The Emmys: Who's Got a Shot?
Next Thursday, the Emmy nominations will be announced. And this year, there’s an interesting twist. For the first time, the acting and series nominations will be chosen by a panel instead of the entire Academy. In years past, the panel only chose the winners, while the nominees were chosen by popular vote. This year, the panel will view tapes of those actors who place in the top 10 of Academy voting and then choose the nominees. This change is meant to open up the nominations so we don’t get the same people nominated over and over.
This means that shows like “Rescue Me” have a better chance at nominations. But it also may mean shows unable to correctly choose their best episode could be shut out.
Most magazines and websites predict the nominees or give their dream ballot. I just like to give you a rundown of who’s in the running and then predict the winners before the ceremony.
So, here goes…
I’ll start with this year’s toughest category—and the one nearest and dearest to my heart—Best Actor in a Drama Series. I don’t think I have to tell you who I’m rooting for, but I will say I’m worried. The reason Kiefer Sutherland has never won an Emmy is because no single episode can capture his acting abilities or his importance to his show. He always sends his best episode, but it’s a little hard for voters to notice Kiefer’s acting with all that action; or in the case of this year’s possible submission, it may be hard to get past Sean Astin convulsing and foaming at the mouth. And since the nominees will be selected based on the tape they submit, Kiefer could be in trouble. Hugh Laurie (Dr. House, “House”) is a lock for a nomination, as is James Gandolfini (Tony, “The Sopranos”). The new system may help Denis Leary (Tommy, “Rescue Me”) finally break out. Patrick Dempsey (Derek, “Grey’s Anatomy”) has a good shot; and many critics are championing Edward James Olmos (Adama, “Battlestar Galactica”). Past winner Michael Chiklis (Vic, “The Shield”) is a contender and some magazines have his co-star Forest Whitaker (Kavanaugh, “The Shield”) in this category. Plus, you can’t count out the king of episode-picking and the reigning winner (two years in a row), James Spader (Alan, “Boston Legal”). And I would be completely remiss if I didn’t mention Matthew Fox (Jack, “Lost”) and last year’s surprise, Hank Azaria (Huff, “Huff”).
The Best Actress race is a little weaker, with Kyra Sedgwick (Brenda, “The Closer”) and Edie Falco (Carmela, “The Sopranos”) leading the pack. Mariska Hargitay (Olivia, “Law & Order: SVU”) should also make the cut. The popularity of “Grey’s Anatomy” will probably garner Ellen Pompeo (Meredith) a nod and “Big Love” is getting a lot of buzz, which may help Jeanne Tripplehorn (Barb). And critics are championing Mary McDonnell (Roslin, “Battlestar Galactica”). Plus, there’s the possibility that Geena Davis (Mac, “Commander In Chief”) could earn a nomination even though her show was cancelled.
The supporting actor in a drama race begins and ends with Gregory Itzin (Logan, “24”). Forest Whitaker (Kavanaugh, “The Shield”) will probably fall in this category. T.R. Knight (George, “Grey’s Anatomy”) has a good shot, as does at least one member of “The Sopranos” cast (Take your pick.). Perennial Emmy favorite Alan Alda (Vinick, “The West Wing”) should also be in the mix. As for the “Lost” ensemble, I would go with Terry O’Quinn, even though Locke had less to do this year; but his co-star Michael Emerson (Henry, “Lost”) could be a dark horse. And, of course, I can’t forget two-time (consecutive) winner William Shatner (Denny, “Boston Legal”). Plus, there may be an outside shot that Donald Sutherland (Templeton, “Commander In Chief”) could still get nominated.
Leading off the Best Supporting Actress candidates is Itzin’s “24” counterpart, Jean Smart (Martha). Mary Lynn Rajskub (Chloe, “24”) is also getting some buzz. A quartet of “Grey’s Anatomy” ladies have a shot: Kate Walsh (Addison), Chandra Wilson (Miranda), Sandra Oh (Christina) and Katharine Heigl (Izzie). Also look for Candice Bergen (Shirley, “Boston Legal”) to be in the mix.
The lack of network sitcoms hinder the comedy categories a little. The Best Actor category will most likely be led by Jason Lee (Earl, “My Name Is Earl”) and Steve Carell (Michael, “The Office”). Jon Cryer and Charlie Sheen (Alan and Charlie, “Two and a Half Men”) are possibilities, as is Zach Braff (J.D., “Scrubs”). And don’t forget Emmy faves Tony Shalhoub (“Monk”) and Eric McCormack (Will, “Will & Grace”). I’d really like to see Jason Bateman get a nod for the late, great “Arrested Development.”
The Best Actress category will no doubt be dominated by the “Desperate Housewives,” unless the panel system recognizes that really only two of them deserve nods—Marcia Cross (Bree) and Felicity Huffman (Lynette), although I think Huffman should drop to supporting. Mary Louise-Parker (Nancy, “Weeds”) will no doubt get a nod and critics are hoping the new system will earn their darling, Lauren Graham (Lorelai, “Gilmore Girls”), a nod. Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Christine, “The New Adventures of Old Christine”) may also get a look. And though the show bombed, Lisa Kudrow (Valerie) is getting raves for “The Comeback.” Plus, don’t count out the nostalgia factor with Debra Messing (Grace, “Will & Grace”).
The Supporting Actor may be dominated by the cast of “Arrested Development”—or at least that’s what I’m hoping. Will Arnett (GOB), David Cross (Tobias), Tony Hale (Buster) and Jeffrey Tambor (George) all deserve shots. Rainn Wilson (Dwight, “The Office”) is getting a lot of buzz, as are two guys from “Scrubs,” Donald Faison (Turk) and John C. McGinley (Dr. Cox). One of the “Two and a Half Men” guys (most likely Jon Cryer) could drop to this category as well. The favorite would have to be Jeremy Piven (Ari, “Entourage”), but Sean Hayes (Jack, “Will & Grace) should be back to possibly play spoiler.
The Supporting Actress category could have some “Housewives” in it if any of them drop down. I would definitely include Jaime Pressley (Joy, “My Name Is Earl”) and Megan Mullally (Karen, “Will & Grace”). If Emmy finally shows “Scrubs” a little love, Judy Reyes (Carla) will get a nod and Jessica Walter (Lucille) could keep “Arrested Development” alive.
As for the Best Drama Series, I truly believe this is the best chance “24” has to win, but it will have to get past “Grey’s Anatomy” to do it. “Lost,” “The Sopranos,” “House,” “Rescue Me” and “The Shield” will also be in the mix. And because Emmy tends to get nostalgic, don’t count out “The West Wing.” “Big Love” could be a dark horse here.
As for comedies, “My Name Is Earl,” “The Office,” “Entourage,” “Everybody Hates Chris,” “Two and a Half Men” and hopefully, “Arrested Development” will be in the mix and don’t be surprised to see “Will & Grace.” And I think you can bet that “Desperate Housewives” will get a nod—even though it doesn’t deserve it.
So, if I had to choose my favorites right now? Kiefer Sutherland, Kyra Sedgwick, Gregory Itzin, Jean Smart, Jason Bateman, Marcia Cross, Will Arnett, Felicity Huffman, “24” and “Arrested Development.” But if “Arrested” receives no nominations, I’ll be rooting for “Scrubs” all the way just so they can make NBC cringe.
We’ll find out if any of these made the cut bright and early on July 6th as Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Brad Garrett reveal the nominees.