Friday, September 13, 2013

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Series

Nominees are pictured and listed in alphabetical order. Submitted episode titles are in parentheses. Beware of minor spoilers for listed episodes.

Bobby Cannavale as Mike Cruz, Nurse Jackie (Walk of Shame)
This is Cannavale’s second consecutive nomination for this role. He previously won this prize for “Will and Grace” in 2005, and is also nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his work this year on “Boardwalk Empire.” Unfortunately, Cannavale’s chances in this category are slim since his submission contains barely any comedic material, and his dramatic effectiveness requires a context that the episode doesn’t quite provide.

Louis C.K. as Various Characters, Saturday Night Live (Host: Louis C.K.)
C.K. upped his individual nomination total from seven to nine this year thanks to his stint hosting the NBC variety series. C.K. is also recognized for directing, writing, producing, and starring in his own series, and here he gets the opportunity to mock his show and have a good time showing that he’s not always the most awkward guy in the room. The second half of the show, however, isn’t nearly as good as the first, but it seems that voters like C.K. almost no matter what he does, so I think he’s got a great shot here.

Will Forte as Paul L’astname, 30 Rock (My Whole Life is Thunder)
Forte earns his first acting Emmy nomination this year for his recurring role as the cross-dressing Jenna Moroney impersonator who marries her in the middle of a funeral in his submitted episode. Forte is one hell of a committed comedian, and this is the best showcase for his work. His show has won once before in this race, for actor Tim Conway, and he could well be the next victor for the departed series.

Nathan Lane as Pepper Saltzman, Modern Family (A Slight at the Opera)
This is Lane’s fourth nomination in this category, his second for this role, and one of two mentions this year (he’s also recognized for his dramatic guesting on “The Good Wife”). Lane was nominated before for this role two years ago. His show has had exactly one nominee in this race each year, and none of them have won yet. In his submitted episode, Lane gets to encourage Mitchell to unleash his aggression towards his father on the golf course, which is thoroughly entertaining. The role is certainly showy, but definitely the less impressive of Lane’s two nominated performances this year.

Bob Newhart as Arthur Jeffries, The Big Bang Theory (The Proton Resurgence)
Interestingly, despite five previous acting bids, Newhart has yet to win an Emmy. The former star of not one but two very popular Emmy-nominated comedy series just turned 84, and he’s a lot of fun in his guest spot as the actor who played Professor Proton on Sheldon and Leonard’s favorite childhood TV series. Newhart doesn’t try too hard but still manages to be funny, and he seems like an easy pick for anyone feeling nostalgic.

Justin Timberlake as Various Characters, Saturday Night Live (Host: Justin Timberlake)
Timberlake’s odds are hard to beat. He’s hosted this show four times beforehand, and of the two times that he’s been eligible in this category, he’s won. His fifth gig incorporates a handful of other five-time hosts, which detracts from him as the focal point of the episode, but he seems so gleefully at home that it’s not a problem. He does have another SNL host to compete with in this race, but that didn’t present a problem two years ago when he beat Zach Galifianakis.

Who should win (based on entire season): N/A
Who will win (based on individual episodes): Forte or Newhart, though C.K. is good too
Who will win: It’s a tight race, but I’d go with Newhart to edge out Timberlake and C.K.

Next up: Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series

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