By Jeff Jensen
June 18, 2009 at 08:00 AM EDT

The master list of possible Emmy nominees was recently announced, and we at EW were thrilled to see that Josh Holloway, who has played Sawyer on Lost since its first season back in 2004, is among the mix of potential candidates for Best Supporting Actor. Season 5 was a great year for the 39-year-old star, whose wise-cracking, morally ambiguous con man character completed a series-long shift to full-fledged romantic hero as he led the castaways through time travel peril and fell in love with Jughead-banging Juliet (Elizabeth Mitchell). His grief as he watched his Dharma lady slip out of his hands and fall to her doom was one of the TV season’s most heartbreaking moments. While we hope Emmy remembers Holloway when it winnows its list of Best Supporting Actor players down to a final five, we decided to move ahead and give him an honor of our own by putting Holloway’s in this year’s Must Issue, EW’s annual summertime compendium of essential artists, performers, and assorted coolness. 

In my previous trips to the Lost set in Hawaii, I have always found Holloway to be extremely cordial, charming, and curious about the mysteries of his show. He’s always demonstrated a deep concern that Sawyer remain emotionally credible and compelling without being melodramatic or over the top. And he takes Sawyer’s quips very seriously: When I visited at the end of Season 2, I remember watching him pace through the jungle, rehearsing his lines over and over again to himself, wanting to make sure Sawyer’s new Prince-esque nickname for Ben Linus (“The artist formerly known as Henry Gale”) tripped easily off his tongue. I encountered a slightly different Holloway at our Must Issue photo shoot in the Hollywood Hills late last month. He was as cool and engaging as always, but greatly enhanced by the glee and marvel (and exhaustion) of new fatherhood.  (His daughter, Java, was born last April.) The guy certainly has a certain impact on ladies: At one point during the photo shoot, I spotted a member of our crew discreetly pick up one of Holloway’s shirts and give it a good long sniff. Seriously.

I got a chance to chat with Holloway after the pics were snapped, which we present to you in the three parts. In Part 1, embedded below, the actor talks about Sawyer’s romance with Juliet and their tragic parting. In Parts 2 and 3, Holloway talks about his bloody confrontation with Matthew Fox’s Jack Shephard in the season finale and also discusses some theories with yours truly about where the castaways will finds themselves at the start of Lost’s sixth and final season.