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Jake Johnson of 'New Girl'
Jake Johnson, "New Girl"
Nomination Status: After a breakout season, Jake Johnson may be poised for a nomination.
In His Favor: Early last year, Jake Johnson's Nick almost immediately slipped behind Max Greenfield's Schmidt when it came to landing both the quotable dialogue and screentime. As the season progressed, though, Johnson's value became more and more evident, as one episode after another featured a laughter-inducing stream-of-consciousness ramble that may or may not have been improvised. This year, Johnson stepped up big-time and, thanks to the Nick and Jess romance, he truly belongs both in the Lead category and among the nominees. Johnson had a great episode when we first met his father, played by Dennis Farina, and then he had an even better episode with "Chicago," when the gang went to Nick's hometown for his dad's funeral. Throw in the big signpost Nick-Jess episodes -- They kissed! They had the sex! They broke up and then didn't! -- and Johnson, also sporting a burgeoning feature career, looks ready for a nomination, even if it means pushing out a bigger name.
Working Against Him: "New Girl" had some support in its first season, but not enough to get Johnson a nomination. While reviews praised the show's creative improvement in Season 2, the audience dwindled. Will that hurt Johnson? It's possible. Or maybe "New Girl" is ready to step up and add nominations this year.