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Hugh Bonneville, Downton AbbeySubmitted Episode: “Episode 7” (Christmas Special) A standalone Christmas special that was aired as the season finale during the show’s stateside run, this episode finds Bonneville’s Earl of Granthan taking the stand in defense of his former valet turned murder suspect, Mister Bates. That doesn’t work out so well, but at least the Earl’s annual shooting party ends on a happier note, with his daughter Mary ditching her overbearing fiancé and finally — finally! — hooking up with Downton’s heir presumptive, Matthew.Our Pick: “Episode 6” Although the Christmas special is an all-around stronger outing, the Earl has much more to do in the preceding episode, when an outbreak of Spanish flu sweeps through the mansion, threatening the lives of mater butler Carson, Matthew’s soft-spoken fiancée Lavinia and the Earl’s own wife, Cora. And with all that going on, he still finds the time to lock lips with new maid Jane, but stops short of giving into his passion. It’s great to see Bonneville’s normal unflappability turn so… well, flappable in the face of these extraordinary events.
Read more: Emmys 2012: Analyzing Lead Actor & Actress Episode Submissions

Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey
Submitted Episode: “Episode 7” (Christmas Special)
A standalone Christmas special that was aired as the season finale during the show’s stateside run, this episode finds Bonneville’s Earl of Granthan taking the stand in defense of his former valet turned murder suspect, Mister Bates. That doesn’t work out so well, but at least the Earl’s annual shooting party ends on a happier note, with his daughter Mary ditching her overbearing fiancé and finally — finally! — hooking up with Downton’s heir presumptive, Matthew.
Our Pick: “Episode 6”
Although the Christmas special is an all-around stronger outing, the Earl has much more to do in the preceding episode, when an outbreak of Spanish flu sweeps through the mansion, threatening the lives of mater butler Carson, Matthew’s soft-spoken fiancée Lavinia and the Earl’s own wife, Cora. And with all that going on, he still finds the time to lock lips with new maid Jane, but stops short of giving into his passion. It’s great to see Bonneville’s normal unflappability turn so… well, flappable in the face of these extraordinary events.

Read more: Emmys 2012: Analyzing Lead Actor & Actress Episode Submissions