Monday, May 28, 2012

Emmy Musings: Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Now that the 2011-2012 TV season is almost 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: Steve Carrell (The Office), Matt LeBlanc (Episodes)

Last year’s eligible nominees:
Alec Baldwin (30 Rock)
Baldwin has been nominated five times and won twice for his role as TV executive Jack Donaghy, and with the announcement that next year will be the show’s last, there’s no reason why he wouldn’t be back this year too for another shot at winning again. The show’s popularity may have declined, but some consider it to be as good as ever, and there’s no stopping Baldwin either way.

Louis C.K. (Louie)
This comedian surprised with a nomination for his standup-centric FX show, and though he didn’t receive a Golden Globe or SAG mention this year, he’s likely to return since Emmy voters clearly find his brand of humor funny. It would be easy for him to get left off the list in favor of new contenders, but this year isn’t all that crowded, so he should be safe.

Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory)
This actor joined his Emmy-winning costar Jim Parsons last year with an Emmy nod and followed it up with a Globe nomination, replacing Parsons altogether in that lineup. The show continues to be popular, and therefore Galecki will be back if his nomination wasn’t simply a sign of momentary enthusiasm for the show.

Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)
This actor has won this award for the past two years, and the only warning sign about his chances was his snub from the Golden Globes this past year after that winning that award the year beforehand. The show is still a hit, and its inclusion in the Best Comedy Series category for the first time last year suggests that the show is on its way up rather than down, and it’s hard to imagine that happening without its standout star.

Past nominees:
Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm)
This comedian has earned four nominations in this category – in 2010, 2006, 2004, and 2003. That’s hardly consistent, but the fact of the matter is that Emmy voters do love David and his infrequently-airing HBO comedy, and they honored him last time he was eligible. With two slots open, it seems likely that David would be able to grab one of them.

New contenders:
Don Cheadle (House of Lies)
Cheadle has four Emmy nominations, and he’s likely to earn his fifth for his staring role in Showtime’s comedy about consultants. Emmy voters have embraced Showtime series in the past, and as long as it doesn’t go the way of “Shameless,” which was ignored in the drama race last year, Cheadle should find himself with a well-deserved Emmy nod for his fantastic performance.

Other possibilities:
Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men)
Why people continue to award this show is beyond me, but SAG voters recognized Cryer for the first time ever with a nomination this past year. Cryer was nominated six times in a row in the Best Supporting Actor category, winning in 2009, and now he’s been promoted to lead actor. Ashton Kutcher’s entrance only means more press, so Cryer, inexplicably, has a shot.

Adam Scott (Parks & Recreation)
Last year, Rob Lowe failed to get nominated in this category likely because he’s not the show’s star. Scott, however, deserves the promotion he got this year because he was central to the show along with Amy Poehler, and if voters show their enthusiasm for this excellent comedy, Scott may finally get the recognition that has so far eluded him and, for the most part, the show too.

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