I actually really liked the Emmys this year. Aside from their stubborn refusal to acknowledge the existence of Lost, I think the Academy made some atypically intelligent choices. Having said that, I do have one additional comment. The category for Best Actor in a Drama Series was one of the strongest categories I have ever seen in any award show. It was so strong in act that I feel like someone on stage should have acknowledged it. Who better than the eventual (and entirely deserving) winner, Bryan Cranston, to call attention to every nominee. The following is what Bryan Cranston should have said in lieu of a speech.
Wow, what a wild ride! I am eternally grateful to the Academy for making this one of the best times in my life. Breaking Bad has been nothing but a gift to me and I view this award as acknowledgement from the Academy that I am involved in something very special. What may be an even greater honor, however, is the quality of men that I found myself associated with tonight.
The Best Actor in a Drama Series category this year represents what I truly believe to be some of the most talented people on television. What I'd like to do now is just take a moment to give these amazing actors their due.
Kyle Chandler, I admire the things that you can do. In my experience, High School football coaches aren't the most charismatic or even decent individuals. But you've created a character that is essentially Ghandi in an East Dillon pullover. Friday Night Lights is a show that likes to tear down everything in its characters lives from the institutions they trust, to the dreams they've fostered. And then it counts on you to be the rock in the middle. You've been all of that and more and you deserve this award.
Matthew Fox, it has been truly amazing to watch your maturation as an actor and as a human being over the past six seasons of Lost. You weren't afraid to portray a character that was weak and afraid of his own failings. You weren't afraid to lay all of the sins and shortcomings of your character bare and make them apparent to everyone but himself. And finally you weren't afraid to redeem that character in he very last moments of his arc... even if it meant doing something as innocuous as simply turning a light back on. You served as a consistent and realistic avatar for all of us in a show that required so much patience and attention. I cried when you closed that eye one last time and you deserve this award.
Michael C. Hall, it is an impressive feat for any actor to make a murderer likable. But what you've been able to do with the character of Dexter Morgan is much more impressive. You haven't just made a murderer likable but you've made someone who has attested to be inhuman and lifeless likable. Dexter Morgan crackles off the screen with your own wit and intensity. You've single-handedly legitimized the oft-maligned practice of voiceover with your steady and unpretentious delivery. You made my adrenaline pump harder than almost any television show ever has this year and you deserve this award.
Jon Hamm, you have taken one of the hardest tasks in television acting this decade and flourished under it. I can't imagine the pressure and difficulties associated with playing such a larger than life character on one of the most acclaimed and important shows of our time. But you somehow make it look easy. It will never cease to amaze me how you continue to inhabit the body of Don Draper, someone you couldn't be more different from, so flawlessly. It must be so tempting to overplay such a gaudy, sexy character but you never do. You act as Don Draper from the inside out and the show is all the better for it. One day they'll be teaching your Don Draper acting techniques in Acting 101 and you deserve this award.
Hugh Laurie, you are Gregory House. I can barely accept that you ever even existed before Dr. House first limped across my TV screen. You inhabit every aspect of your character from the smallest quirk to the grandest blow-up. You've always been impressive but this season represents what is undoubtedly your best work. You spent countless seasons building up an absolutely invulnerable persona before finally having to concede that your character was, indeed, fallible and capable of being hurt. The emotional vulnerabilities that you displayed while never quite letting go of your armor were paradoxically brilliant. If for nothing else other than your flawless American accent you deserve this award.
Thanks to all of you again, and I can't wait to cheer one of you on next year when you win this award.