Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. $12 for 12 weeks.

Propects for Emmy acting awards

EMMY'S winners for acting are chosen in a three-tier system by actors who belong to the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. During the first two weeks of June, they participate in a popular vote that determines a Top 10 runoff in each race. Finalists submit a sample episode of their best work to judges, whose scores are combined by accountants in a 50-50 mix with results of the original popular vote. The five nominees in each category are then announced July 17. Winners are decided based on judges' scores of the sample episodes and are revealed at the awards ceremony to be held at the Nokia Theatre on Sept. 21. Note to academy voters: The deadline for returning at-home judging ballots is Aug. 29.



Gabriel Byrne, "In Treatment"
Kyle Chandler, "Friday Night Lights"
Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad"
Patrick Dempsey, "Grey's Anatomy"
Matthew Fox, "Lost"
Michael C. Hall, "Dexter"
Jon Hamm, "Mad Men"
Eddie Izzard, "The Riches"
Hugh Laurie, "House M.D."
Denis Leary, "Rescue Me"
Jonathan Rhys Meyers, "The Tudors"
Bill Paxton, "Big Love"
James Spader, "Boston Legal"

SPOTLIGHT: With past champs James Gandolfini and Kiefer Sutherland out of the race, there's hope for snubbees Chandler, Dempsey, Fox, Hall, Rhys Meyers and Paxton (never nominated for these roles) and newbies Byrne, Cranston and Hamm. Except if they end up competing against Spader, who hasn't lost the three times he's been nominated.


Peter Krause, "Dirty Sexy Money"
Anthony LaPaglia, "Without a Trace"
Damian Lewis, "Life"
Rob Lowe, "Brothers & Sisters"
Julian McMahon, "Nip/Tuck"
Christopher Meloni, "Law & Order: SVU"
Jonny Lee Miller, "Eli Stone"
Dominic West, "The Wire"

SPOTLIGHT: Peter Krause picked up three Emmy noms as head of a dysfunctional clan on "Six Feet Under," but the Fishers had nothing on the Darlings. As the outsider drawn into this family feuding, Krause is the voice of reason drowned out by the squabbling.


David Boreanaz, "Bones"
David Caruso, "CSI: Miami"
Jason Clarke, "Brotherhood"
Tim DeKay, "Tell Me You Love Me"
Jeffrey Donovan, "Burn Notice"
Jason Isaacs, "Brotherhood"
Edward James Olmos, "Battlestar Galactica"
William Petersen, "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation"
Adam Scott, "Tell Me You Love Me"
James Woods, "Shark"

SPOTLIGHT: While William Petersen has earned three bids as a producer of drama contender "CSI," after eight seasons he's long overdue for acting. Marg Helgenberger was nommed twice as his costar.



Patricia Arquette, "Medium"
Glenn Close, "Damages"
Minnie Driver, "The Riches"
Sally Field, "Brothers & Sisters"
Calista Flockhart, "Brothers & Sisters"
Mariska Hargitay, "Law & Order: SVU"
Holly Hunter, "Saving Grace"
Evangeline Lilly, "Lost"
Mary McDonnell, "Battlestar Galactica"
Elizabeth Moss, "Mad Men"
Ellen Pompeo, "Grey's Anatomy"
Kyra Sedgwick, "The Closer"
Chloë Sevigny, "Big Love"

SPOTLIGHT: Six actresses have an award edge to help boost them into the top Emmy 10 runoff with past Oscar nominations or wins: Close, Driver, Field, Hunter, McDonnell and Sevigny.


Catherine Bell, "Army Wives"
Kim Delaney, "Army Wives"
Ginnifer Goodwin, "Big Love"
Lena Headey, "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles"
Marg Helgenberger, "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation"
Juliana Margulies, "Canterbury's Law"
Jeanne Tripplehorn, "Big Love"
Ally Walker, "Tell Me You Love Me"
Kate Walsh, "Private Practice"

SPOTLIGHT: Jennifer Garner's four noms for "Alias" and Gillian Anderson's win for "X-Files" suggest that Brit film actress Lena Headey might get nommed for cult fantasy hit "Terminator." However, Sarah Michelle Gellar's snubs for "Buffy" suggest otherwise.


Michelle Borth, "Tell Me You Love Me"
Courteney Cox, "Dirt"
Emily Deschanel, "Bones"
Kathryn Morris, "Cold Case"
Sonja Sohn, "The Wire"
Sonya Walger, "Tell Me You Love Me"

SPOTLIGHT: Odds say Courteney Cox's rotten Emmy luck, inevitably, must end at some point. The only cast member of "Friends" never nominated has been snubbed for 20 years -- from "Family Ties" to "Dirt," which she also produces.



Naveen Andrews, "Lost"
Henry Ian Cusick, "Lost"
Ted Danson, "Damages"
Michael Emerson, "Lost"
T.R. Knight, "Grey's Anatomy"
Masi Oka, "Heroes"
Terry O'Quinn, "Lost"
William Shatner, "Boston Legal"
John Slattery, "Mad Men"
Donald Sutherland, "Dirty Sexy Money"
Blair Underwood, "In Treatment"

SPOTLIGHT: A proven winner for comedy (two Emmys and 11 nods for "Cheers"), Ted Danson flashes his dramatic chops as a scheming tycoon who's not pure evil. Sometimes he flip-flops a bit before giving the order to kill.


Josh Charles, "In Treatment"
Christian Clemenson, "Boston Legal"
Bruce Dern, "Big Love"
Omar Epps, "House M.D."
Jorge Garcia, "Lost"
Josh Holloway, "Lost"
Clark Johnson, "The Wire"
Vincent Kartheiser, "Mad Men"
John Larroquette, "Boston Legal"
Jeremy Northam, "The Tudors"
James Remar, "Dexter"

SPOTLIGHT: Vincent Kartheiser's conniving role is the fascinating epitome of the Madison Avenue huckster: He's a devil lurking behind the grinning face of a cherub who could sell poison to a nun.


Jack Coleman, "Heroes"
James Frain, "The Tudors"
Zeljko Ivanek, "Damages"
Robert Sean Leonard, "House M.D."
Dean Norris, "Breaking Bad"
J.K. Simmons, "The Closer"
John Stamos, "ER"
Harry Dean Stanton, "Big Love"
Sam Waterston, "Law & Order"

SPOTLIGHT: Robert Sean Leonard is a proven showbiz champ (Tony award, "The Invention of Love," 2001), but his Emmy chances have seemed weak due to a laid-back role opposite flashy Hugh Laurie. But he roars to life in "House's" season finale when he must tell his lover she's dying, then hold her until the end.



Candice Bergen, "Boston Legal"
Connie Britton, "Friday Night Lights"
Rose Byrne, "Damages"
Jill Clayburgh, "Dirty Sexy Money"
Rachel Griffiths, "Brothers & Sisters"
Katherine Heigl, "Grey's Anatomy"
January Jones, "Mad Men"
Sandra Oh, "Grey's Anatomy"
Patricia Wettig, "Brothers & Sisters"
Dianne Wiest, "In Treatment"
Chandra Wilson, "Grey's Anatomy"

SPOTLIGHT: Portraying a coach's wife, Connie Britton is trying a curious new Emmy game plan. After making the Top 10 finals for lead actress last year, she wasn't nominated, so now she's switching to the supporting race.


Julie Benz, "Dexter"
Natalie Dormer, "The Tudors"
Lisa Edelstein, "House M.D."
Christina Hendricks, "Mad Men"
Yunjin Kim, "Lost"
S. Epatha Merkerson, "Law & Order"
Elizabeth Mitchell, "Lost"
Mary Kay Place, "Big Love"
Sara Ramirez, "Grey's Anatomy"
Joely Richardson, "Nip/Tuck"
Katee Sackhoff, "Battlestar Galactica"

SPOTLIGHT: Natalie Dormer ("Tudors") is so alluring as Anne Boleyn that you can see why Henry risked his crown and soul. And so devious you can see why he offed her head.


Jane Alexander, "Tell Me You Love Me"
Gabrielle Anwar, "Burn Notice"
Amy Brenneman, "Private Practice"
Laura San Giacomo, "Saving Grace"
Anna Gunn, "Breaking Bad"
Leighton Meester, "Gossip Girl"
Tatum O'Neal, "Rescue Me"
Kelly Rutherford, "Gossip Girl"
Brooke Shields, "Lipstick Jungle"
Maura Tierney, "ER"
Grace Zabriskie, "Big Love"

SPOTLIGHT: Two-time Emmy champ Jane Alexander retired from acting for a while in the 1990s to head up the National Endowment for the Arts. Now she's making an impressive comeback as a therapist with her own problems.



Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock"
Zach Braff, "Scrubs"
Steve Carell, "The Office"
Larry David, "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
David Duchovny, "Californication"
Brad Garrett, " 'Til Death"
Kelsey Grammer, "Back to You"
Adrien Grenier, "Entourage"
Jason Lee, "My Name Is Earl"
Lee Pace, "Pushing Daisies"
Jim Parsons, "The Big Bang Theory"
Tony Shalhoub, "Monk"
Charlie Sheen, "Two and a Half Men"

SPOTLIGHT: As Kelsey Grammer discovered 14 years ago with "Frasier," the lead star of the year's breakout new comedy usually gets nominated and often wins, but things might be different for Lee Pace. Excitement over "Daisies" may have wilted a bit -- it hasn't returned to TV since the writers strike.


Jemaine Clement, "Flight of the Conchords"
Kevin Connolly, "Entourage"
Zachary Levi, "Chuck"
Tracy Morgan, "30 Rock"
James Roday, "Psych"
Josh Radnor, "How I Met Your Mother"
Tyler James Williams, "Everybody Hates Chris"

SPOTLIGHT: Only Adrian Grenier from "Entourage" has made it into this Top 10 runoff before. A shame. Connolly is the series' best actor and could be nominated -- and might win -- if judges see his "Welcome to the Jungle" episode.


Bill Engvall, "The Bill Engvall Show"
Colin Ferguson, "Eureka"
Oliver Hudson, "Rules of Engagement"
John Lehr, "10 Items or Less"
Bret McKenzie, "Flight of the Conchords"
Patrick Warburton, "Rules of Engagement"
Johnny Galecki, "The Big Bang Theory"

SPOTLIGHT: Johnny Galecki may not have a showy role on "Big Bang," which bears a peculiar resemblance to "The Odd Couple," but remember what happened to the star who played the subdued roommate on that 1970s series. Jack Klugman won two Emmys as Oscar; Tony Randall only one as wacky sidekick Felix. (Watch out, Jim Parsons!)



Christina Applegate, "Samantha Who?"
Marcia Cross, "Desperate Housewives"
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "New Adventures of Old Christine"
America Ferrera, "Ugly Betty"
Tina Fey, "30 Rock"
Anna Friel, "Pushing Daisies"
Teri Hatcher, "Desperate Housewives"
Patricia Heaton, "Back to You"
Felicity Huffman, "Desperate Housewives"
Eva Longoria Parker, "Desperate Housewives"
Mary-Louise Parker, "Weeds"

SPOTLIGHT: Just because Tina Fey lost to America Ferrera last year, don't write off her chances now because you think voters view her chiefly as a writer. Earlier this year she pulled off a jaw-dropper at the Screen Actors Guild Awards two weeks after winning the Golden Globe.


Judy Greer, "Miss Guided"
Sarah Silverman, "The Sarah Silverman Program"
Tichina Arnold, "Everybody Hates Chris"

SPOTLIGHT: Sarah Silverman is the uncensored Tina Fey and she, too, got a WGA nod for creating her new series. And Silverman and boyfriend Jimmy Kimmel's hit viral videos declaring their respective love for Matt Damon and Ben Affleck certainly boosted her profile.


Miley Cyrus, "Hannah Montana"
Joely Fisher, "'Til Death"
Amy Pietz, "Aliens in America"
Salli Richardson, "Eureka"
Jordana Spiro, "My Boys"

SPOTLIGHT: Theoretically, Miley Cyrus -- don't laugh -- could be nominated for comedy actress considering that the first round of balloting is done by a popular vote. Then things get serious during the second round when she must, uh oh, submit a sample episode of her best acting work to judges.



Jon Cryer, "Two and a Half Men"
Kevin Dillon, "Entourage"
Neil Patrick Harris, "How I Met Your Mother"
Justin Kirk, "Weeds"
Jeremy Piven, "Entourage"
John Krasinski, "The Office"
Chi McBride, "Pushing Daisies"
Jack McBrayer, "30 Rock"
Tracy Morgan, "30 Rock"
Michael Urie, "Ugly Betty"
Rainn Wilson, "The Office"

SPOTLIGHT: After being nominated by the Golden Globes last year for "Weeds," Justin Kirk seems close to plucking his first Emmy bid since 2004 ("Angels in America"). He made the Top 10 runoff last year and will probably sprout up there again now.


Danny DeVito, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"
Evan Handler, "Californication"
Ed Helms, "The Office"
Angus T. Jones, "Two and a Half Men"
Chris Parnell, "Miss Guided"
Ethan Suplee, "My Name Is Earl"
Fred Willard, "Back to You"

SPOTLIGHT: Danny DeVito nabbed an Emmy in the supporting comedy race in 1981 for "Taxi," but his wife Rhea Perlman zoomed past him with four wins for "Cheers." One thing may help him to catch up -- "Sunny" is set in a bar.


Jeff Garlin, "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
Eric Mabius, "Ugly Betty"
John C. McGinley, "Scrubs"
Kevin Nealon, "Weeds"
Tony Plana, "Ugly Betty"
Jason Segel, "How I Met Your Mother"
Ray Wise, "Reaper"

SPOTLIGHT: Jason Segel is frequently overshadowed by costar Neil Patrick Harris, but Emmy voters may keep him in mind thanks to his recent film success as star-writer of "Forgetting Sarah Marshall."



Kristin Chenoweth, "Pushing Daisies"
Dana Delany, "Desperate Housewives"
Conchata Ferrell, "Two and a Half Men"
Jenna Fischer, "The Office"
Cheryl Hines, "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
Jane Krakowski, "30 Rock"
Judith Light, "Ugly Betty"
Holland Taylor, "Two and a Half Men"
Elizabeth Perkins, "Weeds"
Jaime Pressly, "My Name Is Earl"
Jean Smart, "Samantha Who?"
Vanessa Williams, "Ugly Betty"

SPOTLIGHT: Dana Delany already has two Emmys for lead actress drama for "China Beach." She famously turned down the part of Bree on "Desperate Housewives" but now as the equally repressed Katherine was the focal point of the season-long mystery.


Sarah Chalke, "Scrubs"
Kathryn Joosten, "Desperate Housewives"
Melora Hardin, "The Office"
Angela Kinsey, "The Office"
Swoosie Kurtz, "Pushing Daisies"
Natascha McElhone, "Californication"
Becki Newton, "Ugly Betty"
Cobie Smulders, "How I Met Your Mother"
Wanda Sykes, "New Adventures of Old Christine"

SPOTLIGHT: Wanda Sykes has an Emmy for writing but no nods for acting. Maybe voters assume she's merely playing a version of her wisecracking self -- not that there's anything wrong with that. Jerry Seinfeld got five Emmy noms for his "performance" on "Seinfeld."


Kaley Cuoco, "The Big Bang Theory"
Ashley Jensen, "Ugly Betty"
Rebecca Romijn, "Ugly Betty"
Nicollette Sheridan, "Desperate Housewives"
Madeline Zima, "Californication"

SPOTLIGHT: Ashley Jensen may get upstaged by grandstanding divas often on "Ugly Betty," but she's a standout to Emmy voters, who included her on the Top 10 list in this category last year for "Extras."



Ralph Fiennes, "Bernard and Doris"
Ricky Gervais, "Extras: The Extra Special Series Finale"
Paul Giamatti, "John Adams"
David Oyelowo, "Five Days"
Oliver Platt, "The Bronx Is Burning"
Kevin Spacey, "Recount"
John Turturro, "The Bronx Is Burning"
Simon Woods, "Cranford"

SPOTLIGHT: Paul Giamatti has won SAG and Indie Spirits Awards ( "Cinderella Man," "Sideways") and has been nominated at the Oscars and Golden Globes, but never the Emmys. Now he portrays an iconic real person (John Adams) like recent winners Geoffrey Rush (as Peter Sellers), Albert Finney (Winston Churchill), Stanley Tucci (Walter Winchell), and Gary Sinise (George Wallace).


Sean Combs, "A Raisin in the Sun"
Paddy Considine, "PU-239"
Jeff Daniels, "Sweet Nothing in My Ear"
David Haig, "My Boy Jack"
James Nesbitt, "Jekyll"
Chris O'Donnell, "The Company"
Daniel Radcliffe, "My Boy Jack"
Sam Shepard, "Ruffian"

SPOTLIGHT: Despite being snubbed by the Tony Awards when he spearheaded the first Broadway revival of "Raisin" in 2004, Sean Combs exec-produced this TV version of the stage classic. In the role created by Sidney Poitier in 1959, the rapper-turned-actor acquitted himself admirably, earning praise from his costars, Tony winners Phylicia Rashad and Audra McDonald.


Ernest Borgnine, "A Grandpa for Christmas"
Benjamin Bratt, "The Andromeda Strain"
Charles S. Dutton, "Racing for Time"
Zac Efron, "High School Musical 2"
Michael Imperioli, "Mitch Albom's For One More Day"
Neal McDonough, "Tin Man"
Dermot Mulroney, "The Memory Keeper's Daughter"
Tom Wilkinson, "Recount"

SPOTLIGHT: As longtime Bush family friend James Baker, Tom Wilkinson does a masterful job of snatching victory out of the jaws of defeat in Florida, circa fall 2000. Can this two-time Oscar nominee pull off this same feat in Hollywood, circa summer 2008



Judi Dench, "Cranford"
Bryce Dallas Howard, "As You Like It"
Catherine Keener, "An American Crime"
Laura Linney, "John Adams"
Hattie Morahan, "Sense & Sensibility"
Ellen Page, "An American Crime"
Phylicia Rashad, "A Raisin in the Sun"
Vanessa Redgrave, "The Fever"
Susan Sarandon, "Bernard and Doris"
Sissy Spacek, "Pictures of Hollis Woods"

SPOTLIGHT: TV movies have long been a refuge for Oscar-winning actresses of a certain age -- Helen Mirren picked up her fourth Emmy in this category last year for "Prime Suspect: The Final Act." While Vanessa Redgrave won this category twice, most recently for "If These Walls Could Talk 2," in 2000, Judi Dench lost her only nom ("Last of the Blonde Bombshells," 2001), and neither of the two-time Emmy nominees -- Susan Sarandon and Sissy Spacek -- has competed in this race as of yet.


Ellen Burstyn, "For One More Day"
Zooey Deschanel, "Tin Man"
Jodelle Ferland, "Pictures of Hollis Woods"
Marlee Matlin, "Sweet Nothing in My Ear"
Gretchen Mol, "The Memory Keeper's Daughter"
Janet McTeer, "Sense & Sensibility"
Emily Watson, "The Memory Keeper's Daughter"

SPOTLIGHT: Among those Vanessa Redgrave beat in her 1981 miniseries win was another Oscar winner and first-time Emmy nominee, Ellen Burstyn as the notorious Jean Harris. Twenty-five years later, Burstyn's supporting Emmy nod for a 14-second cameo in "Mrs. Harris" caused such an uproar she skipped the ceremony. Now, in this Oprah Winfrey-produced weeper, she gets sufficient screentime to justify a lead nom.


Kim Cattrall, "My Boy Jack"
Radha Mitchell, "Pu-239"
Amber Tamblyn, "The Russell Girl"

SPOTLIGHT: A five-time Emmy nominee for "Sex and the City," Kim Cattrall succeeds in a change-of-pace role as the prim and proper wife of Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling. When her teenage son (Daniel Radcliffe) goes missing in action during WWI, she spends months searching fruitlessly before finally admitting defeat.



Stephen Dillane, "John Adams"
Michael Gambon, "Cranford"
John Hurt, "Recount"
Michael Keaton, "The Company"
Kevin Kline, "As You Like It"
Alfred Molina, "The Company"
Tom Wilkinson, "John Adams"

SPOTLIGHT: Michael Keaton picked up a SAG nod for his work as a real-life CIA spy catcher duped by a British turncoat during the Cold War. Though this onetime "Batman" star retreated from the limelight for a while, he is now establishing himself as quite the character actor.


Adam Beach, "Comanche Moon"
James Franco, "An American Crime"
David Morse, "John Adams"
David Oyelowo, "A Raisin in the Sun"
Daniel Sunjata, "The Bronx Is Burning"
Sean Patrick Thomas, "A Raisin in the Sun"
Bradley Whitford, "An American Crime"

SPOTLIGHT: A Golden Globe nominee last year as a heroic fighter in Emmy champ "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee," Adam Beach now plays the renegade son of the Comanche chief at the center of the action in this final chapter of Larry McMurtry's "Lonesome Dove" saga.


Andre Braugher, "The Andromeda Strain"
Hugh Bonneville, "Five Days"
James Caan, "Wisegal"
Richard Dreyfuss, "Tin Man"
Val Kilmer, "Comanche Moon"
Denis Leary, "Recount"
James Rebhorn, "Bernard and Doris"
Rufus Sewell, "John Adams"

SPOTLIGHT: After the Oscar-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss made an ill-fated TV series ("Max Bickford") a few seasons back, he is now content to play showy supporting parts like this one -- the mystic man who guides a descendant of Dorothy's on her journey through a far less wonderful world of Oz.



Eileen Atkins, "Cranford"
Laura Dern, "Recount"
Romola Garai, "As You Like It"
Sanaa Lathan, "A Raisin in the Sun"
Audra McDonald, "A Raisin in the Sun"
Sarah Polley, "John Adams"
Alfre Woodard, "Pictures of Hollis Woods"

SPOTLIGHT: Whatever your politics, Oscar nominee Laura Dern captures the feisty essence of the woman at the center of the storm during the recount of the 2000 U.S. presidential election -- Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris.


Jennifer Ehle, "The Russell Girl"
Mamie Gummer, "John Adams"
Judith Ivey, "Pictures of Hollis Woods"
Ashley Jensen, "Extras: Extra Special Series Finale"
Natascha McElhone, "The Company"
Janet McTeer, "Five Days"
S. Epatha Merkerson, "Girl, Positive"

SPOTLIGHT: Three years ago, S. Epatha Merkerson produced a memorable Emmy moment when she won for "Lackawanna Blues" but lost her speech down her décolletage. As a social worker in an AIDS clinic, she could be back at the podium, better prepared this time.


Linda Cardellini, "Comanche Moon"
Viola Davis, "The Andromeda Strain"
Phyllis Frelich, "Sweet Nothing in My Ear"
Sharon Lawrence, "Capture of the Green River Killer"
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, "The Russell Girl"
Charity Wakefield, "Sense & Sensibility"

SPOTLIGHT: Phyllis Frelich won the 1980 Tony for "Children of a Lesser God," six years before Marlee Matlin got the Oscar for the movie version and Frelich earned an Emmy nod for "Love Is Never Silent." In this telefilm, the two work together for the first time as a mother and daughter struggling with the issue of cochlear implants for the deaf. Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun