EmmyWatch 2011: Drama

24 Jun

Joshua Jackson and Melissa McCarthy are set to announce the nominations for the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards bright and early on Thursday, July 14th. And even though this is a film blog, some of you many know I’m also a pretty obsessive TV-watcher, and I currently watch over 70 television series, so I’d like to think I know a fair bit about what’s on the air right now. And in that spirit, I’ll do what I did with my OscarWatch posts back in January, and tackle the major categories for this years Emmy Awards in 4 EmmyWatch posts: Reality/Variety, Mini/Movie, Comedy and Drama.

In them I’ll give my quick thoughts on a particular race and how I personally think things will eventually shape up, listing both the 6 contenders I would personally pick were the nominations up to me, and then 6 who I actually think will have their names called out come nomination morning. Then once the nominations are announced I’ll do a post with my reactions and my actual predictions for the races. In this, the final EmmyWatch post, we’ll take a look at the Drama races…

DRAMA SERIES

This is kind of the category that really shows you that the cable networks really do have the best drama series on television right now. Between HBO, AMC, Showtime and FX there will probably be room for only one broadcast network nominee. The question is not really about who will get the nods, because that’s more or less clear cut, but who will actually pick up the trophy…

My Personal 6 (in specific order)

  1. Friday Night Lights – Look, I watch over 70 TV shows that are currently airing, and I have watched over 120 others that have already finished their run, and none of those I like more than I do Friday Night Lights. It’s my favorite TV show of all time, and while it was insanely great that Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton finally got their much deserved nominations last year, I think the Emmy voters would be stupid if they don’t nominate the show itself for its final season.
  2. Mad Men – It will obviously get nominated again, but will it manage to score its fourth consecutive win? I wouldn’t be against that happening, this is the show that manages to put out the highest quality writing and acting on display week after week (and yes, I’m crying over having to wait till January for the new season, too).
  3. Fringe – I’m a huge fan of this show, the fact that it seemingly keep getting better and better with each season is just a testament to the perfect writing and the characters its superb cast has managed to flesh out.
  4. Justified – Its second season was arguably better than its first, which is really saying something, I just really want this one to get the nod.
  5. Parenthood – I don’t think this one really has much of a chance of scoring a nod, but it definitely classifies for my Top 6. When this show hits the high notes it can hit, it’s amongst the very best on television.
  6. Game of Thrones – My #6 slot could really be altered between this or The Good Wife or The Walking Dead, but since Game of Thrones just ended this past weekend on a high note I’ll give the spot to this epic saga full of twists and meticulously plotted shorelines because it’s just really fresh on my mind.

How I think the actual nominations will look like (in specific order)

  1. Mad Men – I think the buzz surrounding Boardwalk Empire has subsided enough now to grant this one its fourth straight win.
  2. Boardwalk Empire – But maybe the buzz hasn’t died down and the wonderfully lavish HBO Atlantic City-based saga will reign supreme.
  3. The Good Wife – A broadcast network is bound to have a show in here, and this one is the one that will appeal to voters the most, just a stellar second season.
  4. Dexter – The fifth season was probably the most inconsistent one the show has had to date, but it was the highest-rated one, too, and an inconsistent season of Dexter is still better than most of what’s on TV out there anyways.
  5. Justified – I think there will be about five shows battling it out for the last two nominations, and I sure as hell hope the voters choose to reward this one.
  6. Friday Night Lights – So that would leave four shows battling for this final slot. My guess is that they’ll be this one, The Killing, Game of Thrones and True Blood. And while something tells me The Killing will ultimately get it, I don’t want to jinx it, so I’ll put my personal #1 in here.

LEAD ACTOR IN DRAMA SERIES

Will this finally be Jon Hamm’s time? I sure as hell hope so. Bryan Cranston has won this award for the masterclass in acting he gives in Breaking Bad every single episodes for the past three years. However, Breaking Bad didn’t air this year during the eligibility period, so that opens the field for a new winner, and hopefully that’ll mean the mad man will get it.

My Personal 6 (in specific order)

  1. Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights) – Coach Taylor. Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose. There has been no one better than him on television (with the exception of maybe Bryan Cranston) for the past five years, it’s time for him to get his due.
  2. Jon Hamm (Mad Men) – How no one in this insanely talented cast has gotten an Emmy yet is beyond me, but considering Cranston is out this year, and Hamm has ‘The Suitcase’ to submit as his episode, this might finally be his year.
  3. Timothy Olyphant (Justified) – I cannot say enough about this man’s performance, and even though he doesn’t necessarily have the flashiest role that Emmy voters may warm up to, he should definitely get in there.
  4. William H. Macy (Shameless) – I really loved this series from the get-go, and a lot of this has to do with this man’s performance as the drunken father of a very dysfunctional family.
  5. Michael C. Hall (Dexter) – I love Dexter, and one of the reasons the show is so great is because the man who plays our favorite serial killer is perfect at embedding in the character a lot of likability.
  6. Peter Krause (Parenthood) – Again, Parenthood has a special place in my heart because when it’s on it gives some of the most emotional performances on television, and Peter Krause is front and center in a cast full of terrific actors.

How I think the actual nominations will look like (in specific order)

  1. Jon Hamm (Mad Men) – Read Personal 6. With Cranston out and the episode he has to submit, he’s not losing this year.
  2. Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire) – He didn’t make my Personal 6, but the Mad Men vs. Boardwalk Empire battle won’t only happen in the Best Drama category. If anyone can prevent Hamm from winning, it’s him.
  3. Michael C. Hall (Dexter) – Read Personal 6.
  4. William H. Macy (Shameless) – Read Personal 6.
  5. Hugh Laurie (House) – He’s always a nominee, and that won’t stop this year.
  6. Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights) – Much like I did in the Best Drama category, I give this final slot to him because my heart really wants it to be. But look for an also very deserving Timothy Olyphant, and maybe even Jeremy Irons, to challenge Chandler for that final slot.

LEAD ACTRESS IN DRAMA SERIES

Last year Julianna Marguiles somehow lost to Kyra Sedgwick (who voters wanted to finally reward after a lot of years of getting nominations for The Closer). Elisabeth Moss and some other will try and deny Marguiles again, but she should score this time. This is one strong category this year.

My Personal 6 (in specific order)

  1. Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights) – The series came in as my personal #1, so did Kyle Chandler, so of course Connie Britton would to. She’s a force of nature in the best show ever on television.
  2. Julianna Marguiles (The Good Wife) – The likeliest winner there can be, and her work on the show’s second season has been on par, if not above, the great performances she turned in during its debut run.
  3. Lauren Graham (Parenthood) – Yes, I love this show dearly, and it’s an outrage to me that Graham never got Emmy nominations for her time on Gilmore Girls so not only do voters have to reward for her sheer brilliance on this show, but also for the mistakes they made in the past.
  4. Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men) – I’m usually not such a huge supporter of Moss no matter how much I live and die for this show, but, just like Jon Hamm, she now has ‘The Suitcase’ episode to submit, which makes her an instant favorite.
  5. Emmy Rossum (Shameless) – This is such a fantastic role that Rossum manages to make the most of. It’s very doubtful she’ll get a nod, but I wanted to give her a slot on my list.
  6. Anna Torv (Fringe) – I had a horrible time picking my final personal nominee. So honorary shout-outs to Katey Sagal (Sons of Anarchy) and Mireille Enos (The Killing), but I had to go with the woman who’s on the best sci-fi show on TV (other than Doctor Who), and who managed to play four different roles, each to great levels of perfection.

How I think the actual nominations will look like (in specific order)

  1. Julianna Marguiles (The Good Wife) – Look, she was totally snubbed last year, it’s just not gonna happen again.
  2. Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men) – Again, she has ‘The Suitcase’ episodes to submit. If Marguiles hadn’t been snubbed last year this would be hers.
  3. Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer) – The fact that she finally won last year doesn’t mean she’ll stop getting nominated for her consistently solid work.
  4. Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights) – She has a better chance of getting in there than the show itself or Kyle Chandler, and I think she’ll sit firmly in the middle of the pack.
  5. Katey Sagal (Sons of Anarchy) – She somehow got snubbed of a nod last year, but her win at the Globes gives her the momentum to secure one now.
  6. Mireille Enos (The Killing) – My guess is that this final slot is between Enos and Mariska Hargitay, and I’m hoping Emmy voters will opt for the newbie here, who has given us quiet and beautifully nuanced performance in AMC’s new series.

SUPPORTING ACTOR IN DRAMA SERIES

This race is wide open this year, considering that the amazing Aaron Paul, who finally got his win for Breaking Bad last year, is ineligible because his show didn’t air during the eligibility window. Ditto for Damages‘ Martin Short. And now that Lost is gone that means no Michael Emerson or Terry O’Quinn, either. So yeah, this one is wide open this year.

My Personal 6 (in specific order)

  1. John Noble (Fringe) – Much like Anna Torv in the Lead Actress race, I think people should reward Noble, the stand-out in an impeccable cast on TV’s best sci-fi show, for so wonderfully playing two very different versions of the same character to perfection.
  2. Walton Goggins (Justified) – The reason why I thought Justified‘s second season was better than its already stellar first one was because of the introduction of Margo  Martindale and Goggins. Goggins hasn’t gotten much Emmy love in the past, and he’ll have a hard time getting the nod now, but he’s extremely deserving.
  3. Alan Cumming (The Good Wife)The Good Wife has four solid eligible men for this category, Cumming, Josh Charles, Chris Noth and Matt Czuchry. Cumming was nominated for Guest Star last year, but now that he’s a regular on the CBS hit you can certainly count him as a major contender here.
  4. Joel Kinnaman (The Killing) – If Mireille Enos is the quiet performer that gives the show its intensity, it’s Kinnaman that keeps it from ever being boring, the way he plays the shady-at-times Holder is one of the biggest reasons to watch this show.
  5. John Slattery (Mad Men) – I was torn between Slattery and Jared Harris for Mad Men‘s slot in this personal list of mine, but Slattery has been incredibly consistent and this year he has a real good shot at winning.
  6. Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) – I was thinking about a couple other picks for my final slot (Mad Men‘s Harris, Hawaii Five-0‘s Scott Caan or Boardwalk Empire‘s Michael Shannon) but I kept coming back to this guy, his performance in HBO’s epic is tremendous, and in a cast full of standout actors it’s him you remember.

How I think the actual nominations will look like (in specific order)

  1. John Slattery (Mad Men) – My money is on him to, much like Jon Hamm, finally break through and get the win after three straight nominations. With Breaking Bad gone this year it’s time for Mad Men to go on a spree.
  2. Andre Braugher (Men of a Certain Age) – I don’t watch this show (though I plan on catching up with it soon as it’s done with its current season), but the consensus is that Braugher’s performance is simply outstanding.
  3. Alan Cumming (The Good Wife) – Read Personal 6.
  4. Michael Pitt (Boardwalk Empire) – I’m having a hard time predicting which Boardwalk Empire guy, either Pitt or Michael Shannon, will get the most love from Emmy voters. I think Pitt, though both of them might get in.
  5. Josh Charles (The Good Wife) – Yeah, I’m thinking two The Good Wife guys will get in here and, much like in the series, Charles and Chris Noth will fight to be the one. I’m going with Charles because I like his performance more, but if you hear Noth’s name called out don’t be surprised.
  6. Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) – Much like in my Personal 6, I had a hard time predicting who would get the voters final slot, either Dinklage or Michael Shannon, and, much like in my Personal 6, my hunch said Dinklage.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN DRAMA SERIES

I said the Lead Actress race was a strong one this year. Well, this one’s even stronger, and will be tougher to call. With Elisabeth Moss going Lead and January Jones being dumb and entering in Lead as well instead of here where she’d have a better shot, there’s one new slot here, and another one when you factor in Rose Byrne’s absence from the race as Damages didn’t air during the eligibility period.

My Personal 6 (in specific order)

  1. Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife) – Kalinda is one of the best characters in broadcast TV, and when Panjabi came out of nowhere and won last year, over her castmate Christine Baranski which was more favored, she got people to notice her. The stuff she did on the show’s second season was stunning as always and a repeat nod is assured, and maybe even a two-peat will be in order.
  2. Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) – My beloved Joanie went through quite a ride during Mad Men‘s stellar fourth season, but that only meant that Hendricks would have chances to really let her acting shine.
  3. Margo Martindale (Justified) – An industry vet who has given probably the role of her career here, just one insanely fun character to watch develop week after week, and it was all because of the little things Martindale did with her performance.
  4. Michelle Forbes (The Killing) – That this TV veteran hasn’t gotten any Emmy love is an outrage, but the way in she portrays so much grief and pain in this dark and rainy show is one of the most perfect parts of it.
  5. Kelly MacDonald (Boardwalk Empire) – She’s my favorite part of the great ensemble on this HBO series, she gives her character so many layers that really adds a lot to the overall effect of the show.
  6. Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men) – I wanted a young member of one my favorite ensembles to get my personal sixth slot. I was between Shipka or Parenthood‘s Mae Whitman, but Shipka, at just 12 years old, was given a lot of really mature and challenging stuff to portray in her first year as a series regular, and she absolutely nailed each and every one of them.

How I think the actual nominations will look like (in specific order)

  1. Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife) – Read Personal 6. I think she’s still the favorite to repeat.
  2. Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) – Read Personal 6.
  3. Kelly MacDonald (Boardwalk Empire) – Read Personal 6. If Boardwalk starts getting a lot of love she could potentially pull this one off.
  4. Margo Martindale (Justified) – Read Personal 6.
  5. Christine Baranski (The Good Wife) – I doubt they’ll leave her out of the conversation, she’s been great on TV for years.
  6. Sharon Gless (Burn Notice) – I don’t watch Burn Notice, and I don’t really intend to start, but people seem to love Gless and I fear she might be the one to keep Michelle Forbes out of the running.
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