Ah, the Emmy Awards. The ugly duckling of awards shows. What are supposed to be the television equivalent of the Oscars are so often left alone, stranded outside of awards season with few viewers. Yet they are still the television industry's highest honor, and are just as subject to intense journalistic and Internet scrutiny.
Here's the problem with all that- while there are a limited amount of viable options at the Oscars for nominations, at the Emmys, the options are seemingly limitless. Even with the expanded number of nominations in each field (6, up from 5), it still makes predicting nominees a fool's game. So, unlike what I did with the Oscars, I'll simply be highlighting actors, actresses, and programs worthy of Emmy attention come nomination time. (Names in bold are my recommended nominees for each category.)
And away we go!
Best Comedy Series
This one's no contest. I'm sorry, Office fans, but the Emmys just aren't that into your show anymore. It's 30 Rock all the way, though I'd like to see a nod for a strongly-resurging Scrubs or the sadly-cancelled Samantha Who?.
Best Drama Series
Mad Men won this award last year, and considering how stellar their second season was, I see no reason why they won't repeat. However, I would also urge consideration for Damages, easily television's best thrill ride, and the criminally underrated In Treatment. What shouldn't be nominated that will be? Boston Legal is the biggest example, especially considering the fact that the Emmy favorite went off the air in December, but I'd also strongly warn against nominating True Blood. Bizarrely, the show is riding a tidal wave of good buzz right now, despite a weak first season, so a nomination is likely.
Best Reality Competition Series
The award's gonna go to The Amazing Race anyway, so why not throw in a few fun nominations along the way? Must-recognize shows include So You Think You Can Dance, Top Chef, and the brilliantProject Runway, but I would love for Bravo's other awesome reality competition, Make Me a Supermodel, to see a little Emmy love.
Best Variety Series
Saturday Night Live came off a brilliant season, so it should see a nod. After years of Daily Show dominance, it would be nice to see compatriot show The Colbert Report get recognized. I beg Emmy voters to ignore the idiocy of Jay Leno, and since he didn't really leave television, maybe the sentimental factor won't come into play. My big appeal is for the comically brilliant Chelsea Lately to get a nod. The E! show is finally getting its due from critics, and I'm hoping it will see some Emmy love. It's not probable, but I'm hopeful.
Best Actor, Comedy Series
There's a lot of love for Jim Parsons, but I'm not a huge Big Bang Theory fan. I'll stick with what works and throw my support behind Alec Baldwin.
Best Actress, Comedy Series
As far as Tina Fey is concerned, though I love her work on 30 Rock, I don't think she deserves this award again. I'd recommend JoAnna Garcia from the underrated Privileged and Judy Reyes of Scrubs. To me, however, it belongs to Christina Applegate for her brilliant Samantha Newly.
Best Actor, Drama Series
Jon Hamm is in a class of his own on Mad Men, and probably deserved this award last year, though I was thrilled that Bryan Cranston got the Emmy. Still, let's not kid ourselves. The fact that Hugh Laurie has never won this award is criminal. He's a perennial nominee, and should win posthaste. (Yeah, I said posthaste.)
Best Actress, Drama Series
You gotta love the ladies of cable. January Jones, Elisabeth Moss, Glenn Close, and Kyra Sedgwick are all award-worthy, but Moss is the true wonder. Her work on Mad Men is so subtly emotional that she can make even the staunchest detractors swoon. That's what happened with me, anyway.
Best Supporting Actor, Comedy Series
Tracy Morgan, Jack McBrayer, and Scott Adsit are all worthy for their work on 30 Rock, as is B.J. Novak, a standout in an uneven season of The Office. It seems silly to campaign for the oft-recognized Neil Patrick Harris, but that doesn't make him any less award-worthy. One request, though: don't nominate Jeremy Piven!
Best Supporting Actress, Comedy Series
I have but one nominee in mind: Jane Krakowski, brilliant as Jenna on 30 Rock. I wouldn't be mad at Emmy voters if they awarded last year's winner, Jean Smart, or her co-stars Jennifer Esposito and Melissa McCarthy. Voters would be wise to recognize SNL's funny ladies, Amy Poehler and Kristen Wiig.
Best Supporting Actor, Drama Series
I'd love to see Robert Sean Leonard recognized for his work on House, J.K. Simmons of The Closer, or either John Slattery or Vincent Kartheiser of Mad Men, but more than anyone else, I want to see David Costabile, the creepy bearded man from Damages, recognized. They gave it to Zeljko last year, let's see another Damaged man get it this year.
Best Supporting Actress, Drama Series
Lots of choices here. Rose Byrne and Marcia Gay Harden are both worthy for Damages, Lisa Edelstein was especially brilliant this season on House, CCH Pounder gave a brilliant flair to the final act of The Shield, Allison Pill, Hope Davis, and Dianne Wiest were all genius on In Treatment, Cherry Jones made for 24's best President ever, and Stephanie March was a welcome return to Law and Order: SVU. Still, there's one fiery redhead whose flawless acting and bombshell style has made one hit show even more phenomenal: the incomparable Christina Hendricks. If she submits the episodes "A Night to Remember" and "The Mountain King," she's won, no doubt. If not, she still deserves the win, but as you can tell, the competition here is stiff, possibly the stiffest of the whole lot. But Hendricks is a revelation, and it would be a shame if her work went unrecognized.
So, to recap, my picks are:
Best Comedy Series: 30 Rock
Best Drama Series: Mad Men
Best Reality Series: Top Chef
Best Variety Series: Chelsea Lately
Best Actor, Comedy: Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Best Actress, Comedy: Christina Applegate, Samantha Who?
Best Actor, Drama: Hugh Laurie, House
Best Actress, Drama: Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Best Supporting Actor, Comedy: B.J. Novak, The Office
Best Supporting Actress, Comedy: Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
Best Supporting Actor, Drama: David Costabile, Damages
Best Supporting Actress, Drama: Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Of these, I'd say four are likely, four are within the realm of possiblity, and four are pipe dreams. Care to guess which are which? Head to the comments section, and respond to my picks! Did I snub worthy performances and series? Which of my picks are crazy? What chance in hell does David Costabile have of winning an Emmy? Sound off!