LEAD ACTOR, DRAMA
For your consideration: Timothy Olyphant, "Justified." If a series regular hasn't been nominated by the show's fourth season, odds are it won't ever happen. And, in Olyphant's case, that would be a shame. "Justified's" beautifully constructed procedural arc this season took Olyphant's marshal to some deep, dark places that tested his serene-cool charm. Olyphant's laconic work must look too easy to some, but it's mighty tough to pull it off this convincingly. It's not too late to nominate him.
Analysis: The arrival of Spacey and Daniels, along with Rhys and Bacon, could bring seismic changes to the category, though you'd have to believe that vets Cranston, Lewis and Hamm aren't going anywhere. Of last year's class, five-time nominee Hall would seem ready to step aside, as "Dexter" has seen better days. And though Bonneville's a fine actor, nobody really watches "Downton" for Robert Crawley, do they? Even though "The Newsroom" had an army of detractors, few found fault with Daniels' turn as the show's truth-telling anchorman. Count him in.
LEAD ACTRESS, DRAMA
Claire Danes, "Homeland"
Michelle Dockery, "Downton Abbey"
Keri Russell, "The Americans"
For your consideration: Tatiana Maslany, "Orphan Black." The marvel of her work in
Analysis: Danes won last year, and she, Margulies and Dockery seem safe bets to return as nominees. We're less sold on past stalwarts Close (too small an audience) and Moss (too small a role), mostly because the challengers this year are so strong. Wright wowed as the regal wife in "House of Cards," while Russell reinvented herself as the steely Soviet spy in "The Americans." As for Washington, her work in "Scandal" has caught fire in such a way that she could well be the likely victor. Hey, if
SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA
Mandy Patinkin, "Homeland"
Jonathan Banks, "Breaking Bad"
Sam Waterston, "The Newsroom"
Prime contenders: Alan Cumming, "The Good Wife"; Jim Carter, "Downton Abbey";
Bubbling under: Larry Hagman, "Dallas";
For your consideration: David Morrissey, "The Walking Dead." Fans of the graphic novel had long been waiting for the Governor to turn up on the show. Morrissey fulfilled everyone's expectations and then some, bringing a moving complexity to one of the year's best villains.
Analysis: Remarkably, Patinkin was not even nominated last year. He's a sure bet now — he might have been the best thing about "Homeland" this season. Newcomers this season Stoll and Waterston should find their way in too, as should Banks, "Breaking Bad's" supernaturally calm tough guy. It's a deep category, and several deserving candidates (how do you leave out Goggins?) won't make the final cut.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS, DRAMA
Maggie Smith, "Downton Abbey"
Christine Baranski, "The Good Wife"
For your consideration: Abigail Spencer, "Rectify." In a series distinguished by fantastic acting, Spencer stood out, if only because her firecracker energy was such a marked contrast to the show's languid pacing. (The way she rocked those cowboy boots didn't hurt, either.) Equally convincing playing headstrong and vulnerable, Spencer stands as one of the year's rising stars.
Analysis: Of the four drama acting categories, this could be the most stable with all six of last year's nominees conceivably returning. But that would be dullsville, right? Sub in Potter for her moving work as a mother and wife battling