By Peter Knegt and Ben Travers | Indiewire June 25, 2014 at 12:00PM
If we left it up to the networks and their campaign departments, almost no one worthy of an Emmy nomination would make the cut (stop nominating Jim Parsons!). So we here at Indiewire are hoping to start some grassroots campaigns of our own, pushing the best of the unlikely nominees to the forefront and hoping to receive some support from you, our wonderful readers. Below you'll find our picks for the lead comedy actors we'd like to see honored by the Television Academy, as well as video evidence of their talents. Next week, we'll pick our favorites for comedy series, then drama series the following week before the nominations are announced July 10th. Without further ado, our picks:
6) Keri Russell - "The Americans"PK: Of all the lists we've been offering over these weeks, this is the one that to me I'm amazed I even have to vouch for -- as in it's kind of shocking these folks aren't already shoo-ins. But that goes to show just how insanely stacked dramatic television is right now, and maybe suggests the Emmys should take their six and raise it to 10. But I digress.
Let's start things off with someone whose long been ignored by Emmy: Keri Russell. First with "Felicity," and now -- more tragically, in my opinion -- with "The Americans." The show was one of the biggest snubbees at last year's Emmys, and given there's even more competition this time around, it's hard to imagine them making up for it. But they should. Because "The Americans" is one of the smartest shows on television, and certainly one of the best acted. I'd vouch for the entire cast to get nominated (and already did for Annet Mahendru a few weeks back), but Keri Russell's work as KGB agent Elizabeth Jennings would arguably make me the happiest.
6) Karl Urban - "Almost Human"BT: It is rather shocking the Television Academy isn't expected to catch up with "The Americans" this year, though every awards show must have its unheralded critical darling. I guess "The Americans" is the Emmys version of "Inside Llewyn Davis." Anyway, my sixth pick is for a show absolutely no one will remember next year since it wasn't renewed for a second season. "Almost Human" wasn't a critical darling -- nor should it have been -- but Karl Urban deserves some kudos for his portrayal of an angry, emotionally blocked future cop. It's not a Daniel Day-Lewis-esque transformation for the man who played Judge Dredd with an equal amount of sternness, but Urban is an ideal TV lead who deserves to be clowning around in buddy cop setting. He almost had it plus some depth (his leg! his wife!), but alas, another one bites the dust.
5) Freddie Highmore - "Bates Motel"PK: You almost made me want to watch "Almost Human," haha. Yeah, Urban is about as long a shot as it gets but I appreciate your stretching outside the typical conversation. I'll at least search "Karl Urban Almost Human" on YouTube later. My No. 5 pick is somewhat more of a likely bet, but it's still highly improbable: Freddie Highmore in "Bates Motel." His co-star and onscreen mother Vera Farmiga got a nod last year, but younger actors have it tough at the Emmys, and Highmore has some pretty remarkable competition in his category. But here's hoping he sneaks in anyway. As young Norman Bates, Highmore gave us an intense season where his character was on the verge of many an unfortunate thing. And like co-star Farmiga, Highmore managed to carefully walk quite a few lines to keep the series from going too far in one direction or another.
5) Nathan Fillion - "Castle"BT: Little Freddie has done some growing up over the first two seasons of "Bates Motel" -- it's hard to remember him as Charlie from "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" after seeing him get his hands dirty on A&E. Anyway, I'll be touching on this show a little later, but let me first draw some attention to another actor with no shot at a nod. Nathan Fillion will always be beloved by Whedonites for his work on "Firefly," but mainstream America knows him as Rick Castle, the sassy novelist turned part-time detective on ABC's episodic crime "drama." I say "drama" because it's really a comedy with dramatic elements interfering with Fillion's effortless charm and impeccable delivery. He's been terrific for years now, and anyone who can get me to watch episodic TV deserves an award.
4 & 3) Hugh Dancy & Mads Mikkelsen - "Hannibal"PK: I'm cheating for like the fourth time during our little series here, but I just couldn't leave out one of the "Hannibal" boys so I'm vouching for both (which makes me feel like I've betrayed Vera Farmiga and Matthew Rhys in the last two entries) -- because "Hannibal" is one of the best shows on television. And it's somehow on NBC, despite content that's occasionally a bit much even for cable and a show with dwindling ratings. And it's also something Emmy voters are probably going to ignore all over again during Season 2. But they absolutely should not, least of all for it's outstanding cast led by Dancy and Mikkelson, who electrified anyone lucky enough to watch the season with their portrayals of Will Graham and Hannibal Lector, two of the most of interesting characters on television in no small part due to the actors behind them.