I already wrote about my initial reactions to the 64th Emmy Nominations, but I’ve had time to think about it and am officially making my predictions for this Sunday’s award show. I’ll keep it short and sweet and to the point. I’ll only discuss the major acting award in drama/comedy. No writing, directing or guest appearances. No miniseries or TV movies either. Just the big guns.
[Note: I’ve put an * next to my second choice in each category. Couldn’t resist.]
Drama Series: Breaking Bad
Boardwalk Empire, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, Homeland*, Mad Men
By all accounts, the fourth season of Breaking Bad was not only one of the best seasons of 2011, it was one of the best in history. It may finally have made the push to beat out fellow AMC show, the undefeated Mad Men for this coveted prize. As for Homeland? It’s my winner for the award. Its first season captivated me and sent me on an thrilling story that kept me guessing every step of the way. But can a first year surprise upset heavy favorites? This year is filled with six shows who had near perfect seasons. This is probably the tightest race in recent memory.
Lead Actor, Drama: Bryan Crantson (Breaking Bad)
Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey), Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire), Michael C. Hall (Dexter), Jon Hamm* (Mad Men), Damien Lewis (Homeland)
He was sidelined at last year’s Emmys where Kyle Chandler picked up his well-deserved win. But Cranston is giving the performance of his life as Walter White and season four was another step in the right direction.
Lead Actress, Drama: Claire Danes (Homeland)
Kathy Bates (Harry’s Law), Glenn Close (Damages), Michelle Dockery* (Downton Abbey), Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife), Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men)
There’s no doubt in my mind that Danes will take this award home. Her show wouldn’t work without her being Carrie Mathison and there’s no way the voters should pass up this performance for any other. Danes has re-set the bar for what it takes to be a lead actress.
Supporting Actor, Drama: Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad)
Jim Carter (Downton Abbey), Brendan Coyle (Downton Abbey), Peter Dinklange (Game of Thrones), Jared Harris* (Mad Men), Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad)
What makes Breaking Bad what it is isn’t the story; it’s the explosive performances the actors give. Esposito’s performance matched Cranston and the show will walk away with not only the top award, but a one-two punch in the acting categories.
Supporting Actress, Drama: Christina Hendricks (Mad Men)
Christine Baranski (The Good Wife), Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey), Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad), Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife), Maggie Smith* (Downton Abbey)
While my love for Dame Maggie Smith is undying, Hendricks turned out an amazing performance. Her role was expanded in the fifth season and she grabbed SCDP by the balls. Hendricks, who always made Mad Men more interesting whenever she was on screen, burst through the seams and there’s no turning back now.
30 Rock, The Big Band Theory, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Girls*, Veep
A year ago I remember tweeting something similar to, “Is Modern Family the worst Best Comedy?” – boy was I wrong. I didn’t get the appeal at first, but this show is clearly the best comedy around. 30 Rock has lost its edge and the rest don’t stack up. Girls and Veep might sometime soon, but not right now. Modern Family will continue to reign supreme.
Lead Actor, Comedy: Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)
Alec Baldwin (30 Rock), Don Cheadle (House of Lies), Louis C.K.* (Louie), Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men), Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm)
Jim Parsons is a delight to watch. Say what you will about the show, but his near robotic performance as Sheldon Cooper is down right funny. Baldwin, like his show, has lost the appeal that won him back-to-back awards. I still feel like someone else could have and should have been nominated over Cheadle. If anyone has a chance to dethrone Parsons it’s Louis C.K., but that might be a long shot.
Lead Actress, Comedy: Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep)
Zooey Deschanel (New Girl), Lena Dunham (Girls), Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie), Tina Fey (30 Rock), Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly), Amy Poehler* (Parks and Recreation)
There’s still a lot of people saying Deschanel, but I can’t see it. Sentimentally I want Poehler to win it and feel she deserves it. Yet, veteran sitcom actress JLD (as I like to call her) gave a stellar performance in a freshman HBO comedy that received universal acclaim. A lot feel McCarthy didn’t do enough to top last year’s winning performance and she and fellow former winner Fey might be left watching a new role take the award.
Supporting Actor, Comedy: Ty Burrell (Modern Family)
Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family), Max Greenfield (New Girl), Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live), Ed O’Neill (Modern Family), Eric Stonestreet* (Modern Family)
In what has jokingly been called the Modern Family Award, this year will be no different. So far two actors from the show have claimed the award and many are predicting the voters will spread the wealth to O’Neill or Stonestreet. So this is really a toss up. My pick is my favorite character on the show, but I wouldn’t be shocked if another Family actor takes the award home.
Supporting Actress, Comedy: Mayim Bialik (The Big Bang Theory)
Julie Bowen (Modern Family), Kathryn Joosten (Desperate Housewives), Sofie Vergara (Modern Family), Merritt Wever (Nurse Jackie), Kristen Wiig* (Saturday Night Live)
This one is a difficult one, but I think if Parsons is going to take Best Actor then Bialik has to be awarded Best Supporting Actress. She matched his performance every step of the way and definitely gave a wrinkle to the nerd favorite show. Maybe voters will send Wiig out with a swan song after pouring so much into her time at SNL.