Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

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

Christina Applegate as Samantha Newly, Samantha Who? (The Pill)
Applegate’s inclusion comes as a bit of a surprise considering that last year’s freshman entry got cancelled by ABC halfway through its second season. Costar winner Jean Smart isn’t back this year, but Applegate is. If “30 Rock” wasn’t as popular, Applegate might have defeated Tina Fey last year. Now, “Samantha Who” has no buzz but Applegate may get sympathetic farewell votes. Her episode is a fun installment where Applegate gets the chance to recall, if only briefly, all of Sam’s lost memories. I don’t think she’ll have enough support to win, but she could pull it off.

Toni Collette as Tara, The United States of Tara (Pilot)
Collette is one of only two nominees this year from a new series. Her role is certainly Emmy bait, as she gets to play multiple roles and really get into each one of them. Like nominee Simon Baker, she smartly submitted the pilot episode, so viewers are easily introduced to the character and don’t require any background to get into the show. Four years ago, Felicity Huffman won this award for the “Desperate Housewives” pilot for a slightly more dramatic, frazzled mother role, and I think that Collette could very well take this award this year for a more serious performance than her fellow nominees.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Christine Campbell, The New Adventures of Old Christine (Everyone Says I Love You Except Richie)
This is Louis-Dreyfus’ fourth consecutive nomination for her post-“Seinfeld” comeback. She already won the award for the first year of the show, and I think that a big part of that win was the fact that she actually managed to find a new series that didn’t get cancelled right away. Her episode is fairly gimmicky, showcasing Christine’s desperate attempts to get her son to say “I love you” and her inappropriate relationship with her brother. It’s nothing terribly fresh or exciting, and she really doesn’t shine the same way all the other nominees do.

Tina Fey as Liz Lemon, 30 Rock (Reunion)
Last year’s winner is back again, and her show is dominating every category more even more this time around. Fey’s just as popular and she has her other nominated performance, as Sarah Palin on “Saturday Night Live,” working in her favor. Her chosen episode spotlights her attempts to fit in at her high school reunion, only to learn that she was actually seen as a bully rather than the unpopular kid. It’s a fun performance that speaks to her talents, and it’s fair to say that she’s the frontrunner.

Mary-Louise Parker as Nancy Botwin, Weeds (Lady’s a Charm)
This is Parker’s third consecutive nomination, and this year she has the force of her show finally breaking into the Best Comedy Series category behind her. Many have slammed her episode submission, but I think it’s actually quite terrific. She’s sent on a run to Mexico and ends up stuck in her car for hours waiting to get back into the United States. It’s filled with wisecracks for Parker to mutter, and I think it definitely puts her in the running. I think she might actually be able to pull off a win this time.

Sarah Silverman as Sarah Silverman, The Sarah Silverman Program (There’s No Place Like Homeless)
Silverman’s inclusion comes as quite a shock, and to consider the fact that she could actually win is pretty unbelievable. Her nomination feels like part of Emmy voters’ attempt to branch out to less traditional and tame fare, along with the nod for “Family Guy” in the Best Comedy Series category. Silverman’s episode is entirely offensive, and the clearly well-off actress pretending that she’s homeless isn’t likely to go over well in hard economic times. The supporting plotline doesn’t help anything, and I can’t imagine enough people actually voting for her in order for her to win.

Who should win (based on entire season): Tina Fey
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Mary-Louise Parker
Who will win: It’s probable that Tina Fey will be crowned the victor again, but watch out for an upset by Collette, Parker, or Applegate.

Next up: Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

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