Early 2009 Emmy Prospective Nominees
The morning of July 16, 2009 may be the day Primetime Emmy nominations are announced, but I can't help myself. As of right now, the first week of June, buzz on who's probably in and who's probably out is all but moot, save for a few open forums, and online prognasticator Tom O'Neil.
There is some early word on the main categories - comedy/drama series, lead actor, lead actress, supporting actor, and supporting actress - and that'll have to do for now. From what I've gathered, here's how things are looking:
(Remember, with new rules in place, the nominee lists have gone up from 5 to 6.)
Most Likely: Boston Legal, Damages, Dexter, House, M.D., Mad Men, 24
Why?: Well, firstly, the first five were all nominated last year, so that's a safe bet. Additionally, even though the new 6-nominee rule is in place, it really just helps popular shows garner nominations, not necessarily deserving shows. 24 makes the cut here instead of last year's Lost because the word-of-mouth on the former has been excellent (even with its weak finale ending).
Who Should Be In?: Big Love, always the bridesmaid and never the bride; Friday Night Lights, THE best show on television, in my opinion, with its best season yet; and The Shield, like The Wire, a masterful, gritty cop drama that, honestly, may be too good for the Emmys.
Most Likely: Curb Your Enthusiasm, Entourage, How I Met Your Mother, The Office, 30 Rock, Two and a Half Men
Why?: 30 Rock pretty much owns this, The Office and Two and a Half Men are extremely popular, Entourage has slowly but surely begun to win Emmy judges over, and Curb Your Enthusiasm has always been a critical favorite. Unlike drama, there isn't a large variety of great comedy shows deserving series nominations, and the ones that are owed accolades really should benefit from the 6-nomination rule. And that, I believe, should open the door for How I Met Your Mother, a series consistently praised by critics and audiences alike as funny and smart.
Who Should Be In?: Flight of the Conchords might be the most original show on TV right now, and of course, change isn't a welcome thing for everyone; Pushing Daisies, which should have been nominated last year (and it truly is a disgrace that this is being cancelled); and Scrubs, based on the pitch-perfect series finale (oops, not anymore!) alone.
LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Most Likely: Gabriel Byrne, In Treatment; Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad; Jon Hamm, Mad Men; Hugh Laurie, House, M.D.; James Spader, Boston Legal; Kiefer Sutherland, 24
Why?: Mostly the same guys as last year, and again, they seem like the safe bets. I don't really understand the Emmy voters' love for Boston Legal and James Spader, but I imagine it wouldn't go anywhere with this being the show's final season. Can you believe Hugh Laurie has yet to win? How ridiculous is that? Bryan Cranston deserved his win last year, though, but this time, I think the good doctor should get what he deserved several years ago.
Who Should Be In?: Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights: find me a better actor/actress who can command the screen with their eyes like this guy, and I'll be very impressed; Michael Chiklis, The Shield: the show and its lead actor should be honored appropriately; and Michael C. Hall, Dexter & Denis Leary, Rescue Me: I couldn't pick just one, and they both deserve nominations.
LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Most Likely: Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock; Steve Carell, The Office; Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm; David Duchovony, Californication; Tony Shalhoub, Monk; Charlie Sheen, Two and a Half Men
Why?: Many of these guys - Baldwin, Carell, Shalhoub and Sheen - have become annual shoo-ins, so there's really no point in explaining why they're safe. I can't explain why, but I feel very confident that just as Mary-Louise Parker missed out on a nomination for Weeds' first season but scored one the second time around, the same will occur with David Duchovony. Larry David's funny, and voters love his show, so why not?
Who Should Be In?: Zach Braff, Scrubs: because he has always balanced J.D.'s comic and dramatic intentions exceptionally well; Kevin Connolly, Entourage: the Globe nomination makes me think he has a shot, and he's so natural in his role, you do forget that he's acting; and Zachary Levi, Chuck: can't say I'm a huge fan of the show, but he fits his role like a glove.
LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Most Likely: Glenn Close, Damages; Sally Field, Brothers & Sisters; Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU; Holly Hunter, Saving Grace; Kyra Sedgewick, The Closer; Jeanne Tripplehorn, Big Love
Why?: The ladies with the juicy rules are too big to ignore, which is basically all of them. Tripplehorn is a wild card, but I do think this will be her time for a nomination. The buzz on season three of Big Love has been overwhelmingly positive all year long, and if the show doesn't manage a series nomination, one of the actors should.
Who Should Be In?: January Jones/Elizabeth Moss, Mad Men: I don't mean to paint it as an either/or situation, but if it happens that both ladies can't make it through, at least one of them should; Regina King, Southland: even from the trailers and tv spots, the obvious standout in an ensemble piece; and Evangelline Lilly, Lost: a nomination for her would be a long time coming, but better late than never.
LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Most Likely: Christina Applegate, Samantha Who?; Toni Collette, The United States of Tara; America Ferrera, Ugly Betty; Tina Fey, 30 Rock; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, The New Adventures of Old Christine; Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds
Why?: Because, honestly, all six of the names listed above are the six best lead actresses in television comedies. Many feel Amy Poehler will get in for her role in Parks & Recreation, and that is a high possibility. After all, she is popular, and friends with Tina Fey, who is worshipped in the industry. But I have yet to hear one person deliver anything more than a lukewarm response for the show many feel is a mediocre comedy riding off The Office's mockumentary success.
SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Most Likely: Christian Clemenson, Boston Legal; Michael Emerson, Lost; William Hurt, Damages; William Shatner, Boston Legal; John Slattery, Mad Men; Jon Voight, 24
Why?: With last year's winner (Zeljko Ivanek) and runner-up (Ted Danson) out of the race this year (Ivanek for obvious reasons, if you watch the show, and Danson, because he's recently been named as an eligible guest actor only), the race this year would seem to be pretty open. I haven't seen the complete season, but I can say that from what I saw, Jon Voight should be a definite nominee and possible winner.
Who Should Be In?: John Doman, Damages; watching him plot is true entertainment, and I have love for The Wire alumni; Walton Goggins, The Shield: for being as great in his final performance as he's been the entire time; and Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad: besides Cranston, the other really great performance to watch.
SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Most Likely: Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men; Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother; Chi McBride, Pushing Daisies; Tracy Morgan, 30 Rock; Jeremy Piven, Entourage; Rainn Wilson, The Office
Why?: Cryer, Harris and Wilson should be shoo-ins, and Piven's owned this category ever since Everybody Loves Raymond's Brad Garrett has been out of the picture, someone else who once dominated here. McBride is the absolute best thing about Pushing Daisies (and that's saying something), and Morgan plays dumb quite well on 30 Rock.
Who Should Be In?: Kevin Dillon, Entourage: he very well may be in. He has been the last two years, but the competition is pretty fierce this time around, and Piven is the clear standout, as usual; Justin Kirk, Weeds: I'm a little surprised he's never been nominated for his role before. What's the holdup?; and Jason Segel, How I Met Your Mother: the other supporting funnyman that has yet to earn his rightful nomination.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Most Likely: Rachel Griffiths, Brothers & Sisters; Katherine Heigl, Grey's Anatomy; Sandra Oh, Grey's Anatomy; Alison Pill, In Treatment; Dianne Wiest, In Treatment; Chandra Wilson, Grey's Anatomy
Why?: Wiest won last year, Griffiths, Oh and Wilson are the annual shoo-ins, and despite her negative media backlash, Heigl's playing someone with cancer. It's practically in the bag. While I say there's little buzz for anything right now, one person who has garnered unanimous praise is young actress Alison Pill. I don't have HBO, so I have yet to see her performance, but if it's anything like what people are saying, look out for her.
Who Should Be In?: Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights: look up chemistry in the dictionary, and you'll see a photo of Kyle Chandler and this amazing actress. It's laughable that she's yet to win. It's unforgivable that she has yet to earn a nomination; Christina Hendricks, Mad Men: it's easy for someone to play a bimbo as an empty-headed slut. It's something for an actress to make them seem as empowered as the suits they work for; and Chloe Sevigny, Big Love: arguably the best reason to watch the show.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Most Likely: Kristin Chenoweth, Pushing Daisies; Conchata Ferrell, Two and a Half Men; Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock; Jean Smart, Samantha Who?; Holland Taylor, Two and a Half Men; Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty
Why?: In general, the usual set of nominees, minus Krakowski. Word on the web (as little as it has been recently) is that this could be her time right now. I personally think she's been great the entire time, so I welcome a nomination for her. Chenoweth and Smart should be last year's freshman repeats.
Who Should Be In?: Andrea Anders, Better Off Ted: from what I gather, the best part of an underrated show; Jenna Fischer, The Office: constantly overshadowed by her male co-stars. Another nomination should happen soon; and Elizabeth Perkins, Weeds: she didn't get a nomination for her great work last year, so I don't know how much voters favor her. They seem to be pretty split on Weeds altogether.
So there you have it. A pretty exhaustive list a few weeks shy of nomination day. It'll be interesting to see how much this changes between then and now.
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