For 63 years, the Emmys have been the stepchild of entertainment accolades, ranking low in awards show ratings—(and ratings in general)—as well as industry respect. It used to make sense, back when the heavy hitters were on the big screen, but in this golden age of TV, that perception has changed, and finally the nominees for the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards reflect that. Announced at an ungodly hour this morning, the Emmys look to be chock-full of powerhouse performers and tough decisions come September 23rd. (Take a minute and scope out the list.) Here’s our TV-obsessed take on some of the most compelling nominations and our pre-season take on who might win. Stay tuned…
Outstanding Lead Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie
Woody Harrelson of “Game Change” — HBO
Kevin Costner of “Hatfields & McCoys” — HISTORY
Bill Paxton of “Hatfields & McCoys” — HISTORY
Clive Owen of “Hemingway & Gellhorn” — HBO
Idris Elba of “Luther” — BBC America
Benedict Cumberbatch of “Sherlock: A Scandal In Belgravia (Masterpiece)” — PBS
This category just reeks of big-time achievement and star-studdedness. Kevin Costner: won the best director Oscar for Dances with Wolves. Clive Owen: nominated for best performance by an actor in a supporting role for Closer. Bill Paxton: nominated for four Golden Globes. Idris Elba: Prometheus—successfully courts Meredith Vickers! Benedict Cumberbatch: played Stephen Hawking. Woody Harrelson: Cheers.
PRE-SHOW PICK: Elba
Consider this an industry-wide, long-overdue make-good for The Wire.
Tina Fey (center)
Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series
Lena Dunham of “Girls” — HBO
Melissa McCarthy of “Mike & Molly” — CBS
Zooey Deschanel of “New Girl” — FOX
Edie Falco of “Nurse Jackie” — Showtime
Amy Poehler of “Parks And Recreation” — NBC
Tina Fey of “30 Rock” — NBC
Julia Louis-Dreyfus of “Veep” — HBO
“Would you like to sample my meats and cheeses?” If you don’t know where that line is from, that’s OK. It’s from a movie—all that matters is McCarthy says it. She joins big-shot central with indie goddess Deschanel, Carmela Soprano a.k.a. Falco a.k.a. the indelible Nurse Jackie, the hilarious mavens of comedy Fey and Poehler, and Seinfeld legend Louis-Dreyfus. Oh, and aside from earning a nomination for outstanding writing and directing, Dunham hops on this boat, too.
PRE-SHOW PICK: Fey
Have fun with this category, voters. Personally—as much as I’d like McCarthy to take the statuette—Fey looks like the best bet to eke out a victory here.
Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series
Ed O’Neill of “Modern Family” — ABC
Jesse Tyler Ferguson of “Modern Family” — ABC
Ty Burrell of “Modern Family” — ABC
Eric Stonestreet of “Modern Family” — ABC
Max Greenfield of “New Girl” — FOX
Bill Hader of “Saturday Night Live” — NBC
Even though there’s four reps for “Modern Family,” Hader reigns supreme. He might only be one person, but as an actor, he wields an impressive wheelhouse of some of TV’s funniest personae. If you’ve never laughed at Stefon, Lyle Round, or Herb Welch, consider getting a check-up. His characters are absurd in convincing ways, and perhaps most impressive, he has a 99 percent success rate of not bursting into laughter while on the job.
PRE-SHOW PICK: Hader
It’s hard not to think that “Modern Family” is going to cannibalize itself, but if Hader doesn’t capture the hearts of voters, O’Neill, Ferguson, Burrell and Stonestreet are some of the finest comedic actors on TV. No offense, Greenfield.
Maya Rudolph (right)
Outstanding Guest Actress In A Comedy Series
Dot-Marie Jones of “Glee” — FOX
Maya Rudolph of “Saturday Night Live” — NBC
Melissa McCarthy of “Saturday Night Live” — NBC
Elizabeth Banks of “30 Rock” — NBC
Margaret Cho of “30 Rock” — NBC
Kathy Bates of “Two And A Half Men” — CBS
Have you seen Rudolph in the Super Showcase skit? If you haven’t, check it out on Hulu—you’re in for a treat. She’s part of a contenders’ list that looks more like a cast list for an acting-style survival of the fittest. Jones, Bates, and Banks are icons in their own respects, and Cho, one of the funniest stand-ups to hit the big screen—let alone the comedy stage—looks to be a ruthless competitor.
PRE-SHOW PICK: Rudolph
McCarthy, I’m still rooting for you, but I think this one’s Rudolph. She sure knows how to sell a lifetime’s supply of chicken.