Kevin Spacey (‘House of Cards’) vs. Jon Hamm (‘Mad Men’): Who will FINALLY win overdue Emmy?

This year’s contenders for Best Drama Actor may be breathing a sigh of relief now that Bryan Cranston is out of the running. The “Breaking Bad” star won his fourth prize last year, tying the record set by Dennis Franz (“NYPD Blue”). So who will capitalize on his absence? According to our predictions, it will be one of two actors still waiting for their first Emmy hug despite multiple past bids: Jon Hamm for the final season of “Mad Men” or Kevin Spacey for the third season of “House of Cards.”

Hamm and Spacey have no wins despite a combined 19 nominations, but even though they have a sizable lead on their competitors according to our racetrack odds, our predictors can’t agree on which one has the advantage.

Let’s peek inside AMC’s FYC Emmy campaign mailer

Hamm has a very narrow lead with 7/2 odds based on stronger-than-average support from two of our prediction groups. As of this writing, eight out of 11 Experts predict him: Robert Bianco (USA Today), Debra Birnbaum (Variety), Lynn Elber (Associated Press), Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post), Matt Roush (TV Guide Magazine), Ken Tucker (Yahoo), Glenn Whipp (LA Times) and Gold Derby’s own Tom O’Neil.

Four out of seven Editors are also currently picking Hamm including myself, O’Neil, Marcus Dixon and Rob Licuria.

In previous years, the TV academy opted against Hamm’s cool, inward Don Draper in favor of more fiery performances from actors like Cranston and Jeff Daniels (“The Newsroom“), but new rules will open up voting beyond the small, mercurial judging panels of years past. It’s possible a larger voting body may be swayed by his overdue status and farewell sentiment for “Mad Men” in a way the small panels weren’t.

But while Experts and Editors are convinced of a Hamm victory, our Users and Top 24 Users (those two dozen folks who racked up the best scores among the thousands predicting last year’s Emmy nominations) are giving the edge to Spacey.

The devious “House of Cards” star is backed by 11 of our Top 24: alexaalaw, oopschoice, kapil857, AndMore, Aquila_Henry, Jaime Chile, Max, PierceUNC, victor, Dillon Rosenblatt, Duke Silver and mswan.

Of those, it’s worth noting that PierceUNC was our champ last year with 80% accuracy predicting nominations.

But Spacey and Hamm are virtually tied in the Top 24’s collective rankings. Both get 7/2 odds from the elite group, with another 10 forecasting a Hamm victory: Psychadelicboy33, Ashkan, cnmem10, Irishmovielover4ever, JOSHUA, CameronFan, BurnBook, Writer12, Jed Reifer, Steve Kind Of and jonjon893.

Further intensifying the Hamm/Spacey battle is that both are producers of their shows, which means they’ll also go head-to-head for Best Drama Series, and as we recently noted, “House of Cards” and “Mad Men” are locked in a similarly intense battle there against HBO’s fantasy juggernaut “Game of Thrones.”

Luckily for Hamm, he has yet another chance for Emmy gold: Best Comedy Guest Actor for his turn as a cult leader in “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” for which he’s the frontrunner. So after an unlucky 13 losses, Hamm could yet walk away with three wins this year.

Of the four groups making predictions at Gold Derby, the Top 24 Users did the best forecasting last year’s Emmy nominations (78.55%) compared to the Editors (77.68%), All Users (74.78%) and the Experts (74.64%). 

Who do you think will win Best Drama Actor? Make your prediction below using our easy drag-and-drop menu. Average Gold Derby users just like YOU turn out to be our smartest prognosticators, so it’s important that you give us your predictions. Your picks influence our User racetrack odds, which also factor into our official combined odds.

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Make all of your Emmy predictions and you could win a place of honor on our leaderboard, a starring role in next year’s Top 24 Users (the two dozen folks who do the best predicting this year’s Emmys line-up), and one of three contest prizes: $500 for first place, $300 for second place, and $200 for third place. Prizes will be bestowed as gift certificates to be redeemed at Amazon. See our contest rules for more info.

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