Emmys Circuit: Best Comedy Actor

Emmys

There are some categories at this year’s Emmys that are overflowing with quality performances. Indeed, some races are sporting six or seven plausible winners. Some races, however, are quite lacking not only in possible winners, but in worthy nominees. For roughly four seasons now, Best Actor in a Comedy Series has been such a category…

…and the 2013 Nominees were:

 

Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory – *winner*
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Jason Bateman, Arrested Development
Louis C.K., Louie
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes

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Late last summer, if you asked me who would be competing for the top prize in this category in 2014, I would have quickly and confidently said “Michael J. Fox and Robin Williams, duh!” However, after the abject failure that was The Michael J. Fox Show and the curious flaccidity of The Crazy Ones, it appears that neither comedy titan will even make the shortlisted sextet.

Last year, Jim Parsons deservedly won this third Emmy for The Big Bang Theory despite it being one of the more inconsequential seasons of the show. Indeed, in what is likely the only Emmy category that does NOT need attrition, Best Actor in a Comedy Series loses both two-time champ Alec Baldwin and Jason Bateman, leaving two slots open for new talent to join the ranks.  It makes me bang my head against a wall, wondering why all the Modern Family men (specifically Eric Stonestreet and Ty Burrell) refuse to even consider a switch to this category.  Sigh.

Of the 2013 nominees, Parsons, C.K., Cheadle, and LeBlanc are eligible to return.

 

The Contenders:

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JIM PARSONS – THE BIG BANG THEORY
Please. Locked. Working on a very likely fourth win.

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LOUIS C.K. – LOUIE
I mean, duh, right?  Why wouldn’t the voters go bang-bang-bang-bang for Louis C.K.’s fourth consecutive nomination?

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ANDY SAMBERG – BROOKLYN NINE-NINE
Lead actor in the hit new network comedy series? Check. New hit comedy likely to be nominated for Best Comedy Series? Check. Oh, and the show won the Golden Globe for Comedy Series AND Best Actor? Likely to get a nomination for Guest Actor, too? Hilarious and loveable? Check. Check. Check. Done and done, hopefully.

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DON CHEADLE – HOUSE OF LIES & MATT LeBLANC – EPISODES
As far as I’m concerned, Don Cheadle and Matt LeBlanc are in the same boat when it comes to their nomination possibility for their work on House of Lies and Episodes, respectively. Why? Both are coming off their second consecutive nomination which they have landed in more competitive years than this. Basically, I ask myself “what have Cheadle and LeBlanc done wrong to be snubbed” rather than “have they earned another nomination.” Indeed, when the Emmys can, they stay the course instead of changing mid-stream.  Heck, both have even won Golden Globes for their current performances.  Therefore, I think there’s really only one open slot in this category.

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WILLIAM H. MACY – SHAMELESS
When the TV Academy allowed Showtime’s Shameless to suddenly switch its classification in its fourth season, I was a bit surprised. Indeed, had Showtime started with Shameless as a comedy, Macy might even have an Emmy by now. Nevertheless, the voters have shown that they barely watch this show when it was a drama, so will they watch it now that it’s a comedy? Macy being a big name might be the best and only thing in his favor.

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JOHNNY GALECKI – THE BIG BANG THEORY
The one-time Emmy nominee back in 2011, Johnny Galecki has never been invited back for his thankless work in The Big Bang Theory. Granted, it’s nearly impossible to shine opposite Jim Parsons, especially when you’re in the same category as Parsons. Indeed, many credit Galecki’s curious tape submission for Parsons’ 2011 upset of Steve Carell. Nevertheless, much like 2011 (which was equally as barren as 2014), Galecki managed a nomination. Will voters return to the well so many years later?

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THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH – SILICON VALLEY
If the Emmys are feeling hip and really enjoy HBO’s campaigning, I can see them throwing votes behind Thomas Middleditch in Silicon Valley. This isn’t as farfetched as it might sound. The critics like the show and when you have a race this…barren, voters might desire to show their love where they can.

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JON CRYER – TWO AND A HALF MEN
For the sake of the Emmys, I hope they don’t nominate Jon Cryer for his work in Two and a Half Men. This isn’t me personally dissing Cryer, but the TV Academy received a lot of flack for giving him the (semi-deserving) win two years ago. From a PR standpoint, they’re better off letting Cryer cruise into the sunset enjoying his two Emmys. But he’s the only eligible former winner of this category currently in contention, so I’m not foolish enough to ignore his hwoever slight possibility.

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ROBIN WILLIAMS – THE CRAZY ONES
When CBS okayed a David E. Kelley comedy starring Robin Williams in his triumphant return to television, this likely had visions of Emmys after Emmys. However…The Crazy Ones didn’t exactly make viewers feel crazy. The now-cancelled show likely has a great shot at landing a Comedy Guest Actor nomination, but what about the erstwhile king of comedy, Williams? Actors might feel nostalgic nominating him, but I seriously question if they care. Indeed, the cancelled status of his show certainly hurts, but it doesn’t foreclose the possibility. Just recently, both Emmy darling Kathy Bates and respected thespian Laura Dern earned post-cancellation nominations for their work on Harry’s Law and Enlightened, respectively.

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MICHAEL J. FOX – THE MICHAEL J. FOX SHOW
When NBC foolishly picked up Michael J. Fox’s would-be triumphant return to television, it likely had visions of glory. However, The Michael J. Fox Show was terrible. Nevertheless, Fox is a perennial Emmy favorite, winning five trophies for his work on Family Ties, Spin City, and Rescue Me. He’s got added screen time in The Good Wife, which might help. As I mentioned with Robin Williams, it’s not without precedent for cancelled shows to get representation in the acting races. And indeed, if Kathy Bates is an Emmy favorite, Fox is their favorite son.

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ANYONE ELSE?
I know, this isn’t helpful. However, when objective favorites are just few, that means a handful of legitimate “passion” votes by a few Alpha House fans can get John Goodman into this race. Likewise, I think it’d be foolish to count out a dark horse in this race. Adam Scott has yet to really catch traction for Parks and Recreation, but he’s worth mentioning. Indeed, I’d keep an eye on Andy Daly in Review, Chris O’Dowd in Family Tree, Ricky Gervais in Derek, and especially Jeff Garlin in The Goldbergs. I cannot express how easy it would be for a left field choice to populate this race. I expect a TON of votes to go the way of Jim Parsons and Louis C.K., leaving a plurality left to decide the remaining four nominees. See: Adam Driver’s nomination last year.

NOTE: DO YOU SEE WHY I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY NO MODERN FAMILY MEN SWITCH TO THIS RACE????

Predicted Nominees, In Order Of Nomination Likelihood (NOT winning likelihood):

 01. Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

02. Louis C.K., Louie

03. Andy Samberg, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

04. Don Cheadle, House of Lies

05. Matt LeBlanc, Episodes

06. Johnny Galecki, The Big Bang Theory 

So did I forget anyone? Where am I wrong? Speak to me, Emmy gurus!