Don Draper's final days felt like an escape from the normal; he left his job, and tried to find his true self. In the final episode Person to Person you see Don break down as he sit through a group therapy session, and watch him become more vulnerable than he has ever been. Hamm has always been iconic in this role, but in this final season you get to see him open up, breathe, and fully understand himself and the connections to others.
Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill in Better Call Saul
I was not sure what to expect from this prequel to Breaking Bad. Would this be a carbon copy, or wear its own skin in developing this central character? The first episodes explored Jimmy McGill not Saul Goodman, and while these are the same man, divided by a name, this show explores more of Jimmy, and how he gets to become Saul. Odenkirk is known for his comedic chops, which he gets to flex at times, but there is something special about the layers and depth he adds to this man, and its a wonderful performance.
Rhys is steadfast, and one of the most consistant actors, who should have three nominations (including this one) in this category. Rhys best moments were when he was working to help protect his cover with Martha, and also trying to protect Paige from knowing about his secret life. As Rhys lies unraveled with both women there was an heir of vulnerability that always shines through with Phillip, but Rhys took this performance to a new level this year; he remains one of the best actors on television.
Jeffrey Tambor as Maura Pfefferman in Transparent
I am not sure what words be suffice enough to describe Tambor's brave performance as Maura Pfefferman. Watching Maura navigate her experiences of coming out to her family, exploring her Trans identity in secret, and feeling as though she belongs is beyond impeccably acted. Jeffrey Tambor like Odenkirk has always been known for his overt comedic timing, but this performance show Tambor has the ability to transform and take on any role; he is a brilliant actor,
Playing Daniel Young has to be an emotionally draining experience. No show explores the repercussions or after math of the criminal justice system, and how it not only impacts the person convicted, but the family involved. Young is a revelation in this role, there is not much yelling but a quiet brilliance as he continues to explore the society he has missed, and tries to connect with his family. Daniel's arc of finding out about his rape in prison in episode one to owning what he did to Teddy was well acted, and its why he carries this show.
From Noah's perspective, he is a man following the intrigue, caught up in passion, falling in love. Is that who Noah is, or is he lascivious, selfish, and someone who can't come to grips with himself. I like getting to explore this man through his own eyes, and the eyes of others, it provides multiple lenses, and context for this man. West is great in this role, he makes a man who should be unlikable, seem human, and gives you a great understanding of what you might have missed.