Best Actress in a Comedy: Does anyone remember The New Adventures of Old Christine? It was a truly terrible show with one saving grace—Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who turn as the title character was absolutely hysterical (and Emmy-award winning). At first, it seemed like Parks and Rec would be another Old Christine, with Amy Poehler’s wonderful portrayal of Leslie Knope being the only thing that made the show worth watching. However, four seasons later, the show has evolved into a must-see worthy of an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy (if it
weren’t for Cougar Town, that is—but we’ll get to that later). But one thing about the show that hasn’t changed in the past four years is Poehler’s performance, which is just as heart-warmingly hilarious as it was in the show’s first episodes, and entirely Emmy-worthy.
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy: I may be a bit biased in giving Sher this award, as I find Sue Heck to be the greatest character currently on television, but one look at Sher’s portrayal of Sue would convince anyone of her need for an Emmy. In another actress’s hands, Sue could become an annoyance, but Sher plays her with such compassion that Sue is a lovable character, and a symbol of relentless optimism. Sher is a textbook example of what it means to always give 110%, making Sue a scene-stealer even when she doesn’t have any lines. Sher once said that she found the inspiration to always give it her all when a producer told her that “the opposite of pretty is funny,” and taking that advice to heart, Sher has joined the ranks of other all-or-nothing comediennes like Tina Fey and Kristen Wiig. Even her co-star, Emmy-award winning Patricia Heaton, has said that she believes that Sher will be the first one from The Middle to be nominated, but I say let’s take it one step further and just give her the Emmy.
Best Actor in a Comedy: If this were a dream world, the winner of the Best Comedy Actor would be Steve Carell for his portrayal of the now-iconic character Michael Scott. But since there is no justice in this world, and it seems that Carell will never get the Emmy he much deserves, I believe that Jim Parsons deserves it this year. Parsons simply embodies the character of Sheldon Cooper without having to try, bringing something special to every line the character utters. Parsons takes someone who could become a caricature and turns him into someone believable and endearing. But let’s be real--this alone could win Parsons the Emmy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy: When Burrell won the Outstanding Supporting Actor Emmy last year, I’m not sure that he knew what he was in for. This season, the writers of Modern Family have put Burrell to work, shining a spotlight on the actor’s great talent and range. Burrell has consistently been the MVP of each episode this season, and it is easy to pick out multiple Emmy-worthy moments throughout the season.
Best Comedy: Do not judge a book by its cover (or in this case, its title). This Bill Lawrence comedy, beloved by critics and fans alike, is a ratings disaster due in part to its terrible name. But despite its name, Cougar Town is simply comedy gold, expertly blending the funny and the heartfelt into one perfect half-hour. It’s goofy without being ridiculous; it’s witty without losing its heart; and most importantly, it’s clear how much the cast and crew love the show. Because ABC has done much less than the show deserves in terms of promotion, Bill Lawrence and the cast have taken “guerilla marketing” to a whole new level, doing things like setting up (and attending) screenings of the show for fans across the country. The show is perfectly cast, and each of the characters are completely lovable and hilarious in their own unique way. The show could really use a win to raise awareness about the show (not that it worked for Arrested Development, but one can dream), because the fact is more people should be watching Cougar Town.
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama: Fans of the highly acclaimed first two seasons of Grey’s Anatomy would find the show unrecognizable now as it heads into its ninth (!!) season, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Although the show has had its fair share of growing pains, it has evolved—much like its characters—into a more mature version of itself. However, despite the strength of the show and its actors, both have failed to get the Emmy recognition they deserve. Particularly unforgivable is the lack of recognition for Sandra Oh, whose portrayal of Cristina Yang for the past eight years has been absolutely perfect. Oh kept her characterization of Cristina grounded even when the show went off the rails, and has given one of Grey’s steadiest performances. Her depiction this season of the fall of her marriage to Owen Hunt was expertly done, and certainly Emmy-worthy.
Best Actress in a Drama: For me, choosing the winner of the Best Drama Actress is a no-brainer. Julianna Margulies has brilliantly played Alicia Florrick since the show’s pilot, and this season has been no exception, especially considering the incredible transformation that her character has made in the past 22 episodes. We watched Alicia come into her own as she started a fiery new relationship with Will, only to end up eventually, heartbreakingly, back by Peter’s side in the season finale. Margulies has expertly handled the roller coaster that has been Alicia Florrick this season, and since her performance has only gotten stronger and deeper since her Emmy win last year, she certainly deserves it again.
Best Actor in a Drama: I, admittedly, am not a Mad Men fan, but I do think that the actors do a brilliant job, and no one more so than Jon Hamm. The show is, after all, the deconstruction of the character of Donald Draper, which depends on Hamm’s performance. Hamm has been nominated every year since the show’s first season, and it is high time that he wins the award. Hamm has been particularly strong this season, as Don’s marriage to Megan Calvet has forced him to play an entirely different side of Don Draper, a person that the audience believed that they knew well. Hamm has been able to convincingly portray this new side of Draper without losing the character that he has created in the past four seasons—and he does so while looking so good.
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama: If this were a different year, and the Supporting Actress in a Drama category didn’t have so many amazing contenders, I might be pushing for Lauren Graham to win for her portrayal of Sarah Braverman on Parenthood (or, if I’m being honest, maybe I just want to give her something to make up for her never being nominated for her work as Lorelai Gilmore). But since it is, in fact, this year, I’ll turn my attention instead to Peter Krause, Graham’s on-screen brother (and, incidentally, her off-screen boyfriend). Krause deserves the Emmy for his work as Adam Braverman, who has been fighting to keep his family together this season in the beautiful, heart-wrenching way that the show has become known for. The show’s looser, “realer” style means that it relies heavily on its actors abilities to bring their characters to life, and as the eldest sibling
with the most responsibility, this is especially true with Krause. I will say that I hope that Krause’s Emmy would be the first of many for this underrated show.