The 2011 Primetime Emmy Awards are on September 18th, and it's time once again for Fienberg and I to discuss whom we think should and will win(*) some of the major categories. We're continuing to double up categories in order to finish in time, this time with the two Outstanding Supporting Actor categories, for both comedy and drama.
(*) As always, we remind you we do not have impressive track records at prognostication. Place your wagers (or, preferably not) accordingly.
On the comedy side, voters apparently couldn't choose from among the four men of "Modern Family" and wound up nominating them all. (And whatever role this played in Nick Offerman not getting nominated for playing Ron Effing Swanson is un-effing-acceptable.) Your nominees:
Ty Burrell, "Modern Family"
Chris Colfer, "Glee"
Jon Cryer, "Two and a Half Men"
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, "Modern Family"
Ed O'Neill, "Modern Family"
Eric Stonestreet, "Modern Family"
Alan's pick: Stonestreet, last year's deserving winner, was very poorly-served by the "MF" writers this year, who kept asking him to play the same whiny, over-sensitive note week in and week out. Of his co-stars, Burrell was probably my favorite this season, though an argument could also be made for O'Neill. That said, I have to throw my fictional vote here to Colfer, who managed to get even better as "Glee" got significantly worse around him. It wasn't in any way a comedic performance, but he's eligible in the category, and he was terrific, to the point that when he was on screen, I wasn't questioning why I was watching this show.
Dan's pick: Chris Colfer was tremendous in "Grilled Cheesus," his submission episode. It's a heartbreaking episode in which nothing he did was even slightly funny, but he's heartbreaking. If you like "funny" with your comedy, I'd put my vote behind Burrell, who has the role-reversal "Good Cop Bad Dog" for his submission episode. But if all the voters are asked to do is pick the best performance in the category, Colfer has it in the bag.
Alan's pick: For all the talk of vote-splitting, Stonestreet managed to win last year against two of his co-stars. Will four "Modern" men be one too many? I think maybe, especially since there isn't a clear favorite among them the way Stonestreet was last year with "Fizbo." So barring some kind of sympathy vote for Cryer and all that he and "Men" endured this season, I'm guessing Colfer.
Dan's pick: I said Burrell had the funniest of the submission episodes, but Ferguson had the most flamboyant, with "Halloween," an episode that ends with him climbing out of a building in a Spider-Man costume. "Halloween" is, in fact, full of big and broad moments for Ferguson and, as such, is more comedically showy than anything his rivals could put up. This category is often ripe for confusing upsets and I'm predicting a Ferguson victory. [Personally speaking, I really disliked "Halloween."]
The wealth is spread a fair bit more among the drama nominees, though there are still a couple of co-stars. Your nominees:
Andre Braugher, "Men of a Certain Age"
Josh Charles, "The Good Wife"
Alan Cumming, "The Good Wife"
Peter Dinklage, "Game of Thrones"
Walton Goggins, "Justified"
John Slattery, "Mad Men"
Alan's pick: This is an impressive category, with a multiple Emmy winner in Braugher and several other past nominees in Cumming and Slattery. Nearly anyone would be a deserving winner (though Charles' load was a bit lighter than the other 5), but I'm torn between two first-time nominees: Goggins as charismatic, unpredictable outlaw Boyd Crowder and Dinklage as charismatic, clever imp Tyrion Lannister. You can't go wrong with either one, so I'll go with sentiment and give Goggins extra credit for his never-nominated work on "The Shield."
Dan's pick: Dinklage ended up as the heart, soul and funny bone of "Game of Thrones" and I'd love to see him win for all manner of reasons. All of the actors in this category are terrific and in different years any of them (with the probable exception of Charles) could deserve this prize. Dinklage is my top choice, but Cumming may be my No. 2, simply because every single time he's on-screen, his version of "The Good Wife" is one I'd rather watch than the show when he's absent. The gulf between Cumming and the show without him is, for me, wider than any of the other nominees in this category.
Alan's pick: There hasn't been a repeat winner in this category in more than a decade, and with Aaron Paul ineligible because "Breaking Bad" took more than a year off, there won't be one this year. With Paul out, the "Lost" guys retired, etc., it's anyone's field. My guess is Braugher, who already has two Emmys and was playing very much against type on the late, lamented "Men." (On the plus side, the show's final six episodes, where Braugher did his best work of the series, will be eligible next Emmy season, so even if he doesn't win on the 18th, it's not quite over.)
Dan's pick: This is a coin-flip. "Game of Thrones" is likely to win some technical prizes, but Dinklage is its only real chance to win a big ticket award. With "Hands and Knees," Slattery has a great submission episode and "Mad Men" is due to get a little acting Emmy love. Goggins should probably have been nominated for four or five Emmys already and voters could want to make up for past snubbings. And Andre Braugher is Andre Braugher. But I think Emmy voters like "The Good Wife" and Cumming would be a showy way to recognize the show. He's my prediction. [Yes, my guesses are pretty much going off the rails at this point.]
What do you think?