Including his loss for Best Comedy Guest Actor for “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” last Saturday night at the Creative Arts Awards, Jon Hamm is 0-for-14 at the Emmys, but according to our racetrack odds, he’ll finally win Best Drama Actor for “Mad Men” on his eighth try (he’s also nominated for producing the AMC series). Our exclusive Gold Derby odds have him out front at 1/4 to prevail for the drama’s final season.
Hamm hopes voters are sentimental because he submitted to Emmy judges the series finale episode, “Person to Person,” in which Don Draper learns of his ex-wife Betty’s terminal cancer diagnosis, suffers an existential crisis and then has an epiphany at a spiritual retreat. That episode also competes for Best Drama Writing.
Ranked second in our predictions is Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul“) with 8/1 odds. This is his first time competing for his role as Jimmy McGill (who will later be known as Saul Goodman), but he may already be popular with voters for playing the character in two-time Best Drama Series champ “Breaking Bad.” What’s more, Odenkirk is already a two-time past champ himself for Best Variety Writing for “Saturday Night Live” (1989) and “The Ben Stiller Show” (1993). He submitted the episode “Pimento,” in which Jimmy is on the verge of a professional breakthrough until he discovers that his brother has been undermining his career for years.
Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards“) is next with 20/1 odds. This is his third straight nomination in this category for playing scheming politician Frank Underwood, but he’s been nominated eight times at the Emmys overall, including three Best Drama Series bids as a producer of “House of Cards,” Best Movie/Mini Actor for “Recount” (2008) and Best TV Movie as a producer of “Bernard and Doris” (2008). He has yet to win in any category. He submitted the episode “Chapter 32,” the same entered by his on-screen wife Robin Wright, in which a diplomatic drip to Russia goes awry after the suicide of an imprisoned LGBT activist.
Kyle Chandler (“Bloodline“) trails with 50/1 odds. This is his first nomination for his role as Florida Keys police officer John Rayburn but his fourth overall. He previously earned two bids in this race for his role as a high school football coach in “Friday Night Lights,” winning in 2011. He also picked up a nom for Best Drama Guest Actor in “Grey’s Anatomy” in 2006. This year Chandler submitted for consideration “Part 12,” the penultimate episode of the season in which he has a climactic confrontation with his brother (Drama Supporting Actor-nominee Ben Mendelsohn, who submitted the same episode).
Also with 50/1 odds is Jeff Daniels (“The Newsroom“), nominated for the third time in a row for playing crusading TV journalist Will McAvoy. He won this award on his first nomination in 2013, when he submitted the pilot episode of the HBO series. This year he entered the series finale episode, “What Kind of Day Has it Been?,” in which Will attends the funeral of his friend and mentor Charlie (Sam Waterston), but flashbacks in the episode also revisit story developments from that Emmy-winning pilot, which could potentially help Daniels pull off another upset.
Last with 100/1 odds is surprise nominee Liev Schreiber for playing the title character in Showtime’s “Ray Donovan,” about a morally compromised fixer for the Los Angeles elite. This is his first nomination for this role, but it’s not his first career bid. He was previously nominated for Best Movie/Mini Actor in 2000 for playing legendary filmmaker Orson Welles in the telefilm “RKO 281.” In this race Schreiber submitted the episode “Walk This Way,” in which Ray gets drunk at a tense birthday celebration for his son. Schreiber also directed the episode.
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Last year, our Experts had an accuracy rate of 58.62% when it came to predicting the Emmy winners. That score tied them with both Gold Derby’s Editors and the Top 24 Users (those two dozen folks who did the best at predicting last year’s Emmys). Our Users scored 51.72% (Click on any of these groups to see what they got right and wrong last year.)
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Photo: Jon Hamm in “Mad Men.” Credit: AMC