With the start of the NFL season kick-off (pun intended), and fantasy football season furiously underway, its hard not to apply the same type of fanaticism to the Emmys.
While Oscar may carry more prestige, I always have a special connection with Emmy because I watch TV every day. I follow the season much as I would an NFL season, with unabashed enthusiasm. Now, all of my research (yes, thats what its called when you do it professionally) will go into this breakdown of the 64th Primetime Emmys that airs Sunday, Sept. 23.
There couldnt be a better time for Jimmy Kimmel to be the host. Kimmel, whose late-night show finally gets to join the adult table at 11:35 p.m., will have a three-hour showcase (on ABC no less) to highlight his brand of smart, biting and Everyman sense of humor.
And now the categories
Outstanding Comedy Series
Curb Your Enthusiasm
The Big Bang Theory
Reality TV may have killed the sitcoms reign at prime time, but we are experiencing a golden age for comedy. Each of the nominees is a game breaker with a legitimate shot at winning on paper. Curb Your Enthusiasm, a show in the pantheon of great comedy, has only gotten better with age. Lena Dunham, a protégé of Judd Apatow, is a breath of fresh air with Girls and has more nominations and wins in the future but this is nomination was more of a hello than anything else. 30 Rock has replaced The Office as this years Mendoza Line nomination. Its not a bad thing, but its not necessarily a good thing, either. This show is exiting at the right moment. Modern Family is an ideal choice to win this year. At first the sitcom appeared as an Office/Parks And Recreation knock-off. What it has gone on to do is crystallize the single-cam sitcom genre. Veep is clearly the dark horse candidate and proof that satire outside of Stephen Colbert can still exist. However, the nerds rule and The Big Bang Theory is due for its first Emmy win.
Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Zoe Deschanel, New Girl
Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Amy Poehler, Parks And Recreation
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Julia-Louis Dreyfuss, Veep
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
Easy money would be on Deschanel to get her first Emmy win as televisions newest It Girl. All the other nominees are buoyed by strong actors or strong scripts, while Deschanel ends up having to carry the show on her own. As mentioned above, Dunham is a wunderkind of the highest order, but shell just have to wait her turn. Simple as that. Its unfortunate for Poehler, who stars in arguably the best comedy in television and will come up short yet again. Fey, McCarthy and Falco are stalwart nominees but none had a breakout season. The clear winner has to be Dreyfuss who has turned in her best work, ever. Period.
Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Louis C.K., Louie
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
If we are indeed in a golden age of comedy platitudes, then this category is a 1927 Yankees murderers row of talent. How do you pick between two comedic voices of a generation (David, C.K.), two former winners and two Oscar winners? C.K. has to be the favorite to win. He is peaking at the right moment and a win would be an exclamation point to his brilliant second season. Jon Cryer and Don Cheadle are also worthy nominations with Cryer keeping Two and a Half Men afloat, despite Ashton Kutchers best efforts, and for Cheadle showing his comedic chops.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Merritt Weaver, Nurse Jackie
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Kathryn Joosten, Desperate Housewives
This is really a two-horse race between Bowen and Wiig. Bowen is perfect at playing the straight man to everyones shenanigans on Modern Family, while a win for Wiig would be a coronation for her years on SNL. If youre looking purely at who had the stronger year, then its Bowen; overall it would be Wiig. Its nice to see Bialik receive a nom considering she just had a walk-on part and now is in the cast, while reducing Vergara to an I Love Lucy punch line all season long is hardly worth the nomination.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Ed ONeill, Modern Family
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live
Max Greenfield, New Girl
Greenfield has to be pretty psyched to get a nod. Rumor has it that this whole category was going to Modern Family, but they ran out of males for the category. The only chance Hader has at winning this category is if the Modern Family crew split the vote. Heres why he should win though: originality. From Stefon to Sheppard Smith, Hader is SNLs best utility player. With the exception of Stephen Colbert, no one is as sublimely subversive. AND HE WRITES!!!
Outstanding Drama Series
Game of Thrones
Have you ever wondered if Salieri ever at one point just decided to knock off Mozart and take all the glory? Were about to see something similar with Breaking Bad and Mad Men. For years, and rightly so, weve seen Mad Men carry the mantle for AMC and have showered it with acclaim for its commentary of the past and dissection of how we got to where we are at in society. Breaking Bad, however, shows how comfortable we are as a society with accepting depravity. Years later, critics will look at Don Draper as the super ego to Walter Whites raging id. And yet Dexter is nowhere to be found.
Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Kathy Bates, Harrys Law
Glenn Close, Damages
Claire Danes, Homeland
This category is closer to how Amadeus actually played out, save that Moss is Salieri and Danes is Mozart. It was great to have Peggy Olsen finally get out from underneath Don Drapers shadow, but Carrie Mathison is one of the strongest female characters in years.
Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Steve Buschemi, Boardwalk Empire
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Damian Lewis, Homeland
Bryan Cranston has the role of a lifetime. In five seasons the audience has been able to see a complete transformation and utter downward spiral of a human being. Give the man his due. Credit should also go to Hall for his performance transforming (slowly) a serial killer into a human being. Then again, Buscemi could just win it all.
Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife
Annie Gunn, Breaking Bad
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Joanna Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Christine Hendricks, Mad Men
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Hendricks was the MVP of Mad Menlast season. Not only did her character highlight the rise of women in the workplace, but Hendricks is breaking the mold of what is considered beautiful or normal on television. And if last seasons cliffhanger is any indication, Hendricks is just getting started
Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Giancarlo Esposito, Breaking Bad
Brendan Coyle, Downton Abbey
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Jared Harris, Mad Men
Paul will probably get this with the shock value his character brings to Breaking Bad, but there is hardly a more subtle and nuanced character performance than Harris portrayal of Lane Pryce. His character highlighted the changing moods toward financial, race and sexual relation