Monday, June 6, 2011

Emmy Musings: Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Now that the 2010-2011 TV season is officially over, it’s hardly too early to start thinking about the Emmy nominations, which will be announced in July. Consider these preliminary thoughts rather than official predictions – look for those at the beginning of July. As always, chime in with your reactions and predictions in the comments, and don’t hesitate to let me know if I left any strong contenders off the list!

Last year’s ineligible nominees: Larry David (“Curb Your Enthusiasm” returns this summer), Tony Shalhoub (“Monk” is over)

Last year’s eligible nominees:
Alec Baldwin (30 Rock)
This powerhouse actor won his fifth consecutive SAG Award this past year, and he’s showing no signs of letting up. While he relinquished his Emmy trophy last year, he’s still a sure bet for a nomination. Until Emmy voters get tired of this show, it’s just going to keep getting nominated for just about everything, especially when it comes to its lead performers.

Steve Carell (The Office)
Carell has officially left this show, and now it’s just a matter of him getting his Emmy. He’s been nominated since season two of the show, and he has never won. I can’t imagine a scenario in which Carell doesn’t take home a trophy this year. He had a terrific sendoff episode, and he doesn’t have any real competition. Congratulations, Steve!

Matthew Morrison (Glee)
Morrison and costar Lea Michele are most vulnerable in terms of the Emmy backlash for sophomore slumps. The show still swept the Golden Globes, so maybe it’s not time to write off its hair product-heavy lead actor’s chances just yet. Morrison is hardly the strongest actor on his show, nor is he the funniest. It’s only a matter of there being someone else to scoop up his slot.

Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)
Parsons was lucky to win this award last year at a time when his show is still very popular. That means that he’s already been rewarded and can now safely expect a repeat nomination each year, as fans continue to hope that the show gets recognized in other categories as well. Count him in for a nomination, though he won’t be able to upset Carell and net a repeat win.

Past nominees:
David Duchovny (Californication)
It’s puzzling to me that the star of one of Showtime’s most successful dramedies hasn’t been able to get an Emmy nomination, especially considering the fact that Duchovny was an Emmy nominee back in the day for “The X-Files.” Unfortunately, those who found Duchovny to be lackadaisical and unenthusiastic throughout the show’s first three seasons will feel even more negatively about his performance in the fourth season.

New contenders:
Matt LeBlanc (Episodes)
This thrice-nominated “Friends” star is back on the air playing a version of himself, and it’s a performance that will appeal to an entirely different audience than his last role did. It’s a much subtler comedy that isn’t always laugh-out loud funny, and in a stronger year, I wouldn’t expect LeBlanc to come through with a nomination. This year, however, he’s probably a decent bet.

Rob Lowe (Parks & Recreation)
The sunny newcomer is absolutely stellar on NBC’s comedy series. There are only two issues standing in the way of his getting a well-deserved nomination. The first is that Emmy voters have yet to embrace the series, nominating only Amy Poehler last year. The second is his inexplicable need to submit himself in the lead category no matter how supporting his role is on every show in which he stars. It worked once for “The West Wing,” can it succeed again here?

Matthew Perry (Mr. Sunshine)
This other former Friend is only a one-time nominee, and his previous show was far more successful than his latest effort. ABC cancelled the midseason comedy, in which Perry played a less funny version of Chandler Bing on a less funny show that just didn’t work. Perry still appeals to many, and he could garner a nomination, but it’s doubtful.

Other possibilities:
Danny McBride (Eastbound & Down)
This HBO comedy isn’t for everyone. McBride’s part in particular is one that is so dumb that its portrayer couldn’t possibly be seriously considered for any kind of award. Yet that’s the brilliance of McBride’s performance. Unfortunately, season two wasn’t as strong as season one, and Kenny Powers is likely far too off-putting to appease enough Emmy voters.

Joel McHale (Community)
His show got shut out last year, and it’s continued to grow in popularity as it has become one of the staples of NBC’s Thursday night lineup. It would be far easier to fit McHale here than it would be to accommodate any of the show’s other stars in the supporting categories, so a nomination for McHale could double as recognition for him and for the show. He’s a definite possibility, if nothing more.

Next up: Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series


Richter Scale said...

I think if Parsons remains as consistently funny for the entire run of his show, he will win another Emmy. Maybe not this year, but eventually (it could even be this year). Voters will vote for him, because he makes people laugh and that is what this category is about after all. Also, I know you don't watch the Big Bang Theory, but I think this year it may have more of a shot at nominations in other categories. For one, it has two new regular cast members (Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch) who I think make a good case for Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, and the show itself has gone through an interesting transformation this year without losing what fans loved about this show in the first place. It's a show that decided to re-invent itself a bit this season, and I think it worked.

Also, Matthew Perry has been nominated more than once. Yes, only once for Friends, but he got two Guest Acting nominations for The West Wing, and a nomination for the TV Movie The Ron Clark Story. Just a little FYI (although I doubt he'll get a nomination this year).

Anyway, I'm also really hoping Steve Carrell gets his overdue Emmy. It is his last chance after all.

Movies with Abe said...

It's so strange how things happen with the Emmys sometime in terms of shows that seem to be ignored and then much later finally recognized, albeit too late. "Entourage" and "Scrubs" are perfect examples, mostly ignored for their first few strong seasons and then nominated later once they had already started to decline. It would make sense to me that, even if I don't watch "The Big Bang Theory," it would get nominated for Best Comedy Series, but my question is always, why this year and not the last two? Of course, last year we had Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton just to show that sometimes things just happen when they happen.

Good point about Perry - I'm trying to be thorough without being uninterestingly exhaustive, so I appreciate you noting that. I'm not sure that helps his chances, though, especially since TWW was a much better show (duh) and TV movies are a whole different ball game.

It really is time for Carell to win. I'm a Tony Shalhoub fan, so I didn't begrudge him his third win, but it just doesn't make sense that Carell hasn't won, especially considering Baldwin got to win twice.

Richter Scale said...

Oh, another FYI, did you hear about the Critics Choice Television Awards? It's their first ceremony this year and the nominations were just announced. You might want to check them out, as I hear they may be some good precursors for the Emmys. Check out the nominees, they are interesting (it's ten nominees each for Comedy and Drama and six nominees each for every acting category, plus some Reality show categories).

Movies with Abe said...

I did see them, yes. This post was written before they were announced. I'll keep them in mind much more for my actual predictions, which I'll make in July.