Sunday, September 16, 2007

Emmy Analysis: Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series:

Patricia Arquette, Medium "Be Kind, Rewind"

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Pro: Arquette is coming in with an Emmy for this role and lots of support (back-to-back Globe and SAG nods). She's the dominate lead in her submission and is essentially playing the same scenes four different times, which allows her to show off some range.

Con: Arquette failed to get nominated last year, so one has to wonder if the support for the show is still there (and NBC benched it again for mid-season). Despite a terrific season, I think another win for Arquette is probably not going to happen.

Minnie Driver, The Riches "Pilot"

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Pro: A wonderful performance from Oscar nominee Driver, that allows voters to see a new side to an actress many don't care for. Very showy, very dramatic, plus she's fighting her drug additions (Emmy bait!). Emmy voters have recently taken a shine towards past their prime movie stars doing television shows (see recent wins by Patricia Arquette and James Spader).

Con: Driver has to share her screentime with Eddie Izzard. The role might be too out of the comfort zone of Academy members (a grifter can't compare to cops, mafia wives, doctors or politicans). Driver was the show's only nod.

Edie Falco, The Sopranos "The Second Coming"

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Pro: Falco already has three Emmys for this role and this will be voters last time to reward her for it. It's a very good performance where we get to see two different sides of Carmela (remorseful over A.J.'s suicide attempt and pissed at Tony for everything). In a race of two new nominees, two former winners and one past nominee, Falco is the veteran of the category.

Con: It's a very supporting performance and some voters might know that Falco wasn't a big player this season. She also failed to get a nod last year, when she was left devasted on Tony's presumed deathbed. Maybe they're over her?

Sally Field, Brothers & Sisters "Mistakes Were Made Part Two"

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Pro: A two-time Oscar winner slumming it on a weepy ABC soap. Field began her career on television and now has returned and having a grand time as the matriarch of the Los Angeles family. It's a winning submission (much better than I remembered) and Field already has two Emmys for her previous work on tv-film Sybil and guest work on ER.

Con: A two-time Oscar winner slumming it on a weepy ABC soap. Calista Flockhart is slightly better in the same episode, so voters might not care for Field's performance.

Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit "Florida"

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Pro: Hargitay has the entire episode to herself and gives a solid performance. As the defending champion in this category, Hargitay could see herself repeat her win if voters are lazy (which they tend to be). Fans of the show will finally get some closure to Det. Benson's search for her family.

Con: It's not as overtly baity as last year's, or the one before. And even though she beat her last year, having a similar character to Kyra Sedgwick can't help. Those who have never seen the show before might be confused over her search for her family.

Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer "Slippin'"

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Pro: A recent Globe winner, Sedgwick benefits from being the clear lead of her show and submission. She has a very commanding presence on screen. It helps to work opposite Emmy-nominee Frances Sternhagen, which brings a bit of lightness to her submission.

Con: Sedgwick's submission last year was better and voters seem to like Hargitay's cop over hers. Despite the Globe win, it seems like Sedgwick is destined to be always a nominee, never a winner at the Emmys.

Final Thoughts:

This is a difficult category to nail down. Okay, so I don't think Patricia Arquette will ever win again and she had much better tapes. If Kyra Sedgwick doesn't win this year, I think that voters simply don't care for that performance. Mariska Hargitay could spoil, although I think she, like Arquette, are done collecting trophies here. Minnie Driver would have had a stronger shot if her show was more widely recognized. That leaves Sally Field and Edie Falco. I think this category is not going to come down to tapes, but more of who voters like and respect more. Falco's show is over and it's really one of Emmy's favorites. But something is telling me that Sally Field's name recognition is going to stick out with many voters and despite the lack of huge support from the industry, I think the Academy will see it more as honoring Sally Field than honoring Brothers & Sisters.

Projected Winner:

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1. Sally Field
2. Edie Falco
3. Minnie Driver
4. Mariska Hargitay
5. Kyra Sedgwick
6. Patricia Arquette

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Emmy Analysis: Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series:

Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men "Repeated Blows to His Unformed Head"

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Pro: Cryer has a lot of screentime (it helps that it is a leading role masquerading as a supporting one), so that will help, along with being on the #1 sitcom.

Con: But this is without a doubt an awful performance that will surely turn-off female voters. Lusting over a pregnant Sara Rue isn't going to get him loads of votes. Those at CBS may want to see Harris win to give a boost to that show.

Kevin Dillon, Entourage "The Resurrection"

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Pro: Dillon's got a good amount of screentime. After many years of being "Matt Dillon's brother," this has surely been a career-high role and performance. It's very sympathetic and if voters are looking for someone who is in need of a hug via an Emmy, Dillon's it.

Con: HBO may want to see Jeremy Piven win again. Plus he is kind of playing himself.

Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother "Showdown"

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Pro: Harris' storyline is pretty funny and it has some nice moments in it as well. It's a very showy, over-the-top role, the kind that voters have awarded in the past. His coming out this year may also score some votes.

Con: It feels like he has the least amount of screentime of the bucnh. The performance isn't as showy when compared to the likes of Piven or even Dillon. CBS may want a win for Cryer since his show is more successful. The show has it's fans, but does the Academy like it?

Jeremy Piven, Entourage "Manic Monday"

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Pro: Last year's winner once again received a nod from the Golden Globes and even landed a spot at the Screen Actors Guild. It's a performance and role they have liked before and Piven gives another performance that gives him plenty of time to shine. And there is usually one performer from each genre that repeats.

Con: A split vote with Dillon, particularly from those fans who think Dillon continues to grow, while Piven's character continues to annoy. The submissions last year were a little bit weaker, so can Piven outshine this year's stronger submissions?

Rainn Wilson, The Office "The Coup"

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Pro: A win for Wilson would be akin to Michael Richards winning so many times for Seinfeld. It may not be as laugh out loud funny as the others, but Wilson has screentime and the acting chops to sneak a win, particularly if the love for The Office grows.

Con: The performance might be too polarizing for voters. Plus the episode itself was not given a strong positive reaction at the earlier Emmy panels.

Final Thoughts:

This is one of the more interesting races of the night. Jon Cryer is likely the only nominee who will not win. The other four are much closer than I originally thought. I think Neil Patrick Harris might suffer from being on a little-seen show, while Kevin Dillon will be hurt by Jeremy Piven more than Piven being hurt by Dillon. Rainn Wilson could rise above if the love for The Office is there and if the HBO and CBS voting blocks split. But I think we're going to see Jeremy Piven get a repeat win here. Any of the four should be considered a worthy victor, since those four have some of the better submissions of the year.

Projected Winner:

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1. Jeremy Piven
2. Rainn Wilson
3. Neil Patrick Harris
4. Kevin Dillon
5. Jon Cryer

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Emmy Analysis: Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series:

Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock "Hiatus"

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Pro: Well, it really helps that Baldwin is the movie star doing a tv show. Plus the Globe and the Screen Actors Guild Award (and I guess the Television Critic Award). He's the sole reason why the show is probably still on the air. He has some funny moments (like when he almost has the heart attack at dinner).

Con: Yikes, he's got very little screentime. On top of that, Elaine Stritch and Tina Fey seem to steal Baldwin's thunder in this episode. Plus Tracy Morgan's storyline is very distracting. I don't think voters will care too much about his phone call to his daughter, so if he loses, it's because he didn't submit a great submission.

Steve Carell, The Office "Business School"

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Pro: A lot of voters will see Carell as owed, after losing to Tony Shalhoub last year (a win that even made Shalhoub himself look kind of miffed). He's got a good deal of screentime and his usual antics are more subdued. Plus he shows off his acting chops (both at the school when he realizes Ryan betrayed him and later when he encourages Pam at her art show). Terrific submission.

Con: The NBC voting block may try to support a Baldwin win over Carell, which could lead to a split and allow Shalhoub to win again. Hear that collective groan again?

Ricky Gervais, Extras "Sir Ian McKellen"

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Pro: Gervais managed to get in without a big push from HBO. They must still love him for The Office. He's nominated four times this year (as a performer, producer, writer and director), so he should win something right? His screentime is pretty good.

Con: The performance is going to be very love it or hate it. I can't imagine a polarizing performance winning over bigger names with more widely appreciated roles.

Tony Shalhoub, Monk "Mr. Monk Gets a New Shrink"

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Pro: Well, he's got the screentime...again. He's got the hammy, over-the-top character...again. He's in every scene...again. Shalhoub has won three times. They clearly like this performance and this role.

Con: And yet this particular submission feels very stale. This is probably Shalhoub's weakest submission to date.

Charlie Sheen, Two and a Half Men "Who's Vod Kanockers?"

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Pro: Well, this is his second nomination. He's on the #1 sitcom on tv. He has his brief "actory" moments.

Con: Last year's submission was better and he still couldn't beat Shalhoub. Plus his storyline is lame and I think they would awarded everyone else on his show (including Angus T. Jones) before him.

Final Thoughts:

This is kind of a boring race. Charlie Sheen is completely out. I think Ricky Gervais has a better shot winning an Emmy as a producer or as a writer than as a performer. Alec Baldwin would have been a bigger contender with a better submission. This one will come down to Tony Shalhoub and Steve Carell. Shalhoub's shtick has proven time and time again to always win (and of all his submissions, I still find it odd that the one he lost with, was his best) so a win here would be unsuprising but critics, audiences and hell, Emmy ceremony attendees will all bitch and moan. Carell's submission has that great last scene, that I think will stick out to voter's minds and will let him sneak in a win here. Barely.

Projected Winner:

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1. Steve Carell
2. Tony Shalhoub
3. Alec Baldwin
4. Ricky Gervais
5. Charlie Sheen