It felt like pulling teeth trying to narrow down my picks for the guest and supporting categories. Fortunately, when it comes to the lead categories, the fact that there are less people in contention makes the whole endeavor just the much easier. Though The Drama categories was particularly difficult as you'll see...
Disclaimer: Only performances I have seen are qualified and I'm going
to honor the category the actors have chosen to submit themselves in,
even when I think it's ultimately wrong.
Lead Actor, Comedy
Jason Bateman, Arrested Development
Jake Johnson, New Girl
Joel McHale, Community
Jim Parsons, Big Bang Theory
Adam Scott, Parks & Recreation
Elijah Wood, Wilfred
I actually haven't finished the latest season of Arrested Development, but after catching up on the series a month ago and seeing a handful of episodes this season, I'll make an exception for Bateman who seems to now play the character much less straight than in previous seasons. Johnson is the show's MVP this season if I had to pick one displaying his penchant for physical comedy and his great chemistry with Zooey in equal measures. Scott, Parsons, McHale, and Wood are past nominees for me and with the relatively small number of people in contention for this category it's not so shocking I picked them again. Scott especially blows the charts chemistry-wise with his co-star Poehler. Shout out to Radnor below who plays a divisive character on a show many people have fell out of love with, but his "scene" with the titular mother last season was a series highlight.
Alternates: Alec Baldwin (30 Rock), Justin Bartha & Andrew Rannells (The New Normal), Garret Dillahunt (Raising Hope), Rob Lowe (Parks & Recreation), Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother)
Lead Actress, Comedy
Zooey Deschanel, New Girl
Lena Dunham, Girls
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Dakota Johnson, Ben & Kate
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Amy Poehler, Parks & Recreation
I made it a point not to nominate Deschanel and Dunham last year, because their show was too new and I believe the hype for either one was too premature. Glad to say that they really stepped it up for their second seasons with Deschanel playing more of a character and less as the personification of adorkable and Dunham really taking her character in a darker place. Johnson, as is her sadly cancelled show, was just super charming. Then there's the triumvirate of Fey, Poehler, and Louis-Dreyfus. As if I need to say any more about why I picked these three queens of comedy. But as much as I love Fey (last season) or Louis-Dreyfus (Veep is awesome), Poehler needs an Emmy like whoa! Shout out to Kaling below who had a rough start, but did okay towards the end.
Alternates: Courtney Cox (Cougar Town), Portia de Rossi (Arrested Development), Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project), Jane Levy (Suburgatory), Martha Plimpton (Raising Hope)
Lead Actor, Drama
Andre Braugher, Last Resort
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Hugh Dancy, Hannibal
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Jonny Lee Miller, Elementary
Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Hamm should have an Emmy by now and my favorites last year (Lewis/Lincoln) did fabulous work this year. So the fact that they didn't end up in my short list shows you how strong this category is this year. Veterans Cranston and Hall doing great work in their penultimate seasons, giving longtime fans new sides to their characters. My other picks are from new shows! Dancy channeled his inner Carrie Mathison to affective results (every episode I wanted to give him a hug) while Rhys surprised me with his range in a role that I first thought he was miscast at. Then there's Braugher who is always good at everything he does, especially when he plays someone of authority. Finally, Miller was my most pleasant surprise this season. I really doubted his ability to put a fresh spin on Sherlock Holmes, but does he ever.
Alternates: Travis Fimmel (Vikings), Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Joshua Jackson (Fringe), Damian Lewis (Homeland), Andrew Lincoln (Walking Dead), Kevin Spacey (House of Cards)
Lead Actress, Drama
Claire Danes, Homeland
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Emmy Rossum, Shameless
Keri Russell, The Americans
First, I'd like to praise every single woman in my honorable mentions list because I love them all. Liu's Watson and Winnick's Lagertha are two of my favorite new characters of the past season. Now that we got that out of the way, can we talk about Maslany? If you haven't seen her show, do it now. She plays about nine or so characters and it's brilliant, shades of Fringe's Torv. Russell, like co-star Rhys, surprised me in a role I never thought I would see her in, but she really is excellent. Danes, Dockery, Moss, and Rossum are past nominees from me and this past season they just re-affirm my love for them. Rossum in particular doesn't get enough attention for career-best work.
Alternates: Connie Britton (Nashville), Lucy Liu (Elementary), Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife), Katheryn Winnick (Vikings), Robin Wright (House of Cards)
And that's it for the actors! How insane am I to leave of Hamm or Marguilies in my short list? Feel free to berate me. And I'm serious about watching Orphan Black. Do it now. Tomorrow, for my final post, I'll post my pics for Best Comedy and Drama Series.