The Emmy Awards will be telecast this Sunday, September 16th. While the awards are not on the same level of excitement as the Academy Awards, the Emmy’s usually provide a few nominations that are absolute head scratchers such as last year when the Emmy’s became somewhat of an industry joke after actress Ellen Burstyn was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a mini-series or movie for her 14 second role in Mrs. Harris.
The Emmy’s usually offer a good surprise or two in an evening that makes the show more fun to watch. A few examples include the 1966 Best Comedy Series award going to The Monkees and in the early 90’s when NYPD Blue was expected to win the Best Drama series after a hugely triumphant rookie season only to lose to (in my opinion the more deserving) Picket Fences. Just a few years ago Arrested Development was the upset but most deserving winner despite the fact viewer ship was extremely low.
The Emmy’s also tend to love its actors too much. Shows that have run long past their prime (Will and Grace; The West Wing) are often still honored with nominations and awards. This year is no exception.
This year the Academy showed its “hip-ness” by recognizing the enormously popular Heroes but for years overlooked such series as Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Dawson’s Creek, Smallville, Everwood, Seventh Heaven, and The Gilmore Girls for top acting or series nominations.
Here is a list of the major nominees for network and cable series and my predictions listed under ‘should win,’ for who I think deserves it and ‘will win,’ for who I think will ultimately get the award. I have skipped the mini-series and movie nominations as I have seen too few to accurately predict. Don’t be surprised if you disagree with my choices as we all have our favorite shows and the Television Academy often disagrees with the fans.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR (COMEDY SERIES)
Jon Cryer “Two And A Half Men”
Kevin Dillon “Entourage”
Neil Patrick Harris “How I Met Your Mother”
Jeremy Piven “Entourage”
Rainn Wilson “The Office”
This is a two way race between Piven and Wilson. Cryer’s nomination is for a popular show that consistently fails to live up to its awards hype. Dillon is good in Entourage but is overshadowed by his co-star. Harris is the one standout on a dreadful show. Piven is always a standout with whatever performance he is giving and he consistently steals the limelight from an equally talented supporting cast. He makes you listen to his character his presence is so commanding. Wilson has the good fortune to be funny on one of the most popular comedy shows currently on network television. It’s a tough call in this category.
Should Win : Piven
Will Win: Wilson
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR (DRAMA SERIES)
Michael Emerson “Lost”
Michael Imperioli “The Sopranos”
T.R. Knight “Grey’s Anatomy”
Maso Oka “Heroes”
Terry O’Quinn “Lost”
William Shatner “Boston Legal”
This category is a little tougher to pick. I think you can eliminate Knight from contention simply because the competition is stiff this year and the popularity of Grey’s Anatomy diminished some. I also think you can eliminate O’Quinn simply because his standout character on Lost didn’t standout this season until near the end. Shatner has been honored more then once for this role on a show that is getting stale. His winning could be one of those classic Emmy upsets – but I doubt it.
This leaves three strong actors left to fight it out. Emerson is positively chilling as the villain on Lost but it had a bad first half of this last season and the popularity it once had may never recover. Imperioli was a standout on the final season of The Sopranos as Tony’s hopelessly drug addicted and doomed nephew. He was terrific but the show’s short season may cost him. Oka is likely the most popular character on the season’s most popular new series which has grown in popularity.
Should Win: Emerson
Will Win: Oka
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS (COMEDY SERIES)
Conchata Ferrell “Two And A Half Men”
Jenna Fischer “The Office”
Elizabeth Perkins “Weeds”
Jaime Pressly “My Name Is Earl”
Holland Taylor “Two And A Half Men”
Vanessa Williams “Ugly Betty”
This is another difficult category to handicap. Taylor and Ferrell could knock each other out by splitting the vote. Fischer is a well deserved nominee for a very popular show with the television academy. Perkins has a smart role on a very strong and increasingly popular cable series. Pressly is hysterical as the ultimate dumb blonde redneck. Williams has revived her career with an almost sinister role in a hit comedy. This one is a coin flip but don’t be surprised if Fischer, Pressly or Williams triumphs. It is too close to call but I will give it a go.
Should Win: Pressly
Will Win: Perkins
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS (DRAMA SERIES)
Lorraine Bracco “The Sopranos”
Rachel Griffiths “Brothers & Sisters”
Katherine Heigl “Grey’s Anatomy”
Sandra Oh “Grey’s Anatomy”
Aida Turturro “The Sopranos”
Chandra Wilson “Grey’s Anatomy”
I think this could be a fairly easy category if, of course, everything plays out. Bracco’s nomination is ridiculous. Her popular character was reduced to hardly there cameos the last season and she was nothing special. Griffiths is popular with the Academy having previously won for Six Feet Under but I don’t think she will win this year. Oh is a previous winner who happens to be running against two co-stars. Wilson, I believe, will get lost in the shuffle despite some strong work here. Turturro is probably the best of the bunch and deserves to win but her character was given short shrift after a strong season start. Heigl became a full fledged star this year having co-starred in the smash comedy Knocked Up while doing strong dramatic work here. It’s her award to lose.
Should Win: Turturro
Will Win: Heigl
BEST ACTRESS (DRAMA SERIES)
Patricia Arquette “Medium”
Minnie Driver “The Riches”
Edie Falco “The Sopranos”
Sally Field “Brothers & Sisters”
Mariska Hargitay “Law And Order: Special Victims Unit”
Kyra Sedgewick “The Closer”
Another difficult category made more difficult by the fact that the Emmy’s often give six nominations as is the case here. It gives the chance for the vote to be a lot closer if votes are spread out over six.
I think there are 3 safe eliminations off the top. Arquette has already won the award and the category is too strong. Driver is terrific as a con woman married to a con man but the show is not popular and her character is not likable enough. Field is a longtime veteran but hasn’t won an Emmy since Sybil, 31 years ago. She’s good but not good enough.
Of the three remaining you could flip a coin and come up with a deserving winner. Falco had another strong year as Tony Sopranos often beleaguered wife. Since this is the last chance for her the Academy may side with her. Hargitay has been honored with two Emmy’s but she continues doing strong work. Sedgewick is on basic cable’s most popular series and her performance is growing better each year. She is well liked and her star has risen the last two years.
Should Win: Sedgewick
Will Win: Falco
BEST ACTRESS (COMEDY SERIES)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus “The New Adventures of Old Christine”
America Ferrera “Ugly Betty”
Tina Fey “30 Rock”
Felicity Huffman “Desperate Housewives”
Mary-Louis Parker “Weeds”
Yet another tough category but one we can get to the bottom of. Dreyfus was an upset winner last year so she is unlikely to repeat. Huffman is a token nominee from a once phenomenon that is now more then ordinary (did you notice not a single other cast member got nominated when only two years ago all four lead women made the cut). Huffman would be my second choice from the show (after Marcia Cross whose overlooked nomination was likely due to her pregnancy keeping her off the air for a good portion of the season). Ferrera is wonderful in a title role that demands she shed some of her attractiveness. She has also been previously honored in Hollywood. Fey is outstanding on a hilarious show that she created that has failed to find an audience. A victory may give the show some notice it deserves. Parker is the anchor of Weeds, a terrific comedy for adults
Should Win: Fey
Will Win: Parker – but look out for a Ferrera upset.
BEST ACTOR (COMEDY SERIES)
Alec Baldwin “30 Rock”
Steve Carell “The Office”
Ricky Gervais “Extras”
Tony Shaloub “Monk”
Charlie Sheen “Two And A Half Men”
To me this seems like an easy category but that is what makes the Emmy Awards so interesting. I think this in a one man race but who knows? Sheen’s nomination is ridiculous (paging Jason Lee from My Name Is Earl). If he wins you may as well sell your television. Shaloub has won previously for a once popular cable show that is losing its audience and quality. Gervais is funny in a show that hasn’t quite reached cult status yet. Carell may win because of the popularity of the show but he has been previously honored. Baldwin steals the show on 30 Rock as the boss. He is cocky, confident and utterly ridiculous and he is a laugh a minute.
Should Win: Baldwin
Will Win: Baldwin
BEST ACTOR (DRAMA SERIES)
James Gandolfini “The Sopranos”
Hugh Laurie “House”
Denis Leary “Rescue Me”
James Spader “Boston Legal”
Keifer Sutherland “24”
This seems to be a fairly easy category if the Emmy’s follow its usual protocol. Spader has won previously and he seems to be winging it nowadays. Sutherland is terrific on 24 but this its weakest season. Leary has been terrific on Rescue Me for a few years now but Emmy never noticed (although he was nominated for writing last season). Laurie is an Emmy and public favorite. Gandolfini is the likely favorite because everyone loved Tony Soprano even if everyone didn’t love the last episode.
Should Win: Leary
Will Win: Gandolfini
BEST COMEDY SERIES
Two And A Half Men
I think an upset is brewing in this category. The nod for Two And A Half Men is a joke (where was a nomination for either Weeds or My Name Is Earl). It may be amusing but it is certainly not one of the 5 best comedies. Entourage will not win either. It is a good show but cable series’ do not stand out often. The Office has won before and don’t be surprised if it wins again but I don’t think so. Ugly Betty is popular and entertaining and deserving of the award but I think the show will be covered with an acting win. I think 30 Rock is going to be the upset winner simply because I think it was the year’s funniest show.
Should Win: 30 Rock
Will Win: 30 Rock
BEST DRAMA SERIES
Kudos to the academy for including Heroes but my choice for the best drama of year, Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip, was forgotten. Further kudos for overlooking Lost, which had a terrific second half following a terrible first half, and 24, which suffered through its weakest season yet. I think this is a two horse race. Boston Legal is on the list because the academy loves creator David E Kelly. House is a better lead character then overall show.
Grey’s Anatomy is nominated more due to its popularity then its scripts. It’s getting too soap opera-ish. I think it comes down to a battle between superheroes and a mobster. Normally I would call Heroes a lock for the upset here had The Sopranos just gone through a regular season. But since it is the last I suspect the academy will want to honor it one last time. Besides Heroes can win next year if it sustains itself.
Should Win: The Sopranos
Will Win: The Sopranos