Credit: My Name Is Earl: Hopper Stone; Prison Break: C.Hodes

Jason Lee and Wentworth Miller won a 2006 Award

FOR My Name Is Earl (Lee) and Prison Break (Miller)

WHY? If it seems like the Globes pack a zippy punch that’s often lacking during the musty old Emmys, it’s no accident. For starters, not only are HFPA members unafraid to withhold nominations from actors whose performances start feeling stale after five, six, or seven seasons, they’re often downright eager to give the top prize to thespians during their series’ freshman seasons. Though the Globes have a reputation for showing the love to neophyte ingenues (think Jennifer Garner, Keri Russell, and Calista Flockhart during the first seasons of Alias, Felicity, and Ally McBeal, respectively), they’ve certainly given plenty of props to breakout male stars too (including Monk‘s Tony Shalhoub and The Shield‘s Michael Chiklis). So who’ll be the beneficiary of this trend in 2006? Most likely My Name Is Earl‘s consistently hilarious Jason Lee, or Prison Break‘s charismatically stoic Wentworth Miller, up for respective best actor prizes in the comedy and drama divisions. Of course, the Globes might do one better and send both guys home with a trophy. Acceptance speeches we haven’t heard three years running? That’d make for a telecast worth watching.

(Golden Globe nominations: Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series — Drama [Miller] and Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series — Musical or Comedy [Lee])