This year's Emmys race for Best Drama Supporting Actor is almost a clean slate compared to last year. Four of the six 2010 nominees won't be back. Last year's champ Aaron Paul is taking a break from Emmy contention as "Breaking Bad" did not air any episodes during the eligibility period. Neither did "Damages" which featured Martin Short. And "Lost," which featured winners Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn, left the airwaves. Of the two nominees still in contention, John Slattery ("Mad Men") will certainly repeat while Andre Braugher ("Men of a Certain Age") may succumb to this year's heavy competition.
Three of the supporting players on "The Good Wife" have good shots at these slots: Alan Cumming (nominated last year in the guest actor category), Josh Charles and Chris Noth. Other actors from returning shows looking for their first bids for current roles include recent Critics Choice Award winner John Noble ("Fringe"), Critics Choice nominee Walton Goggins ("Justified"), Jared Harris and Vincent Kartheiser ("Mad Men"), Emmy champ Craig T. Nelson ("Parenthood"), Michael Cudlitz and Critics Choice nominee Shawn Hatosy ("Southland"), and Alexander Skarsgard and Tony winner Denis O'Hare ("True Blood").
Potential contenders from freshman series include Donnie Wahlberg ("Blue Bloods"), recent Critics Choice nominee Peter Dinklage and Mark Addy ("Game of Thrones"), Derek Jacobi ("The Borgias"), Billy Campbell and Brent Sexton ("The Killing"), Scott Caan ("Hawaii Five-0"), and five fellows from "Boardwalk Empire" -- Michael Pitt, Michael Shannon, Michael Stuhlbarg, Michael K. Williams and Stephen Graham.
Gold Derby founder Tom O'Neil with senior editors Chris Beachum and Rob Licuria discuss the race in this video slugfest. They are among the experts and editors who have ranked the potential nominees in this category.
Watch our three experts slug it out over these other cliffhanger races:
Earliest Oscars Predictions Ever
Our Oscarologists are busy updating their predictions as they see more and more contenders. Make your early picks now -- click here -- and change them later as the derby heats up.