By Nicole Rojas | | @nrojas0131 ( | First Posted: Jan 08, 2013 12:09 PM EST

Actor Bryan Cranston attends a premiere screening of season five of the AMC series "Mad Men" in Los Angeles March 14, 2012. (Photo : Reuters)

The race for Best Actor in a Drama has several fierce contenders, including four returning nominees that could take the award this year.

Steve Buscemi: Boardwalk Empire: The New York native is nominated for his role as Enoch 'Nucky' Thompson, a gangster and politician that ruled Atlantic City, on HBO's hit series Boardwalk Empire. The veteran actor, who began his acting career in the 1980s, is known for several films, including Fargo (1996), The Big Lebowski (1998) and Monsters, Inc. (2001). With a career spanning nearly 30 years, Buscemi has racked up a number of awards, including a Monte-Carlo TV Festival Golden Nymph (2012), five Primetime Emmys (2001, 2004, 2008 and 2011-2012) and three SAG Awards (2005 and 2013). The 55-year-old actor has also taken home several awards, including a Gotham Tribute Award (2003) and four SAG Awards (2011-2012). He is a returning nominee in this category and has had a total of three nominations and one win (2011) for the Golden Globes. As a returning nominee, Buscemi could take the award this year.

Bryan Cranston: Breaking Bad: The California native and fellow returning nominee is again nominated for his role as Walter White in the smash AMC series Breaking Bad. While the actor is perhaps best known for his work on the TV series Malcolm in the Middle (2000-2006), Cranston has also appeared on recent films Drive (2011) and Argo (2012). Cranston has been nominated for several awards, including five Primetime Emmys (2002-2003, 2006 and 2012), three Satellite Awards (2004 and 2011-2012) and seven SAG Awards (2010-2013). The 56-year-old veteran actor has also taken home numerous awards, including three Primetime Emmys (2008-2010) and three Satellite Awards (2008-2010). He has been nominated for the Golden Globe four times, with the last three years for his work on Breaking Bad. Given the immense popularity of the show and his several nominations in the category, Cranston could be the one to beat this year.

Jeff Daniels: The Newsroom: The Georgia-born Michigan native is nominated for his role as Will McAvoy, a news anchor in the hit HBO series The Newsroom. The veteran actor has acted in several films, but is perhaps best known for his work on Speed (1994), Good Night, and Good Luck (2005) and State of Play (2009). Daniels has several awards nominations in his name, including a Gotham Award (2005), three Satellite Awards (1999, 2007 and 2012) and three SAG Awards (2003, 2006 and 2013). He has also won a number of awards, such as the Chlotrudis Award (2006), the Gotham Award (2005) and the Las Palmas Film Festival's Honorary Lady Harmaguada (2008). He is a four-time Golden Globes nominee (1986-1987, 2006 and 2013). Despite, being nominated several times for his role on The Newsroom, it seems unlikely Daniels will nab the award.

Jon Hamm: Mad Men: The Missouri local is nominated for his breakout role as Don Drapper in the hit TV series Mad Men. After being catapulted into Hollywood fame as ad man Drapper, Hamm appeared on 30 Rock (2009-2012), The Town (2010) and A Young Doctor's Notebook (2012). Hamm has been nominated for numerous awards, including a Monte-Carlo TV Festival Golden Nymph (2010), nine Primetime Emmys (2008-2012) and eight SAG Awards (2008-2011 and 2013). He's also taken home several awards, including two Monte-Carlo TV Festival Golden Nymph (2009 and 2011) and two SAG Awards (2009-2010). The 41-year-old is a four-time Golden Globes nominee and a one-time winner (2008). With several nominations under his belt for Mad Men, Hamm could prove to be tough competition to beat.

Damian Lewis: Homeland: The British actor is nominated for his popular portrayal of Nicholas Brody, a former USMC Sergeant who becomes an al Qaeda operative after eight years captivity, in the hit Showtime drama Homeland. Lewis, who began his acting career in the early 1990s, has also appeared in Life (2007-2009), Dreamcatcher (2003) and Band of Brothers (2001). The 41-year-old actor has nabbed nominations in the Gotham Awards (2005), the Satellite Awards (2002 and 2012) and the SAG Awards (2013). He has also taken home several awards, including a Golden FIPA (2002) and a Primetime Emmy (2012). Lewis is a three-time Golden Globes nominee and is surely to be recognized for his work in the future. Homeland's incredible success and its nomination for Best Television Series Drama is sure to give Lewis the edge for this award.

Prediction: There is a fierce competition between the five contenders for the award of Best Actor in a Drama. Four of the contenders are repeat nominees that have proven they have what it takes to win the award. Given the tremendous success of both Breaking Bad and Homeland in 2012, it is easy to see how Bryan Cranston and Damian Lewis can be considered front-runners of the race. In my opinion, either could take the Golden Globe but Lewis appears more poised to take the award home. However, Jon Hamm may best the two and take the award himself.

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