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A seedy lawyer, a hacker, a Hollywood “fixer,” a Russian spy, a brooding Florida hotelier and the president of the United States walk into the Emmys. No, it’s not the setup to a bad joke — or a description of this year’s political scene — they are the roles portrayed by the six actors nominated for best lead actor in a drama series at the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards.
For his portrayal of lawyer Jimmy McGill, whom Breaking Bad fans will know better as Saul Goodman, Bob Odenkirk earned his second consecutive nomination for AMC’s Better Call Saul. Though he appeared as Goodman throughout four seasons of Breaking Bad, Odenkirk never received Emmy attention for his work as the sleazy ambulance-chaser until he was able to explore the character more in-depth in his own spinoff.
USA’s Mr. Robot got its first recognition from the Emmys this year, helped in large part by a Golden Globe win for best drama series earlier this year, and also earned star Rami Malek his first Emmy nomination for his performance as a vigilante hacker.
In the titular role of Showtime’s Ray Donovan, Liev Schreiber has earned his second consecutive best actor nomination for his tough-as-nails “fixer” to the Hollywood elite’s problems.
FX’s The Americans has always been a critical darling, but the series’ dual leads, Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, have been overlooked by the Emmys every year. (Guest-star Margo Martindale has earned four nominations and an outstanding guest actress award in 2015.) That’s all changed this year, however, as Rhys earned the first Emmy nom of his career, playing an undercover Russian spy posing as an American during the Cold War in the 1980s. Russell, and the series itself — for outstanding drama — both received their first nominations as well.
Meanwhile, Kyle Chandler is no stranger to the Emmys. The Bloodline star, who plays a man struggling with the pressures of a high-profile family business and the strains of his quarreling siblings, earned his second consecutive nomination for the Netflix series. For Chandler, it is his fifth Emmy nom, earning two for outstanding lead actor in a drama for his role as a high school football coach in NBC’s Friday Night Lights in 2010 and 2011 — he won the latter year — and a guest actor nod in 2006 for ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy.
Netflix’s other nomination for lead actor in a drama comes for Kevin Spacey in the political thriller House of Cards. As Frank Underwood, a ruthlessly power-hungry politician, Spacey has earned four straight nominations in the category, but has yet to claim the prize. The prolific actor has two Oscars, a Tony and even was nominated for a Grammy in 2006, but an Emmy win is still elusive.
So, who do you think should take home the Emmy for best actor in a drama series? Cast your vote below, and check back in before Sept. 18 to see how your favorite star is doing going into awards night. And you also can cast your votes for best drama series, best comedy series and best limited series.
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