle?

There’s no question he deserves it, but the campaign forces working against him could prove tough to topple. Namely, Kevin Spacey. The two-time Oscar winner has never won an Emmy, and Netflix’s PR machine will be sure to remind voters of that every chance they get. Spacey is a well-liked presence on the circuit, making his a name that’s tough to ignore on the ballot.

Still, a couple of recent favorites could surprise. Rami Malek should be riding a wave of “Mr. Robot” love, especially if Season 2 — now airing — is as respected as the first. Bob Odenkirk already wrapped an impressive follow-up season to “Better Call Saul,” and the twice-nominated star of AMC’s “Breaking Bad” follow-up could be seen as overdue for an Emmy already.

Below are IndieWire TV Critic Ben Travers’ predictions for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, which will be updated throughout the season. Make sure to keep checking IndieWire for all the latest buzz and highlights from the 2016 race, and read the rest of the predictions in all the categories, as well.

The Nominees:

  1. Kyle Chandler, “Bloodline”
  2. Rami Malek, “Mr. Robot”
  3. Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”
  4. Matthew Rhys, “The Americans”
  5. Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan”
  6. Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”

Will Win: Rami Malek, “Mr. Robot”
Could Win: Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”
Should Win: Matthew Rhys, “The Americans”

Contender Interviews on IndieWire:
• Kyle Chandler Is the Supple Spine of ‘Bloodline’ (Emmy Video)
Rami Malek on the ‘Iconic’ Potential of Mr. Robot

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