This year’s Emmy nominees for Best Drama Guest Actor consist of three “House of Cards” players — Mahershala Ali, Paul Sparks and reigning champ Reg E. Cathey — competing against former winners Hank Azaria (“Ray Donovan”) and Michael J. Fox (“The Good Wife”), and two-time Oscar nominee Max Von Sydow (“Game of Thrones”). After watching our editors’ slugfest on this race above, you can find links below to each contender’s episode analysis where we dive into their Emmy pros and cons.
Ali received his first career Emmy nomination this year for “House of Cards.” He portrays Remy Danton on the Netflix drama, who was President Underwood’s (Kevin Spacey) chief of staff in the White House until he decided to leave politics. Ali has chosen “Chapter 44,” the fifth episode of the program’s fourth season, as his submission to the Emmy voters. READ EPISODE ANALYSIS
Azaria first guested on Season 2 of “Ray Donovan” as Ed Cochran, FBI Director of the LA Office. However, because of a new Emmy rule that year (2015) Azaria was deemed ineligible for a guest nomination because he appeared in too many episodes. He returned this season seeking revenge on the title character, played by Liev Shreiber, and has submitted the episode “One Night in Yerevan.” READ EPISODE ANALYSIS
Last year’s Drama Guest Actor champ Cathey is back in contention for his recurring role as Freddie, a close friend of President Frank Underwood (Spacey), on “House of Cards.” If Cathey prevails for the episode “Chapter 50,” he’ll be be only the second back-to-back winner after Charles S. Dutton (“The Practice”  and “Without a Trace” ), and the first to do so for playing the same character. READ EPISODE ANALYSIS
Fox, beloved star of both the large and small screens, returns to the Emmy Awards derby this year for his performance as Louis Canning on “The Good Wife.” An Emmy veteran, Fox has earned an impressive 18 nominations over his career and won five trophies: Comedy Actor for “Family Ties” (1986-1988) and “Spin City” (2000), and Drama Guest Actor for “Rescue Me” (2009). Fox has submitted the episode “Taxed” for consideration. READ EPISODE ANALYSIS
As one of three “House of Cards” nominees in the Drama Guest Actor category, Sparks is up for his first-ever Emmy Award in his second season as novelist-turned-political speechwriter Thomas Yates. The cast of “House of Cards” raked in an astounding eight nominations this year, proving that it’s a favorite with the acting branch. Sparks submitted for Emmy consideration the 10th episode of Season 4, titled “Chapter 49.” READ EPISODE ANALYSIS
Von Sydow reaped the first-ever Drama Guest Actor nomination for “Game of Thrones” in its sixth season. This one-time Movie/Mini Supporting Actor nominee (“Red King, White Knight”; 1990) is a strong contender to win this year with his episode submission “The Door.” READ EPISODE ANALYSIS
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