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2011-09-16

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September 17, 2011 - 5:06pm

Television Gold: Daily Arts Editors predict the 2011 Emmys

BY PROMA KHOSLA AND KAVI SHEKHAR PANDEY

You know what they say: It's an honor just to be nominated.

But it's extra nice to win. Once you've won an Emmy, it's easy to keep winning; but if you're up against the best, it can be impossible to get noticed. As the biggest night for TV and its rabid fans approaches, Arts’ rabid writers give their two cents about who deserves television gold (hint: not “Glee”).

COMEDY AWARDS — Proma Khosla

Best Comedy Series
“30 Rock”
“The Big Bang Theory”
“The Office”
“Glee”
“Modern Family”
“Parks and Recreation”

Should Win: “Parks and Recreation” or “The Office”
Will Win: “Modern Family”

A perfectly legitimate decision except for how wonderful “Parks and Recreation” and “The Office” were this year. Steve Carell’s impeding departure brought out the best in “Office” writers and actors, while “Parks” finally distinguished itself from those clowns at Dunder Mifflin in hysterical and brilliant fashion. (Two words: Snake Juice. Actually, two more: Burt Macklin). “30 Rock” was probably at its weakest this season despite the innovation of a live show and a fantastic hundredth episode.

Comedy Actor
Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock”
Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory”
Steve Carell, “The Office”
Johnny Galecki, “The Big Bang Theory”
Matt LeBlanc, “Episodes”
Louis C.K., “Louie”

Should Win: Steve Carell
Will Win: Steve Carell

This is probably kind of wishful considering that both Baldwin and Parsons have beat Carell in this category in the past, but his last year as Michael Scott was both heartwarming and hilarious. And even though I have yet to hear anyone say a bad word about “Louie,” it may not have the necessary clout to pull a win.

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

Should Win: Amy Poehler
Will Win: Tina Fey

This suits me just fine because of Fey’s general perfection. Still, “Parks” is just not getting enough love. Poehler has been charming as Leslie Knope since the pilot, but the strong third season brought about a boost in her performance as well. I would argue that “Parks” is more of an ensemble show than “30 Rock” to justify Fey winning.

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

Should Win: Eric Stonestreet
Will Win: Chris Colfer

Stonestreet and Ferguson’s characters represent what a gay couple should and could be in a kinder world; happy, settled and accepted by their family and friends. They and co-star Ty Burrell epitomize modern comedic acting (no pun intended. Well, some). However, Colfer’s character arc this season as Kurt undergoes bullying, new school and first love was not only relevant but excellent acting. It may not be exclusively comedic — indeed, it’s often heavy drama — but it will resonate with Emmy voters as it did with audiences.

Supporting Comedy Actress
Julie Bowen, “Modern Family”
Sofia Vergara, “Modern Family”
Betty White, “Hot in Cleveland”
Kristen Wiig, “Saturday Night Live”
Jane Krakowski, “30 Rock”
Jane Lynch, “Glee”

Should Win: Kristen Wiig
Will Win: Jane Lynch

Wiig and the rest of the outstanding “SNL” cast cannot get enough credit for their work. Voters may recognize this as she’s still riding the “Bridesmaids” wave of hype and praise, but it’s more likely to go to Lynch. As with the male category, the appearance of drama in a comedy may garner more attention for her acting than even Bowen and Vergara’s impeccable timing and delivery.

DRAMA AWARDS — Kavi Shekhar Pandey

Best Drama Series
“Boardwalk Empire”
“Dexter”
“The Good Wife”
“Mad Men”
“Game of Thrones”
“Friday Night Lights”

Should Win: “Game of Thrones”
Will Win: “Mad Men”

Call it a fantastically epic series. Call it a feast of first-class actors and amazing characters. Call it pornography. In its first season, “Game of Thrones” has already leaped into the pantheon of Greatest Shows of All Time and redefined television. In a perfect world, the Emmys wouldn’t even bother nominating five other series. But history proves that it doesn’t have a shot.

As for the other HBO nominee: For all its razzle-dazzle production values and despite being a great series, “Boardwalk Empire” will fall because of its overwhelming expectations (Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter tend to do that). To paraphrase Andy Dufresne — hype is a bad thing, maybe the worst of things. And it probably made the show’s Emmy chances die.

So it’s back to “Mad Men” for the fourth straight year. Voters have been drinking the Don Draper drank for years now (sorry, but the show is a drag) and in a season with few missteps, it doesn’t seem like the reign of “Mad Men” will end just yet. In the Game of Emmys, you win or you die. Does that make “Mad Men” the Joffrey Baratheon of TV dramas? Just sayin.

Drama Actress
Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife”
Elisabeth Moss, “Mad Men”
Mireille Enos, “The Killing”
Kathy Bates, “Harry’s Law”
Connie Britton, “Friday Night Lights”
Mariska Hargitay, “Law & Order: SVU”

Should Win: Julianna Margulies
Will Win: Elisabeth Moss

Mireille Enos was just a season-long advertisement for JCPenny’s Fall Frump Collection. Connie Britton probably deserves some sort lifetime achievement award for her work throughout “Friday Night Lights,” but she’s a classic case of “it’s an honor just to be nominated.”

The true contenders are Julianna Margulies and Elisabeth Moss. Margulies, who should have won last year, brilliantly evolved her character from the tragic victim of her husband’s scandal to a woman taking her destiny into her own hands in the second season of “The Good Wife.” But why will Moss win? Two words: “The Suitcase.”

Drama Actor
Steve Buscemi, “Boardwalk Empire”
Kyle Chandler, “Friday Night Lights”
Michael C. Hall, “Dexter”
Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”
Hugh Laurie, “House M.D.”
Timothy Olyphant, “Justified”

Should Win: Kyle Chandler
Will Win: Jon Hamm

I’m as surprised as you are that I don’t want Timothy Olyphant to win this year, given that his character of Raylan Givens is so sublimely cool he makes Mr. Freeze feel bad about himself — his time will come. I’m going for the ultimate underdog Kyle Chandler, star of the perpetually underdog show about … underdogs. Plus, not rooting for Kyle Chandler is like not rooting for America. And by golly, I love America.

Buscemi is a possibility, playing a gangster with a heart of gold, in stark contrast to the raging sociopath that was Tony Soprano. But why will Hamm win? Two words: “The Suitcase.”

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

Should Win Peter Dinklage or Walton Goggins
Will Win: John Slattery

This category is always a cauldron of riches year in and year out, and choosing a winner is like picking the favorite of my beautiful brown babies (in the future, of course).

Walton Goggins was as magnetic a presence as Timothy Olyphant throughout the season of “Justified” and was arguably the more intriguing character — regardless, I’m taking his nomination and hopeful win as an acknowledgement of the seven seasons of incredible work he did on “The Shield” without recognition. “Game of Thrones” might as well be retitled “Everybody Loves Peter Dinklage,” and without him the show would be a sinkhole of doom and gloom. But this looks like the year of “Mad Men” for acting victories, and John Slattery will likely ride that wave to Emmy gold.

Supporting Drama Actress
Archie Panjabi, “The Good Wife”
Christine Baranski, “The Good Wife”
Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men”
Michelle Forbes, “The Killing”
Kelly MacDonald, “Boardwalk Empire”
Margo Martindale, “Justified”

Should Win: Margo Martindale
Will Win: Margo Martindale

As stoked as I was for the surprise victory by Archie Panjabi (light of my life) last year, this category is famously volatile and difficult to predict. Michelle Forbes’s tremendous, heartbreaking performance was the emotional core of “The Killing,” but was often too one-note. Plus, everyone hates that show now. Kelly Macdonald, savior of Nucky Thompson’s soul, has a fighting chance with her substantial role, really because she belongs in the lead actress category.

Then there’s Margo Martindale as Mags Bennett, an amalgamation of motherly love and maleficence that would bake you cherry pie one minute and be garroting you with a wire the next. Her presence alone elevated “Justified” from a solidly entertaining show to one of the best on television, and deserves an award more than anybody else Sunday night.


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