jason stives reacts to this year’s Emmy nominations and predicts the winners …
If anything can be said about why critics and fans hate award shows, it’s the constant call to the heavy favorites and a complete lack of diversity. That’s why music fans have shunned the Grammys in the past decade, and the Oscars infuriate people who only liked one film in the Best Picture nominations.
Television too has a couth undertaking as it represents the best choices out of four networks and countless paid cable channels of what exactly warrants the prize. Ratings don’t matter thankfully as much as they do quality and this year the nominees for the 2011 Primetime Emmy Awards are a mixed bag of welcomed newcomers and veterans that may lag behind in freshness.
Because there are way too many categories to discuss, and also because I haven’t watched any of the Best Mini-Series nominees, let’s discuss the main acting and show categories and the potential odds for each category’s respected nominees.
OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
Nominees: Boardwalk Empire (HBO), Dexter (Showtime ), Friday Night Lights (DirecTV), Game Of Thrones (HBO), The Good Wife (CBS), Mad Men (AMC)
This may be a far reaching comment, but this truly is the best of the dramas on television right now. Procedural shows don’t have a heavy hand to be the best drama series but that doesn’t mean they aren’t good or warrant great performances as some of the other nominees show, but these are all first class shows. The most obvious winner based on their takings at the Golden Globes in January is Boardwalk Empire. The show is fresh in everyone’s’ minds both critically and commercially after its impressive debut last fall. With Mad Men already a seasoned vet in the best drama category winning three years running, Boardwalk is the only contender to really give Mad Men a run for the win. Dexter and The Good Wife haven’t any success yet beyond their wins in the acting categories, and Game Of Thrones is the current flavor of the month so its nomination was anticipated. For Friday Night Lights, which is in its final season, this is a welcome nomination but only warranted after much debate and support. It’s heavy-handed to have them in but they won’t win.
Prediction: Boardwalk Empire
OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES
Nominees: The Big Bang Theory (CBS),Glee (FOX), Modern Family (ABC), The Office (NBC), Parks And Recreation (NBC), 30 Rock (NBC)
Once again, because of past showings, biased opinions point towards Modern Family to pick up the win again. While Big Bang Theory has some great showings in the Best Actor Comedy category, no CBS sitcom in the past five years has been fortunate enough to land this win. The Office sadly was nominated during one of their worst years and I doubt they will receive the win, and 30 Rock has already made their point in dominance so another win is unlikely. Parks And Recreation, on the other hand, had an impressive third season and was one of the most refreshing shows on the comedic side. But once again, I place sole dominance on the kooky families on ABC’s wunderkind show.
Prediction: Modern Family
LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Nominees: Kathy Bates, Harry’s Law, Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights, Mireille Enos, The Killing, Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife, Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
This is a very unfair category, mainly because there is so much potential yet it’s too easy to
filter out. My eyes point very quickly to Julianna Margulies from The Good Wife — she’s always put forth stellar primetime performances dating back to her days on ER and she has garnered much deserved praise for this show. As a big fan of Mad Men, and because this season she was exceptionally on the money performance-wise, I pray for a win for Elisabeth Moss for her showing as Peggy Olsen this season. The raw emotion she has displayed with this character has owned and I feel she shouldn’t be disregarded in favor of critics’ choice…but it’s possible. For both Harry’s Law’s Kathy Bates and Connie Britton of Friday Night Lights, these are dead in the water nominations. Again, in what feels like a mercy nod for this underrated drama, Britton’s nomination much like Kyle Chandler’s will not garner a win. Bates is fresh in this show but it has received mixed reviews and mediocre ratings. Mireille Enos was great in her respected freshman show of The Killing, but I feel more is to be had before an odd of winning is considered. Hargitay also has been nominated and won before so the likely choice of her win seems slim but could be a surprise as it was a few years back. Still, this one goes to The Good Wife, and deservingly so I believe. Ladies take a bow.
LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Nominees: Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire, Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights , Michael C. Hall, Dexter , Jon Hamm, Mad Men , Hugh Laurie, House , Timothy Olyphant, Justified
Nominees: This one is such a bitch, but I feel like Best Actor is also easy to filter out. Chandler’s win is less likely much like Friday Night Lights’ other nominations … but still about damn time! For Michael C. Hall, who pulled out some heavy emotions on Dexter this past year, I feel his win last year was more deserved than if he were to win this year (and this comes from a big fan of the hit Showtime series). Hamm hasn’t won in the previous three years of, but his really big emotional showing this season may be in his favor. For both Hugh Laurie and Timothy Olyphant — it’s great to see these nominations, but on one end, you have seasoned winner and a FX rookie in this category … so those two are less likely. Odds are this will go like it did at the Golden Globes to Buscemi’s knock-down, drag-out performance as “Nucky Thompson” on Boardwalk Empire.
LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Nominees: Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie, Tina Fey, 30 Rock ; Laura Linney, The Big C, Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly , Martha Plimpton, Raising Hope, Amy Poehler, Parks And Recreation
On one hand, these are all great nominees, and on the other hand, I haven’t seen half these shows. Falco has won before on Nurse Jackie, so her odds are high, but then again so has Tina Fey, who has won multiple years for playing Liz Lemon. Besides Edie Falco, Showtime has another strong contender in Laura Linney for her role as a woman dealing with cancer on the Big C. Melissa McCarthy has received great praise for Mike & Molly, so those odds seem even at this point. I have heard great things about Martha Plimpton on Raising Hope, but I don’t see as much of potential since this is the only category this show has been nominated in. Personally, I would have Amy Poehler win for Parks and Recreation, but it’s too difficult to say. However, the ladies of Showtime seem to have a firm grasp on this category, so I’m going with freshman for the senior prize.
LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Nominees: Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock, Steve Carell, The Office
Louis C.K., Louie, Johnny Galecki, The Big Bang Theory,
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes,
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
This seems heavily like a ringer category — but all with talented nominees. For both Louis C.K. and Matt LeBlanc, it’s great to see their performances get credit even if they are their sole claims to the awards nights — but they are both too new to tell. Baldwin has won several times before for playing Jack Donaghy and another win doesn’t seem as likely. For Carell, his last year nominated will go without a win as I see this as just a last-chance nod. His performance this season was not as good as prior seasons, and even with him exiting the show, I don’t see a win one last time. It ultimately comes down to the boys of The Big Bang Theory, and if you put both these two nominees side by side, Parsons comes through ahead thanks to his distinctive performance and his win last year.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Nominees: Kelly MacDonald, Boardwalk Empire, Archie Panjabi, The
Good Wife, Christine Baranski, The Good Wife, Margo Martindale, Justified, Michelle Forbes, The Killing , Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Let’s do some quick elimination. Two nods for The Good Wife? Gone. Martindale for Justified — once again a freshman nod, so hopefully there will be more chances to come. Same goes for Michelle Forbes, even though she really gave the audience a go on The Killing this season. For me, this comes down to MacDonald and Hendricks. Even though she didn’t win at the Golden Globes, MacDonald’s Margaret Schroder was an empowering character with such a bi-polar dynamic. Hendricks also really upped the ante for her performance as Joan Harris this season on Mad Men, a lot more than anticipated. In the end, this one goes to MacDonald. Much apologies to my favorite buxom red-headed secretary.
SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Nominees: Peter Dinklage, Game Of Thrones, Josh Charles, The
Good Wife , Alan Cumming, The Good Wife, Walton Goggins, Justified
John Slattery, Mad Men , Andre Braugher, Men Of A Certain Age
Again quick eliminations toss out both Good Wife nominees, simply because it seems too one-sided and unfair. Walton Goggins has been an exceptional actor dating back to The Shield, so I don’t think he will get it this time. I love Peter Dinklage, and although I have not seen Game Of Thrones, I can’t see his acting being anything more than spectacular. My silver-fox friend John Slattery hasn’t won yet for playing Roger Sterling, and I don’t see it happening this time either. Even with its recent cancellation, Andre Braugher’s nomination for Men Of A Certain Age is 50/50 but would be a great honor for the highly acclaimed drama. In the end, I think Dinklage has a wonderful edge being the sole umm … heir to the Game Of Thrones nods, and I’m going to go out on a limb and claim him victorious.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Nominees: Jane Lynch, Glee, Betty White, Hot In Cleveland
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
, Sofia Vergara, Modern Family,
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live, Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
This feels like a bit of nepotism and flavor-of-the-month type decisions. Betty White has been on a high in the past two years, and while I bet she is great on Hot In Cleveland, I don’t see her nomination being anymore than a nice nod to her career. Same goes for Kristen Wiig, even though she still turns out great performances on SNL, it just happens to coincide with Bridesmaids; domination this summer at the box offices. Bowen and Krakowski I don’t feel have the personal stance to bring home a win, regardless of past nods. Even with her hosting the show, Lynch has massive potential for a win, but Sofia Vergara really stands out amongst these noms. I credit her playing-dumb-like demeanor for being why she is as excellent as she is on Modern Family and think a win for her would be completely righteous even with all the shows’ other nominations.
SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Nominees: Chris Colfer, Glee, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern
Family , Ed O’Neill, Modern Family , Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
Ty Burrell, Modern Family, Jon Cryer, Two And A Half Men
Okay, this category sadly is a gripe for me, and because of that, I have no prediction. On one end, you have a lot of great performances from Modern Family, but there are also FOUR nominations here. A bit unfair. Yes, Modern Family is a great show, but you mean to tell me every performance is award-worthy? I think this is a biased category. Chris Colfer, while able to zing one-liners well and sport some impressive pipes, is not funny like everyone else nominated and doesn’t deserve a win. Cryer, who has won before, kind of feels shoved in here for all the crap he took over the past year with Charlie Sheen. So, yes, no prediction for me, although assumingly I would think Ed O’ Neill has a chance. (Oops, that’s a minor prediction.)
But the main gripe here is the absence of one Nick Offerman of Parks And Recreation, who demands a nomination after his balls-to-the-wall performance this past season.
Prediction: Ron F#@*ing Swanson for a nomination!