Emmy Showdown: Who will win battle for Best Drama Guest Actor? [Video]
While many pundits are predicting that Michael J. Fox will pick up his sixth Emmy this year, two first-time nominees are strong contenders for Best Drama Guest Actor — Paul McCrane (“Harry’s Law”) and Jeremy Davies (“Justified”).
On “The Good Wife,” Fox played Louis Canning, a rival lawyer of Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) who is trying to steal away plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit. The performance in his submitted episode “Real Deal” has charm and is effective, but it is also quiet and understated. Fox might not have enough fireworks to win this time. Fox previously won four Emmys as Best Comedy Actor (“Family Ties,” 1986, 1987, 1988; “Spin City,” 2000) and once in this category (“Rescue Me,” 2009).
Speaking of fireworks, McCrane’s role of prosecutor Josh Peyton pits him against defense attorney Harry Korn (Kathy Bates) in a murder trial for the episode “With Friends Like These.” The character has lots of quirks and physical tics, but the conclusion shows him going ballistic over the verdict and removing all of his clothes. The final scene with Harry visiting him in the jail cell is touching. The show’s creator David E. Kelley has written scripts resulting in 34 Emmy acting victories in “L.A. Law,” “Chicago Hope,” “Picket Fences,” “Ally McBeal,” “The Practice, and “Boston Legal.”
Davies played Dickie Bennett, one of the backwoods feuding Kentucky clan headed up by his mother Mags (Margo Martindale). In his episode “Reckoning,” he is scheming and menacing before being dragged in the woods by Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) and pleading for his life. In his relatively short screentime, he certainly makes an impression.
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Three-time Emmy champ Beau Bridges (“Without Warning: The James Brady Story,” 1992; “The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom,” 1993; “The Second Civil War,” 1997) earned a nod for his role as Nick Brody on “Brothers and Sisters.” In his episode “Brody,” he returns as a former lover of Nora Walker (Sally Field) to try and rekindle their relationship. It is a nice, measured performance but doesn’t offer anything showier than his recent Emmy-nominated guest roles on “Desperate Housewives” and “My Name is Earl.”
After a five-decade career in film and television, Oscar-nominee Bruce Dern (“Coming Home,” 1978) received his first Emmy bid. In his recurring role of Frank Harlow on “Big Love,” he confronts his son Bill (Bill Paxton) and reconciles with his wife Lois (Grace Zabriskie) in the episode “D.I.V.O.R.C.E.” While the final moments are touching, it is the performance of Zabriskie as a woman with advancing dementia that draws more attention.
Robert Morse has received three Emmy nominations (2008, 2010, 2011) for his portrayal of advertising executive Bertram Cooper on “Mad Men.” Morse previously won an Emmy in 1993 for playing Truman Capote in “Tru.” On this show, however, his character is never given major storylines or much screentime. That is once again the case in his submitted episode “Blowing Smoke.”
Senior editors Rob Licuria and Chris Beachum talk about all this and more in the video below .