Sunday, August 29, 2010

MTVP 2010 Emmys Coverage: The Players

It’s that time of year again, folks! Tonight is my very favorite awards show of the year- the Primetime Emmys. It’s my Super Bowl. Seriously. Tonight’s show should be a good one. Jimmy Fallon is hosting, and while I don’t think he can quite live up to Neil Patrick Harris’ versatile, entertaining performance last year, the man can be quite funny. The last time NBC broadcast the Emmys, Conan O’Brien hosted, and the effort had not been matched until last year. How appropriate that Conan’s replacement take the reins this time. I’m truly hoping for some moments this year that involve CoCo himself, though. It could be good awkward fun, and I’m sure Conan would handle winning any awards on a show broadcast by NBC with class. Plus, there are some really great nominees this year. The Academy made some really interesting, unusual (in a good way) choices. Like I did last year, I’m going to use this space to talk about the awards categories I really care about. I’m no expert- this is just my hopes, not my predictions. In other words, I’m impatiently waiting for 5:00 when the E! red carpet coverage starts, and I want to blabber on about the Emmys to somebody. Might as well be the entire internet!

Outstanding Drama Series

The Nominees:

Breaking Bad
The Good Wife
Mad Men

My Pick: Lost

Lost deserves a final Emmy for its swan song season. A rather unwieldy mythology was wrapped up in an emotionally satisfying, character-centered way, and I really couldn’t ask for more. The usual actors delivered stand-out performances. The Lost powers that be submitted the following six episodes for consideration: “Dr. Linus,” “Ab Aeterno,” “Happily Ever After, “The Candidate,” and “The End, Parts 1 and 2.” I think these were excellent choices. “Dr. Linus” could potentially have made my Lost Fifteen Favorites List (I will finish that, by the way) had season six episodes been eligible for consideration in the project. It was a wonderful vehicle for Michael Emerson to give yet another powerhouse performance as Ben Linus. “Happily Ever After” has plenty of beautiful Desmond and Penny moments- it really had heart. “The Candidate” was emotional in a tragic way, and “The End” was just plain epic.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

The Nominees:

Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights)
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)
Matthew Fox (Lost)
Michael C. Hall (Dexter)
John Hamm (Mad Men)
Hugh Laurie (House)

My Pick: Kyle Chandler

This is one of two nominations (the other will be very apparent when we get to it) that made me say, “It’s about time!” Kyle Chandler has been absolutely superb on “Friday Night Lights” for the past few years, and it’s time he be recognized for it. Coach Eric Taylor is someone all men, heck all people, should aspire to emulate. He’s tough when need be, but he also makes an effort to empathize. He’s not perfect, either- he’s made some dumb mistakes for the sake of his students. I don’t know if the character could have become so layered if Kyle Chandler hadn’t turned in so many brilliant performances. Coach’s talks with his players have become an iconic part of “Friday Night Lights,” and they might have been preachy or cloying without Chandler’s sincere delivery. He truly is the heart of “Friday Night Lights,” and I am so excited that he has finally been recognized for that. Clear eyes, full heart, can’t lose!

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

The Nominees:

Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights)
Glenn Close (Damages)
Mariska Hargitay (Law and Order: SVU)
January Jones (Mad Men)
Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife)
Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer)

My Pick: Connie Britton

Among the perennial nominees like Close, Hargitay, and Sedgwick are some actual new, non-movie star choices this year. I’m happy to see January Jones, Julianna Marguilies, and Connie Britton join the club. But, if you haven’t been able to figure it out already, Connie Britton is my other “It’s about time” pick. Tami Taylor is one of my favorite characters on television, and much of that is due to Britton’s excellent work. Tami is a former wild child who eventually settled down to become the excellent wife and mother we now know. Britton brings such warmth to Tami, and I love how she contributes to a beautiful, realistic portrayal of positive family life. Tami and Julie’s mother/daughter chats can be heartbreaking in their realism, and Eric and Tami Taylor are the best depiction of marriage on television today. Britton brings a bit of an edge to Tami, too. Tami’s not just a mother and wife, she’s got a career as well, and she works to balance all her roles as best she can. Connie Britton is really just a delight to watch in this role.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

The Nominees:

Andre Braugher (Men of a Certain Age)
Michael Emerson (Lost)
Terry O’Quinn (Lost)
Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad)
Martin Short (Damages)
John Slattery (Mad Men)

My Pick: Terry O’Quinn

As much as it pains me, because Michael Emerson and Benjamin Linus are among my favorite television actors and characters respectively, I’ve got to give it to O’Quinn this year. I had some serious issues with the Man In Black overall (we should have been introduced to him much earlier in the series if he was going to play such a pivotal role in the endgame), I can’t deny that O’Quinn constantly hit it out of the park this season with his performances. He had to play two completely different characters this season, and he handled the task admirably. It was fascinating to watch all the sometimes subtle, sometimes obvious differences between John Locke in the Sideways-verse and the Man In Black in our universe. O’Quinn submitted “The Substitute” for consideration, and while I prefer Emerson’s submission, “Dr. Linus,” “The Substitute” is a good quality episode and is an excellent showcase for O’Quinn to demonstrate his talents to the Emmy voters.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

The Nominees:

Alec Baldwin (30 Rock)
Steve Carell (The Office)
Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm)
Matthew Morrison (Glee)
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)
Tony Shalhoub (Monk)

My Pick: Jim Parsons

Jim Parsons never fails to steal the scene as Sheldon Cooper on “The Big Bang Theory.” I would like for him to win the Emmy because he is fearless and puts everything he has into his performance. Sheldon is an incredibly neurotic character, and Parsons imbues the character with so much energy. Parsons submitted “The Pants Alternative” for Emmy consideration, and while I don’t think it’s his best work of the season, it is extremely broadly comedic. How could drunk Sheldon doing geek stand-up and mooning his peers at an awards banquet not be broadly comedic? Emmy voters tend to favor more broadly comedic performances in the comedy categories, so he could have a legitimate shot at the award. I would also really look forward to seeing Parsons give an acceptance speech. I’m sure it would be absolutely adorable. Parsons appears incredibly humble and is always surprised to receive recognition for his outstanding work.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

The Nominees:

Ty Burrell (Modern Family)
Chris Colfer (Glee)
Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men)
Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family)
Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family)

My Pick: Neil Patrick Harris

Did you really even have to ask what my pick for this category would be? This is the fourth time Harris has been nominated for his role as Barney Stinson on “How I Met Your Mother,” and I’m hoping, in this case, that fourth time’s the charm. I’ll admit, season 5 was by far HIMYM’s weakest and didn’t provide as much quality material for Harris to work with, but it’s high time to make up for past snubs, particularly last year’s. It’s not like Harris didn’t do good work, he just didn’t have quite the range of material to work with as last year. I especially enjoyed his performance in “Of Course,” which displayed a range of comedy and drama. Harris chose “Girls Vs. Suits” for his submission, which I don’t think is an entirely bad idea. I thoroughly enjoyed the big song-and-dance “Nothing Suits me Like a Suit” number, and something on that grand a scale could make the difference. Also, Harris is riding momentum from having won two Emmys already at this year’s Creative Arts ceremony, one for his hosting of the Tony Awards, and one for his guest role as Bryan Ryan on “Glee.” Here’s hoping he’s three for three!

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