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Emmy Breakdown: Lead Actor in a Drama Series

In the weeks leading up to the 2007 Primetime Emmy Awards, I'll be looking at the nominees in some major categories and trying to predict who's most likely to win in these Emmy Breakdowns. Up today: Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series.

James Gandolfini ("The Sopranos") — If "The Sopranos" is going to get the kind of spectacular Emmy send-off that I'm expecting, this category almost has to go to Gandolfini. Yes, he's won three times before; yes, voters could be wary of handing him the award yet again. But Tony Soprano is an icon because of Gandolfini, and I can't imagine voters passing up their last chance to recognize him. Chance of winning: High.

Hugh Laurie ("House") — I'm shocked every time I remember that Hugh Laurie hasn't won an Emmy yet for his role as the acerbic, cranky, brilliant Gregory House — and more amazed that last year, he wasn't even nominated. I don't know why Emmy voters have such an aversion to Laurie, whom I think delivers one of the most consistently strong performances on TV. If not for Gandolfini, I'd think voters might finally come to their senses and give him the award. Chance of winning: Moderate to high.

For the other three actors' pros and cons, just

Denis Leary ("Rescue Me") — Leary is a love-him-or-hate-him actor on a love-it-or-hate-it show. He's gotten a lot of praise for "Rescue Me," and yet I've never been as drawn in by his performance as many others. His peculiar and unique blend of comedy and drama is intriguing, and it certainly appeals to many — but is it strong enough to beat Tony Soprano? I think it's going to be a while before Leary's Tommy Gavin is that iconic. Chance of winning: Moderate to low.

James Spader ("Boston Legal") — "Boston Legal" is an Emmy favorite, and — like fellow nominee William Shatner — so is Spader himself. Just a few years ago, he won back-to-back Emmys, first for "The Practice," then for "Boston Legal," beating Gandolfini one year and Laurie another. But this year, I'd rank his chances below either of theirs, though (again, like Shatner) he could always pull an upset. Chance of winning: Moderate.

Kiefer Sutherland ("24") — Frankly, I'm a little surprised to see Sutherland here. Perhaps the reasoning behind his nomination is that despite this last season of "24" including some of the show's worst writing ever, Sutherland did the best he could with what he had. Sometimes my affection for him was the only thing keeping me from turning away from "24" altogether. Yet as much as I enjoy watching him, and as much as I love the character of Jack Bauer, this season did not showcase Sutherland in any extraordinary way. He was pretty much same old, same old, and while his "same old" might be good, it's not impressive enough to warrant this win. Chance of winning: Low.

Sutherland and Laurie photos courtesy of Fox
Leary photo courtesy of FX
Spader photo copyright 2007 ABC, Inc.
Gandolfini photo Source

sgdish sgdish 10 years
You go, Hugh!
demeter demeter 10 years
KIEFER! How can you say anything bad about Kiefer?! He is nothing but extraordinary! ♥
lucy76 lucy76 10 years
Dennis Leary is awesome on Rescue Me!
youngheart222 youngheart222 10 years
Hugh Laurie should win! He's brilliant!
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 10 years
I want Hugh Laurie to win!
SexyNeverLeft78 SexyNeverLeft78 10 years
Gregory House is one of the best characters in decades, I hope Hugh wins it
polly17 polly17 10 years
mr hugh laurie of coursee!!!!
Zahara-Pitt Zahara-Pitt 10 years
hugh laurie
hiedi hiedi 10 years
Hugh Laurie, no question!
laura1867 laura1867 10 years
One of the best shows on television!
TvGenie TvGenie 10 years
It's definitly between Hugh and James. It's a tough one this year. I think Gandolfini may get more votes because it was The Soprano's Final Season. Personally I think James Spader shouldn't be on this list anymore. He was great in year's past but his character is played out.
NadiaPotter NadiaPotter 10 years
HUGH LAURIE of course!!! how he make the public love his character, even if the character is a bad person.
Linda-McP Linda-McP 10 years
Who should win? Hugh Laurie. Who will win? James Gandolfini. (My humble predictions only. Can you tell I'm a House fan?)
musiclvr224 musiclvr224 10 years
I want Hugh to win he deserves it. House is an awesome show!
mellafe mellafe 10 years
I don't watch any of these shows, but Hugh Laurie is ace at accepting speeches, so I vote for him. :)
mwmsjuly19 mwmsjuly19 10 years
Hugh is my man.
xo_verity xo_verity 10 years
HUGH LAURIE!!!!!
koolbr33z3 koolbr33z3 10 years
Go Hugh Laurie!
Maria-M Maria-M 10 years
Kiefer Sutherland!!!!!!!!! Go baby!!!!
StephHess StephHess 10 years
You know they'll give it to James Gandolfini because the show is over - and they have a tendency to do that. But James Spader, Hugh Laurie, Keifer Sutherland and Dennis Leary all have great roles in their shows - I'd really be happy if ANY of those 4 won it.
WhatTheFrockBlog WhatTheFrockBlog 10 years
I'm pulling for Hugh Laurie. He's amazing.
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