I’m sure you’re still recovering from the adrenaline-fueled and ARTPOPpy rush of the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards, but if you’re like me, you’re already searching for another award show fix. Have no fear: The Emmys are coming up in September, and we’re previewing the big TV trophycast with a rundown of the show’s 11 hottest acting nominees.
11. Rupert Friend, Homeland (Guest Actor, Drama Series)
I first dug this guy in The Young Victoria, but his amazingly squarish jawline has earned Emmy cred on Showtime’s unstoppable Homeland. At the TCAs this past month, he wore suspenders and looked strangely Amish. He’s weird, and I’m proud of Keira Knightley for having dated him.
10. John Benjamin Hickey, The Big C: Hereafter (Supporting Actor, Miniseries/Movie)
The 50-year-old gay actor stole our hearts in The Normal Heart, which earned him a Tony and gave him the opportunity to thank his longtime partner Jeffrey Richman (who writes for Modern Family), and now he and Laura Linney are The Big C: Hereafter’s sole nominated representatives. Reddish scruff for the win!
9. Don Cheadle, House of Lies (Actor, Comedy Series)
I remember watching him nail the role of Sammy Davis Jr. in the TV movie The Rat Pack, which netted him his first Emmy nomination. Now the amazingly hot 49-year-old is up for his sixth nomination (still waiting for a win) on House of Lies, and if Jim Parsons doesn’t win again this year, I think he has a very real chance of taking it.
8. Benedict Cumberbatch, Parade’s End (Actor, Miniseries or Movie)
The dastardly Benedict Cumberbatch has an aggressive, mouthy way of dealing with press attention, and I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t hot. He slays us as Sherlock, but writer Tom Stoppard wanted him for this miniseries even before he landed that career-making role.
7. Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory (Actor, Comedy Series)
Jim Parsons is sweet, smart, and — oh, would you look at that? — gay, and he’s the lead actor on TV’s biggest comedy. What are we supposed to do, not love him? Exhilarated to see him up for an award again, and I’m always delighted to see his fascinatingly angular and adorable mug.
6. Bobby Cannavale, Boardwalk Empire and Nurse Jackie (Supporting Actor, Drama Series; Guest Actor, Drama Series)
If you didn’t watch Blue Jasmine and get libidinously swept up in Bobby Cannavale’s Stanley Kowalski antics, we have nothing in common. But maybe we can agree that he’s a marvelous TV presence, as he’s netted two nominations this year. How very Sigourney Weaver-at-the-’88-Oscars of him.
5. Matt Damon, Behind the Candelabra (Actor, Miniseries or Movie)
Matt Damon pulled off playing a teenager in Behind the Candelabra, and he also pulled off being attractive even as his face morphed into Liberace’s. His performance was killer, and I’m still reeling from his golden-tinged perfection in The Talented Mr. Ripley, as I hope the entire gay universe is.
4. Jon Hamm, Mad Men (Actor, Drama Series)
You can’t overhype Jon Hamm’s “cartoon pilot” good looks (quoth Liz Lemon), and on Mad Men’s sixth season, we’re rooting for his first Emmy haul. Look at how he lounges shirtlessly. That is hardware-worthy.
3. Justin Timberlake, Saturday Night Live (Guest Actor, Comedy Series)
It’s almost alarming to know that Justin Timberlake has four Emmy Awards, yet I’m not bothered by the idea of him winning another. He’s the most touted SNL host of the past five years, and as he proved at Sunday’s VMAs, he’s still a flawless stage performer. Infallibility is arguably sexy.
2. Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad (Supporting Actor, Drama Series)
Love. This. Man. And not just because he wins you over and basically pile-drives you with charm in this appearance on The Price is Right; he’s note-perfect as Jesse Pinkman on the endlessly engrossing Breaking Bad, he’s sexy, and every interview indicates he is awesome. Nice to see him clean up so damn well.
1. Zachary Quinto, American Horror Story: Asylum (Supporting Actor, Miniseries or Movie)
Thrilled to report that the hottest Emmy nominee this year is a gay, distinctly gorgeous and intelligent specimen. The 36-year-old actor has myriads of fans thanks to Star Trek, Heroes, and now American Horror Story, but I actually love him best as the level-headed whiz at the heart of Margin Call. Either way: Wow, that’s a shiny bare chest. Happy Emmys.