Emmy-nominated actors and actresses each submit a single episode that represents their best work from the past season for consideration. Lead and supporting performers select episodes following the nominations announcement, but guest stars name their submissions on the Emmy ballot, so we already know what episodes voters will consider for Best Drama Guest Actor. The nominees this year include the reigning champ, a perennial also-ran and four new nominees who finally reaped bids for recurring roles.
Mahershala Ali, “House of Cards”- Gold Derby odds to win:33/1 (#6)
Ali sumbitted as a supporting actor for the three prior seasons of the show. Although the actor continued to received fourth billing for his role as former White House Chief of Staff Remy Danton, Ali only appeared in six out of 13 episodes this season, thus qualifying for this category. This is Ali’s first Emmy nomination; he has submitted “Chapter 44.”
Official ballot description: “After walking away from DC politics and looking to start anew, Remy finds himself once again in the manipulative grasp of the Underwoods and has no choice but to return to the political arena.”
Hank Azaria, “Ray Donovan” – Gold Derby odds to win: 18/1 (#5)
Azaria appeared in three episodes of “Ray Donovan” this season as Ed Cochran; his submission “One Night in Yerevan” is the second of these. He was snubbed last year when he submitted in the supporting category for the same role. Azaria won Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actor for “Tuesdays with Morrie” in 2000 and is a four-time winner for “The Simpsons” in Best Voiceover. This is the first guest nomination for “Ray Donovan.”
Official ballot description: “Ed Cochran is a disgraced former FBI agent. His group sex video went viral and he’s now relegated to working for a security firm investigating the Finneys. He sees an opportunity to take his old enemy Ray down. In this episode, Cochran discovers a murder weapon at Ray’s storage unit.”
Reg E. Cathey, “House of Cards” – Gold Derby odds to win: 23/10 (#2)
Cathey won last year and is now on his third consecutive bid in four seasons of “House of Cards” for his role as Freddy Hayes. His submission is “Chapter 50.”
Official ballot description: “Freddy Hayes has advanced from White House groundskeeper to White House florist. Freddy informs Underwood that he’s leaving to take a job at a Georgetown flower shop to which Underwood suggests Freddy come over to cook ribs as a send-off. Freddy snaps upon realizing that he’s still ‘just the help’.”
Michael J. Fox, “The Good Wife” – Gold Derby odds to win: 4/1 (#3)
A five-time Emmy champ for three other roles, Fox has been nominated in each of the five seasons on which he submitted for “The Good Wife.” He withheld his name from consideration in 2014 when he focused, to no avail, on a Best Comedy Actor nomination for his self-titled laffer. Fox plays attorney Louis Canning; “Taxed” is his submission from its final season.
Official ballot description: “Louis Canning goes against Diane Lockhart in court over a physician assisted suicide case.”
Paul Sparks, “House of Cards” – Gold Derby odds to win: 10/1 (#4)
Sparks appeared as a supporting actor on “House of Cards” last year, but opted only to submit in that category for the final season of “Boardwalk Empire.” He has submitted “Chapter 49,” his third of six consecutive appearances as author Tom Yates. This is his first Emmy nomination.
Official ballot description: “Thomas Yates, Frank Underwood’s one-time biographer and confidant, returns to DC in search of a more satisfying ending to his novel and to make amends with the Underwoods.”
Max Von Sydow, “Game of Thrones” – Gold Derby odds to win: 7/4 (#1)
This two-time Oscar nominee was nominated as Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actor back in 1990 for “Red White, White Knight.” He plays a supernatural tree-man in “Game of Thrones;” the role was previously done by Struan Rodger — not submitted for Emmy consideration — and the character appeared even earlier in the form of a three-eyed raven. This is the first “Game of Thrones” nomination in the category; Von Sydow has submitted his third and last appearance: “The Door.”
Official ballot description: “The Three-Eyed Raven tries to train Bran methodically, but Bran’s impatient. When Bran enters a vision unguided, he allows the Night King to negate the Raven’s protection. Desperate, with time running out, the Raven overloads Bran with omniscience. Trapped, the Raven falls to his ancient nemesis — but saves his pupil.”
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