Our two resident Emmys experts -- Chris "Boomer" Beachum and Rob Licuria (Awards Heaven) -- disagree about which previous award winner will prevail in the supporting actor in a drama series category. For Rob, 2007 champ Terry O'Quinn is the frontrunner for the final season of "Lost." However, Boomer believes Andre Braugher, from "Men of a Certain Age," will add to the two lead actors Emmys he already has for the series "Homicide" (1998) and the telefilm "Thief" (2006). Both place Aaron Paul of "Breaking Bad" in the second position.
Below is their analysis of this race. Rob and Boomer already have shared their insights on guest drama actor, guest drama actress, guest comedy actor and guest comedy actress. And the three of us have weighed in on the top drama series and comedy series races as well as best TV movie, best reality/competition show and best reality show host.
DRAMA SUPPORTING ACTOR: ROB'S PREDIX
1. Terry O'Quinn, "Lost" ("The Substitute")
2. Aaron Paul, "Breaking Bad" ("Half Measures")
3. Andre Braugher, "Men of a Certain Age" ("Powerless")
4. Michael Emerson, "Lost" ("Dr. Linus")
5. John Slattery, "Mad Men" ("The Gypsy & the Hobo")
6. Martin Short, "Damages" ("You Haven't Replaced Me Yet")
ROB'S COMMENTARY: This is a terribly difficult category in which to decide who the front-runners are, because at least four of these guys deliver a performance that in any other year would be seen as worthy of a win. Starting with those I think are easiest to rule out, I would suggest that Martin Short's few scenes with his grafter father are good but not great (in terms of impact and screen time), and in this company, a nomination should be all that the awesome Martin Short should expect. Same goes for John Slattery, who has chosen his best submission yet but fails to deliver much in the way of impact. However, some of his one-liners are gold.
Of the top four who are truly in this race, I think it boils down as follows. Of the two actors from "Lost," Michael Emerson and Terry O’Quinn share some scenes in their respective episodes, and both do quite well both in their scenes in the alternate "sideways" timeline and on the island itself. Emerson has a couple of more flashy scenes where he discusses how he has sacrificed his daughter to save the island and plays the Dr Linus role quite effectively. O'Quinn, on the other hand, is in practically all of the scenes in his episode and commands the screen as the villain on the island and as the stubborn wheelchair-bound John Locke in the sideways world. Of the two, I think O'Quinn’s performance is the more memorable, not to mention the more buzzed-about from the last season.
Andre Braugher is no stranger to Emmy voters, having won twice before in relatively little-known or buzzed-about shows. He makes another Emmy appearance in this TNT drama that did not make much of an impact elsewhere in other categories, and immediately you can see that many voters will be drawn to his flawed, bitter and regret-filled character. I think the show itself is a little depressing, dreary and slow, but I don't think that's enough to turn off voters. They love Braugher and will respond to the "journey" of sorts he makes in this episode, which, perhaps most importantly, ends happily in a scene that is quite effective.
Aaron Paul was probably the front-runner last year for his performance in an episode that I don't think he will ever top. This time around, he delivers the same tension, nuance and anguish, but he may be slightly overshadowed by Bryan Cranston in the scenes they share. Don't completely write him off, though, as voters may decide to give him this award to make up for last year and to award the show in general, which has proved to be quite popular with the academy. Based on the episode itself, a win is not out of the question but just not the slam dunk it could have been a year ago.
DRAMA SUPPORTING ACTOR: BOOMER'S PREDIX
1. Andre Braugher, "Men of a Certain Age" ("Powerless")
2. Aaron Paul, "Breaking Bad" ("Half Measures")
3. Michael Emerson, "Lost" ("Dr. Linus")
4. Terry O'Quinn, "Lost" ("The Substitute")
5. Martin Short, "Damages" ("You Haven't Replaced Me Yet")
6. John Slattery, "Mad Men" ("The Gypsy & the Hobo")
BOOMER'S COMMENTARY: I think four men have a very legitimate shot at winning this category, but their names are not Martin Short or John Slattery. Both are good in their episodes but have limited screen time and impact compared with their competitors.
Fourteen different men in the last 14 years have won this category. Somebody will break that streak in the near future, but until it happens, you will not find me going against such a strong trend. With Terry O'Quinn and Michael Emerson as recent winners, I do question whether they will win again this year. Of the two, I would absolutely vote for O'Quinn myself because of his overall importance to the final season of "Lost" (in a dual good-guy/evil-guy role), but Emerson gets the more emotional material in his chosen episode (especially toward the end, when he seems a very broken man with a life-shattering choice).
If the voting trend holds, that leaves me with a possible win by either Aaron Paul or Andre Braugher. I am not a regular viewer of "Breaking Bad" but found Paul's performance very powerful and seething with rage, fear and lack of control in a deadly situation. Braugher, however, is a veteran actor with two previous Emmy wins in other categories and several other nominations. I was won over by his battle against governmental red tape, his problems with his father and ultimately his arms-raised triumph like Rocky Balboa. He became the champion over his problems that day and will win this Emmy because of it.
Photos, from top: Terry O'Quinn in "Lost." Credit: ABC. Andre Braugher in "Men of a Certain Age." Credit: TBS