The first ever Critics' Choice Television Awards will air on Monday, June 20, 2011. I've posted the recently announced nominees below, as well as my personal picks to win. A huge disappointment is the absence of a few of the best shows– mainly Breaking Bad, but also True Blood, Bored to Death, The Big C, and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Best Drama Series
- “Boardwalk Empire” (HBO)
- “Dexter” (Showtime)
- “Friday Night Lights” (DirecTV)
- “Fringe” (Fox)
- “Game of Thrones” (HBO)
- “The Good Wife” (CBS)
- "Justified” (FX)
- “The Killing” (AMC)
- “Mad Men” (AMC)
- “The Walking Dead” (AMC)
Where is Breaking Bad? That incredible AMC show was sadly not nominated. It should certainly be up there in the place of several other of these programs.
My choice: Would have been Breaking Bad, but tied with a series that was indeed, of course, nominated: Mad Men. Runners up: Justified and Friday Night Lights. This has been a really good year for television dramas. Mad Men has since the beginning been a smart, entertaining show, carried by strong writing, complex and well-developed characters, and outstanding acting, with Hamm being the centerpiece. Moss and the supporting cast are equally as strong. Justified, doubling its efforts in its second season and coming out strong, and Friday Night Lights work on such a high level – both are shows to which all of television should aspire.
Best Actor in a Drama Series
- Steve Buscemi for “Boardwalk Empire”
- Kyle Chandler for “Friday Night Lights”
- Michael C. Hall for “Dexter”
- Jon Hamm for “Mad Men"
- William H. Macy for “Shameless” (Showtime)
- Timothy Olyphant for “Justified”
My choice: Would have been Bryan Cranston for Breaking Bad, but of the ones nominated: Tie between Kyle Chandler for Friday Night Lights and Jon Hamm for Mad Men. As stated above, Hamm's spot-on portrayal of Don Draper is a great part of what makes Mad Men such a perfect, well-executed drama. Chandler, for his part, gives such complexity and surprising likability to a character that could easily have been over-simplified. He carries his show and has fantastic chemistry with his costars, both the adults (his wife) and the kids (his daughter and his players).
Best Actress in a Drama Series
- Connie Britton for “Friday Night Lights”
- Mireille Enos for “The Killing”
- Julianna Margulies for “The Good Wife”
- Elisabeth Moss for “Mad Men”
- Katey Sagal for “Sons of Anarchy” (FX)
- Anna Torv for “Fringe.”
My choice: Elisabeth Moss for Mad Men. Disclaimer: I have not seen The Good Wife or Sons of Anarchy. However, Moss really gives great shape and interest to a less than perfect character who remains, despite her faults and shortcomings, the hero of the show. All the nominated women are fantastic actresses that add great life and dramatic character to their respective shows.
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama
- Alan Cumming for “The Good Wife”
- Walton Goggins for “Justified”
- Shawn Hatosy for “Southland” (TNT)
- John Noble for “Fringe”
- Michael Pitt for “Boardwalk Empire”
- John Slattery for “Mad Men”
My choice: hands down, Walton Goggins for Justified. My other choice would be Aaron Paul for Breaking Bad, but he was sadly not nominated. I've been raving about Goggins in my blog because he's really just such a reliable actor with great range and the unique ability to turn antagonists into interesting, likable, and engaging anti-heros. He has a very ambitious vision for his characters and executes it perfectly.
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama
- Michelle Forbes for “The Killing”
- Christina Hendricks for “Mad Men”
- Margo Martindale for “Justified”
- Kelly Macdonald for “Boardwalk Empire”
- Archie Penjabi for “The Good Wife”
- Chloe Sevigny for “Big Love” (HBO)
My pick: No doubt about it, Margo Martindale for Justified. Runner up: Chloe Sevigny for Big Love. Both these ladies carried their respective shows, giving them the edge that made them regular enjoyable viewings (especially Justified).
Best Comedy Series
- “Modern Family”
- “Archer” (FX)
- “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)
- “Community” (NBC)
- “Glee” (Fox)
- “Louie” (FX)
- “The Middle” (ABC)
- “The Office” (NBC)
- “Parks and Recreation” (NBC)
- “30 Rock” (NBC).
My choice: another super easy pick, Parks and Recreation. I've said time again, on my top lists and blog, that this is a fantastic show and the best half hour of comedy on television currently available. Another great comedy that was not nominated: It's Always Sunny in Phladelphia. Should be on this list and is on par with Parks.
Best Actor in a Comedy Series
- Alec Baldwin for “30 Rock”
- Steve Carell for “The Office”
- Louis C.K. for “Louie”
- Charlie Day for “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” (FX)
- Joel McHale for “Community”
- Jim Parsons for “The Big Bang Theory.”
My choice: Charlie Day for It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, but all the nominees are beyond excellent. My choice in other seasons would probably either be Jim Parsons or Alec Baldwin, both on my funniest TV characters list. Day is one of the most distinct comedy actors working today. Charlie (he and his character share a name) is a fantastic creation that he turns into one of the most reliably funny and engaging characters on the show.
Best Actress in a Comedy Series
- Courtney Cox for “Cougar Town” (ABC)
- Edie Falco for “Nurse Jackie” (Showtime)
- Tina Fey for “30 Rock”
- Patricia Heaton for “The Middle”
- Martha Plimpton for “Raising Hope” (Fox)
- Amy Poehler for “Parks and Recreation”
My choice: Amy Poehler for Parks and Recreation. Runner up: Tina Fey. The SNL girls are unbeatable, but Poehler is really just amazing as Leslie Knope, my runner up for best comedy character.
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
- Ted Burrell for "Modern Family"
- Ed O’Neil for "Modern Family"
- Eric Stonestreet for "Modern Family"
- Neil Patrick Harris for “How I Met Your Mother” (CBS)
- Nick Offerman for “Parks and Recreation”
- Danny Pudi for “Community”
My choice: in a difficult category, I would have to pick Nick Offerman for Parks and Recreation. Runner up: Neil Patrick Harris for How I Met Your Mother (who probably would have won in an earlier season). Offerman can do magic with just his facial expressions - no speaking necessary. But paired up with the talented writing staff of Parks and Rec, he's a complete, extremely funny package.
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
- Bowen for "Modern Family"
- Sofia Vergara for "Modern Family"
- Jane Krakowski for “30 Rock”
- Jane Lynch for “Glee”
- Busy Philipps for “Cougar Town”
- Eden Sher for “The Middle”
My choice: I don't think the nominees are that strong, especially for this season, but I would have to say Sofia Vergara for Modern Family, with Jane Lynch finishing at a close second. Lynch's character (and everything about the show) was much stronger in Glee's first season. Vergara plays her role perfectly, and turns what could be a very simple and straightforward "funny" stereotype into an unpredictable and reliably hilarious unique character (however still playing to stereotypes, but not always falling in line with them).
So that's it! Enjoy the ceremony, and let's hope some deserving people win. Please post any comments below!