63rd Emmy Nominations

Award shows don’t matter.

I feel I need to stress this point before going in to any analysis or rhetoric when it comes to Emmys, Oscars, and certainly the Golden Globes. They matter to the victors, ’cause they can add “Award Winner” to their name and get better gigs, but when it comes to honestly deciding the end all be all BEST, the voters usually get things wrong.

And that’s honestly part of the fun. I watch award campaigns because they pack all the fun of political campaigns without any real world consequences.  It’s all a numbers game; who’s kissed the most butts and who’s turn is it to be “honored.” When you approach the awards circuit from that perspective, setting odds and making bets, things get truly interesting.

Below are select nominations for the 63rd Emmys, and brief analysis after each category.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series:
Laura Linney – “The Big C”
Edie Falco – “Nurse Jackie”
Amy Poehler – “Parks and Recreation”
Melissa McCarthy – “Mike & Molly”
Martha Plimpton – “Raising Hope”
Tina Fey – “30 Rock”

The big news here is Melissa McCarthy and my Poehler. Poehler was nominated last year, but Parks and Recreation has spiked in quality this season, setting her up for a possible win. McCarthy is here due to her star making turn in Bridesmaids, regardless of the quality of her work on Mike and Molly. This is a tough category, but I’m leaning towards Falco: she won last year, and Emmy voters are creatures of habit.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series:
Matt LeBlanc – “Episodes”
Jim Parsons – “The Big Bang Theory”
Johnny Galecki – “The Big Bang Theory”
Louis C.K. – “Louie”
Alec Baldwin – “30 Rock”

Louis C.K. is one of my absolute favorite comedians, and his nomination is well earned. He’ll never win though. Jim Parsons won last year, and Big Bang Theory is inexplicably becoming more and more popular, but Alec Baldwin and the 30 Rock crew made a big comeback this year after a dismal season four. It’s between Parsons and Baldwin, but I’m leaning toward Parsons.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series:
Jane Lynch – “Glee”
Betty White – “Hot in Cleveland”
Jule Bowe – “Modern Family”
Kristen Wiig – “Saturday Night Live”
Jane Krakowski – “30 Rock”
Sofia Vergara – “Modern Family”

Jane Lynch won last year for Glee, but you’ll notice last year was a complete Glee love fest with Matthew Morrison and Lea Michelle also nominated in Lead Actor and Actress. This year, Emmy voters aren’t so enamored. Kristen Wiig may sneak in there, since she is also hot off Bridesmaids, but I’m leaning towards Sofia Vergara of Modern Family, a show that grown tremendously and avoided the sophomore slump.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series:
Jon Cryer – “Two and a Half Men”
Chris Colfer – “Glee”
Jesse Tyler Ferguson – “Modern Family”
Ed O’Neill – “Modern Family”
Eric Stonestreet – “Modern Family”
Ty Burrell – “Modern Family”

All the Modern Family men will split their votes, leaving it for Colfer and Cryer to duke it out. Colfer became the heart and soul of Glee, but people may feel like giving it to Cryer simply for putting up with the Charlie Sheen nonsense. I’m calling it a tie for now.

Outstanding Comedy Series:
“Glee” (FOX)
“Parks and Recreation” (NBC)
“The Office” (NBC)
“Modern Family” (ABC)
“30 Rock” (NBC)
“The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)

The fact that Steve Carrell wasn’t nominated for his final season of The Office shows voters aren’t going sympathetic this year. Parks and Rec is too new and offbeat, 30 Rock is too old, and to call Glee a comedy would be an act of charity. I’m going with last year’s winner, Modern Family.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series:
Elizabeth Moss – “Mad Men”
Connie Britton – “Friday Night lights”
Mariska Hargitay – “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”
Mireille Enos – “The Killing”
Julianna Margulies – “The Good Wife”
Kathy Bates – “Harry’s Law”

It’s good to see Mireille Enos here for her outstanding work in The Killing, despite the series’ tendency to frustrate viewers. This is the easiest category to predict, though: Elisabeth Moss of Mad Men. Moss has been in the supporting category in previous years, and her bump to lead mirrors her character’s bump on the show. All Emmy voters need to due is watch her submitted episode “The Suitcase,” and Moss can prep her speech now.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series:
Steve Buscemi – “Boardwalk Empire”
Michael C. Hall – “Dexter”
Kyle Chandler – “Friday Night lights”
Jojn Hamm – “Mad Men”
Hugh Laurie – “House”
Timothy Olyphant – “Justified”

With Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad out of the picture, Michael C. Hall of Dexter and Jon Hamm of Mad Men are poised to duke it out. Olyphant is too new, Laurie is old news, and Chandler is too niche. Buscemi and Boardwalk Empire gained steam at the Golden Globes, but that has slowed down as well. Luckily for Hamm, this past season of Dexter wasn’t too kind to Hall. Hamm’s submission episode is also “The Suitcase,” and Emmy voters won’t be able to resist giving the episode’s featured players matching statues.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series:
Kelly Macdonald – “Boardwalk Empire”
Christina Hendricks – “Mad Men”
Michelle Forbes – “The Killing”
Archie Panjabi – “The Good Wife”
Margo Martindale – “Justified”
Christine Baranski – “The Good Wife”

This is a fairly unremarkable category, and I feel that with a nomination in each acting category and highly favored to win the big prize, Mad Men may sweep all its categories. This means Christina Hendricks is poised to win, and to be honest, she deserves it.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series:
John Slattery – “Mad Men”
Andre Braugher – “Men of a Certain Age”
Walton Goggins – “Justified”
Peter Dinklage – “Game of Thrones”
Josh Charles – “The Good Wife”
Alan Cumming – “The Good Wife”

It’s between Peter Dinklage and John Slattery. Both are beloved, talented actors. However, Slattery has won before, Dinklage hasn’t. I’m calling this as a tie for now, but I’m leaning towards Slattery.

Outstanding Drama Series:
“Boardwalk Empire” (HBO)
“The Good Wife” (CBS)
“Mad Men” (AMC)
“Friday Night Lights” (DirecTV)
“Dexter” (Showtime)
“Game of Thrones” (HBO)

The big story here is the return of glory to HBO. After watching AMC take the drama field by storm, they’ve return with two commercial and critical successes, while AMC stumbled with Walking Dead, Rubicon and The Killing. Here’s where Emmy voters will have to decide between new and old. I’m pretty sure they’ll be going with tradition, handing Mad Men their fourth consecutive Emmy. But I wouldn’t be surprised (or displeased) to see Game of Thrones snatch it away.

John Shannon

John Shannon studied Creative Writing at the University of Maine where he also served as a film critic for the Maine Campus Newspaper. He currently resides in the greater Portland area of Southern Maine where he works by day and watches film by night. He can be reached via email at and followed on Twitter @JohnWShannon
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