Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Emmy Memo I: Comedy

Hope you kids had a good holiday weekend.

Today and tomorrow I am doing my memo to the Academy, listing who I hope will be considered for Emmy statuettes, even though the Emmy process is probably the most frustrating of all the major awards.

This list is by no means complete -- after all, I can't watch every single show out there, though I do try -- but I think I've got some good lists going. You, gentle reader, are more than welcome to agree with me or provide some of your own suggestions.

Here we go:

BEST ACTRESS:
America Ferrera (Ugly Betty)
Tina Fey (30 Rock)
Anna Friel (Pushing Daisies)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (New Adventures of Old Christine)
Amy Pietz (Aliens In America)
Comments: Ferrera, Fey and Louis-Dreyfuss are sort of no-brainers for this category. The winsome Friel was truly the girl next door, albeit the dead girl next door, and Pietz stole practically every scene that she was in for the under-appreciated "Aliens."

BEST ACTOR:
Alec Baldwin (30 Rock)
Steve Carell (The Office)
Zachary Levi (Chuck)
Lee Pace (Pushing Daisies)
Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother)
Comments: The first two are practically shoo-ins for nominations. Levi displayed a goofy charm as a reluctant spy, Pace was wonderful with his deadpan as the hapless piemaker with the unfortunate power of raising the dead, and Radnor does a good job often playing the straight man to his castmates' loony adventures.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies)
Jenna Fischer (The Office)
Becki Newton (Ugly Betty)
Jaime Pressley (My Name Is Earl)
Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty)
Comments: I tried to limit myself to one actor per show, because I think the Academy should just pick one. But as I argued last year, it's really a tough call between Williams' evil Wilhelmina, who drives a lot of the plot, and the scene-stealing Newton, who didn't get as much screen time as she should have. Fischer continues to be a rising star (although castmate Angela Kinsey also deserves strong consideration). Chenoweth is always fantastic (and should be required to do one musical number per episode). Pressley won last year, and will earn another nomination.

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
Jack McBrayer (30 Rock)
Chi McBride (Pushing Daises)
Michael Urie (Ugly Betty)
Ray Wise (Reaper)
Comments: I'm really hoping that Harris wins his long-deserved Emmy, creating one of TV's great characters in Barney Stinson. McBrayer and Urie steal pretty much every scene they are in. McBride was a revelation in his ability to do comedy after a large body of dramatic work (though I'd also love to get a nomination here for Digby the dog). Wise was inspired casting as the Devil, and will hopefully get more screen time next season.

SERIES
30 Rock
How I Met Your Mother
The Office
Pushing Daisies
Ugly Betty
Comments: "30 Rock" and "The Office" have traditionally gotten a lot of buzz since their debut, and "How I Met Your Mother" is, for my money, the consistently best traditional sitcom on the air. "Pushing Daisies" was, hands down, the best new show on TV this season. "Ugly Betty" wasn't quite up to its first season's standards, but is certain to grab a slot. Honorable mention to "Chuck," "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Aliens In America."

Coming tomorrow: The dramas

R.I.P. SYDNEY POLLACK: The Oscar-winning director, producer and actor was 73 when he died from cancer Monday. I was lucky enough to meet Pollack very briefly two years ago at the Austin Film Festival, and he was doing great work right up to his death, most recently with "Michael Clayton" as George Clooney's boss.

TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: Nowt. Nada. Nothing. I simply can't bring myself to list new episodes of "According to Jim" (ABC, 8 p.m.) as "best" anything. In addition, the truly rancid "Moment of Truth" (Fox, 8 p.m.) returns.

If you do want something to watch, try to catch "Recount" on HBO, which will probably run another 15 times or so this week on one of the network's channels. It's a truly clever retelling of the 2000 election fiasco, and Kevin Spacey, Tom Wilkinson and Laura Dern are virtual locks for Emmy nominations in the TV-movie acting categories.

7 comments:

zodin2008 said...

Picking who we THINK should be nominated for an Emmy and who the Emmy voters actually nominate are two entirely different things.

BEST ACTRESS:

I agree with you on Fey & Ferrera for sure. I admittedly don't watch the other three's shows, so I can't pass a good or bad judgement.

I think Allyson Hannigan ("How I Met Your Mother") should either get consideration as a lead or supporting actress. I wonder if the Emmy folks are done nominating the cast of "Desperate Housewives" and though I don't watch that anymore, no one would complain if Marcia Cross got another nomination because she's always way above that flimsy material they call a TV show.

Though the show got canceled, watch out for Patricia Heaton. An Emmy darling to say the least, they may nominate her and also watch out as always for Mary Louise Parker from "Weeds" or maybe even Cheryl Hines from "Curb Your Enthusiasm".

BEST ACTOR:

I agree with you for sure on Carrell, Baldwin and even Lee Pace from "Daisies". I like "Chuck" the show, I just don't see a nomination for Zack Levi nor do I think his performance is overwhelming.

As I brought up Patricia Heaton, it's also worth mentioning that if the Emmy's nominate Heaton, they will aloso nominate Kelsey Grammer, who let's face it, even working with mediocre material on a below average show like "Back to You", Grammer is always deserving.

If this had been "Scrubs" last year, you'd see a Zack Braff nomination but with it back on ABC this January, not likely.

I don't think Josh Radnor is anything special and you forgot about Tony Shalhoub, who has been rising above a mediocre show for years now. Which also leads to a darkhorse I have heard mentioned for this category: James Roday from "Psych". Personally, I like the show and Roday is funny, but he over actes akll the time and I don't think he should get a nomination.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

Five (5) excellent choices though I got sick & tired of "My Name is Earl" so I don't watch that show anymore. (not that Pressley is to blame, per say).

The Emmy voters love Elizabeth Perkins on "Weeds" and a darkhorse would be Vivica Fox on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" this past year...a scene stealer to say the least. And speaking of scene stealers with a "Curb" connection, Wanda Sykes for your show, "Christine".

I also would like Hannigan here but she won't be noticed, again. Speaking of underrated comedian actresses, Jane Krakowski on "30 Rock" and as you mentioned already, Angela Kinsey and Mindy Kaling on "The Office" are both hilarious.

SUPPORTING ACTOR:

Again, Phillip, it's hard to argue with the five (5) guys you picked here, but here's some other actors for your consideration.

Adam Baldwin, "Chuck". The seriously deadpan Baldwin steals even more scenes than the guy who's supposed to, who plays Morgan. Captain Awesome is awesome but if I had to pick one "Chuck" actor, it would be Baldwin, who's absolutely hysterical. (Phillip, I have a feeling you'll agree).

And though you don't watch it, the Emmys will nominate Jeremy Piven again from "Entourage" and if you saw his performance, he deserves it - as does his co-star, Kevin Dillon as Drama.

Also, Half of Ari Gold's scenes would fall flat if he didn't have Rex Lee ("Lloyd!!!!!") to play against, who may even be a funnier gay sidekick than Michael Urie on "Betty".

But again, with a list like McBride, Ray Wise, Urie, McBrayer, & especially Neil Patrick Harris, it's hard to complain about that group. Perhaps they should expand this category to ten people.

Another group to never ever forget: the group from "Scrubs" including Neil Flynn (The Janitor), John McGinley (Dr. Cox), Donald Faison (Turk).

BEST COMEDY SERIES:

All good choices but "Betty" had a very uneven year.

Actually, it won't happen but you know what I'd sub in for "Betty" if I was picking the list of five? "My Boys" on TBS.

While past Emmy faves like Scrubs, Earl, Weeds, Entourage and Betty were all uneven, "My Boys" was very solid entertainment.

But duh, if I was putting a 5th comedy on that list, probably go with "Curb Your Enthusiasm". I think the show was revitalized in a big way with the introduction of the Blacks, the family that Larry brings to live with him from post katrina New Orleans.

If "Curb" does one more season, please make sure they return to L.A. with Larry.

Anonymous said...

"How I Met Your Mother" should get the Emmy for "Most Overrated Piece of Crap on Television." It wins hands down in that category. Talk about a bunch of cliche, unambitious, unoriginal drivel that tries to masquerade as a quirky take on "Friends." It could win a special lifetime achievement award for sucking.

"Curb" is obviously the best comedic show on television, followed closely by "Entourage." "30 Rock" and "The Office" both make for good viewing as well, certainly far superior to "Mother."

That said, the Emmy's should be completely invalidated as an award of any meaning, given the fact that year in and year out it simply ignores "The Wire," which is proven to be the best thing ever produced for TV.

zodin2008 said...

Anon-

Tell us how you really feel. Since you are a fan of shows such as Curb, The Wire, Entourage, The Office and 30 Rock, we clearly agree (as would Phillip) on a lot of shows.

But there are a lot of us who love "How I Met Your Mother", so to each their own. At the very least, even the award shows have taken notice of Neil Patrick Harris' performance.

As for the other shows you listed, I like "Entourage" a lot but the show is not appointment television any longer. (on the other hand, "Curb" still is).

Phillip Ramati said...

Like I said, some of these were my picks and some were I think fairly obvious picks. I have no doubts, for example, that Desperate Housewives will get several nominations. I don't watch it anymore, but it remains an Emmy darling. (Look for Dana Delany especially).

Zod, as much as Grammer and Heaton have an Emmy history, the show was such a disappointment on so many levels that it will be hard to justify a nom for either one.

Anon, so we're clear, you don't like HIMYM? :-) Well, it's all a matter of taste. Like I said, these were my picks, which is why I invite my readers to send in their own nominations.

I will agree that the Emmys are usually the worst awards around. How else does Boston Legal keep snagging noms every year as both a comedy and a drama?

Stanley said...

Phillip

How could youomit Larry David from best actor and "Curb" for best show?

Phillip Ramati said...

As I pointed out, Curb was very close to making the list. I'm not too worried; I think Curb and Larry David will be nominated.

zodin2008 said...

Nominations for that awful show, "Boston Legal", are the #1 reason I cannot ever take the Emmy's seriously.