Bryan Cranston as Walter White in Breaking Bad
Walter White's journey came to an end this past year, and one of the best anti-heroes had one hell of a send off. Walt was discovered by his brother-in-law, and a new cat and mouse game began, one of the most painful for Walt. Watching Hank get killed, watching his family slip away from him, trying to save the life he worked so hard for was all slipping away. Cranston is one of the best actors, and he did a great job fully forming every aspect of this character, and his last year you can't help but say he was the best.
Hugh Dancy as Will Graham in Hannibal
Will Graham went through so much, from jail, to dealing with his psychosis, to seeing someone brought back from the dead and taken away from him. How do you battle the genius of Hannibal Lector? Dancy is perfect in this role, and his work with Mikkelsen who should also be nominated is some of the best back and forth I saw on television all year. Dancy plays every moment perfectly; he started out quiet, but towards the end as his revenge on Hannibal took to action Dancy was at his best, and his portrayal of Will was taken to a new level.
Mad Mikkelsen as Hannibal Lector in Hannibal
This season proved you could look at the disturbing nature of Hannibal Lector through the eyes of a different actor. In season one Mikkelsen was great in this role, but is power of manipulation mixed with the intensity of the role have only grown through the evolution of the entire second season. There is a subtle brilliance to Mikkelsen; he has taken the role to a multi-layered level, that sometimes even shows a shred of vulnerability. In the end Mikkelsen is fantastic in this role!
Matthew Rhys as Phillip Jennings in The Americans
Once again this man is the MVP of this show; he shows so much depth and range within this character that you almost lose yourself in the performance. Rhys performance in "Martial Law" is enough to help land him a spot among these these other 5 men. In that mainly stand alone episode the true nature of his person as a father, spy and beyond come out in a tour de force performance. Rhys has been recognized with nominations from critics two years running, its time for the Emmy Awards to pay attention.
Michael Sheen as Dr. William H. Masters in Masters of Sex
So stoic, so together, Sheen is perfect in this role. As you watch Bill interact with Virginia Johnson you finally get to see him let go. While Sheen got a Globe nomination from this show, I feel as though people take this performance for granted. Sheen has no big speeches, he doesn't typically yell, but he does do so much with this role. Sheen is an impressive actor, and I loved getting to watch his intellectual exploration as Masters while growing as a person himself, its an impressive performance.
Kevin Spacey as Francis Underwood in House of Cards
While I still think Claire was the MVP of season Francis Underwood is still one of the most characters to watch, and its all because of Spacey. Spacey looks like he has never had more fun than with this role. Frank is no long just in Congress, no longer just the VEEP, but now he has the role of POTUS. Through some master manipulation along the way he and his wife will be in the White House in season 3. Spacey a fantastic actor, and he made this character even more interesting this season.