Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Nominees are pictured and listed in alphabetical order. Submitted episode titles are in parentheses.

Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy, 30 Rock (Generalissimo)
Baldwin won this award last year, and his show roared back this year after two consecutive Best Comedy Series wins with nods for all five major cast members and four out of five writing nominations. The easy move would be to predict Baldwin again, especially because he plays not one but two characters in his submitted episode. I think that while Baldwin’s chances are excellent, he may not win again right away. Tony Shalhoub’s repeat victories despite people growing tired of him indicate that Baldwin may repeat, and voters probably aren’t even sick of him yet. He’s a very probably possibility, but I’m willing to look at other contenders.

Steve Carrell as Michael Scott, The Office (Broke)
Even though “The Office” won an Emmy for Best Comedy Series in its second season, star Carrell hasn’t yet won, facing off against and losing to Tony Shalhoub, the original “Office” boss, Ricky Gervais, and Baldwin. There’s a good chance that voters may finally be willing to reward the hard-working star, and Carrell’s episode is the perfect vehicle to garner him the win. He’s funny as usual, but the added dramatic poignancy of his negotiation scene where he lays out to his superiors why exactly he’s the right man for his job may lead him to his first win. It’s also a great way of recognizing “The Office” since it won’t win in the Best Comedy Series category again this year.

Jemaine Clement as Jemaine, Flight of the Conchords (Unnatural Love)
The fact that Clement got nominated at all is incredibly unbelievable, and imagining a win seems even more unlikely. Regardless, his episode is quite hilarious and Clement’s a big part of that. His inclusion, and the mention for the show in the Best Comedy Series category, is a sign that voters may have an unexpected funny bone. Clement doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of this bunch (even moreso than the wooden Charlie Sheen). I’d call him a dark horse, but I think that this half of the New Zealand folk parody duo is just too offbeat for Emmy voters to embrace wholeheartedly.

Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory (The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis)
Parsons is immensely popular and people really love his dorky performance on CBS’ sitcom. His snub last year was decried by fans, and the fact that he made the list this year elevates him to the level of serious contender. I recognize that there’s a dedicated fanbase that loves Parsons, but I think the lack of support in any other category lowers Parsons’ chances. Additionally, he’s facing off against seasoned veterans with at least three nominations apiece, and in the past fifteen years, the same faces have popped up half the time, and only Ricky Gervais (“Extras”) stands out as the sole winner on a show with few other nominations to take home the gold on his first try. Will Parsons be the exception or prove the rule?

Tony Shalhoub as Detective Adrian Monk, Monk (Mr. Monk and the Miracle)
Shalhoub’s on his seventh nomination, and he’s won three times. He’s also one of the winners who has elicited major backlash and encouraged Emmy predictors to pray for others to be recognized. The other repeat winner who pissed off Emmy voters (Jeremy Piven) got shafted this year and left off the list altogether. Shalhoub should count his lucky stars that he’s back again, and while he’s likely to win again next year for the show’s final season, he won’t this year. His episode is nothing spectacular, and I think the fact that he’s won so many times before will decrease his chances.

Charlie Sheen as Charlie Harper, Two and a Half Men (The 'Ocu' or the 'Pado'?)
Now here’s one actor whose crowning as an Emmy winner would likely incite riots. Sheen’s back for his third round as an Emmy nominee for his lifeless portrayal of a jingle-writer slacker. The sitcom has never produced an acting Emmy winner despite 11 nominations over the past four years, and this year support for the program was effectively severed as it was dropped from the Best Comedy Series list, even with the additional of two more nominees to the field. Sheen does have funny lines in his episode, but imagining this guy beating out actual actors just doesn’t seem possible.

Who should win (based on entire season): Steve Carrell
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Jemaine Clement or Steve Carrell
Who will win: My bet is Steve Carrell, but it could just as easily be Parsons or Baldwin.

Next up: Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

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