Hi there! Welcome to the second in a two-part post about this year’s Emmy nominations, which are set to be announced by Nick Offerman and Kerry Washington on July 19. We’re coming off the back of an insanely good year in TV – Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Parks and Recreation, Community, Louie, Archer, Homeland, Game of Thrones…there are a LOT of amazing shows and actors around at the moment which makes something like the Emmys rather hard to predict. Emmy voters are a fickle bunch. They can alternately be painfully conservative in their choices, or surprisingly forward-thinking. In the very rare cases in these categories where I’m unfamiliar with the shows, I am gauging them based on the opinions of other critics. So here goes!
Outstanding Comedy Series (preferred winner italicised, otherwise in the order of likelihood to win)
Modern Family, Parks & Recreation, 30 Rock, Louie, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Big Bang Theory
This could be a weird category, in that there’ll either be lots of attrition or very little. One thing’s for sure, Modern Family Mediocrity Train will likely chug its way to another undeserved Emmy. The show was a pleasant trifle when it began, but slowly became less and less interesting and more and more like a really conservative Tim Allen sitcom wrapped up in a mockumentary bow. The deserving winner would be Parks and Recreation which, weirdly, seems like an actual possibility this year, whereas last year it was a case of, “Well, thank christ it’s nominated.” The rest of the field is a bit odd – 30 Rock is a lock, but I’m guessing that Glee and The Office will drop out of the field because who gives a shit about either of them any more, really? The Big Bang Theory will, sadly, generic its way to another nomination, and Curb Your Enthusiasm, which wasn’t eligible last year, will likely garner yet another nomination for a season that contained Palestinian Chicken which, oh my god, go watch that episode.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Jim Parsons, Alec Baldwin, Louis CK, Larry David, Johnny Galecki, Adam Scott
Let’s clear this up: Jim Parsons is a skilled comic actor with good timing. But The Big Bang Theory is a boring, bland multicam sitcom trumped up as something far more complex because its writers spend all day on the Wikipedia page for ‘astrophysics’ so the show sounds smart while it makes jokes at the expense of an autistic man. Hilar. How Johnny Galecki is even a thing I don’t know. Alec Baldwin would be an acceptable winner but he’s won before so it’s kinda boring, but Jack Donaghy really is one of the greatest comedic characters of all time. That said, Louis CK really deserves this. He gets far greater range, and he also has the advantage of writing, directing and editing his show, achievements which can often work in favour of an actor in the disparate arms of the Academy. But it’s a long bow to draw, so Parsons is likely to pick up another inoffensive Emmy and make another inoffensive, uninteresting speech.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Amy Poehler, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Zooey Deschanel, Melissa McCarthy, Laura Dern
Amy Poehler better fuckin’ win this. I swear to god, you guys. I don’t know how you could watch the season 4 finale and vote for anyone else, or The Debate (which she also wrote and directed – big ups for that). But this is the Emmys, so who knows. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is one of the few comedic actresses on her level, as is Tina Fey. But who knows – the capacity for Zooey Deschanel to win just because the Emmys think that’s what young people would want is depressingly high. I like Zooey, and think she’s good in New Girl, but her role is so, SO easy that the idea of her being nominated, let alone winning, kinda hurts my soul. Melissa McCarthy will be nominated again but won’t win because no Bridesmaids this year, and Laura Dern won the Golden Globe somehow despite almost zero people watching the pretty good Enlightened, so she should be able to get sheeped to a nomination here.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Ty Burrell, Nick Offerman, Ed O’Neill, Eric Stonestreet, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Max Greenfield
This category gives me the shits. Fuck off Modern Family. None of you deserve awards for playing the same unchanging characters for 72 episodes. Nick Offerman, however, is iconic as Ron Swanson, and while putting him second here is probably a bit optimistic, he really does deserve a win, or at the least a nomination. Max Greenfield is the best thing about New Girl, and gives a legitimately fearless and funny performance, so it’d be nice to see him scrape in. But it’s hard to survive in the supporting categories against Modern Family drywall, so we shall see. Perhaps the voters will be bit more ‘meh’ on it after a season that received mixed reviews for being too stagnant and open their minds to difference. Per…haps.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Julie Bowen, Sofia Vergara, Betty White, Jane Krakowski, Kristen Wiig, Kathryn Joosten
Again, fuck off Modern Family. I like both Bown and Vergara, but oy, are they wasted on such a drab show. Ditto Betty White – Hot in Cleveland? Really? Can you believe she’s won two SAG awards for that show? At some point, surely she’ll have to say, “Seriously guys, the shows I’m on are shit. Please don’t reward me for them.” In a perfect world, though, Jane Krakowski would win an Emmy for playing Jenna Maroney, one of the funniest, most wonderfully unhinged characters on TV. From her various terrifying dalliances with Mickey Rourke through to her sexual walkabout, this was the season where many 30 Rock fans finally sat up and realised that Krakowski has been quietly putting in one of the show’s best performances each year since season 3 as the writers have amplified Jenna’s crazy. On a purely comic level, Krakowski should have this in the bag. But sadly, there might be too much working against her. In fact, it’s possible she’ll fall out of the field and be replaced with, say, Cloris Leachman, who is in the Betty White position of being a hilarious older actress on a crummy show (sorry, Raising Hope, you’re boring as hell). I like Kristen Wiig but ugh, SNL these days ugh, and I’m tipping Joosten to knock Jane Lynch out and get a posthumous nomination for being the best part of Desperate Housewives for the couple of years I bothered with it.
Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series
The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, Conan, Saturday Night Live, The Late Show with David Letterman
Having won this category every year since 2003 bar 2008, it’s hard to bet against The Daily Show, which continues to turn in excellent work with the November election looming. The Colbert Report could win, though, largely doing the same – that said, I find that Colbert tends to be less consistent and less focused than The Daily Show when both are at their best. The rest are probable locks, but it really is a two horse race.
Outstanding Animated Program
Archer, The Simpsons, Futurama, Avatar: Legend of Korra, Adventure Time
It’s difficult to believe that The Simpsons wasn’t nominated in 1993 or 1994, the years of its two best seasons – the 4th and 5th. How could you not nominate Marge vs. The Monorail? Last Exit to Springfield? Cape Feare? The list goes on. In any case, somehow forgotten then, The Simpsons is now essentially a lock regardless of whether they make a passable episode in any given year, which seriously bums me out given how low the show has gone. In any case, Archer is certifiably the funniest show on television right now. And if there were any chance that they’d submit in the Outstanding Comedy Series category, I’d want them to win that too. The season’s best episode, Lo Scandalo, is one of the funniest half-hours ever committed to screen. The rest, here, are just guesses really, because this category has bizarre attrition rates. But given the love for Legend of Korra (which I’ve yet to get to), and the increasing popularity of Adventure Time (that’s mostly me trying to will it into the category) and also because it’s great, means that they could be in with a shot. And Futurama has a great submission episode in Reincarnation, so they’ll likely pop up. My hopeful predictions will likely be quashed by shitty South Park/Family Guy/Robot Chicken episodes. Alas.
Outstanding Voice-Over Performance
H. Jon Benjamin, Dan Castellaneta, John DiMaggio, Kristen Schaal, Seth Green, Hank Azaria, Jessica Walter
Again, this is mostly a guessing category, but again, Archer you guys. Plus, H. Jon Benjamin now also has the increasingly great Bob’s Burgers to his credit, so anchoring two successful shows must count for something. John DiMaggio deserves some recognition for Bender and Jake the Dog, Kristen Schaal is incredible as Louise on Bob’s Burgers (as is Eugene Mirman and Dan Mintz, but they’re not as likely), Jessica Walter kills it as Malory Archer (and again, I wonder if this award should be an ensemble one, because Archer’s voice actors are second-to-none). Seth Green sucks but will probably be nominated, and in all fairness, Dan Castellaneta and Hank Azaria might not be saying anything funny most of the time anymore, but they do their darnedest.
And that should do it! When the nominees are announced I’ll go back over all of these, as well as assess the nominees for the Writing/Directing/etc. awards. See you in a week or so!