By Michael Ausiello
Updated May 27, 2010 at 06:24 PM EDT


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Image Credit: Prashant Gupta/FX; Justin Stephens/NBC; Mike Muller/FX; Mitchell Haaseth/NBC; Chris Haston/NBCEmmy voters: Welcome to the penultimate installment of my 2010 Dream Emmy Ballot, this one focused on the highly competitive lead actor and actress in a drama series categories. (My picks for outstanding comedy and drama series will be posted tomorrow.) Please consult this list of recommendations when the balloting process begins next week. Otherwise I’m going to be very grumpy when the real nominations come out on July 8.

Best Lead Actor (Drama)

* Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights): His coach turned the misfits of East Dillon into champions. Surely that warrants an Emmy.

* Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad): I smell a three-peat.

* Michael C. Hall (Dexter): He killed as Dex tried (and failed) to have it all.

* Peter Krause (Parenthood): His character is flawed. His performance? Not so much.

* Hugh Laurie (House): Delivered the best work of his career in this season’s opener and closer.

* Timothy Olyphant (Justified): So strong, it’s dang near criminal.

Best Lead Actress (Drama)

* Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights) Carried the ball, never fumbling, even with a tricky abortion plot.

* Glenn Close (Damages): Showed us a devil of a time as Patty stared down her demons.

* Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad): The breakout performance of the year.

* Regina King (Southland) Simply put, the tube’s most complex female cop since… Yeah, I’m stumped too.

* Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife): Good? Try great.

* Katey Sagal (Sons of Anarchy): Season 2 sent Gemma to hell and back. Heavenly!

Agree/disagree with my picks? Consider the comments section below your own personal Dream Emmy Ballot.

Coming up tomorrow: Best drama and comedy

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