I'll be part of the gang live-blogging the Emmy Awards this Sunday over at NPR's Monkey See blog. And between all the gripes about production and wishing that Claire Danes could present all the awards in her Temple Grandin voice, I might not have the space to explore who I think will win and why. Which is what I have a blog for!
"Breaking Bad" (AMC)
"The Good Wife" (CBS)
"Mad Men" (AMC)
"True Blood" (HBO)
A lot of people are seeing this as Mad Men vs. Lost. I think Lost is way too polarizing. I'd say this is Mad Men vs. Breaking Bad, with The Good Wife as a stalking horse/spoiler. Emmy likes a good streak. Winner: Mad Men
"Curb Your Enthusiasm" (HBO)
"Modern Family" (ABC)
"Nurse Jackie" (Showtime)
"The Office" (NBC)
"30 Rock" (NBC)
The entire comedy slate appears to be narrowing down to Modern Family vs. Glee. Glee had the big momentum coming off of nominations, but I have maintained all along that Modern Family is the tortoise in this race. And the slow-moving Emmy voters will eventually gravitate its way. Winner: Modern Family
ACTOR IN A COMEDY
Jim Parsons - "Big Bang Theory"
Larry David - "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
Matthew Morrison - "Glee"
Tony Shalhoub - "Monk"
Steve Carell - "The Office"
Alec Baldwin - "30 Rock"
Who Submitted Well? From what I've heard, Parsons's episode ("The Pants Alternative") was a strong one, but we heard that last year too, right? Baldwin ("Don Geiss, America & Hope") submitted the episode where Jack Donaghy invents porno for ladies, and I suspect that he might win solely for the way he delivers the line "Fresh-Ass, Based on the Novel 'Tush' by Ass-Fire." Larry David wisely submitted the "Seinfeld" episode, and Shalhoub submitted the two-part, two-hour Monk finale.
Most notably, I can tell you that Matthew Morrison ("Mash-Up") submitted HORRIBLY, choosing the episode where he sings the "Thong Song." Morrison was never going to win anyway, but if he'd have submitted either of the two April Rhodes episodes (Chenoweth brought out the best in the Will Shuster character and Morrison's best musical performances), he might have become a spoiler.
Who Wins? Baldwin's the choice for inertia, and we know the Emmys love inertia. But they love Tony Shalhoub more. Everybody keeps saying Jim Parsons is bound to win sooner or later, but I'm not going to be the sucker betting against Shalhoub AGAIN just to see him trot up to the podium for a fourth time. Winner: Tony SHalhoub.
ACTOR IN A DRAMA
Bryan Cranston - "Breaking Bad"
Michael C. Hall - "Dexter"
Kyle Chandler = "Friday Night Lights"
Hugh Laurie - "House"
Matthew Fox - "Lost"
Jon Hamm - "Mad Men"
Who Submitted Well? All indications are that Hugh Laurie ("Broken, Parts 1 & 2") submitted the most tour-de-force episode he's ever done (and a two-parter, to boot), but his competitors weren't slouches either.
Who Wins? Very tough call. Let's safely set aside Fox and Chandler, for whom the nomination will be reward enough. Hamm would easily win among weaker competition, but unfortunately, he might not even be the best lead actor on his own network. Certainly, the Emmys prefer Cranston, and I would not be at all surprised to see him three-peat. The possible spoilers are Laurie and Hall. And I don't want to hear any sniffing from anyone about sympathy voting if Hall wins. The man should already have two Emmys (Dexter's first season and at least once during Six Feet Under's run). Every year, I keep fucking myself over thinking THIS is the year they finally award Laurie. Sometimes they just won't. Winner: Michael C. Hall
ACTRESS IN A COMEDY
Lea Michele - "Glee"
Julia Louis-Dreyfus - "The New Adventures Of Old Christine"
Edie Falco - "Nurse Jackie"
Amy Poehler - "Parks And Recreation"
Tina Fey - "30 Rock"
Toni Collette - "United States Of Tara"
Who Submitted Well? It's impossible for me to tell whether Lea Michele ("Sectionals") submitted well or not, because I don't know what aspects of her performance appeal to Emmy voters. She performs "Don't Rain on My Parade," for what it's worth. And while I love Amy Poehler ("Telethon") and Louis-Dreyfus ("I Love What You Do for Me") has won before, the ace submissions by Fey, Collette, and Falco leave them in the dust. Fey is screamingly funny in "Dealbreakers Episode #001," Collette cycles through all her personalities in "Torando," and Falco, already an Emmy favorite, submitted Jackie's incredibly strong pilot.
Who Wins? It's a tough three-way race, but Falco's newness and the fact that Emmy voters already love her, give her the edge. Winner: Edie Falco
ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
Kyra Sedgwick - "The Closer"
Glenn Close - "Damages"
Connie Britton - "Friday Night Lights"
Julianna Margulies - "The Good Wife"
Mariska Hargitay - "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
January Jones - "Mad Men"
Who Submitted Well? Well...I don't think Close ("Your Secrets Are Safe") had all that much to work with all season, so picking a strong episode to submit would be a challenge. And while Connie Britton ("After the Fall") is never not amazing, the big scene in her episode has her getting overshadowed by Matt Lauria. January Jones, I think, has the strongest submission, with "The Gypsy and the Hobo" being a huge turning point for Betty, and one where she's at her least abhorrent.
Who Wins? I'd like to think Jones's strong submission will make a difference, but I don't see anyone besting Julianna Marguiles here.
SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY
Chris Colfer - "Glee"
Neil Patrick Harris - "How I Met Your Mother"
Jesse Tyler Ferguson - "Modern Family"
Eric Stonestreet - "Modern Family"
Ty Burrell - "Modern Family"
Jon Cryer - "Two and a Half Men"
Who Submitted Well? Lots of people! Colfer submitted "Laryngitis," which combined his unquestioned musical highlight of the year ("Rose's Turn"!) with some great father/son sentiment. Stonestreet submitted "Fizbo," and Ferguson ("Family Portrait") submitted the one where he deals with a pigeon in the house, my favorite moment of his. Even NPH, while not having my favorite season, had a whole lot to do in "Girls vs. Suits." And while I initially thought Burrell submitted the 30-minute Apple commercial that was "Game Changer," I'm now reading he submitted "Up All Night," where he's afflicted with kidney stones. Much funnier.
Who Wins? Seems like a toss-up, because we don't know which Modern Family member the voters will gravitate towards (I'd guess Burrell, but who knows?). Everybody's picking NPH because everybody loves him, but in all the years I've followed the Emmy's, I have NEVER been happy with the winner in this category, going back to the Michael-Richards-over-Jason-Alexander days. Why mess with a streak? Winner: Jon Cryer
SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA
Aaron Paul - "Breaking Bad"
Martin Short - "Damages"
Terry O'Quinn - "Lost"
Michael Emerson - "Lost"
John Slattery - "Mad Men"
Andre Braugher - "Men Of A Certain Age"
Who Submitted Well? Lost actors get the luxury of always being able to submit episodes that are All About Them (O'Quinn submitted "The Substitute"; Emerson submitted "Dr. Linus"). But I'm of the opinion that there's no such thing as a weak submission for Aaron Paul. He picked "Half Measures," wherein he got to play the battle for his soul as well as he had all season.
Who Wins? Predicting Emmy awards is one continual process of checking your most optimistic instincts and picking completely counter to that. But I'm talking myself into Aaron Paul. If the fact that he gave the best performance in any category all year doesn't mean anything, we can at least point to Cranston's two wins as proof that voters do appreciate the show. And while I could see either of the Lost guys getting a trophy for the road, I'm ready to stick my neck out just once. Winner: Aaron Paul
SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY
Jane Lynch - "Glee"
Julie Bowen - "Modern Family"
Sofia Vergara - "Modern Family"
Kristen Wiig - "Saturday Night Live"
Jane Krakowski - "30 Rock"
Holland Taylor - "Two And A Half Men"
Who Submitted Well? Julie Bowen probably made the smartest move in submitting "My Funky Valentine," where she gets to be so much more than her standard annoyed wife. But that episode also contains my favorite Sofia Vergara moment of the season, when she impersonates an alarm clock. I actually don't think "The Power of Madonna" was the best Jane Lynch has done, but as with all things Jane Lynch, the specifics may not matter.
Who Wins? I've been saying for months and months now that Lynch was going to be SHOCKINGLY upset for the Emmy by Vergara. The nominations announcement gave me some pause, with Glee being embraced far more than I expected it to be. But I'm holding to my guns. Every year, there's a big shock at the Emmys that only seems non-shocking in retrospect. I'm calling that for here. Winner: Sofia Vergara
SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
Sharon Gless - "Burn Notice"
Rose Byrne - "Damages"
Archie Panjabi - "The Good Wife"
Christine Baranski - "The Good Wife"
Christina Hendricks - "Mad Men"
Elisabeth Moss - "Mad Men"
Who Submitted Well? I only watched half of these nominated performances this season, but I can say that Moss ("Love Among the Ruins") submitted a show where she was excellent, if not exactly revelatory, and Rose Byrne ("Your Secrets Are Safe") submitted the season premiere, which was more about establishing the Tobin family than about Ellen herself. Hendricks ("Guy Walks into an Advertising Agency") picked the episode where Joan and Don have that rather electrifying conversation in the hospital ER after what'shisface got his foot run over. I'd say you'd have to understand Joan's history on the show to get why that scene is so good, but Emmy voters are clearly familiar with Mad Men.
Who Wins? This one's a real toss-up, with only Byrne out of the running. I'd say that Moss being previously nominated as a Lead Actress bodes well for her, but that never proved true for Lorraine Bracco. And while I have a nagging desire to call a win for Panjabi along the lines of a Camryn Manheim/Michael Baddalucco/Richard Schiff (a.k.a. the "Voters must see something they like to nominate someone with no name value" theory), I think Baranski's presence gums up those works a bit. A lot of people seem to be calling a Sharon Gless win, and lord knows I have underestimated the Cagney & Lacey effect to my peril before, but I just don't see the Emmys going that big for Burn Notice. I'm calling this as a toss-up between Baranski (another Emmy fave) and Hendricks. Winner: Christine Baranski
DIRECTING IN A DRAMA:
Lost, Jack Bender ("The End, Parts 1 & 2")
Mad Men, Lesli Linka Glatter ("Guy Walks into an Advertising Agency")
Mad Men, Agnieszka Holland Treme ("Do You Know What It Means?")
Breaking Bad, Michelle MacLaren ("One Minute")
Dexter, Steve Shill ("The Getaway")
This looks like a battle between Lost and Mad Men, with a big ol' opportunity to honor the one thing everybody could agree on about Lost: it looked amazing. And this same award went last year to another long-running show's series finale (E.R.). Then again, Mad Men has yet to win in this, and I'm not sure if that means they're due or the direction isn't as beloved as it could be. Winner: Lost
WRITING IN A DRAMA:
Friday Night Lights, Rolin Jones ("The Son")
The Good Wife, Michelle King & Robert King ("Pilot")
Lost, Damon Lindelof & Carlton Cuse ("The End, Parts 1 & 2")
Mad Men, Robin Veith & Matthew Weiner ("Guy Walks into an Advertising Agency")
Mad Men, Matthew Weiner & Erin Levy ("Shut the Door. Have a Seat")
Whereas Mad Men has taken this award the last two years. And I don't see a reason why it won't go three-for-three. "Shut the Door, Have a Seat" is such a clear crowd-pleaser, I can't see voters not rewarding it. Winner: Mad Men ("Shut the Door, Have a Seat")
DIRECTING IN A COMEDY:
Glee, Paris Barclay ("Wheels")
Nurse Jackie, Allen Coulter ("Pilot")
Glee, Ryan Murphy ("Pilot")
30 Rock, Don Scardino ("I Do Do")
Modern Family, Jason Winer ("Pilot")
This award has gone to a pilot episode five of the last six years, so that helps narrow the field a bit. The temptation is to split the writing and directing awards between Modern Family and Glee. If so, Glee would seem to be the more directorial effort. Plus it lets the voters honor Ryan Murphy even if they decide to give Modern Family the top prize. Winner: Glee ("Pilot")
WRITING IN A COMEDY:
The Office, Greg Daniels & Mindy Kaling ("Niagara, Parts 1 & 2")
30 Rock, Tina Fey & Kay Cannon ("Lee Marvin vs. Derek Jeter")
30 Rock, Matt Hubbard ("Anna Howard Shaw Day")
Modern Family, Steven Levitan & Christopher Lloyd ("Pilot")
Glee, Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk & Ian Brennan ("Pilot")
I would be honestly pretty shocked if Modern Family doesn't take this one in a walk. Neither 30 Rock episode was all that spectacular, The Office, despite "Niagara" being a strong episode, is past its prime, and Glee is not exactly a triumph of writing. Winner: Modern Family