The 2013 Emmy Awards are coming up this Sunday, September 22, which means it's time to place your final bets and add a few last impassioned comments about why your fave should take home the top prize. Do we have thoughts about who should win? You better bet we do. So let's talk about why we think Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston should take home the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama award for the fourth time.
Outstanding Lead Actor in Drama is one of the most heavily stacked categories of the year; arguably only Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama is deeper. Cable TV might suffer from an overabundance of male anti-heroes — we don't think it's an accident that America collectively yawned at new entries to the genre like Ray Donovan and Low Winter Sun — but on the upside, all these angsty guys make for some truly stellar lead performances. From Jon Hamm as the increasingly out-of-place Don Draper to Kevin Spacey as the conniving Francis Underwood, there isn't a weak performance on this list.
While we're normally all about spreading the love when there's so much talent to appreciate, in this category there's one man who stands above the rest. Yes, we're talking about Bryan Cranston. While we fully supported the Academy showing Damian Lewis some attention for Homeland last year, it's time that the statute return to where it rightfully belongs.
Why? Are we just boring? Are we blinded by the fact that Breaking Bad is on right now while the rest of these shows are on hiatus? Nope. It's because in the first half of Season 5 — the eight episodes that aired in summer 2012 — Bryan Cranston turned in not just another spectacular performance, but one that was distinct enough from previous seasons to deserve recognition.
In Seasons 1, 2, and 3, all of which earned Bryan Emmy gold, Walter White was still slip-sliding down the moral slope, and Bryan's performance deftly balanced Walt's ego and his genuine humanity. In the first half of Season 5, on the other hand, Walt went full Heisenberg. No longer an anti-hero, he became the most terrifying villain on TV, using emotional manipulation and brute force to keep his friends and enemies in line with equally disturbing ease. Bryan Cranston embraced this new role with relish, creating a version of Walt as dark and chilling as any character we've ever seen on TV.
The Emmys have spent years rewarding actors who can bring a sympathetic edge to characters doing terrible things. Why not mix it up and embrace the truly dark side?
(Oh, and by the way, even if Bryan doesn't get it this year, we're already placing our bets on him for the 2014 Emmys. Yeah, yeah, the rest of the shows that will be in the running haven't aired yet, but did you see the phone call on last Sunday's episode? Other contestants need not apply.)
What do you think: Should the Emmy go to Bryan Cranston again, or do you want to see someone else take the statue home? Sound off in the comments below!