2011 Emmy Picks
I started to do a post on who I'd nominate for Emmy awards back in the spring, but never completed it before the Emmys released the actual nominations. So, here are my picks for who I think should win (rather than will win) the awards as well as who I would have nominated for the category.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama
Should win: Jon Hamm (Mad Men)
You know that Jon Hamm doesn't have an Emmy for Mad Men, right? (He's lost 3 years consecutively to Bryan Cranston for Breaking Bad.) He should. And in this season of Mad Men, Hamm got to play Don Draper as he's struggling through a difficult period after his divorce. The Suitcase is perhaps the best highlight reel of an episode possible for the show's lead actors.
The world has forgotten about Terriers, so Donal Logue was not nominated for an Emmy for Terriers, but his was one of the standout performances on TV of the year. Kyle Chandler as Coach Taylor is one of the iconic performances of the last decade, but Don Draper is the iconic performance. Buscemi plays intimidating and powerful control without having the physical presence of the real-life Nucky Johnson.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama
Should win: Connie Britton
This is a toss-up between Britton's cumulative excellence and Moss's emergence as lead with a brilliant period of self-discovery for her character culminating in a confrontation with her mentor. The Suitcase was Moss's best moment so far on the show, and not yet having finished season 5 of Friday Night Lights, I don't know if this season provided Britton with anything comparable, like the first four seasons.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy
Should win: Steve Carrell
Steve Carrell has never won an Emmy for his work on The Office. Let me repeat: Steve Carrell has never won an Emmy for The Office. He brings a mix of egocentrism, weirdness and humanity to the character. He's not nearly as mean as Ricky Gervais's David Brent, but manages to create awkwardness through generosity and self-delusion.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy
Should win: Amy Poehler Poehler plays the right mix of grounded and crazy, optimism and cynicism as Leslie Knope on Parks & Rec. She is the catalyst for the action, gets some of the biggest laughs, but also gives the supporting cast the ability to out-weird and out-funny her. As a result, Parks has not only one of the strongest ensembles in comedy, but a true female lead in a comedy (rather than a half-hour dramedy.)
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama
Should win: Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones)
In the thousands of pages of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, Tyrion Lannister stands out as the most interesting character. He is smart, underestimated, ostracized, drunk, cynical and horny. Dinklage captures all of those elements and manages to let the character be as interesting as possible. His portrayal of the character is as fun, layered and complex as the character himself. Walton Goggins is electrifying and captivating in every moment on screen. He makes Justified more engaging and dynamic whenever he's on screen and elevates the show as a supporting character. This is one of the most competitive categories, with many good options.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama
Should win: Margo Martindale (Justified). As the tragic villian of Justified, Martindale's Mags Bennett got to play maternal, mean, sweet, controlling and lost all within the span of a season. A brilliant performance of a unique character.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy
Should win: Ty Burrell (Modern Family). My choice to run away with the category would be Nick Offerman's Ron Swanson. He makes this ridiculous libertarian character working in local government human and completely insane at the same time. But then this category could justifiably be made up of the entire supporting cast of Modern Family. Replacing Colfer and Cryer with Nolan Gould and Rico Rodriguez would make it a stronger category. Even though I think that Offerman, Day and Pudi are the class of this field, the Modern Family ensemble works so perfectly and Burrell's character was dialed in to the right balance of buffoonery and believability. But the Academy can't go wrong with any of the Modern Family cast.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy
Should win: Sofia Vergara (Modern Family). Sure, she's beautiful and has an exaggerated accent. But Vergara's timing is perfect. She takes what could be a terrible hackneyed character and manages to be consistently hilarious.
Outstanding Comedy Series
Should win: Parks and Recreation
It isn't as inventive as Community, as relatable as Modern Family, as introspective as Louie, or as fully committed as Always Sunny, but Parks and Recreation put together a tremendous string of funny episodes that have biting criticism of society and still managed to be warm and engaging. A brilliant series of episodes and performances, including Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman, Chris Pratt, Rob Lowe, Aziz Ansari, Adam Scott and Li'l Sebastian.
Outstanding Drama Series
Who should win? Mad Men
There are some very solid choices for best drama this year, even while television's current best drama, Breaking Bad, fell through the cracks to not air any episodes during the eligibility year. Friday Night Lights is a unique, special show in its last season. Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire came out of the gates with solid seasons -- the last stretch of Game of Thrones was epic. But Mad Men had one of its best seasons to date, with Don Draper experiencing a trying time and falling to a personal low. Looking back just at the episode titles and summaries, more of the Mad Men episodes worked well and distinctly compared with the two HBO shows.