It’s officially Emmy weekend, folks, with the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards broadcasting live at 8PM EST (5PM PST) this Sunday on NBC. There are a lot of questions to be answered: Can 30 Rock pull off four in a row? Will Modern Family‘s Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, and Ty Burrell cancel each other out in the Supporting Actor category? Will Jane Lynch modestly pretend like she didn’t know she was going to win?
After the jump, Ethan Anderton and I take a look at the major comedy categories and decide which nominees have the best chance of winning, as well as who we think is the most deserving regardless of the results. (Check our drama picks here.)
fHere’s the basic format. After listing the nominees, I argue the case for my favorite nominee under “Should win.” I try to determine who the Emmy voters like best with “Will win.” And because Ethan’s opinions are categorically more insightful than my own, I sought his help for this column: his thoughts are denoted by “Ethan’s Pick.”
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”
Should win: Chris Colfer. I’m ambivalent about Glee. I watch every week, but there are plenty of eye rolls and sighs of frustration as I do. Not during Colfer scenes, though. He’s consistently fantastic.t
Will win: Neil Patrick Harris. This has been my pick for “should win” for years at this point. Not totally convinced I should bump him now, but I think he actually has a better chance than Colfer of riding on the coattails of Glee. If this year’s ceremony is devoted to all things musical, Harris happens to have a delightful song and dance number in his submission episode, “Girls vs. Suits.”
Ethan’s Pick: Eric Stonestreet. Flamboyant and fantastic, Stonestreet sparks so much laughter as Cameron, one-half of the gay couple on Modern Family. It’s a tough choice considering Ty Burrell and Jesse Tyler Ferguson are also nominated for the same series, but I feel like Stonestreet will take this one home. It really is a shame that Cryer was nominated here instead of Ed O’Neill thus stopping an epic force of Modern Family love.
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”
Should win: Jane Lynch. I quote her Glee character later in this post, so it would seem false to pick anyone else. She’s clearly gotten in my head more than, say, Holland Taylor has.
Will win: Jane Lynch. It’s a lock, as evidenced by…
Ethan’s Pick: Jane Lynch. They could give this award to Lynch for her portrayal of the vicious Sue Sylvester right now, and no one would be upset. However, if she doesn’t get it, an army of singing and dancing musical fans will storm the stage.
LEAD 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”
Should win: Jim Parsons. I don’t want to shortchange a writer’s room whose nerd credentials rival the Futurama gang. But Parsons’ inspired performance raises BBT from “good but not great” to “weekly viewing.” (Unfortunately, the character of Wolowitz brings it back down to “good but not great.”)
Will win: Tony Shalhoub. Baldwin and Shalhoub have combined to win six of the last eight statues, so this looks to be the battle of the three-time winners. Baldwin won the last three, and while I usually don’t subscribe to the “sendoff vote,” it seems to fit for the final season of Monk. (Side note: If Matthew Morrison wins, I will go to the animal shelter and get Emmy voters a kitty cat. I will let them fall in love with that kitty cat. And then on some dark, cold night, I will steal away into their home, and punch them in the face.)
Ethan’s Pick: Alec Baldwin. Honestly, this category is a toss-up for me simply because there are plenty of reasons for each nominee to win. However, Alec Baldwin is consistently laugh-out-loud hilarious and his comedic delivery just never wanes. Part of me thinks this could end up going to Tony Shalhoub for the last season of Monk, but he’s been honored plenty already. Sadly, there’s a good chance that the award will go to Jim Parsons, and I don’t care if I get flamed for this, but I am not a fan of The Big Bang Theory at all.
LEAD 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”
Should win: Amy Poehler. Poehler and Collette have the highest degree of difficulty, but Poehler’s balancing act is subtler. We have to laugh at, laugh with, admire, and be genuinely fond of the quixotic Leslie Knope for Parks and Recreation to work. Poehler somehow gets it done. Or maybe Fey deserves for this sequence.
Will win: Lea Michele. Louis-Dreyfus, Fey, and Collette all have Emmys in this category, while Falco earned several for The Sopranos. Michele is a newbie, but I liken the situation to America Ferrera winning for the first season of Ugly Betty. Big, bold, colorful hourlong comedy with a vulnerable female at the center hits big with critics and audiences alike. And Ferrera didn’t even sing!
Ethan’s Pick: Tina Fey. Without a doubt the funniest woman on television, and if she loses this award to any of the other nominees it will surely be a tragedy. That’s all I have to say about that.
“Curb Your Enthusiasm”
Should Win: Modern Family. Honestly, nothing on this list makes my top six comedies of last year, but Modern Family comes the closest. I don’t mean that as a sleight — it’s a darn good show that has earned its acclaim.
Will Win: Glee. Other than Frasier, no show has won Outstanding Comedy four years in a row. After winning in 2007, 2008, and 2009, this is the year that 30 Rock gets toppled by one of the two promising newcomers. Glee made the bigger splash, so it has the edge over Modern Family. (Side Note: Frasier somehow won five in a row from 1994-1998, where it routinely faced Seinfeld and The Larry Sanders Show.)
Ethan’s Pick: Glee or Modern Family. Both of these series skyrocketed out of the gate upon their premiere last fall, and each have their own unique charms and outstanding qualities. Modern Family has created an all-new portrait of the American family complete with flaws, follies and flamboyancy, and the results reach a level of gut-busting hilarity and truly heart-warming emotion. Meanwhile, Glee has innovated television as the first successful musical series with a sharp tongue for witty and irreverent writing. Either of these shows take home the statue and I will be smiling ear to ear.