Thursday, August 9, 2007

Emmy Analysis: Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series:

Lorraine Bracco, The Sopranos "The Blue Comet"

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Pro: What Bracco may lack in screentime, she makes up for in packing a punch to voters. After seven years of putting up with Tony and all his lies, Dr. Melfi finally kicks him to the curb. It's a very brief performance, but it is the most impact voters will get out of all the tapes. Bracco has yet to win for this role and if voters remember that, it might help her overcome the odds.

Con: Of the six nominees, Bracco has the least amount of screentime (10 minutes). Aida Turturro might siphon votes from her that could have put her over the top to win here.

Rachel Griffiths, Brothers & Sisters "Bad News"

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Pro: Griffiths is clearly an actress that voters admire and respect (she was previously nominated for her work on Six Feet Under). She has a wonderful scene in her submission where she confronts her husband about his infidelities that lets Griffiths show off her chops. What's more, as one of two previous Academy Award nominees in this race (Bracco is the other), she brings some clout with her name status.

Con: However, in 13 minutes of screentime, Griffiths performance feels oddly incomplete. There are storylines going around her performance that seemingly come out of left field. Voters clearly like the actor, but there seems to be no love for the show.

Katherine Heigl, Grey's Anatomy "Time After Time"

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Pro: A surprisingly understated performance from Heigl (who's character is usually abrasive) will no doubt find some sympathy from voters (Izzie finds out the daughter she gave up for adoption needs a bone marrow transplant). Heigl's screentime is good enough (16 minutes) for her to show her range. A recent Golden Glob nominees, Heigl also stands to gain some newfound respect for her charming lead role in the summer hit Knocked Up.

Con: Of the six nominees, Heigl is the youngest (28) which isn't too bad, but voters here have been notorious for honoring respected veterans (see recent wins by Blythe Danner, Tyne Daly, Stockard Channing and Holland Taylor). With three ladies from Grey's Anatomy it's possible that voters can't pick just one to support.

Sandra Oh, Grey's Anatomy "From a Whisper to a Scream"

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Pro: Oh has a little bit of everything in her submission. She shows a lot of range, as we see Cristina contemplate keeping Dr. Burke's secret (with a slight nod to Lady MacBeth in the scene where she learns that Burke is going to be taking over for the Chief). This being this season's only episode where Ellen Pompeo doesn't narrate, we get to hear another side of Cristina's personality through Oh's narration. She failed to win last year, despite being heavily favored (good tape, Globe and SAG wins), which could elicit some "she was robbed" votes. Oh has the most screentime of the nominees (25 minute). And unlike the show, Oh seems to be very well-liked within the industry (this is her third nod for the show). Plus, you know they still love her for being in Sideways.

Con: Oh's biggest setback will be her direct competition from her show (Heigl and Wilson). If she can overcome them both, this looks to be a done deal for her.

Aida Turturro, The Sopranos "Soprano Home Movies"

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Pro: Turturro has a lot of screentime here (20 minutes) and she gets some choice one-liners ("Fuck the Parker Brothers!") as well as that hilarious story about her parents.

Con: But there's no lasting impression that voters will get after watching her submission. The performance doesn't feel complete, she's overshadowed by her castmates and ultimately, it feels very inconsequential. Plus, if voters want to reward a Sopranos lady, they have Bracco.

Chandra Wilson, Grey's Anatomy "Oh, the Guilt"

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Pro: A recent SAG winner, Wilson (who popped up in two scenes in Heigl's submission) gets to show her more softer side in this submission. After being berated at the M&M conference, Wilson does her best to prove that her maternal instincts won't hinder her abilities as a doctor. The Chief knocks some sense into her ("being a mother makes you a better doctor") which allows Wilson to convince another mother to go ahead with her mastectomy so she can enjoy being a mother.

Con: Wilson has 12 minutes of screentime, which might not be enough to have an impact on voters. Having two co-stars in the race could lead to vote siphoning.

Final Thoughts:

Very surprising turn of events. Despite six nominees, this feels like a very weak category. Rachel Griffiths and Aida Turturro shouldn't be expecting to win. Likewise, co-stars Katherine Heigl and Chandra Wilson are probably sitting this one out this year (and they have potential to win in the future). This race comes down to Sandra Oh and Lorraine Bracco. One has a damn-near perfect tape and the other has a very small performance, but it leaves such an impression on voters that it's hard to forget even after watching all those other submissions. Last year Oh lost to a similar performance and Bracco has been doing her best to work the industry events during voting. I think that this one will be a squeaker.

Projected Winner:

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1. Lorraine Bracco
2. Sandra Oh
3. Katherine Heigl
4. Chandra Wilson
5. Rachel Griffiths
6. Aida Turturro

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