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Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

Primetime Emmy nominees: my best guesses

Friday, August 3, 2012

The nominees for this year's Primetime Emmy Awards were announced a couple of weeks ago, and while there is room to criticize what didn't make the lists (no Best Drama shot for the terrific FX crime drama "Justified," for example) and what did (Emmy voters, "Nurse Jackie" isn't even close to being a comedy). Here's a look at some of the major categories, with my best guesses as to who will take home the prizes on Sunday, Sept. 23.

Outstanding Comedy Series

The Big Bang Theory (CBS)

Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)

Girls (HBO)

Modern Family (ABC)

30 Rock (NBC)

Veep (HBO)

"Modern Family" is the two-time defending champ in the category, and long-time Emmy observers know that once the TV Academy's voters have a favorite, they don't tend to change their minds -- or ballot selections -- unless there's a massive shift. "Family" was solid again this year, so it's my pick to win for the third year in a row.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series

Girls -- Lena Dunham as Hannah Horvath

Mike & Molly (CBS) -- Melissa McCarthy as Molly Flynn

New Girl (FOX) -- Zooey Deschanel as Jess Day

Nurse Jackie (Showtime) -- Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton

Parks And Recreation (NBC) -- Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope

30 Rock -- Tina Fey as Liz Lemon

Veep -- Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer

I hate to sound like a broken record, but why is Edie Falco nominated here? No offense, she's a very fine actress, but she herself said -- when accepting a previous Emmy for this role -- that she "isn't funny." Apparently, the TV Academy doesn't agree, hence the nomination. On the other hand, Amy Poehler is funny, and her nomination for her work in last season's "Parks and Recreation" is quite deserved; she's my pick to win here in a mild surprise.

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series

The Big Bang Theory (CBS) -- Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper

Curb Your Enthusiasm -- Larry David as Himself

House Of Lies (Showtime) -- Don Cheadle as Marty Kaan

Louie (FX Networks) -- Louis C.K. as Louie

30 Rock -- Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy

Two And A Half Men (CBS) -- Jon Cryer as Alan Harper

Louis C.K. is nominated for 7 individual Emmys this year, not just for acting in his self-titled FX dark comedy, but also writing, directing and even editing the show. His ability to be a "one-man band" has drawn a lot of critical praise, and it likely will translate to a few wins. I think this will be one of them.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series

The Big Bang Theory -- Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler

Desperate Housewives (ABC) -- Kathryn Joosten as Karen McCluskey

Modern Family -- Julie Bowen as Claire Dunphy

Modern Family -- Sofia Vergara as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett

Nurse Jackie -- Merritt Wever as Zoey Barkow

Saturday Night Live (NBC) -- Kristen Wiig as various characters

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series

Modern Family -- Ed O'Neill as Jay Pritchett

Modern Family -- Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mitchell Pritchett

Modern Family -- Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy

Modern Family -- Eric Stonestreet as Cameron Tucker

New Girl -- Max Greenfield as Schmidt

Saturday Night Live -- Bill Hader as various characters

The adult members of the "Modern Family" cast -- since the show was first eligible -- have elected to submit in the supporting categories, and that strategy has borne fruit. The show has picked up two consecutive Supporting Actor trophies (for Eric Stonestreet and Ty Burrell) and Julie Bowen took home a Supporting Actress Emmy last year. I'm going to predict another pair of winners from that cast again in 2012. This time, I think the prizes will go to Sofia Vergara and Ed O'Neill -- both did some of their best work this past season.

Outstanding Drama Series

Boardwalk Empire (HBO)

Breaking Bad (AMC)

Downton Abbey (PBS)

Game Of Thrones (HBO)

Homeland (Showtime)

Mad Men (AMC)

I'm going to get this out of the way first: every show on this list deserves to be here. But "Breaking Bad" is operating in a different plane right now. Again, Emmy voters sometimes need a tectonic shift to change their minds -- and their minds have locked onto "Mad Men" -- but this past season of "Breaking Bad" was something truly rare and special.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series

Damages (DirecTV) -- Glenn Close as Patty Hewes

Downton Abbey -- Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley

The Good Wife (CBS) -- Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick

Harry's Law (NBC) -- Kathy Bates as Harriet Korn

Homeland -- Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison

Mad Men -- Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson

This is a really strong group of performers, a great indicator of how television is providing space for talented female actors to thrive. Of this group, I have to say that Claire Danes is my favorite to win. Emmy voters (them again?) have loved her for years, yes, but her performance in the debut season of "Homeland" was messy, gutsy and real.

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series

Boardwalk Empire -- Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson

Breaking Bad -- Bryan Cranston as Walter White

Dexter (Showtime) -- Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan

Downton Abbey -- Hugh Bonneville as Robert, Earl of Grantham

Homeland -- Damian Lewis as Nicholas Brody

Mad Men -- Jon Hamm as Don Draper

My advice to every actor in this category not named Bryan Cranston: Enjoy your limo ride. Get comfortable in your chair. Think about all the parties you'll be attending after the show. And don't worry about preparing an acceptance speech. Cranston's name is practically already carved into the plaque on the statue -- and it oughta be.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series

Breaking Bad -- Anna Gunn as Skyler White

Downton Abbey -- Maggie Smith as Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham

Downton Abbey -- Joanne Froggatt as Anna

The Good Wife -- Archie Panjabi as Kalinda Sharma

The Good Wife -- Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart

Mad Men -- Christina Hendricks as Joan Holloway Harris

Another tough category full of marvelous female actors. I find myself leaning toward Christina Hendricks from "Mad Men" -- she was terrific again this year -- but it wouldn't surprise (or disappoint) me at all if Anna Gunn of "Breaking Bad" took the trophy.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series

Breaking Bad -- Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman

Breaking Bad -- Giancarlo Esposito as Gustavo 'Gus' Fring

Downton Abbey -- Brendan Coyle as John Bates

Downton Abbey -- Jim Carter as Mr. Carson

Game Of Thrones -- Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister

Mad Men -- Jared Harris as Lane Pryce

Giancarlo Esposito -- one of the more remarkable actors working today -- delivered a singularly stunning performance as Gus on "Breaking Bad." Esposito's cunning, chilling character work was emblematic of the brilliant high-wire act in the midst of a hurricane-spawned tornado that was the show's fourth season.


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Jeremy Blomstedt
The Entertainment Center