It's easy to understand why Showtime submitted "Walk This Way" as Liev Schreiber's episode submission for this year's Emmys. In what is generally a role weighted in reserved, non-verbal work, here Schreiber is given the rare opportunity to let the multiple dimensions of his titular "Ray Donovan" character loose. He also served as this episode's director, which should give him bonus points among Emmy voters. Entering the Best Drama Actor race as the show's only nomination, Schreiber carries the torch for the second season of one of Showtime's strongest series, but can he win?
The first act of the episode sees Ray, surprised by the realization that it's his son's birthday, gathering the family to attend a last-minute party at his house. He brings the entire cast together into one central setting, an event rare for a series that usually keeps most of the characters apart on their own trajectories. Existing tensions between all members of the Donovan family come to a head in dramatic fashion when Ray's drunkenness reveals the truth of his stake in the boxing facility he and his brothers own, as well as the evolving dissolution of his relationships with his wife and children.
Will Schreiber's strong episode entry help him win his first Emmy? Let's weigh the pros and cons:
The drunken dance with his son that serves as the final shot of the episode provide Schreiber the rare opportunity to have some fun with the character. Voters may find a connection to a character that is otherwise rather stoic.
If voters realize that Schreiber also directed the episode, the votes may pour in. Managing an episode that sees an entire cast come together is hard enough as an actor, but the added pressure of directing your peers in such circumstances takes an extraordinary amount of talent.
New episodes of "Ray Donovan" were airing during the final round of Emmy voting in August, keeping Schreiber on the radar of TV Academy members at the perfect time.
This is Schreiber's first nomination for a series that already has an additional season yet to be addressed by the Emmys. Voters may believe they will have additional chances to recognize his work for the show.
The fact that last year's nominee (and Golden Globe winner) Jon Voight was snubbed suggests waning support for the series.
This award is Jon Hamm's to lose. A win by any other actor this year will come as a surprise, and Schreiber is considered to be the deepest of long shots for the prize.
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Photo Credit: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME