Best Leading Actor in a Drama Series
Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights, DirecTV/NBC
- FOR HIM: The show, which has been shafted (and re-renewed) by NBC in the past, has gained a very loyal fanbase and many Hollywood insders were pleased to see Chandler (and co-star Connie Britton) among the nominees in these top categories. Could this be last minute love for a show many predicted as D.O.A.?
- AGAINST HIM: The show, while loved by many, failed to garner the ultimate prize in a Drama Series nomination. The nods (for both Chandler and Britton) can be merely seen as appeasement of the naysayers.
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad, AMC
- FOR HIM: Cranston's role as a high school science teacher who turns to making and selling meth to make ends meet has been praised since the show began. He is the reigning champ in the category having won the past two years. He did some great work this year and many critics feel he will win a well-deserved third Emmy.
- AGAINST HIM: The episode he submitted, the show's season finale, is not considered his best of the year by the critics who so love him. Voters may feel they have awarded him enough for his great work and decide to go with one of the actors they have ignored the past two years (like John Hamm, Hugh Laurie or Michael C. Hall).
Michael C. Hall, Dexter, Showtime
- FOR HIM: His role as the forensic serial-killer with a heart of gold has garnered him praise for three years (with two previous nominations). With his recent battle with cancer (which he is reportedly surviving! YAY!), he won the Golden Globe and the Screen Actors' Guild Award this past year from his peers who admired his strength and hope.
- AGAINST HIM: Emmy voters may feel the two previous awards this year are enough in the way of sympathy.
John Hamm, Mad Men, AMC
- FOR HIM: Hamm's Don Draper has been nominated twice before and still has not won. For the show's third season, Hamm did what many feel is some of his best work. He also showed versatility by returning to his Emmy-nominated guest role on 30 Rock this year (which garnered him a second Guest Actor in a Comedy Series nod).
- AGAINST HIM: Many do say this could be his year but he has very tough competition from Bryan Cranston (whom he has lost to previously) and Hugh Laurie. He may have done great work this year but it might not have been enough.
Matthew Fox, LOST, ABC
- FOR HIM: With LOST's final season (and its stellar finale episode, which Fox submitted as his entry), Emmy gave Fox his first nomination for the series in its six year history. Fans would be extremely pleased to see Dr. Jack Shephard win (what they feel) is a well-deserved award.
- AGAINST HIM: With this being his first nomination in the six seasons, it is likely the nomination is a consolation prize. Plus, the ending, while hailed, left many viewers confused and puzzled (as it was meant to, I'm sure). It may have also left Emmy voters puzzled and therefore marking their ballots likewise.
Hugh Laurie, House M.D., FOX
- FOR HIM: With the phenomenal 2-hour season premiere in September 2009 (the rehab institution episode Laurie submitted), Laurie's Dr. Gregory House gained some of the best reviews of the early part of the 2009-10 season. This is Laurie's fifth nomination and he has yet to win for what many consider is the role of British actor's career.
- AGAINST HIM: While individual episodes are submitted by the actors, voters are allowed to look at the season as a whole. And for House's sixth season, it wasn't has hailed as previous ones (except for the premiere).
This is yet another tough category to call. Both Hugh Laurie and John Hamm have proven themselves very deserving and may finally receive Emmy love. Michael C. Hall could also be a contender with voters on pure sympathy. But, ultimately, Bryan Cranston's really stellar third season should bring him a third Emmy.
Best Leading Actress in a Drama Series
Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights, DirecTV/NBC
- FOR HER: The show, which has been shafted (and re-renewed) by NBC in the past, has gained a very loyal fanbase and many Hollywood insders were pleased to see Britton (and co-star Kyle Chandler) among the nominees in these top categories. Could this be last minute love for a show many predicted as D.O.A.?
- AGAINST HER: The show, while loved by many, failed to garner the ultimate prize in a Drama Series nomination. The nods (for both Britton and Chandler) can be merely seen as appeasement of the naysayers.
Glenn Close, Damages, F/X
- FOR HER: Close is one of the most respected and most rewarded actresses on Television ("She will not be ignored!"). Her role as the manipulative and vindictive lawyer Patty Hewes has already won her two Emmy awards for the show's first two seasons.
- AGAINST HER: The show's third season, to many, stumbled a bit in quality (although NOT for Ms. Close). With the show's announcement that it will move to DirecTV and not be renewed by F/X, voters will most likely feel like they have rewarded this great actress enough.
Mariska Hargitay, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, NBC
- FOR HER: Hargitay has been nominated every year since 2004 (and won in 2006). Her performance as Detective Olivia Benson has been raw, poignant and powerful. She has been hailed by critics and beloved by the fans. She even had some really good material this past season.
- AGAINST HER: She has not won since 2006 and the L&O franchise has faltered (with the original getting cancelled in May). Her nomination may just be for her body of work and not for her work this past year.
January Jones, Mad Men, AMC
- FOR HER: Jones' Betty Draper had some great material in the show's third season. Plus, to many fans, she was snubbed last year when she was not nominated for Best Actress in a Drama.
- AGAINST HER: While she is beloved by producers and critics, her character is only occasionally a lead (which could be the reason voters failed to nominate her last year).
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife, CBS
- FOR HER: Margulies' stirring and poignant performance as humiliated political wife Alicia Florrick has been a critical highlight of the year (scoring a nomination for Best Drama Series in the process). She has won the Golden Globe and the Screen Actors' Guild Award, Emmy may clearly be in her grasp.
- AGAINST HER: There isn't that much against her except maybe sympathy for Connie Britton, respect for Glenn Close or admiration for January Jones.
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer, TNT
- FOR HER: Sedgwick has won several Golden Globes for her role as Inspector Brenda Johnston on TNT's crime-drama. Voters may feel it time to give her the Emmy she has been denied for the past four years.
- AGAINST HER: Her show is a summer replacement series and timing, being what it is, may be her downfall each year as the season she gets nominated for airs a year before awards are handed out.
Julianna Margulies will most likely add an Emmy Award to her mantle for her dynamic performance. It will be her second Emmy as she won Best Supporting Actress back in 1995 for E.R.'s gripping first season.
Best Leading Actor in a Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock, NBC
- FOR HIM: Baldwin's eccentric network executive Jack Donaghy has been considered the best part of the series since the beginning. Having won this award for the previous two years, he is the reigning champ and will not go down without a fight (literally, Alec Baldwin can be very scary!). If anyone can win for the show, he can!
- AGAINST HIM: The show itself has lost fans and critics have begun to attack its quality (although NOT Baldwin's performance). It may be time for Baldwin to pass the torch to someone slightly more deserving.
Steve Carell, The Office, NBC
- FOR HIM: Carell's enormously inept Michael Scott has yet to win an Emmy for this series which has received Emmy love in the past. With his recent announcement that the upcoming sixth season will be his last, voters may take their chance now to reward him for years of service.
- AGAINST HIM: Since he has one more season left in him, voters may gamble on rewarding him next year instead of now. Plus, The Office (like 30 Rock) has dwindled in ratings (and quality, at least to critics). It's possible Carell may join the ranks of "Nominated but Never Won."
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm, HBO
- FOR HIM: As the creator and star of the beloved ad-libbed series, David's irascible character garnered his fourth nomination. Plus, the much hailed Seinfeld reunion episode (which David submitted), was a testament David and his contribution to both shows.
- AGAINST HIM: The show has been on HBO's schedule sporadically over the decade (debuting in 2000 and 2009 being its 7th season). His nomination (his first since 2006) could be just recognition for his work on both Curb and Seinfeld.
Matthew Morrison, Glee, FOX
- FOR HIM: Morrison's lead role as teacher Will Schuester is the heart of the phenom series. His musical style and great stage-trained acting ability could give him a leg-up on his competitors.
- AGAINST HIM: Being surrounded in the show by showier roles (like Lea Michele, Jane Lynch and Chris Colfer, all of whom received nominations in their respective categories), his nomination may be seen as more for the show than for the actor.
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory, CBS
- FOR HIM: On his second nomination (his first was last year), many critics feel he deserves to take home the Emmy for his anal-retentive (to the Nth Degree) nerd. Plus, the show has grown in viewership and is making a bold move from Monday nights to Thursdays for its upcoming fourth season.
- AGAINST HIM: Many critics were upset by the fact that The Big Bang Theory was NOT included amongst the Comedy Series nominees. With fewer nominations in major categories, Parsons may just have to be happy with the nomination and step up his already hilarious game for next year.
Tony Shalhoub, Monk, USA
- FOR HIM: With Monk ending back in December, Emmy voters decided to remember his three-time Emmy winning role as the OCD genius detective and nominated him again.
- AGAINST HIM: He has not won since 2006 and the last season was not considered his best comedically (it was more dramatic and poignant). The nomination merely serves as a tip of the hat to the actor and his memorable role.
Jim Parsons DID step up his game for The Big Bang Theory's third season (hence, the move to Thursdays!). Alec Baldwin already has two Emmys for his role but, while he may be just as deserving, Parsons pulled out so many stops and shows no signs of quitting.
Steve Carell's announcement about ending his contract at the end of next season seemed to be timed in the right place. He was most likely on voters minds when they read their ballots and made decisions.
Best Leading Actress in a Comedy Series
Toni Collette, United States of Tara, Showtime
- FOR HER: Collette's performance as a woman struggling with multiple personalities won her last year's Emmy Award and this past year's Golden Globe. The acclaimed actress has certainly won critics and fans with sheer diversity.
- AGAINST HER: She won this award last year in what many saw as a surprise (a welcome one, but a surprise). Also, her show's second season has not been as hailed as the first one.
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie, Showtime
- FOR HER: In the series pilot of this quirky Showtime dramedy (which is the episode Falco submitted), critics claimed that Edie Falco's titular pill-popping no-nonsense character was one of the most fascinating characters of the year. On mere Sopranos nostalgia alone, Falco has huge fans amongst many Hollywood insiders.
- AGAINST HER: The show is a summer replacement series, meaning that the inaugural season that has received major nominations (for this category and Best Comedy Series) aired over a year ago. Timing may just work against this well-seasoned and well-respected actress.
Tina Fey, 30 Rock, NBC
- FOR HER: Fey has been at the forefront of comedy in the last few years and has earned her place as the genre's so-called "Queen." She had a hit movie this summer (with Date Night), a successful hosting gig on SNL (for which she received a Guest Actress in a Comedy Series nod) and her Primetime show is hailed as one of the best shows on TV (for which, as head writer, creator and star, she is a major reason for).
- AGAINST HER: Her show, to many, has dwindled in quality this past fourth season. She also won this same award back in 2008 (for the show's second season, which to many was its best). If her show was a contender in any category, it would be more likely to win in Leading Actor for Alec Baldwin (who is considered the best part of the show).
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, The New Adventures of Old Christine, CBS
- FOR HER: Louis-Dreyfus won this award back in 2006 and has been critically acclaimed for the role since. She also was part of the Seinfeld reunion episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm that was so beloved this year. Her show, unfortunately, got cancelled at the last minute this past May and many Hollywood insiders (including Louis-Dreyfus herself) are unhappy about the way CBS did it. She may get votes based on sympathy and solidarity.
- AGAINST HER: Her win was over 4 years ago and her show had dwindled in the ratings, hence CBS' decision to cancel. She may get some votes, but not enough to conquer her more palatable competitors.
Lea Michele, Glee, FOX
- FOR HER: Michele's Rachel Berry is the self-proclaimed star and darling diva of the phenomenal smash hit series of the year. Her musical performances are what most fans have looked forward to in each episode (especially her "Sectionals" performance, which she cleverly submitted as her entry). Emmy voters may choose to go with someone young and fresh as the winner of this major category.
- AGAINST HER: At 24 (and playing a high-school student!), she is the youngest in the category this year. Though she has been in the business since she was 8 (when she made her Broadway debut), she has less experience when compared to her more seasoned competitors.
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation, NBC
- FOR HER: In its second season, Parks and Recreation gained new fans amongst many critics and Poehler's nomination is a testament to the power of their suggestion (several critics pushed for her to be noticed this year). Her sweet but inept government worker has been praised as a good reason to catch the struggling show.
- AGAINST HER: To many critics dismay, this was the only nomination the show received. Had it received more nominations, Poehler would be a major contender. But since it did not, she will have to be happy with the nomination.
Judging by mere acting quality, it will come down to Edie Falco or Toni Collette. Since Collette won this award last year and many voters still remember The Sopranos, Falco should be polishing off her acceptance speech.
With her flawless musical performances and quirky character antics, Lea Michele could create an upset (at least to some) just based on versatility.
Next Post: PART III - Best Drama Series AND Best Comedy Series