Considering their area of expertise, casting directors have a special perspective on Emmy nominations within the acting categories. And with long-running series credits such as Frasier and Modern Family to his name, casting director Jeff Greenberg knows a thing or two about television, in particular. Greenberg took time from his schedule to share with us his top picks from within the lead acting categories of this year’s impressive roster of Emmy nominees.

Nominees for Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Anthony Anderson (Black-ish)

Don Cheadle (Black Monday)

Eugene Levy (Schitt’s Creek)

Michael Douglas (The Kominsky Method)

Ramy Youssef (Ramy

Ted Danson (The Good Place)

Greenberg’s Pick: 

Eugene Levy 

“I was so impressed with Ramy Youssef’s nuanced work this season, but because the category is comedy, I like to give more points to a performance that features the funny. I never stopped laughing at Eugene Levy’s hilarious and inventive Johnny Rose.” 


Nominees for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series 

Catherine O’Hara (Schitt’s Creek)

Christina Applegate (Dead to Me)

Issa Rae (Insecure)

Linda Cardellini (Dead to Me)

Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)

Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish) 

Greenberg’s Pick: 

Issa Rae 

“This is a very strong category this year. I think Rachel Brosnahan can do no wrong on her show and I’ve voted for her in the past, but Issa Rae’s work has gotten better and better. She always seems to find something extra in the text that makes it funny on so many levels.” 


Nominees for Lead Actor in a Drama Series: 

Billy Porter (Pose)

Brian Cox (Succession)

Jason Bateman (Ozark) 

Jeremy Strong (Succession)

Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us)

Steve Carell (The Morning Show) 

Greenberg’s Pick: 

Billy Porter 

“Every actor in this category is so award-worthy, but the two that kept resonating for me afterward were Billy Porter and Jeremy Strong. Both roles allowed them to show such enormous range. In a coin toss, I’ll go with Billy Porter.” 


Nominees for Lead Actress in a Drama Series: 

Jennifer Aniston (The Morning Show)

Jodie Comer (Killing Eve)

Laura Linney (Ozark)

Olivia Colman (The Crown)

Sandra Oh (Killing Eve)

Zendaya (Euphoria) 

Greenberg’s Pick: 

Jennifer Aniston

“For me, this is the strongest category of choices, as I loved every single performance, but it’s a no-brainer for me to choose Jennifer Aniston. I remember watching and just being so blown away to see her in a completely different light. She was a revelation; maybe my favorite work of hers since Friends.” 


Nominees for Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie: 

Hugh Jackman (Bad Education)

Jeremy Irons (Watchmen)

Jeremy Pope (Hollywood)

Mark Ruffalo (I Know This Much Is True)

Paul Mescal (Normal People) 

Greenberg’s Pick: 

Mark Ruffalo

“I was fascinated by Paul Mescal’s stellar work, which was so simple and so raw, but Mark Ruffalo was beyond impressive playing these complex twin brothers who were polar opposites of each other. The physical transformation and the chemistry that somehow happened between each side of the fraternal dichotomy was as good as it gets.” 


Nominees for Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie: 

Cate Blanchett (Mrs. America)

Kerry Washington (Little Fires Everywhere)

Octavia Spencer (Self Made)

Regina King (Watchmen)

Shira Haas (Unorthodox) 

Greenberg’s Pick: 

Shira Haas

“There’s something about seeing a fresh face in a challenging role that is so mesmerizing, not knowing the actor’s wheelhouse or even their other work for context. The depth of Shira Haas’ performance was profound. I had never seen a show like Unorthodox nor an actor like Shira.” 


Greenberg’s pick of Haas highlights the actor’s first time getting an Emmy nod. It’s also Zendaya’s first Emmy nomination, received for her work as Rue on HBO’s Euphoria. To take in the nominees from other acting categories, whether they be first-timers or Emmy veterans, you can view the full list of this year’s nominations here. And come September 20 when the Emmy Awards air, you can find out which actors from our list and Greenberg’s picks will end up taking home statuettes this year. 


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