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Emmys Circuit: Comedy Supporting Actor

girls adam

Welcome to Emmy Circuit.  For the next few weeks, until the Emmy nominations land, I’ll be digging into a few interesting races and predicting some Emmy categories.  This week, we start with Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.  You can read Editor-in-Chief Clayton Davis’ official Emmy Predictions for the category HERE.

Aside from Best Actor in a Drama Series, the Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series might be my favorite acting category in recent memory.* Like many categories, this one comes into the 2014 race with a “free” slot thanks to the departure of Bill Hader from SNL.

*For this and future Emmy Circuit articles, I’ll be using shorthand re: Emmy categories. Since Emmy category titles tend to be longwinded (see: Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series), I’m going to abbreviate them in the vein of: Comedy Supporting Actor.

2013 Nominees:
Tony Hale Emmy

  1. Tony Hale, Veepwinner
  2. Ty Burrell, Modern Family
  3. Adam Driver, Girls
  4. Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
  5. Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live
  6. Ed O’Neill, Modern Family

Last year saw reigning and two-time category champion Eric Stonestreet snubbed, cracking Modern Family’s two year streak of nabbing four of the six slots in this category. Indeed, with Hale’s unlikely, but insanely deserved win, Modern Family also lost the category it had had an ironclad grip on for the preceding three years. This begs the question: How safe are the Modern Family actors?

The Contenders:

eric stonestreet
ERIC STONESTREET — MODERN FAMILY

As a rule, it’s weird for reigning winners to be snubbed. Thus, when Eric Stonestreet was left off the ballot last year, it was curious. Maybe it was the classic “someone else will vote for him” or sheer dislike of his static and often grating character. This season, however, both Stonestreet and the MF writers have reverted to a more human version of Cam. Unlike seasons prior, Stonestreet has some great submissions, where he gets to be both silly and serious.

Jesse tyler ferguson

JESSE TYLER FERGUSON — MODERN FAMILY
Poor Jesse Tyler Ferguson. He should have won for “Halloween” years ago, but alas. Ferguson, season in and season out, is always the first on the chopping block when people are predicting this category. In 2009, no one predicted him. In 2010, no one predicted him. In 2011, everyone thought he might drop out. In 2012, everyone said “no way he can keep getting nominated.” But here he stands, alone with only three other cast members to be nominated for each season of Modern Family. He’s got some great tapes this season, too.

ty burrell

TY BURRELL — MODERN FAMILY
2010 winner Ty Burrell seems to me to be that actor who is the cockroach in this race. No matter how the winds eventually blow Modern Family, he and Julie Bowen will always be nominated here, due to performance and industry respect. I think if we ever see Burrell drop out of this lineup, it’d be either because 1) the TV Academy is jumping ship on the show or 2) he’s wisely shifted over to Comedy Lead Actor.

ed o'neill

ED O’NEILL — MODERN FAMILY
Poor Ed O’Neill. Much like co-star Ferguson, industry vet O’Neill is always the first on the chopping block when it comes to prognostication and predictions. While he’s rarely the comedic standout, he shines when given good material (a problem Ferguson also has, and reasons why John Mahoney and Peter Boyle always lost to their on-screen sons). His arc this season is both realistic and heartwarming. If O’Neill manages another nomination and submits “The Wedding,” watch out.

tony hale

TONY HALE — VEEP
Like I said with Stonestreet, it’s folly to predict a reigning champion to be snubbed. Here, Hale doesn’t have an Arrested Development bump to aid in a victory, but he does have an even funnier season of Veep propelling his sails. I’d be shocked to see Hale snubbed for his hilarious performance as Selina Meyer’s bag man.

adam driver

ADAM DRIVER — GIRLS
Last year’s most unlikely nominee, Adam Driver has had quite a year. From his Emmy nomination, to a good season on Girls, to being cast in a little-known film franchise called Star Wars. Personally, I’m holding my breath on whether the Emmys will come back to the Girls well for a third time, but Driver’s late-season arc might be enough to at least land him an invite back.

andre braugher

ANDRE BRAUGHER – BROOKLYN NINE-NINE
TV’s breakout comedy has an unlikely standout: stone-faced drama actor, Andre Braugher. The deadpan in a room full of cuckoo birds, Braugher steals nearly every scene he’s in. Emmys tends to embrace about 1 or 2 new shows a year, and I have a feeling Brooklyn Nine-Nine will be one of them. With Samberg a likely nominee in the barren Comedy Lead Actor field, I suspect Braugher will land comfortably in this crowded category. Oh, and did I mention he’s a big Emmy favorite?

JOE LO TRUGLIO

JOE LO TRUGLIO — BROOKLYN NINE-NINE
If the TV Academy were looking to add some Brooklyn Nine-Nine love in an unexpected spot, nominating comedy gold Joe Lo Truglio alongside Braugher would be a welcomed event. Truglio started out the season as one of the more static characters on the show, and grew to be not only a fan favorite, but perhaps the unsung heart of the entire show.

terry crews

TERRY CREWS — BROOKLYN NINE-NINE
Because that’s what Terry wants!

max greenfield

MAX GREENFIELD — NEW GIRL
If the TV Academy remembers that New Girl is still on TV, I think this is a possibility. While the writers have ruined Schmidt, Greenfield continues to play him to hilarious effect.

the big bang theory

ONE OF THE GUYS FROM THE BIG BANG THEORY
Despite the TV Academy’s love for The Big Bang Theory, it’s never bled over into the show’s rich male supporting cast. Both Kunal Nayyar and Simon Helberg have been doing dynamite broad comedic work since the Pilot, and even Helberg arguably had a winning submission tape last season. Nevertheless, the voters seem to only care about Jim Parsons. I wonder if the supporting men will ever get their moment in the sun.

SNL

TARAN KILLAM — SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
In the absence of Bill Hader, Killam has become the resident “white dude in sketches.” Indeed, his heavy appearance in many sketches combined with Jebidiah Atkinson, the show’s first breakout character since The Girl Who You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation with at a Party, he seems the most likely candidate to inherent the spot reserved for someone from SNL in these Comedy supporting races.

Predicted Nominees, In Order Of Likelihood:

  1. Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  2. Ty Burrell, Modern Family
  3. Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
  4. Tony Hale, Veep
  5. Ed O’Neill, Modern Family
  6. Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family

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

What do you think?

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Written by Sam Coffey

Attorney-at-law, Oscaroligist, coffee lover, Fantasy Football silver medalist, soccer fan (Orlando City SC), Geoffrey Rush enthusiast, and Time's 2006 Person of the Year.

Sam joined The Awards Circuit in January 2014, predicting all award shows with 100% accuracy ever since. A.K.A. "the stat guy."

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