Wednesday, June 29, 2011

10 FAVORITES (38) - Movie Musical Miscasts!

After taking a much needed break last week (for the beginning of Summer!) and before taking another much needed break next week (for the 4th of July holiday!), 10 FAVORITES returns with a subject I've wanted to cover for a while.  If you read my 100 Favorite Films list, you know that I am a huge fan of Movie Musicals. I just can't get enough of them, good or bad.  And believe me, there have been some doozies!  Now there have been ones that have been bad from conception to production (most of the Esther Williams movies!) and ones that have been bad because of one major mistake: Casting!  This week's 10 FAVORITES goes through the biggest crimes in Movie Musical history as far as Casting goes.  This week:


Ava Gardner, Show Boat (1951)
There were several factors going into this Casting choice and there are two big reasons why it was the wrong choice.  For MGM's splashy colorized film version of the landmark Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein II musical, the studio wanted a glamorous star in the role of the tragic leading lady Julie LaVerne.  Several insiders thought that jazz sensation Lena Horne was the perfect choice (she had done the role, sort of, in the 1948 Jerome Kern biopic Til the Clouds Roll By).  But the studio was uncomfortable putting a black woman in such a prominent role in a film with a large budget behind it.  They wanted a sex symbol! And they got one in Ava Gardner.  One problem, she couldn't sing!  And the dubber they used (professional singer Annette Warren) didn't quite match Gardner's natural sexual energy.  Watching this film, I cringe at the dubbing that doesn't quite match Gardner's flirtatious movements and I can't help but wonder what the fantastic Miss Horne would have been like in the role (I guess I have to keep watching Til the Clouds Roll By!).

Omar Sharif, Funny Girl (1968)
I'm gonna say it: I'm NOT a fan of Omar Sharif (except in Lawrence of Arabia!).  I didn't care for him in Doctor Zhivago and I didn't care for him in this movie (which is otherwise quite delightful!).  My biggest problem with him as gambler Nicky Arnstein, who married then divorced Ziegfeld star Fanny Brice (brilliantly played by Barbra Streisand): He just doesn't pull off the sleaze quality you need!  Yes, he's a smooth-talker and a player and a complete and utter tool, but from what I've read about the real Nicky Arnstein, he was NOT Yuri Zhivago, which is how Sharif plays him.  Seriously, watch Doctor Zhivago then watch Funny Girl (and I apologize in advance for the suggestion!) and you will see NO difference between Sharif's two characters!

Vanessa Redgrave, Camelot (1967)
This Miscast has bothered me for years.  Don't get me wrong, I love Vanessa Redgrave as an actress and in a straight dramatic version of the King Arthur story, she would have been at the top of my list to play Queen Guinevere back in the day.  But, even though Dame Redgrave has a charming singing voice, it in NO WAY matches the lilting glory that was Julie Andrews' voice.  Andrews played the part in Lerner and Loewe's seminal musical on Broadway in 1960 and was a critical dynamo opposite Richard Burton's King Arthur.  In Joshua Logan's film version of the musical, the late Richard Harris was well-cast as Arthur (long before he was the original Professor Dumbledore!) and, once again for star power, Vanessa Redgrave got the part of Guinevere (a role she would have been perfect for if the score was not so musically ambitious!).  Sadly, her high notes (or the notes where Andrews would have hit say a High C) just are not lyrical enough for what this musical should be.

Barbra Streisand, Hello, Dolly! (1969)
I may be thrown out of the "Musical Lovers Club" for this one, but Miss Barbra was NOT right for playing Dolly Levi, at least not at that time in her career (something she herself has said several times since, by the way!).  Hello, Dolly! was her second film and she was not yet 30! Dolly Gallagher Levi (played on stage by legends like Carol Channing, Pearl Bailey, Martha Raye, Ginger Rogers and Ethel Merman) was supposed to be a middle-aged widow.  So Streisand, who was in full glorious voice and had her usual star power, just wasn't right for this Grande Diva role.

Diana Ross, The Wiz (1978)
Yet again, this is another case of right star + right role + wrong time in star's career.  Diana Ross would have been perfect to play Dorothy in The Wiz...10 or 15 years earlier! (And I know that means the musical wouldn't have existed yet, but go with me for a sec!)  The Supreme Diva Miss Ross was in her thirties when she played the role on film (something screenwriter Joel Schumacher-YES, Joel Schumacher-addresses), but Dorothy is supposed to be a teenager.  That's what made Dorothy so innocent in ALL incarnations of the Oz tale.  Yes, Judy Garland was over 18, but at least she was under 25!  All this being said, though, I do love Diana Ross' rendition of Dorothy's final song, "Home."  Below, is a song written by Quincy Jones specifically for the film version and specifically for Miss Ross.

Peter O'Toole, Man of La Mancha (1972)
Just like Dame Redgrave above, Peter O'Toole would have been perfect as Don Quixote de la a straight dramatic version of the tale.  But add a little song and dance, and the actor loses some credibility.  In fact, O'Toole (who had done a dismal musical version of Goodbye, Mr. Chips in 1969) was so terrified of the beautiful Mitch Leigh-Joe Darion La Mancha score that he demanded a dubber.  But the dubber makes a big-yet-understandable mistake: Instead of trying to tackle the score with a deep glorious tenor (like original star Richard Kiley or Broadway vet John Cullum had done), he tries to match O'Toole's breathless vocal quality and so the songs lose the power they had in the stage production.  It's really sad, especially when co-star Sophia Loren (no great singer herself!) is warbling her way through the leading lady songs (sans dubber!).

Janet Leigh, Bye Bye Birdie (1963)
This is another case (like Redgrave and O'Toole) where I compare the film version to the original Broadway version.  And here, the argument ends when I say who played the part on Broadway: Chita Rivera.  Now, I grant that she was not a movie star like Janet Leigh and therefore not a household name, but her talent far outweighs anything Janet Leigh brought to the role (if indeed she brought anything to the role!).  For Leigh, they diminished the score, cut songs and the choreography by the legendary Onna White (who would have been thrilled to work with the fabulous Chita Rivera) is extremely limited to mostly supporting players and original star Dick Van Dyke.  Below, hear Janet Leigh sing the reprise of "One Boy" (her part begins about 3 and half minutes into the video clip).

Elizabeth Taylor, A Little Night Music (1977)
On the surface, the late Dame Elizabeth Taylor was the right choice for the part of fading star Desiree Armfeldt in Stephen Sondheim's ambitious musical.  But watching this film (which is really hard even for those who love the musical to begin with!), I get the feeling that Miss Taylor's heart just wasn't in this role.  Her insecurity comes leaping across the screen and she unsuccessfully tries to pass it off as part of the character's vulnerability.  My heart sinks when I watch this film because I know Taylor could have done better and I know that there were other actresses/stars who might have gone beyond better and into the superb.

Lee Marvin, Paint Your Wagon (1969)
There really isn't much I can say about this one.  I mean, Lee Marvin + musical western + lackluster score + Lee Marvin singing!  It's just...just...just watch the video below and judge for yourself!

Lucille Ball, Mame (1975)
This one is wrong on all levels of Miscasting!  Many people "loved" Lucy, but not here.  Lucille Ball spent millions of her own money to secure the rights to play Mame on film.  She would have been better to put her millions under a mattress.  Not only did she side-step the glorious original star Angela Lansbury, but Lucy was trained as a dancer/chorine and became a natural comedic talent, but nowhere in her career history was she a singer.  Let's face it, there was a reason Ricky never let her be in the show!  Suffice it to say, Mame was huge commercial and critical flop (and Broadway revivals of the show have not had much success since!).  It's rare where the film version can pretty much kill almost any credibility the stage version had (Paint Your Wagon is another example, but you've realized that by now!).

There they are: the biggest crimes in Movie Musical Casting.  As I said earlier, 10 FAVORITES will be taking another break next week.  When I return, there will be some significant changes made in this blog and in 10 FAVORITES.  See you all soon! And Happy 4th of July!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

10 FAVORITES (37) - Tip-Top TV Dads

Fathers.  So many things come to mind when you say the word.  Stern, decisive, strong, hard-working and smart are just a few of the adjectives that pop up when we describe our Fathers (for most of us at least!).  But what makes a great Father?  Like I did for Mother's Day, I want to explore some the best depictions of Dads in our media.  And with Father's Day coming up this weekend, what better time than now?  But where are the best depictions of Fathers in the culture.  Unfortunately, film has to many for me to comb through in enough time for this post (and so many of them fall in "The Worst" category) and I have grown tired of focusing on the Worst Dads in popular culture (sometimes it can be just depressing!).  So, this week's 10 FAVORITES is devoted to:


TV DAD #10
Tom Bradford, Eight Is Enough
As the father of 8 (yes, 8!!!) children, holding it all together with a mixture of laughter and tears was all that Tom Bradford (played by Dick Van Patten) could do on this late 1970s/early 1980s "dramedy."

Danny Tanner, Full House
One would think after losing your wife in an accident with a drunk-driver that a man who had three young daughters to raise would completely fall apart, but not Danny Tanner (the unforgettable Bob Saget).  He called in reinforcements: brother-in-law Jesse (John Stamos) and best pal Joey (Dave Coullier) on ABC's TGIF staple.

Sheriff Andy Taylor, The Andy Griffith Show
Wholesome and straightforward, Sheriff Taylor was as laid back at home as he was in the Mayberry Sheriff's Office.  Every time Opie (little Ronny Howard!) got into a "scrape," Andy was there to help guide him to the right path. 

Ben Cartwright, Bonanza
Property take-overs, petty thieves and everyone out for themselves, no this was not gritty New York City, this was Virginia City, Nevada in the mid-1800s.  And who could guide 3 sons to master the rough terrain but Ben Cartwright (the late Lorne Greene), master of the Ponderosa.

Howard Cunningham, Happy Days
Okay, despite the fact that his oldest son went upstairs and never came down again, Mr. C (played by the late Tom Bosley) was a great throwback to the exasperated-yet-understanding father we all wanted in the 1950s.  He even got respect from the Fonz!

Charles Ingalls, Little House On the Prairie
Maybe Michael Landon learned how to play a good father by watching Lorne Greene all those years on Bonanza.  Charles Ingalls was a caring and patient man who let his children be themselves (with his strong guidance), I mean he let his little girl (Melissa Gilbert) frolic in a meadow every week!  Who doesn't love a good frolic?!?!

Mike Brady, The Brady Bunch
Not only was he a father to "the three boys of his own," but he took on the challenge of helping to raise 3 girls "with hair of gold like their mother."  The blended family never looked so shiny!

Ward Cleaver, Leave It To Beaver
For fans of Leave It To Beaver, Ward gave audiences a weekly dose of inspiration and moral guidance when Wally or the Beav would stray from the path.  It must have been Hugh Beaumont's calming and sometimes commanding presence in the role that gave us such comfort.

Steven Keaton, Family Ties
I've said this to my father (and he shrugs it off like he doesn't believe me!), but Steven Keaton (played perfectly by Michael Gross) reminded me a lot of my own father.  He was loving, patient (usually), dedicated, comforting and often quite funny.  He was a welcome weekly addition to my childhood that reminded me of the daily addition I had in my father.  Plus, like my dad, he was a big old hippie!

Dr. Cliff Huxtable, The Cosby Show
I think it is fitting that Bill Cosby's Dr. Huxtable is #1 on the TV Dads list as his lovely wife, Clair, was #1 on the TV Moms list.  Their parental combination helped to make The Cosby Show one of my all-time favorite shows.  Who couldn't relate (or want to relate) to Sandra or Denise or Theo or Vanessa or even little Rudy?!?!  Ah, good times (no, wait...wrong series!).

Next week, I will discuss some of the bad casting choices many Movie Musicals have made over the years (I know another "Worst," but I promise it will be the last one for a while!).  In the meantime, to all the Dads out there:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

10 FAVORITES (36) - They Don't Need No Stinking Tony!

It is Tony Awards time and the Great White Way is filled with excitement!  Broadway's current musical hits The Book of Mormon and Sister Act will be vying for the top prize at Sunday night's ceremony (which will be televised on CBS and hosted by the indomitable Neil Patrick Harris).  While most pundits predict that Mormon (the irreverent musical from the creators of South Park) should easily emerge as the victor on Sunday, the other nominees (which in addition to Sister Act include: the lively Catch Me If You Can and the now-closed The Scottsboro Boys) should not be discouraged and feel that a Tony loss will mean indefinite obscurity.  There have been a plethora of Broadway musicals that have achieved a certain notoriety despite the fact they found themselves with no Best Musical trophy on Tony night.  Some of these shows lost to musicals that are just as notable (or notable in their own way) and some of these shows lost in complete "what-were-they-thinking?!?" times.  So, for this week's 10 FAVORITES, I thought we could explore some of these shows that have proven to the world that they didn't need a Tony win to make their mark in the musical theatre culture.  Here are:


Disney's Beauty and the Beast
Tony Year: 1994
Lost to: Passion
Remember I was referring to "What-were-they-thinking?!?" moments earlier, this is one of them.  Now I know that Passion has the pedigree of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine behind it (you'll see in a bit how much I respect them), but when you pick the musical that audiences hated over a show that became adored by audiences, then you really have lost touch.  If you want to stick it to the film company that revolutionized interest in musicals, you could have waited until they were producing stage duds like Tarzan and The Little Mermaid (which they did, but they could have honored this groundbreaking gem in the process!).

Sunday in the Park With George
Tony Year: 1984
Lost to: La Cage Aux Folles
This is Sondheim and Lapine's finest and most poignant musical.  It features their best work and glorious performances by its two leads (the amazing Mandy Patinkin and the fantastic Bernadette Peters) and yet, it only walked away with two Tony Awards (for its set and lighting design).  La Cage was a massive hit in the '80s and it was pretty much a given that it would receive the Best Musical award no matter what it was up against. But Sunday did get a few "last laughs," so to speak.  One of them was that it became the sixth musical in history to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1985 (there have since been two others: Rent and Next to Normal).

Miss Saigon
Tony Year: 1991
Lost to: The Will Rogers Follies
Cameron Mackintosh was the producer behind 3 of the biggest Tony-winning hits in the 1980s (Cats, Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera).  But by 1991, the Tony love was beginning to fade.  The Tommy Tune-directed nostalgic throwback musical The Will Rogers Follies was a modest hit (meaning it closed about a year and a half later!) but was still a critical dynamo.  So even though the massive London hit Miss Saigon ended up running 10 years (that's over 4,000 performances with that giant helicopter!), Tony voters went with the critics and only gave Saigon the acting honors (for stars Jonathan Pryce, Lea Salonga and Hinton Battle).

Tony Year: 1963
Lost to: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
Before Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh, the British were "invading" Broadway with their big hits.  Oliver! was one of them.  But Forum was a big comic hit and was not going to be denied Tony glory.  Oliver! did however become a phenomenal movie that would go on to win 8 Academy Awards including Best Picture.  Below, original London star (and 1968 movie star) Ron Moody performs Fagin's "11 o'clock number" on a BBC special.

Tony Year: 1982
Lost to: Nine
In this Tony year, both musical front-runners were hits with critics (one more than the other!) and with audiences (again, one more than the other!).  Also, both musicals derived their source material from other mediums (Nine from the world of film, Dreamgirls from the world of pop music).  In the end, Tony voters went with the critics and Tommy Tune's Nine was the victor.  However, Michael Bennett's Dreamgirls ran for almost 5 more years, spawned three national tours and a revival later the same decade.  Both musicals have also become movies in recent years, with the Dreamgirls film triumphing with critics and audiences more than the Nine film did.

Tony Year: 1969
Lost to: 1776
This musical's presence on a list like this cannot be a surprise.  The show was a revolution of sorts and there was no possible way (given "the standards" of the time) that the Tony Awards could recognize it over more traditional hits like 1776 or Promises, Promises.  But the show is still one of the most recognizable Broadway titles from that season and the score is a massive hit (especially with college-age audiences!).

Tony Year: 1960
Lost to: The Sound of Music AND Fiorello! (tie)
This show is one of the most revived musicals in Broadway history (with four major revivals to its name and counting!) and yet it lost in one of the most understandable-yet-confusing races in Tony Awards history.  It is no surprise that when one hears the word "tie" the year Gypsy and The Sound of Music were nominated that the latter musical was one of the award winners.  What is a surprise is the little-known (yet Pulizer Prize-winning!) musical that joined Rodgers & Hammerstein's Sound of Music at the podium that year: Fiorello!, a musical (by George Abbott and Fiddler on the Roof's Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick) about the famed mayor of New York City Fiorello LaGuardia (you may have heard of his airport!).  As I said before, Gypsy has been revived 4 times in 50 years and Fiorello! hasn't been revived once, what does that tell you?

Tony Year: 2004
Lost to: Avenue Q
Something interesting has been happening to Tony voters in recent years and it is their strive to be make musicals remembered.  When Wicked notoriously lost to "the little musical that could" Avenue Q, many people blamed (or thanked) a massive-if-not-controversial Tony campaign the producers of Ave Q put on to be remembered come awards time.  While that might (in part) be true, I'm gonna espouse a theory that has made its round in some theatre-fan circles in the last few years.  Tony voters that year were looking at the nominees and trying to figure out which musical would "best" be served by a Tony victory.  By "best" I mean, "Will it make more money on Broadway and on tour if it has a Best Musical trophy behind it?"  In their esteemed opinion, Tony voters felt that the blockbuster musical Wicked (which has since made more money than God!) didn't need a Tony win to enjoy a fruitful Broadway run and Avenue Q did.  It is fascinating to try to figure out what goes into the mind of the Tony Committee when they pick the winners.

Tony Year: 1976
Lost to: A Chorus Line
Let's just get this out of the way right now, Chorus Line was a phenomenon and a benchmark in the history of the Broadway musical.  That being said, I and many of my family, friends and some theatre aficionados I have gotten to know like Chicago better.  Bob Fosse's dark musical-comedy has thrilling choreography, a witty script and a toe-tapping Kander and Ebb score you just can't stop humming.  It's loss to Chorus Line is understandable as its humor may have been too dark for some of the more traditional Tony voters.  But thanks to a dynamic Broadway revival and an exciting Oscar-winning movie, Chicago will always be remembered.

West Side Story
Tony Year: 1958
Lost to: The Music Man
The most famous of all Tony losers, I don't think I need to discuss the impact this musical has had.  It is a landmark in the history of Broadway musicals (much like A Chorus Line).  But in 1958, critics and Tony voters just couldn't figure out what it was.  Original co-producer Hal Prince has said that he has talked to people who walked out on West Side Story and have since denied doing so (apparently trying to sound like they had foresight about the musical's success).  I think this amazing and groundbreaking musical just didn't sit well with certain members of the audience (namely the influential ones!) and so The Music Man (a perfectly good musical in its own right) was named 1958's Best Musical.

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
Funny Girl
Into the Woods
Mamma Mia!
Smokey Joe's Cafe
Sweet Charity
The Who's Tommy

So to the three musicals that will not be the winner on Sunday night (or two, cause since 1960, you never know!), look at the company you would be in.  Whatever reason causes your loss this weekend (be it political, economical or Tony voters just "don't get" your musical), don't fret because a Tony loss does not mean a loss of notoriety (as all these shows have proven!).  Happy Tony watching and Good Luck to all the Nominees!  Next week, TV Dads invade 10 FAVORITES.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Emmys and Comedy: Who will get nominated?

With the end of the 2010-2011 TV season over last week, the speculation has begun as to what shows will get nominated for the TV industry's top honors: The Emmy Awards.  If you go to sites like,, Television Without Pity or Entertainment Weekly, you will find many articles about who the front-runners are in the respective categories.  So this week, on my blog I will discuss and breakdown the various Comedy categories and their potential nominees.  The reason I am only discussing the Comedy categories is because the only Dramas that I have been watching are the "procedurals" (like NCIS and Criminal Minds), which are loved by many but rarely on the Emmy Radar.  The only Emmy-worthy drama I watch is The Good Wife, and that is poised to be the only network drama nominated amongst a range of cable hits (re: Mad Men and Dexter).  Therefore, I don't feel qualified to give my opinion on the Drama categories just yet (we'll wait until the nominations come out and I have had a chance to catch up on the Emmy-worthy dramas). With that said, let's dive right in!  I have broken each of the five major Comedy categories down into four "Distinctions" (or Sections), the definitions for which can be seen below.  

For Sures: These are the ones that are definite locks to get nominated (for whatever reason!).
Favorites: Their nomination is not as guaranteed, but have extremely strong chances.
Possibles: This is the "Wild Card" section, where any one of these can pull off a surprise and get nominated.
Long Shots: These are the ones that get mentioned in "Dream Ballots," but their chances are less likely.

Now, on with my speculations:

Glee - There have been many hit shows over the years that have been plagued with what is referred to as a "sophomore slump," meaning that their second season is not as good as their first.  An argument can certainly be made that the FOX musical mega-hit has suffered from that ailment, but the network is throwing so much weight behind the series that the show will inevitably garner a second Emmy nod for Best Comedy (despite its more dramatic overtones).

Modern Family - Like Glee, last year's Emmy champ has also suffered from "sophomoritis."  Despite that, the show has become the anchor of ABC's Wednesday nights and its entire cast has been hailed over and over again (winning this year's SAG Award for Best Ensemble over Glee).  It will be assured of a nomination come July.
30 Rock - NBC's awards darling won this award 3 years in a row and garnered a nod last year (for a generally considered also-ran fourth season).  Despite losing to Modern Family, the show stepped up its game for its fifth season and is still considered by many critics to be one of the smartest sitcoms on Television.  It has become a staple of the category.

The Big Bang Theory - The CBS hit made a bold move to Thursdays and won the ratings battle (Thanks in large part to last year's Emmy win for star Jim Parsons!).  The show could find itself getting its first nomination in the top category for a much-lauded fourth season.
Hot In Cleveland - TV Land's first original scripted series is a throwback to the nostalgic multi-camera, live-audience sitcom.  It is bolstered by a industry-beloved cast (including the phenomenal Betty White!) and a massive awards campaign behind it from the cable network.
The Office - With the departure of star Steve Carell, the NBC hit had a creative resurgence this year that many critics felt was long overdue.  The show could be honored with a nod (and a potential win!) just for Carell's last episode alone.

The Big C - The new Showtime "dramedy" surprised many by garnering a Golden Globe nomination for Best Comedy Series earlier this year.  The strength of star Laura Linney's performance could garner the show a nomination in the top category (much like Nurse Jackie got last year!).
Community - The NBC show's exclusion from the category last year riled a few pundits and they opined that the series' second season is quite Emmy-worthy (despite its quirky/subversive style).  But with 30 Rock and The Office getting more campaign support from the network (not all, just more), it is unlikely NBC can pull off a hat-trick and dominate the category (like they once did in the 1980s and early '90s).
Nurse Jackie - Showtime's dark and serio-comic series received a Best Comedy Series nod last year mainly because of the strength of star Edie Falco (who won the Best Actress award).  The show could repeat but it faces tough competition from its own network (see The Big C).
Parks and Recreation - NBC's plucky mockumentary-style series has become a critical favorite and had a creative resurgence with the addition of Rob Lowe to the cast.  While many critics would love to see this series make it all the way to the Winner's Circle on Emmy night, the network is throwing more support behind more perennial favorites (like 30 Rock and The Office).

Chuck, NBC; Cougar Town, ABC; Eastbound & Down, HBO; Entourage, HBO; Episodes, Showtime; How I Met Your Mother, CBS; It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, F/X; The Middle, ABC; Raising Hope, FOX; Weeds, Showtime

CATEGORY BREAKDOWN - Previous winners Jim Parsons and Alec Baldwin are shoo-ins to get nominated and Steve Carell's swan song season is guaranteed to garner him a nod.  Cable stars Thomas Jane and Matt LeBlanc are favorites with the critics and with Tony Shalhoub and Larry David out of the race this year, spots have opened up.  Matthew Morrison could ride the success of his show to a second nod, but he (and Jane and LeBlanc) face tough competition from newcomers Lucas Neff and Rob Lowe (who is submitting himself as a lead!) and previous non-nominees David Duchovny and Joel McHale.  And Charlie Sheen missed the deadline to submit (but he could get "written-in" if the voters are so inclined!).
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock; Steve Carell, The Office; Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Thomas Jane, Hung; Joel McHale, Community; Matthew Morrison, Glee
Louis C. K., Louie; David Duchovny, Californication; Matt LeBlanc, Episodes; Rob Lowe, Parks and Recreation
Johnny Galecki, The Big Bang Theory; Zachary Levi, Chuck; Danny McBride, Eastbound & Down; Lucas Neff, Raising Hope; Charlie Sheen, Two and a Half Men

CATEGORY BREAKDOWN - Showtime stars have seemed to dominate this category recently and it is unlikely that will end anytime soon.  Laura Linney is riding high from a Golden Globe win and last year's Emmy champ Edie Falco is likely to join her on the list of nominees.  Tina Fey is one of the most respected comedic actresses around and is assured a fifth nod (she won back in 2008!).  Toni Collette (another Showtime star and 2009's winner) could muster a nomination even though her show was recently axed by the cable network.  Last year's newcomer-nominees Lea Michele and Amy Poehler remain in position to repeat with respective nominations, that is unless Courtney Cox or Mary-Louise Parker can get similar (and even more) support from their respective networks.  And let's not forget the highly respected and much-lauded newcomers Melissa McCarthy and Martha Plimpton.
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie; Tina Fey, 30 Rock; Laura Linney, The Big C
Toni Collette, United States of Tara; Lea Michele, Glee; Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Courtney Cox, Cougar Town; Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly; Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds; Martha Plimpton, Raising Hope
Marcia Cross, Desperate Housewives; Kaley Cuoco, The Big Bang Theory; Teri Hatcher, Desperate Housewives; Patricia Heaton, The Middle; Felicity Huffman, Desperate Housewives

CATEGORY BREAKDOWN - Chris Colfer has had one of the best years on his show and the most character growth (he was rewarded with a Golden Globe for his effort).  Ty Burrell and Eric Stonestreet (last year's winner) are assured nominations as they usually stand out in their show's impressive cast.  Their co-stars Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Ed O'Neill, while not as over-the-top memorable, certainly could earn nods for their work.  Then there is Neil Patrick Harris, who is the category's favorite perennial nominee.  While this would polish off the category's six spots, there is competition in the form of Jon Cryer, Nick Offerman and Rainn Wilson.  And don't count out past winner Jeremy Piven!
Ty Burrell, Modern Family; Chris Colfer, Glee; Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family; Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother; Ed O'Neill, Modern Family
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men; Nick Offerman, Parks and Recreation; Jeremy Piven, Entourage; Rainn Wilson, The Office
Garrett Dillahunt, Raising Hope; Ed Helms, The Office; Tracy Morgan, 30 Rock; Mike O'Malley, Glee; Danny Pudi, Community

CATEGORY BREAKDOWN - Last year's champ Jane Lynch is most assured to get a nomination (thanks to her Golden Globe win earlier this year!).  Betty White's career resurgence has made her a favorite with many industry voters (as her SAG win proved).  Sofia Vergara has received praise (even from her own co-stars!) and her colleague Julie Bowen also has a strong chance of making her way onto the nominations' list.  Perennial favorite Jane Krakowski is always welcome at any awards show and Kristen Wiig is the most beloved cast member of the long-running variety series (having been nominated twice before).  Betty White's co-stars made a bold move and decided to submit themselves in the Supporting category (as opposed to the Lead), so Wendie Malick or Jane Leeves could find they have nominations.  Then there are previous nominees Jenna Fischer and Holland Taylor who may get their respective chances.  Quite frankly, with Lynch, White and Vergara (and possibly Bowen) as locks, the rest of the category is up in the air!
Jane Lynch, Glee; Sofia Vergara, Modern Family; Betty White, Hot In Cleveland
Julie Bowen, Modern Family; Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock; Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory; Wendie Malick, Hot In Cleveland; Jane Leeves, Hot In Cleveland; Holland Taylor, Two and a Half Men
Valerie Bertinelli, Hot In Cleveland; Jenna Fischer, The Office; Tamsin Greig, Episodes; Swoosie Kurtz, Mike & Molly; Merrit Weaver, Nurse Jackie

We will know the answer to the "Who will be Nominated?" question come July 14 when the Emmy nominations are revealed.  Soon after that, I will have my predictions as to who will win!  Next Week, 10 FAVORITES returns and goes (back) to Broadway!