Jon Hamm finally won Best Drama Actor for “Mad Men“! Including his loss for Best Comedy Guest Actor for “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” last Saturday night at the Creative Arts Awards, Jon Hamm had gone 0-for-14 at the Emmys, but prevailed in this category on his eighth try (he was also nominated for producing the AMC series). Our exclusive Gold Derby odds had him out front at 1/4 for the period drama’s final season.
Hamm submitted to Emmy judges the series finale episode, “Person to Person,” in which Don Draper learns of his ex-wife Betty’s terminal cancer diagnosis, suffers an existential crisis and then has an epiphany at a spiritual retreat. That episode also competed for Best Drama Writing.
Ranked second in our predictions was Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul“) with 8/1 odds. This was his first time competing for his role as Jimmy McGill (who will later be known as Saul Goodman), but he was already popular with voters for playing the character in two-time Best Drama Series champ “Breaking Bad.” Odenkirk was also a two-time past champ himself for Best Variety Writing for “Saturday Night Live” (1989) and “The Ben Stiller Show” (1993). He submitted the episode “Pimento,” in which Jimmy is on the verge of a professional breakthrough until he discovers that his brother has been undermining his career for years.
Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards“) was next with 20/1 odds. This was his third straight nomination in this category for playing scheming politician Frank Underwood, but he had been nominated eight times at the Emmys overall, including three Best Drama Series bids as a producer of “House of Cards,” Best Movie/Mini Actor for “Recount” (2008) and Best TV Movie as a producer of “Bernard and Doris” (2008). He still has yet to win in any category. He submitted the episode “Chapter 32,” the same entered by his on-screen wife Robin Wright, in which a diplomatic drip to Russia goes awry after the suicide of an imprisoned LGBT activist.
Kyle Chandler (“Bloodline“) trailed with 50/1 odds. This was his first nomination for his role as Florida Keys police officer John Rayburn but his fourth overall. He previously earned two bids in this race for his role as a high school football coach in “Friday Night Lights,” winning in 2011. He also picked up a nom for Best Drama Guest Actor in “Grey’s Anatomy” in 2006. This year Chandler submitted for consideration “Part 12,” the penultimate episode of the season in which he has a climactic confrontation with his brother (Drama Supporting Actor-nominee Ben Mendelsohn, who submitted the same episode).
Also with 50/1 odds was Jeff Daniels (“The Newsroom“), nominated for the third time in a row for playing crusading TV journalist Will McAvoy. He won this award on his first nomination in 2013, when he submitted the pilot episode of the HBO series. This year he entered the series finale episode, “What Kind of Day Has it Been?,” in which Will attends the funeral of his friend and mentor Charlie (Sam Waterston), but flashbacks in the episode also revisit story developments from that Emmy-winning pilot.
Last with 100/1 odds was surprise nominee Liev Schreiber for playing the title character in Showtime’s “Ray Donovan,” about a morally compromised fixer for the Los Angeles elite. This was his first nomination for this role, but it was not his first career bid. He was previously nominated for Best Movie/Mini Actor in 2000 for playing legendary filmmaker Orson Welles in the telefilm “RKO 281.” In this race Schreiber submitted the episode “Walk This Way,” in which Ray gets drunk at a tense birthday celebration for his son. Schreiber also directed the episode.