Monday, June 13, 2011

Emmy Musings: Best Supporting 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 eligible nominees:
Ty Burrell (Modern Family)
This doof of a dad is definitely going to be back, since the show hasn’t decreased in popularity at all and Burrell continues to be just as hilarious. In fact, this may be Burrell’s turn to win now that costar Eric Stonestreet has taken home his trophy. He has plenty of fun episodes to choose from, and it’s not to like (and laugh at) him.

Chris Colfer (Glee)
When Colfer made this list last year, his inclusion came as a bit of a surprise. Now, he’s a sure thing, after winning the Golden Globe this past year and essentially carrying his very own tangential plotline all season. He’s more of a lead than a supporting actor at this point, but that should help rather than hurt him since he’s had more material to work with and more episodes from which to choose.

Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men)
Is this the year that this actor and his show finally drop off the awards map? Cryer won on his fourth try two years ago and was back again this past year. This season was truncated to sixteen episodes, and though Cryer wasn’t part of it, the bad press this show has gotten shouldn’t do it any favors. He’s still a possibility, but I wouldn’t count on it.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family)
No one expected this actor to get nominated last year, presuming that he would lose out to his other three cast members. As it turns out, Ed O’Neill got snubbed and he made the cut. The truth is, he’s pretty great on the show, and could easily come back, just like Kevin Dillon did after having a good year and then earning two follow-up nominations after that. His chances are about fifty-fifty, since this category has twice in the past ten years looked exactly the same two years in a row.

Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
It seems highly unlikely that Harris, now shooting for his fifth nomination, won’t be back. Yet it also seems just as improbable that the actor could win this year when he couldn’t manage a victory two years ago over Jon Cryer. Like Hugh Laurie, his ship may have sailed, and it’s possible that he won’t ever get rewarded for his work on this show, especially when he won two Emmys last year for his role on “Glee” and as host of the Tony Awards.

Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family)
This actor won last year for his showy performance as Cameron, and he’ll definitely be back to compete again. Honestly, he has enough ammunition this year to take home another trophy, and it’s really just up to his costars to beat him out for it. I imagine this will play out like a “West Wing” scenario, with a different supporting actor winning each year, so I’d bet that it won’t be Stonestreet again this time around.

New contenders:
Oliver Platt (The Big C)
Platt earned four Emmy nominations in the past decade, two of which came for his supporting role on Showtime’s “Huff.” Back on the network, Platt is second fiddle to series star Laura Linney but still manages to be funny and steal a decent number of the scenes. Supporting males on Showtime dramedies haven’t tended to get nominated, however, so I’d leave Platt’s chances at iffy to good.

Other possibilities:
Ed O’Neill (Modern Family)
People were left scratching their heads when this veteran actor was the only adult cast member left off the list of nominees last year. He’s chosen to submit himself in the supporting category again this year rather than the lead race, so chances are decent that he’ll be snubbed again, if only because Emmy voters sometimes prove that seeming flukes are anything but. Just ask John Krasinski, who got snubbed year after year.

Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation)
In a cast full of funny people, Offerman stands out for his dry delivery and love of all things meat. Offerman knocks it out of the park every episode, and hopefully his omission last year is only because voters had yet to catch on to the show. Now, there’s no excuse, and hopefully his Critics Choice nomination is a proper precursor that should help him get nominated.

Rainn Wilson (The Office)
Wilson didn’t get a nomination last year, but it’s a bit too early to toss him off the list of contenders altogether. This past season was just as uneven as the one before it, but Wilson’s part proved to be interesting at certain points, and if voters want to honor more than just Steve Carell’s departure, Wilson would be an easy choice. I wouldn’t bet on it, though. Emmy voters often like to forget about past nominees once they’re passed over in any given year.

Next up: Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

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