The Diva’s Guide to the Emmys

The nominations for the 62nd Emmy Awards are out, and as per usual, I’ve got something to say about it. I’ll stick to the categories that I actually either a) care about or b) know something about, so basically it’s only the comedy categories. My predictions (though not necessarily always the choices that I personally think should win) are in bold.

Outstanding Costumes for a Series

Glee, “The Power of Madonna”
The Good Wife
, “Crash”
Mad Men
, “Souvenier”
30 Rock
, “I Do Do”
The Tudors
, “Episode #408”

Now, I’m glad Glee‘s costumers were recognized in this category, but if any Glee episode should be nominated for best costumes, I think it should be “Theatricality,” the Lady Gaga episode. But I could see how the old white dudes who presumably run the Emmys would be more likely to understand the impact of Madonna costumes rather than Lady Gaga. And the Madonna episode was hyped for weeks before it premiered; the Glee cast did countless photo shoots and cover stories for magazines in their Madonna regalia. Either way, it’s more of a win for the legacy of Madonna’s fashion sensibility than anything else, but I think it’s certainly deserving of a win.

But honorable mention goes to Mad Men, which was nominated for this category last year, as was The Tudors, though both lost to Pushing Daisies. Tom and Lorenzo, my favorite bloggers over at Project Rungay, have been doing a series of posts on Mad Men fashion, and they constantly remind me of how immensely talented that show’s costumers are. They are impeccably talented at capturing not only the period, but the individual characters and the style that is believable for each of them.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory
Larry David as Himself, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Matthew Morrison as Will Schuester, Glee
Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk, Monk
Steve Carell as Michael Scott, The Office
Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy, 30 Rock

Now this is a competitive category! Tony Shalhoub, Jim Parsons, Steve Carell, and Alec Baldwin were all nominated last year, but Baldwin took home the award for his always hilarious portrayal of Jack Donaghy in 2009 and 2008. Shalhoub and Carell were also nominees in 2008. Let’s praise the television gods for not nominating Charlie Sheen again, since he is the most overpaid, overpraised, over-nominated actor of the 21st century. Shalhoub’s been in the spotlight this year for performing in Lend Me a Tenor on Broadway, but I’m sure the Emmys will not give a shit about that.

Steve Carell has certainly made a stir recently, announcing that he will not be returning for any future seasons of The Office. Will that make the Emmys award him while they still can, or punish him for leaving his hit show? Of course Matt Morrison is a great option, but I actually think his dramatic abilities are much more impressive than his comedic acting; Glee is a comedy, so he’s in this category, but I think he’d have a much more competitive edge in a dramatic category. But at the end of the day, I can’t imagine the Emmys favorite Alec Baldwin in a third consecutive win, especially since it’s glaringly obvious that 30 Rock took a turn for the worse this year, with always-a-nominee, never-a-winner Carell about to leave the show. (It’s true that Baldwin is probably out after 2012, but that’s a year later than Carell, and he hasn’t been doing 30 Rock for nearly as long as Carell has been doing The Office.) This is certainly not the year that Carell deserves the award the most, but come on – when have these awards ever really been about who deserves them?

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Lea Michele as Rachel Berry, Glee
Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Christine Campbell, The New Adventures of Old Christine
Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton, Nurse Jackie
Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreation
Tina Fey as Liz Lemon, 30 Rock
Toni Collette as Tara Gregson, The United States of Tara

Louis-Dreyfus and Fey were both nominated in 2007, 2008, and 2009. Collette won last year, but my main girl Liz Lemon took home the prize in 2008. I love that Tina’s fellow SNL alum Amy Poehler is also being recognized, because she is certainly one of the funniest women alive. Edie Falco is an unstoppably good actress, but I think this year belongs to Lea Michele. She may not be as funny as some (or even any) of her fellow nominees, but the category is for outstanding lead actress in a comedy, not outstanding comedienne. And you can’t deny that Lea Michele’s powerhouse voice and strong acting make her a very serious contender for this enviable award. I know many hate my girl Lea for her over-emoting, but I don’t consider it over-the-top. I think it’s merely Broadway trained. She emotes like anyone who has spent their entire life on the Broadway stage would act, and I think it actually works quite well for her character.

Poehler’s great, but her show is not. And this season of 30 Rock has been much more about Liz being forlorn and unloveable instead of funny. And everybody loves Toni Collette, but not that many people actually watch her show. I think our little diva is going to win herself an Emmy.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Chris Colfer as Kurt Hummel, Glee
Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Stinson, How I Met Your Mother
Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mitchell, Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet as Cameron Tucker, Modern Family
Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy, Modern Family
Jon Cryer as Alan Harper, Two and a Half Men

With the exception of Duckie, this might be the most amazing list of nominees I’ve ever seen. And let’s not ignore the fact that three of these men were nominated for their portrayal of gay characters, which is impressive. More importantly, three of these men themselves are openly gay: Colfer, NPH, and Ferguson. (Stonestreet, though he plays Ferguson’s husband on Modern Family, is actually straight.) I think this is quite a milestone for the LGBT community in the world of television, and it should be noted and celebrated. But let me get off my political soapbox and talk about these men as actors instead of as people.

NPH was nominated in 2007, 2008, and 2009, but has yet to actually take home the award, as the Emmys still insist on awarding the actors from the worst sitcom on television, Two and a Half Men. He’s at the height of his career, hosting every awards show, making guest appearances everywhere, and generally being beloved by everyone. And of course, this is not his only acting nomination this year, but we’ll get to that later.

All the men from Modern Family are certainly deserving of this award; in my opinion, they are the three funniest characters on the show (with the possible exception of Manny). But I think they’re going to split the vote, and their show has only had one season so far, so the Emmys might wait to see more from them next year.

Chris Colfer is a god amongst men, and I would weep with joy to see him win this award. But NPH has paid his dues, and I think the Emmys are finally going to give him the recognition he deserves.

Outstanding Support Actress in a Comedy Series

Jane Lynch as Sue Sylvester, Glee
Julie Bowen as Claire Dunphy, Modern Family
Sofia Vergara as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett, Modern Family
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live
Jane Krakowski as Jenna Maroney, 30 Rock
Holland Taylor as Evelyn Harper, Two and a Half Men

I think this one is in the bag, folks. Glee has undoubtedly had its ups and downs regarding storylines, writing, and individual performances, but one thing has remained perfect throughout the entire first season: Sue Sylvester. Jane Lynch’s comedic timing is superb, but she’s no one-note. Her dramatic and emotional scenes are incredibly moving and inspiring. Jane Krakowski and Kristen Wiig were both nominated last year, but lost to the incomparable Kristen Chenoweth. The women from Modern Family are great, and Kristen Wiig is a goddess, but nobody can touch Jane Lynch. This Emmy has had her name on it for months.

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy

Mike O’Malley as Burt Hummel, Glee, “Wheels”
Neil Patrick Harris as Bryan Ryan, Glee, “Dream On”
Fred Willard as Frank Dunphy, Modern Family, “Travels with Scout”
Eli Wallach as Bernard Zimberg, Nurse Jackie, “Chicken Soup”
Jon Hamm as Dr. Drew Baird, 30 Rock, “Emmanuelle Goes to Dinosaur Land”
Will Arnett as Devin Banks, 30 Rock, “Into the Crevasse”

This award seems destined for Mike O’Malley and his beautiful, moving, and hilarious portrayal of Chris Colfer’s father on Glee. NPH was a phenomenal guest star, but O’Malley continues to inspire and awe audiences as the most supportive father in television history. Bryan Ryan just can’t compare. And Fred Willard plays the same character in everything – is it just me, or does he just talk loud, and that’s it? Jon Hamm is of course wonderful, but again, this has been a weak season for 30 Rock (although Will Arnett’s character never ceases to make me laugh). Nobody can come close to the performance that Burt Hummel gave us this year. Also, Mike O’Malley was in that Sandra Bullock rehab movie 28 Days, which is one of my all-time favorite guilty pleasure movies. Just FYI. He was rich, did coke, and hit on Sandra Bullock.

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy

Christine Baranski as Beverly Hofstadter, The Big Bang Theory, “The Maternal Congruence”
Kathryn Joosten as Karen McCluskey, Desperate Housewives, “The Chase”
Kristen Chenoweth as April Rhodes, Glee, “The Rhodes Not Taken”
Tina Fey as Host, Saturday Night Live
Betty White as Host, Saturday Night Live
Elaine Stritch as Colleen Donaghy, 30 Rock, “The Moms”
Jane Lynch as Dr. Linda Freeman, Two and a Half Men, “818-JKLPUZO”

So Jane Lynch and NPH were both nominated for two acting Emmys on two different shows! I think nobody could be more deserving of such recognition, but let’s be honest. This has been the year of Betty White. I think she’s the most beloved woman in America, and her SNL episode was huge. It’s impressive for anyone to bring that many viewers to SNL, which, with the exception of the 2008 election and most of Kristen Wiig’s characters, hasn’t been too good in the last few years. But it’s even more impressive than an 88-year-old woman is bringing huge amounts of young viewers back to SNL. And let’s applaud the Emmys for some diversity in this category: In addition to Betty, we’ve got a modern Broadway diva, an old-school Broadway diva, some unknown names, and one of television’s funniest writer/actresses. Kudos. But just a question – did anyone know Desperate Housewives is still on the air? Seriously, I had no idea.

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series

Nurse Jackie, “Pilot”
30 Rock, “I Do Do”
Glee, “Pilot”
Glee, “Wheels”
Modern Family, “Pilot”

“Wheels” is undoubtedly one of the best episodes of Glee. The seriousness of the episode was incredible: the heartbreakingly sweet relationship between Sue Sylvester and her sister, who has Down syndrome; New Directions’ rallying around Artie and his disability; Kurt sacrificing his shot at his dream solo to save his father from harassment and embarrassment. But the other drama-heavy episodes of Glee, “Wheels” also had truly amazing musical numbers. Theatre geeks squealed with delight over the “Defying Gravity” duet between Kurt and Rachel. Artie got his first big solo, “Dancing with Myself,” which gave him even more emotional depth while showing off his acting and singing chops. And the choir performed “Proud Mary” (on wheelchairs, no less), probably the best performance of the entire season. Need I say more?

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series

Glee, “Pilot”
Modern Family, “Pilot”
The Office, “Niagara”
30 Rock, “Anna Howard Shaw Day”
30 Rock, “Lee Marvin vs. Derek Jeter”

Glee has a lot of wonderful attributes. Consistently good writing is not one of them. I know this is recognizing the writing of a particular episode, and not the series overall, but I still feel that this nomination is not quite deserving. Then again, the writing on 30 Rock and The Office were incredibly weak this year, so it’s not as if the competition was particularly fierce. But last year 30 Rock comprised four of the five nominees for this category, and took home the award. In 2008, it got two writing nominations and won, and in 2007 it also got two nominations, but lost out to The Office. So clearly 30 Rock is on a winning streak. But I think Modern Family must, and should, win this award. The pilot was near-perfect and the writing in that and every other episode is wickedly sharp and funny. I laughed out loud the entire pilot, and the entire season, which is much more than I can say for 30 Rock or The Office.

Outstanding Comedy Series

Curb Your Enthusiasm
Modern Family
Nurse Jackie
The Office
30 Rock

30 Rock has swept this category the last three consecutive years, but with 19 nominations and more press than they know what to do with, I can’t see how the Emmys would deny Glee. Honestly, I think the win should go to Modern Family, which had an amazing and consistently funny and sweet first season featuring the funniest pilot episode of any show I’ve ever seen. But if the award is going to a new show, it’ll be Glee for sure.

Random Noms and Notes

  • How I Met Your Mother‘s “Girls vs. Suits” episode was nominated for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics for “Nothing Suits Me Like a Suit,” the hilarious song-and-dance routine featuring the incomparable Neil Patrick Harris in all his glory. A deserving nod, and though I hope it wins, I won’t put it in my predictions because I know nothing about the rest of the nominees.
  • Nick News with Linda Ellerbee was nominated for Outstanding Children’s Nonfiction Program! I can’t believe she’s still doing Nick News – that’s beyond awesome. It’s nice to know some things haven’t changed.
  • Glee‘s “Hairography” and “The Power of Madonna” were both nominated for Hairstyling Emmys! Definitely deserving.
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