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 Actress 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.
Let's start with the comedy side, which pits a pair of "Modern Family" co-stars against last year's winner, a perennial Emmy favorite and a newly-minuted movie star. Your nominees:
Julie Bowen, "Modern Family"
Jane Krakowski, "30 Rock"
Jane Lynch, "Glee"
Sofia Vergara, "Modern Family"
Betty White, "Hot in Cleveland"
Kristen Wiig, "Saturday Night Live"
Alan's pick: This one's pretty easy for me. Bowen and Krakowski's characters are among my least favorite parts of their respective shows. "Glee" has gotten to the point where the episodes without Sue Sylvester are invariably better than the ones with her. I was startled by how much I liked Wiig in "Bridesmaids" after dreading most of her "SNL" sketches the last few years. And Betty White is doing her Betty White thing, which remains impressive at her age but is feeling just a bit tired after the last couple of Years of Betty White. Whereas Vergara was far and away the best part of what I found to be an uneven sophomore season for "Modern Family." Even in the episodes I didn't like overall, she usually did something that made me glad I had watched.
Dan's pick: I like Bowen on "Modern Family" a lot more than Alan does, but her submission episode -- "Strangers on a Treadmill" -- wasn't one that I particularly liked, while Vergara's episode featured her learning to ride a bike, which was ultra-endearing but not very complicated. Taken out of context, Lynch's submission episode -- "Funeral" -- is the most substantive (albeit entirely unfunny) episode in this pack. Taken in context, it's an embarrassingly pandering episode (by the writers, not Lynch) that completely betrays a character I don't much like anyway. White doesn't need more Emmys. Wiig deserved this Emmy two or three years ago, but probably doesn't anymore. Wait. That leaves Krakowski? Not for this season or this episode. So now I have to backtrack. A Vergara win would make me the most pleased, I guess.
Alan's pick: I tend to assume Emmy voter laziness unless presented with an overwhelming argument against it. But what to do when you have a reigning winner (even one whose character, if not performance, has become a drag on her show) going up against a beloved industry icon? Mama always told me to never bet against Betty White.
Dan's pick: I also think this comes down to Betty White and Jane Lynch, but I'm predicting a repeat for Lynch, whose submission episode won't get laughs, but may get tears from more easily manipulated Academy members.
The drama nominees, meanwhile, offer another reigning winner who may have a tough time fighting off an industry favorite (albeit one who hasn't gotten nearly White's awards love in the past). Your nominees:
Christine Baranski, "The Good Wife"
Michelle Forbes, "The Killing"
Christina Hendricks, "Mad Men"
Kelly Macdonald, "Boardwalk Empire"
Margo Martindale, "Justified"
Archie Panjabi, "The Good Wife"
Alan's pick: If I'm counting the best eligible dramatic performances in any category on one hand, Martindale's work as indomitable hillbilly crime lord Mags Bennett is on one of the first couple of fingers, easy. All due respect to some other fine actresses going against her, but the "should" of this is one of the most lopsided of any category.
Dan's pick: Martindale's performance, particularly in the "Brother's Keeper" episode, definitely trumps the competition here, but I don't think it's quite as much of a rout as Sepinwall does. In fact, I could make legitimate arguments for all five nominees other than Baranski. Panjabi won last year and her submission episode -- "Getting Off" -- was terrific this time, far better than what she won with in 2010. Forbes, Macdonald and Hendricks all have great episodes as well. Martindale should win, but I won't be unhappy if one of those other four wins.
Alan's pick: This is one of those areas where the idea that voters in each category are supposed to watch the submitted episodes is really nice. The hard part for Martindale was getting the nomination; once the voters actually see her submitted episode, I have a hard time imagining anyone beating her. On the other hand, I was shocked that Panjabi won last year, not because she wasn't good (she was and is), but because it wasn't a super-flashy, awards-baiting kind of part. So you never know, but I'm guessing Mags for the win.
Dan's pick: We get blinded here. We love "Justified" and Martindale so much that it's almost inconceivable in our minds that any other actor could possibly win and then we get outraged when voters in a popularity contest pick somebody more popular. But unlike Golden Globe voters, Emmy voters are surprisingly capable of recognizing less-than-glamorous performers when they're REALLY FREAKING GOOD. Martindale is a beloved character actor who has been doing solid work for decades. This will be a well-deserved reward.
What do you think?