The 2011 Primetime Emmy Awards are right around the corner (Sunday, September 18 on FOX). So with the upcoming Awards, it is time that I give you my Emmy predictions. I will be doing this over the next three days in three parts. Why three parts? Because I am covering 20 Primetime categories and I didn't want people's eyes to get tired in one day (unless you choose to wait until Saturday to read them and, if so, that's your problem!). I have split the predictions into Comedy categories, Drama categories and Miniseries/Variety categories (I have stated before that I don't do Reality categories!). Up first, are the hilarious, irreverent and (in recent years) emotionally touching Comedy categories. One more thing: I've already gone over which actors and actresses got snubbed so these posts are not the place to lament that! The Nominees are what they are! Now, onto the predicting!
BEST COMEDY SERIES
Quick Overview: Last year's winner Modern Family had a strong enough second season to garner praise all-around from the same critics from before; Audience darling Glee suffered a slumpy sophomore season (and a summer filled with backstage drama unfolding in the media!); Previous winners 30 Rock and The Office are the categories "Old Hands" and may be passed their prime despite creatively improved seasons; And both The Big Bang Theory and Parks and Recreation returned in their fourth and third season (respectively) to more acclaim and more fans than they had before.
Will Win: Modern Family most likely will pull off their second consecutive win.
Should Win: The Big Bang Theory proved in its fourth season it is the best sitcom on Television.
Dark Horse: Parks and Recreation's die-hard fanbase might just seep into the Academy enough to pull off a surprise victory.
BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Quick Overview: Golden Globe winner Laura Linney has never lost in any of her three previous Emmy races (in other categories, mind you!); Amy Poehler has submitted the hilarious "Flu Season" episode of her popular sitcom where critics compared her performance to the likes of Lucille Ball; Category newcomers Melissa McCarthy and Martha Plimpton have had well-respected careers (especially McCarthy with her breakout role in the summer film Bridesmaids); Previous winners Edie Falco and Tina Fey, while both extremely loved on their respective shows, were considerably not as strong this season as competitors Linney or Poehler.
Will Win: Laura Linney has the talented career that Emmy voters just love.
Should Win: My personal favorite in this category is the delightful work of Martha Plimpton, yet her show is not high enough on Emmy's radar.
Dark Horse: Amy Poehler may be considered the funniest woman in the category and since last year's winner Edie Falco pointed out her own lack of hilarity, Emmy voters may want to reward a true sitcom performer.
BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Quick Overview: With Steve Carell ending his 7-year run on The Office this year, it may be high time for Emmy voters to finally reward his emotional last episode; Last year's winner Jim Parsons might benefit from his character's strong showing on both his submitted episode and co-star (and fellow nominee) Johnny Galecki's episode, while Galecki primarily plays "Straight Man" to Parsons' eccentric Sheldon Cooper; Past winner (and constant SAG Award winner) Alec Baldwin may suffer from a poor episode submission as he chose 30 Rock's lackluster Season Finale over the well-received 100th Episode; And cable favorites Louis C.K. and Matt LeBlanc suffer from the dangerous "Larry David-syndrome" where they basically play versions of themselves on their respective shows (though Louis C.K.'s is more favored by the critics than Larry David ever was!).
Will Win: Steve Carell was everything he needed to be in his final episode and Emmys are suckers for that.
Should Win: Jim Parsons proved once again this year how good he is at being the irritating and anal Dr. Sheldon Cooper.
Dark Horse: Louis C.K. may be able to pull off what Ricky Gervais did a couple years ago (when Gervais won for HBO's Extras over Carell!) thanks to both fan and critical support.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES*
Quick Overview: Jane Lynch, this year's Emmy hostess, may benefit from showing versatility on both Glee and Saturday Night Live (the SNL episode she hosted and featured in is being submitted by fellow nominee Kristen Wiig); Wiig herself is outshone by Lynch on the previously mentioned SNL episode; Both Julie Bowen and Sofia Vergara cancelled each other out last year and may do so again, though Bowen had a stronger showing in the show's second season; Jane Krakowski has generally become the category's also-ran despite her well-received work this past year; And then there is the juggernaut resurgence of the amazing Betty White!
Will Win: Jane Lynch will probably pull off another win (thanks to Ms. Wiig!).
Should Win: Sofia Vergara deserves recognition for her delightful role as Gloria but her episode submission choices don't always reflect that quite well.
Dark Horse: Julie Bowen may have edged out Vergara's hilarity this past seasons and both her own episode submission (as well as Vergara's!) display that.
The Betty White Factor: Betty White is just beloved, and Emmys love to reward the beloved.
* = Interesting SIDE NOTE: This is the one Emmy category where most pundits had predicted all 6 nominees from Day One! Yet, it is now one of the few Emmy categories that seems to be the most "Up In the Air" as far as the winning result goes! Just thought I'd mention that!
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Quick Overview: Golden Globe winner Chris Colfer had a strong storyline this past year on the FOX mega-hit; Previous winner Jon Cryer garnered the sympathy vote thanks to the bad press his show received this year (because of it's "Winning!" former star!); Yet, there is no denying the strength of Modern Family in this category with ALL FOUR of its male adult leads garnering nominations: Ty Burrell and Eric Stonestreet are usually the critical (and fan) favorites, thanks very much to their over-the-top characters; Jesse Tyler Ferguson gets rare moments to shine (like the show's "Halloween" episode, which he cleverly submitted!); and veteran Ed O'Neill has now garnered his FIRST Emmy nomination for his strong and funny (yet, at times, touching) role of the family's patriarch.
Will Win: Ty Burrell has the best episode submission (plus a strong showing in his co-stars' episodes!), so therefore will most likely win.
Should Win: Ed O'Neill is the character actor who never got recognized for previous work (in particularly Married...With Children) and Emmy voters should take the time to reward that.
Dark Horse: Chris Colfer is on one of the most popular shows and is the most popular performer/character on that show, as his Golden Globe win this year fully reflects.
BEST GUEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Elizabeth Banks, 30 Rock (NBC); Kristin Chenoweth, Glee (FOX); Tina Fey, Saturday Night Live (NBC); Dot Marie Jones, Glee (FOX); Cloris Leachman, Raising Hope (FOX); Gwyneth Paltrow, Glee (FOX)Quick Overview: Cloris Leachman has won more Emmys (in multiple categories) than any other female performer (I believe her grand total is 9 or 10!) and her recurring role as Maw-Maw on new hit Raising Hope most predictably garnered her yet another nod; Tina Fey pulled out her famed Sarah Palin impersonation and received her third nod in this category; Elizabeth Banks' recurring role on 30 Rock was good enough to nominate her over the show's more illustrious female guests (like Elaine Stritch, Queen Latifah and Sherri Shepard); And then there is Glee: Tony-winner Kristin Chenoweth (and Emmy-winner for the long-gone Pushing Daisies!) has her second nod in this category for her eccentric recurring role of April Rhodes; Dot Jones' tough yet emotional role of football coach Shannon Beiste pushed her into the category spotlight (over usual Emmy favorite Carol Burnett!); And Oscar-winner Gwyneth Paltrow began a three-episode stint on the FOX hit with one of the few critically acclaimed episodes of the show's second season.
Will AND Should Win: Last November, when I saw the Glee episode titled "The Substitute," I turned to my father and said: "We just saw next year's Emmy winner for Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series." He pretty much agreed with me that Gwyneth Paltrow is the clear winner in this category.
Dark Horse: With so many previous Emmy wins, Cloris Leachman could pull off an upset if indeed Emmy voters are bored with Glee's inconsistent storylines and backstage behavior.
BEST GUEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Quick Overview: Idris Elba's recurring role on the Showtime dramedy was very well-received, but his surprise nomination in this category is more thanks to his work on BBC America's Luther (more on that in the Miniseries categories!); Nathan Lane is very well-respected by the showbiz community and Modern Family is obviously beloved by Emmy voters; Both Will Arnett and Matt Damon gave well-received performances on their respective episodes of 30 Rock; And, in recent years, Saturday Night Live has surprised many by taking the Guest Actor/Actress categories which is good news for both Justin Timberlake and Zach Galifianakis.
Will Win: Justin Timberlake won this category two years ago and his episode this year was SNL's most-watched of the season. Emmy voters like a little popularity.
Should Win: Nathan Lane gave a hilarious performance on the Modern Family episode "Boys' Night," and his long career (in TV, Film and Theatre!) have earned him the love of his fellow actors.
Dark Horse: Zach Galifianakis' SNL monologue was one of the funniest monologues of the season and Emmy voters could check their ballots based on those first 5-10 minutes.
Part II: The Drama Categories