Ultimate Emmy heavyweight bout: Bryan Cranston vs. Matthew McConaughey

2014 has been a very good year for Bryan Cranston and Matthew McConaughey. Cranston won a Tony award this summer (Best Actor, “All the Way“) while McConaughey scored an Oscar win in March (Best Actor, “Dallas Buyers Club“). And now both just netted Emmy nominations as Best Drama Actor. (To see the complete list of Emmy nominees, click here.)

It’s up to the Emmys, then, to determine which of these leading men is the really the best actor. For Cranston, today’s nod for “Breaking Bad” marks his sixth nomination for playing meth kingpin Walter White. And McConaughey is nominated for his very first Emmy thanks to his role as troubled detective Rust Cohle on freshman series “True Detective.”

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or ‘True Detective’ will be the ultimate Emmy champion

If the precursors are any indication, McConaughey has the early lead to win the Emmy thanks to his triumph at the Critics’ Choice TV Awards last month. And he’s also expected to claim victory over Cranston at the upcoming Television Critics Association kudos on July 19. But the Emmys use a vastly different judging system than the popular vote systems used by the CCTA and TCA, which makes this race truly anyone’s game.

At the Emmys, voters are tasked with watching sample episodes for each of the nominees in a given category and then must sign an affidavit claiming they viewed all the submissions. Whichever nominee submits the episode that shows off their range and has the biggest impact on voters has a better chance of winning. Thus, buzz and popularity are usually thrown out the window by Emmy voters in favor of whichever star truly gave the best performance.

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While Cranston and McConaughey have gotten the most press this year for their popular roles, they aren’t the only men competing for the Drama Lead Actor Emmy. The other four nominees are Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards“), Jon Hamm (“Mad Men“), Jeff Daniels (“The Newsroom“) and Woody Harrelson (“True Detective”).

Will it be Cranston or McConaughey for the win or will one of the other nominees find success? Be sure to sound off in the comments section at the bottom of this post and then join our fiery forums.

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