Monday, June 6, 2011

Emmy Musings: Best Lead Actress 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: Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“The New Adventures of Old Christine” is over)

Last year’s eligible nominees:
Toni Collette (The United States of Tara)
Don’t let the fact that Showtime has decided not to renew this series for a fourth year make you think that she’s not in the running again this year. In fact, she’s even more likely now that her show is going off the air. She won on her first try two years ago and earned another nomination last year, so she’ll be back as a nominee this year, though I wouldn’t expect a win.

Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie)
Falco is last year’s winner, and now she’s back with the show’s third season as she competes for just one season of the show this time around. Falco should be back without a doubt but won’t win again. This category hasn’t rewarded repeat winners since Patricia Heaton, and this isn’t that kind of show. It’s also a question whether her show will be back in the Comedy Series race, though that shouldn’t affect her chances here.

Tina Fey (30 Rock)
Can you say surefire nominee? This show’s popularity has not declined with awards bodies since its start, and even if the show did slip out of its plush Comedy Series spotlight, there’s no way that the uber-hot Fey is going anywhere for a long time. The show hasn’t had its best season, so I wouldn’t count on her to pull off a win this time around, especially since she’s already won.

Lea Michele (Glee)
I’m not exactly sure what to expect here. Michele’s role was heavily reduced in the show’s second season, and while she was definitely the central female in season one, that’s no longer the case. Michele and her fellow cast members did receive repeat Golden Globe nods this year, and people do still love the show, so, in the absence of much new competition, it’s likely that she’ll return.

Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation)
Somehow Poehler, who is excellent on NBC’s latest hit comedy, was the only part of her show recognized last year. Hopefully, the show will find much more favor in other categories this year, and it would be an abomination for Poehler to miss out on a nomination. Were it not for one particularly threatening new contender, I would say that this is the year that Poehler could take home this thing.

Past nominees:
Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds)
Parker dropped out of this race last year after receiving three nominations over the course of the first four years of her show. No circumstances have changed, since season six was just as wild and wacky as those that came before it. Without much new competition and one slot left open, Parker could easily climb back into the race and knock out someone like Michele.

New contenders:
Laura Linney (The Big C)
If any race has a guaranteed frontrunner this year, it’s this one, and it’s Linney. The actress, who was won all three Emmys she has been nominated for in the past decade, took home the Golden Globe earlier this year and then wasn’t nominated by SAG. That probably won’t happen here, and Linney should have no trouble coasting to a victory, especially considering that lead actresses from freshman Showtime dramedies have dominated this category the past two years.

Martha Plimpton (Raising Hope)
This show never struck me as an Emmy kind of show, and certainly not one that might garner nominations for acting (aside from Cloris Leachman, who doesn’t need to do much to earn a nod). Only the supporting and guest cast of creator Greg Garcia’s last show earned Emmy love, so I wouldn’t expect much from Plimpton. She is funny, however, and this category doesn’t have a whole lot of contenders.

Other possibilities:
Courteney Cox (Cougar Town)
After grabbing a Golden Globe nomination last year, Cox was expected to get an Emmy nomination, but she missed out. Her show, despite its inaccurate title, continues to be popular on ABC’s Wednesday night, and therefore Cox is just as much in the running as anyone else this year. Emmy voters never nominated her for “Friends,” however, so maybe she won’t make the cut if she couldn’t do it last year for her new show.

Patricia Heaton (The Middle)
A decade ago, Heaton earned six nominations and two wins for her starring role on “Everybody Loves Raymond.” Though her show also continues to be popular on ABC’s Wednesday night, it has yet to attract any awards attention. In a field where there are really only six or seven contenders, Heaton’s chances increase exponentially, but I think her show is the kind of series that could fly under the radar for its entire run.

Next up: Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

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