Three-time Emmy contender Jon Hamm probably has a nomination in the bag this year. Combine Mad Men‘s “The Suitcase” episode’s unforgettable pas de deux between Don Draper and Peggy Olson with Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston’s ineligibility for a 2011 nod, and the (m)ad man’s portrayer might finally win. It would not only be his first Emmy, but the first for any performer on AMC’s hit Mad Men. Deadline’s sibling site TVLine has a terrific interview with Hamm here. I recently interviewed Matt Weiner about Mad Men‘s Emmy chances (upcoming) and the show’s creator and exec producer lobbied on Hamm’s behalf:
DEADLINE: You told Deadline Awards Columnist Pete Hammond over a year ago that you thought this ‘Suitcase’ episode would be Jon Hamm’s ticket to Emmy — finally. One of the things that you did this past year in the series was to strip away all his veneer so he became the most vulnerable character. Was this at all self-conscious and on purpose to try and help him to Outstanding Lead Actor?
WEINER: Last season he had a great emotional depth. Jon is an incredible actor, but what he does is not very showy. I felt that this had more of the kind of performance where you could see all the range of what this man does in one place. I think he’s deserving of an Emmy in everything he’s ever been in. I think about it… It’s like your family or your kid, you want to do things for them, you want them to be recognized. And him having this episode is about as good of a chance as possible. But you know what? He’s a great actor, and I think everybody respects that for him and getting nominated is a big deal and he’ll be okay with it whatever happens and so will I. Because in the end you can see it on the show. It’s not lip service, it’s about the work, and the guy just loves his work. And he worked… He did everything in the show. He’s here every minute that anybody is here.
DEADLINE: I’ve seen interviews with other castmembers who say he’s a real leader.
WEINER: He is a real leader, he’s incredible. And it’s not just knowing everybody’s name and everything. It’s like everybody behaves on this show the way — and on any show — the way the person who is No. 1 on the call sheet behaves. And Jon is just like in the show, has got a great sense of humor, loves to have a good time, and works his ass off. And what I love is that I think because of the way the show is maybe people don’t know how much he’s doing. But it’s very hard to do what he does, and a lot of kudos go to the writing and of course I love that. But it is always better than it’s written when he gets it in his hands. So award or no award, I’m not lying to you, I feel like from the pilot to every time the guy is on the screen he definitely is giving one of the best performances of the year.
DEADLINE: Do you think he’s helped this year by the fact that three-time winner Bryan Cranston is not in the race?
WEINER: Yeah, no doubt about it. You know, once you win that award you seem to win it a lot, and Bryan is a great actor. Like I said, I think Jon’s deserved it every year, but the way the Emmys work, if you keep getting that award then you will keep getting it. I mean wasn’t it Candice Bergen who eventually said, ‘Don’t even think about me this year,’ for Murphy Brown? I think Jon is a spectacular actor and people come to the set and sometimes you look at these scripts and the guy has like 8 lines in them and he’s just dominating them with his physical presence. But to see him sort of stretched to these emotional places and do them in a believable way. You know Jon himself is not as emotionally restrained as you’ve seen from all the comedies he’s been in…
DEADLINE: He was like a different person on 30 Rock or Saturday Night Live.
WEINER: Exactly. So that should tell people already what an incredible actor he is. But there was something about the episode where I basically said, ‘You want to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro this week?’ and he’s like, ‘Sure I can do that.’ And I think people will see that he can do that, and that is the kind of thing that might help him finally win that award. I always think he deserves it.
DEADLINE: But for someone to turn in these great performances constantly and not be recognized for them by an Emmy win.
WEINER: I know and I feel the same way about Elizabeth [Moss]. I mean I feel the same way about all of them — John Slattery, Christina Hendricks… They know that their work will last for a long time whatever they’re planning on doing, wherever they’re doing it. But you’re looking at very, very challenging work that is being executed effortlessly and they’re not trafficking on their fame or anything. I attribute that to hiring people who are at the point in their careers where they have been working for a long time. And everybody on this show had a very long resume even though you may not have heard of them before. And part of that was because a lot of them were not the kind of type that network TV was looking for, so they’re all grateful. And we’re all grateful for everything we’ve gotten so far.