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The Emmy Awards: Nominees and Personal Picks

The 2011 nominees are in and here's what I think should win + snubs

My personal picks are in bold, followed by the pick for snub(s), and a brief explanation (as well as a runner up choice, when applicable). Here I go:

BEST DRAMA SERIES

  • Boardwalk Empire 
  • Dexter
  • Friday Night Lights
  • Game of Thrones
  • The Good Wife
  • Mad Men 

Snubs: Sons of Anarchy and Justified (instead of Boardwalk Empire and The Good Wife). (Breaking Bad would be on this list, except it's not nominated because it's "ineligible" for consideration.)

Mad Men and Friday Night Lights are really the best dramas on television (other than Breaking Bad, which premiered too early last year and will premiere too late this one to be eligible for consideration). Boardwalk Empire is a modest drama with many faults and holes. While Dexter is very thrilling, it often lacks on range and innovation. Runner Up: Game of Thrones. It had a wonderful first season, and perhaps in the future it could take the win. But Mad Men continues to dominate in the category, and Friday Night Lights is the only other show that I think could challenge it.

BEST COMEDY SERIES

  • Big Bang Theory
  • Glee
  • Modern Family
  • The Office
  • 30 Rock
  • Parks and Recreation

Snub: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (instead of Glee)

Parks and Recreation is without a question the best popular comedy. It certainly trumps the others in this category. Runner up: The Big Bang Theory, a consistenly funny comedy with great character-actors. 

 

BEST DRAMA ACTOR

  • Timothy Olyphant, Justified
  • Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
  • Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights
  • Michael C. Hall, Dexter
  • Jon Hamm, Mad Men
  • Hugh Laurie, House

Snub: Gabriel Byrne, In Treatment

The reasons why Mad Men and FNL are the best dramas on television are their leading men, played to perfection by Jon Hamm and Kyle Chandler. Hamm has mastered (and expanded) the complexities of his Don Draper, while Chandler, as Coach Taylor, continues to show how interesting and dynamic a small-town football coach can really be. I could just watch his spot-on facial expressions all day. Runner up: Timothy Olyphant, because he's just so charming and funny as my favorite Marshal on the great Justified.

BEST DRAMA ACTRESS

  • Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights
  • Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
  • Kathy Bates, Harry's Law
  • Mariska Hargitay, SVU
  • Mirelle Enos, The Killing
  • Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men

Snub: Katey Sagal, Sons of Anarchy - my personal pick to WIN

Elisabeth Moss has continued to make an amazing character out of her Peggy of Mad Men. She is particularly strong in her scenes with fellow actors Jon Hamm and Vincent Kartheiser. Runner up: Connie Britton, whose amazing chemistry with co-star Kyle Chandler elevates the dramatic level (as well as the comedic strength) of FNL. It's as if these two women were born to play these roles (the same could be said concerning Katey Sagal, the snubbed actress who would have taken the win in my book). 

 

BEST COMEDY ACTRESS

  • Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
  • Tina Fey, 30 Rock
  • Laura Linney, The Big C
  • Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
  • Martha Plimpton, Raising Hope
  • Amy Poehler, Parks & Recreation

She is just so painfully funny, what can I say? Runner up: Laura Linney, who is just so lovely to watch, especially on a show (The Big C) that puts her smack in the center and allows her the tools of both drama and comedy. 

BEST COMEDY ACTOR

  • Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
  • Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
  • Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
  • Steve Carell, The Office
  • Johnny Galecki, The Big Bang Theory
  • Louie C.K., Louie

Snub: Charlie Day, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

In another time, it would have been hard to choose between Jim Parsons, Steven Carell, and Alec Baldwin - all amazing comedic actors, who all made up my list of great comedy characters - but I think Louis C.K. deserves a win for his continued, more humble, greatness as a comedy writer and actor.

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR, COMEDY

  • Chris Colfer, Glee
  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
  • Ed O’Neill, Modern Family
  • Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
  • Ty Burrell, Modern Family
  • Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men

Snub: Nick Offerman, Parks and Recreation - my personal pick to WIN

Ty Burrell just makes me laugh, like all the time. Last season, if I had to choose between the four funny guys of Modern Family, I would have chosen Eric Stonestreet, but Mr. Burrell has replaced him as my favorite. Meanwhile, Nick Offerman should be winning this award for his not just chuckle-funny comedy but his laugh-outloud humor on Parks and Recreation.

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA

  • Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
  • Josh Charles, The Good Wife
  • Alan Cumming, The Good Wife
  • Walton Goggins, Justified
  • John Slattery, Mad Men
  • Andre Braugher, Men of a Certain Age

Time and again I have praised Walton Goggins on my blog. I just think he's a wonderful actor who has lent so much strength and power to his series, first with the incredible The Shield and currently with Justified (both part of FX programming). As Boyd Crowler, he is the lovable, complex villain-criminal that often makes us question the heroism of our protagonists and lawmen. It makes having Shane of The Shield a little easier to miss. Runner up: Peter Dinklage, who single-handedly turns Game of Thrones from a good drama into a great one.

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS, COMEDY

  • Jane Lynch, Glee
  • Betty White, Hot in Cleveland
  • Julie Bowen, Modern Family
  • Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
  • Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live
  • Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock

I've always said I found Sofia Vergara to be one of the funniest parts of Modern Family. One can usually count on her to make the underwhelming episodes worth watching while the good ones that much better. Meanwhile, Jane Lynch has seen better days on Glee. Runner up: Jane Krakowski, who doesn't quite match Tina Fey on 30 Rock but comes pretty close.

 

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS, DRAMA

  • Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife
  • Kelly Macdonald, Boardwalk Empire
  • Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
  • Margo Martindale, Justified
  • Michelle Forbes, The Killing
  • Christina Hendricks, Mad Men

Snub: Chloe Sevigny, Big Love

Margo Martindale just gives an amazing performance (about which I've often blogged). None of the other nominees comes close. Runner up: Christina Hendricks, who beautifully played out the new, and more challenging, developments in her character this season.

OUTSTANDING MINISERIES OR MOVIE

  • Cinema Verite
  • Downton Abbey
  • The Kennedys
  • Mildred Pierce
  • The Pillars of the Earth
  • Too Big to Fail

Snubbed: Luther

This is cheating because Downton Abbey is the only one of the nominees I've seen. But it's the best dramatic television production to appear this year, in my opinion trumping most, if not all, of the nominees for Best Drama. It is a brilliantly cast, written, and performed program that deserves to win something, so why not in this category?

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS, MINISERIES OR MOVIE

  • Diane Lane, Cinema Verite
  • Elizabeth McGovern, Downton Abbey
  • Kate Winslet, Mildred Pierce
  • Taraji P. Henson, Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story
  • Jean Marsh, Upstairs Downstairs

Again, cheating because it's the only one I've seen and it was brilliant - and Elizabeth McGovern just perfect in it.

 

OUTSTANDING ACTOR, MINISERIES OR MOVIE

  • Edgar Ramirez, Carlos
  • Greg Kinnear, The Kennedys
  • Barry Pepper, The Kennedys
  • Idris Elba, Luther
  • Laurence Fishburne, Thurgood
  • William Hurt, Too Big to Fail 

Two great mini series - Carlos and Luther - headed by two outstanding actors who played their roles perfectly. Because the majority of the success of his seris depended on his spot-on and ever-changing performance, Edgar Ramirez gets the edge.

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS, MINISERIES OR MOVIE

  • Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
  • Evan Rachel Wood, Mildred Pierce
  • Melissa Leo, Mildred Pierce
  • Mare Winningham, Mildred Pierce
  • Eileen Atkins, Upstairs Downstairs 

I guess all the great female actresses went for Mildred Pierce. But, in my opinion, nothing can top Maggie Smith's just amazing performance in Downton Abbey.

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR, MINISERIES OR MOVIE

  • Tom Wilkinson, The Kennedys
  • Guy Pearce, Mildred Pierce
  • Brian F. O'Byrne, Mildred Pierce
  • Paul Giamatti, Too Big to Fail
  • James Woods, Too Big to Fail 

I really couldn't say, but these are all wonderful actors, so I'm sure they're all deserving.

 

BEST VARIETY SERIES

  • The Colbert Report
  • Conan O'Brien
  • The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
  • Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
  • Real Time with Bill Maher
  • Saturday Night Live

If all it produced this year was the "My Fair Colbert" sketch (in light of the ridiculous royal wedding), it would alone be enough to give the win to The Colbert Report.

OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A COMEDY SERIES

  • Episodes, "Episode 107"
  • Louie, "Poker/Divorce"
  • Modern Family, "Caught in the Act"
  • The Office, "Good-bye Michael"
  • 30 Rock, "Reaganing"

Out of all of these episodes, this is the one I remember the most, and probably because it spoke to something we can all (often comically) relate to: walking in our parents doing it.

OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A DRAMA SERIES

  • Friday Night Lights, "Always"
  • Game of Thrones, "Baelor"
  • The Killing, "Pilot"
  • Mad Men, "The Suitcase"
  • Mad Men, "Blowing Smoke"

These are some tough episodes to choose from. All are absolutely deserving. All of them. But the one that impacted me the most, I have to say, was Mad Men's "The Suitcase." Runner up would have to be the Games of Thrones episode "Baelor," which was perfect from start to finish (and what a finish it was). You can read my blog post regarding that episode here. And in third place, the Friday Night Lights "Always," which couldn't have been a more fitting end to an oustanding dramatic series. 

OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A VARIETY, MUSIC OR COMEDY SERIES

  • The Colbert Report
  • Conan
  • The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
  • Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
  • Saturday Night Live

Again, My Fair Colbert, but really just smart, challenging, and hilarious writing.

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