Jon Cryer returns, but a host of 'Modern Family' men will look to take him down
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Ed O'Neill of 'Modern Family'
Ed O'Neill, "Modern Family"
Nomination Status: Network comedy icon is well-positioned to grab a slot, should one of the established nominees falter.
In His Favor: For months, conventional wisdom has held that Ed O'Neill was the "Modern Family" actor most likely to attract Emmy attention, entirely by virtue of his being Ed O'Neill. This supposition is based on O'Neill being the show's most familiar name and ignores that Ed O'Neill's prior total of Emmy nominations is zero and that he picked up two Golden Globe nominations for "Married with Children," but that's mostly because the Golden Globes are a joke. What's more logical is that while O'Neill's more comedically flamboyant co-stars will split a lot of the votes, O'Neill will capitalize on the frequency with which he's allowed to be the heart of "Modern Family," delivering sentimental, only slightly caustic monologues to end episodes. O'Neill deserves credit for having the world-weary edge necessary to sell those touching speeches and making the little sarcastic punchlines barely sting at all. People surprised O'Neill was capable of this level of subtly are the same people who think his only prior acting experience was "Married with Children."
Working Against Him: Exactly the opposite of the previous paragraph, saying that because O'Neill entered as a known quantity, he's been less of a revelation than Ty Burrell, Eric Stonestreet or his small screen son Rico Rodriguez.