In one week the internets will be abuzz with who was nominated for the 2012 Primetime Emmy Awards. I’m positive that many fans and critics alike will be disappointed as to what shows and actors did not make the cut when old Emmy favorites (see: Tina Fey) and political/heavily campaigned ones did. In anticipation of the backlash, I’ve compiled a This Week in Black Television list of who should be up for a nomination in most of the major categories with this year and who I think will win. These are naturally just my opinions, but if I may say some damned good ones.
Feel free to let me know any I may have missed that you think deserves a nomination this year in the comments below.
Outstanding Drama Series
Game of Thrones
The Good Wife
The Walking Dead
Who should win? The Good Wife, hands down. The dynamics of the law firm changed this season with law firm co-head Will Gardner dating Alicia, then not, and her potentially going back to her unfaithful but still-husband, State’s Attorney Peter Florrick (Chris Noth). Bedroom play around aside, with fixer Eli Gold now at Lockhart/Gardner and another potential takeover of the law firm along with Alicia getting cattier and uninhibited and, oh yeah, Kalinda (Archie Punjabi) still being a bad-ass even after getting found out as Will’s other mistress and being the most vulnerable we’ve ever seen her (the season finale – oh boy!) and so much more made this the show of the year. And notable recurring roles by Anika Noni Rose, Michael J. Fox, Michael Boatman and Monica Raymund as well as a solid guest appearance by Charles S. Dutton, even after the disappointing ones of Nicole Beharie seal the win off. Will it happen though? I doubt it.
Who will win? Breaking Bad or Boardwalk Empire. I’m a Mad Men fanatic, but with Don Draper not being as cool as he was in past seasons (Don smiling that often became unnerving to me), I just can’t see it winning. Ah well, Zoo Be Zoo Be Zoo.
Who just missed out? Men of A Certain Age (only really because it’s canceled), Southland (so gritty and real, if known actors weren’t on it you’d sware it was a documentary), Parenthood (it just gets better and better…even Mae Whitman didn’t annoy me this season), Rescue Me (all final seasons of a long lasting show should be this good), Homeland (only because of The Walking Dead), and Suits (best new show on USA Network, but it just ain’t popular enough)
Outstanding Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory
Parks and Recreation
Who should win? Parks and Recreation. With The Office being barely watchable (and I’m being kind saying that) and 30 Rock past its prime, Parks is the must see show on Thursdays. And to think I could barely get through an episode in season one. The ENTIRE cast deserves this win – just top notch work. Top notch. Louie is a close second, but the nomination alone is doubtful. Same withCommunity which is coming off of a season that marks it as one of the most original comedy shows ever. I can’t even begin to name how this show has changed the game as to how a primetime TV show can be done. If it wasn’t up against The Big Bang Theory every week, I feel the nerd population would choose Community as their favorite show and it wouldn’t be renewed for a 13 episode season four.
Who will win? Modern Family. The show is beloved, and rightly so. The writing is solid and consistent, with both high marks for funny and sweetness; I can’t recall a bad or questionable episode all season.
Who just missed out? Enlightened, The Big C, and the surprisingly funny Awkward – the only watchable program on MTV. The only Black shows on the air are comedies and none of them are unfortunately good enough to even make the ’just missed out’ list. Only The Game comes closest. Sigh.
Outstanding Actress in a Drama
Claire Danes, Homeland
Lena Headey, Game Of Thrones
Regina King, Southland
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Kerry Washington, Scandal
Who should win? First, I’m disappointed that with all the shows aimed toward women lately that this category is so light, but this year didn't have the standout performances from the ladies that previous years did. I’d love to pick Regina King as my fave, but they didn’t spotlight her as much this year so she didn’t get to shine like she did last season – hence her being in many Supporting Actress lists, though I wouldn’t insult her like that. And Kerry Washington got better with each episode of Scandal, even when the plots got worse (I still don’t understand why Pope & Associates don’t have locks or video surveillance at their front door!), but her competition is too fierce. She will get nominated though and is actually the co-host for the nomination reading.
Who will win? Julianna Margulies will have the repeat win though Claire Danes is strong competition.
Who just missed out? It seems sacrosanct to leave her out, but Mariska Hargitay isn’t on my list this year mainly because Law & Order: SVU, despite returning for a 14th season, is past its prime. A show starring two women – Rizzoli & Isles – should have at least one nom, right? If there was a category for Outstanding Actress Duo, Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander would win, but there isn’t, and the acting just isn’t good enough though the show on a whole is. Anna Torv fromFringe had a better acting year last season than this one, so she misses the boat. And for all who may be asking, no way Poppy Montogomery should ever be nominated, especially for Unforgettable. Ugh.
Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Kelly Macdonald, Boardwalk Empire
Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife
Kiernan Shipka, Mad Men
Who should win? It should beKiernan Shipka as Sally Draper, the pubescent daughter of Don Draper. I’m constantly amazed at how good of an actor she is. Her face when she saw Roger Sterling getting a hummer from her grandmother-in-law…priceless. And that was just one of many great moments for her this year including episode four when she was being babysat by her aunt-in-law and managed to get in tons of trouble or episode 12 when she invites boyfriend-to-be Glenn down to NYC and while on her first date has her first ever menstruation. I’m a big fan of this kid’s work. Kelly Macdonald also continues to be outstanding, but alas…
Who will win? Christina Hendricks from Mad Men. As Joan Holloway (yes, if you missed it she’s Holloway again) she was actually in less episodes than usual but made more of an impact. Her scenes had weight, real gravitas, and she brought it in an emotional and physical way. Hendricks deserves this, but the competition is fierce as Archie Panjabi had a similar year.
Who just missed out? Gina Torres from Suits, though based on her performance this year next year she is highly deserving. And though less of her is better causing me not to hate (yes, hate!) January Jones as Betty Draper/Francis this year, she was better in her big ol’ fat suit and came close to beating out the ladies above for a nod, but just not good enough.
Outstanding Actor in a Drama
Andre Braugher, Men of a Certain Age
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Kelsey Grammar, Boss
Hugh Laurie, House
Damian Lewis, Homeland
Who should win? I’d always say Andre Braugher should be he’s the dark horse in this race. Laurie gets nominated for his last season of House with the prison episodes that opened the season and the final episode being standouts, but he won’t get the win.
Who will win? Kelsey Grammar. I have a nagging feeling that despite his win in the Critics Choice Television Awards this year that Bryan Cranston will lose out to this Emmy darling.
Who just missed out? Jon Hamm , of course, for Mad Men. I’m probably wrong that he won’t get an Emmy nod, but as he was less compelling than he was in recent Mad Men seasons, I may be onto something. I don’t say this lightly as I’ve been a Mad Men fan (okay, fanatic) since season one. Also, Peter Krause for Parenthood, Michael Emerson for Person Of Interest, and Timothy Olyphant for Justified. There’s extra-strong competition in this year’s category.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama
Josh Charles, The Good Wife
Giancarlo Esposito, Breaking Bad
Jared Harris, Mad Men
John Noble, Fringe
John Slattery, Mad Men
Who should win? Giancarlo Esposito. I said it before but will again: All you have to do is watch “Hermanos” (season 4, episode 8) and you won’t even question the nom or the win. Watch season 4, episode 1 as well…chilling. He’s so good it defies words. Esposito was also excellent in Community’s video game episode, “Digital Estate Planning” (season 3, ep. 20). Slattery had his best year as Roger Sterling, having to reinvent himself and choosing to spend gobs of cash to seem competent and taking LSD to do so (wasn’t that LSD episode fantastic?!?) and Harris as Lane Pryce showed such desperation in the latter half of the season that he deserves the nomination, but they shouldn’t have a chance. Josh Charles was also impeccable this year as his character Will Gardner tried to find his footing and keeping his law firm together after his suspension from the bar, and Noble on double-duty as Walter and alternate universe self Walter-nate. These guys are working it.
Who will win? Giancarlo Esposito. If he doesn’t, I’m putting my boot through the television. I will send pictures if this happens.
Who just missed out? Peter Dinklage for Game of Thrones though he probably will beat out Noble for the nomination – just not on my list. Also Joe Morton for SyFy Channel’s Eureka, who misses out every year but shouldn’t. Basic cable gets very little respect.
Outstanding Actress in a Comedy
Christina Applegate, Up All Night
Laurie Linney, The Big C
Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Veep
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
Martha Plimpton, Raising Hope
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Who should win? Amy Poehler had an outstanding year on Parks as she ran for the head of city council and had to deal with even more weirdo personalities, not even counting her own staff, in the town of Pawnee. Martha Plimpton is doing her best work this year, also guest starring on The Good Wife’s season finale.
Who will win? Julia Louis-Dreyfuss. As vice-president Selina Meyer under the direction of creator Armando Iannuci of Steve Coogan’s British TV show “Knowing Me, Knowing Your With Alan Partridge” and the movie In The Loop fame, this will most likely be a slam dunk. It’s Louis-Dreyfuss at her best, which is saying a lot.
Who just missed out? Kristen Bell in House of Lies and Ellie Kemper in The Office, the latter of whom was highly spotlighted this year and thus not part of my supporting actor category.
Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Alison Brie, Community
Anna Chlumsky, Veep
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
Maya Rudolph, Up All Night
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Who should win? This is probably the hardest category on the list to predict. All of these ladies readily deserve to win. I’d prefer it to be Maya Rudolph since she was so surprisingly funny this year as the wannabe Oprah character Ava Alexander. Former child actor Chlumsky (My Girl) was also a pleasant surprise this year but will probably be more recognized next year.
Who will win? I’m going on a limb and saying Sofia Vergara will take it, beating out cast mate Bowen.
Who just missed out? I think Wendy Raquel Robinson was the best thing about The Game this year. If the show itself was stronger she would’ve made my list.Goofy actress Casey Wilson from Happy Endings, as well as her other female cast mates also were in the running as well as Mike & Molly’s Swoosie Kurtz as Molly’s mom Joyce.
Outstanding Actor in a Comedy
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Don Cheadle, House Of Lies
Louis C.K., Louie
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Who should win? Louis C.K. playing himself as his perpetual black cloud self.
Who will win? Larry David. I’d LOVE to see Don Cheadle take it though. Maybe next year?
Who just missed out? Matt LeBlanc from Episodes, mainly because I’ve never gotten into the show. If Curb’s Larry David didn’t have such a breakout year after moving the show to NYC, Big Bang’s Johnny Galecki would have made my list. Raising Hope’s Garret Dillahunt was also standout this year as Hope’s grandfather Burt, but his competition was even more so. And although it sucks now, The Office without Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute won’t last one episode – he showed even more humor and sadness this year than before.
Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Max Greenfield, New Girl
Ed O’Neill, Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
Nick Offerman, Parks & Recreation
Who should win? Offerman as hunter/gatherer/stict-carnivore Ron Swanson. With his steadfast nature to keep things rooted in the past yet reluctant jewels of advice giving self, Ron Swanson is the perfectly unflinching man’s man. Max Greenfield also displayed true comedy chops as roommate Schmidt on New Girl, often providing the best moments when Zooey Deschanel was trying to be too cute.
Who will win? Eric Stonestreet, who plays Cam brilliantly. Though the show is an ensemble, for me he makes it pure genius comedy. This season’s episodes Bring Out The Clowns (#18) and Express Christmans (#10) are the ones to watch to make you say, “Of course he deserves to win!”
Who just missed out? Really only Danny Pudi on Community. I have no idea where they found this guy but just when you think he’s going to get annoyingly nerdy he just charms the audience with his delivery. The Community writers owe a debt of gratitude to their casting director and former showrunner, creator Dan Harmon.
Other category Special Mention nominations (in no particular order)
Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
The S&A audience is naturally rooting for Idris Elba to get nominated for season 2 of Luther, and he will, but he won’t win. No the main competition will be between Kevin Costner for Hatfields & McCoys, Bill Paxton for Hatfields & McCoys as well, and Benedict Cumberbatch for Sherlock. Though I’d root more for Cumberbatch, brilliant as an updated Sherlock Holmes in the BBC series I’ve been infatuated with since late 2010, but Emmy loves its superstars and Kevin Costner will take the win, which is deserved as he was chillingly brilliant himself as family leader Anse Hatfield.
Outstanding Reality-Competition Program
The Amazing Race – since season one and now over a decade later The Amazing Race continues to be one of the only shows that puts contestants on equal footing, allowing quite literally anyone to win no matter their race, creed or physical standing. Along with getting the see the world and examining one-on-one and group dynamics every episode. It doesn't get better than this show.
Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Anna Chancellor – THE HOUR
I was researching this category for any miniseries I may have missed and ran across a few others who agreed that Chancellor, best known for her roles in movies such as Four Weddings and A Funeral, was the most refreshing actor in this category and in this great BBC miniseries written by Shame screenwriter Abi Morgan that a lot of folks missed, and that others bashed as trying to be too Mad Men-like. I disagree with that sentiment as half of the performers weren't even trying to be as stylish as Don Draper and Co., and took their duties more seriously than most anyone on Mad Men, save Pete Campbell, though does focus squarely on women’s growing power in the workplace.
Nonetheless, Chancellor's Lix Storm (what a cool name) as the news team’s oldest member and resourceful foreign correspondent that runs the line of supersmart, stylish – in that Katherine Hepburn way, and yes sultry. Along with Dominic West, Ben Whishaw (the new Q in the upcoming James Bond movie Skyfall), and Romola Garai the show about a new news program that pushes away from the stale standard on what news programming should be with a overarching plot about spies within the British government should get an Emmy nod as well for either ‘Outstanding Miniseries’ or ‘Writing for a Miniseries, Movie, or Dramatic Special,’ though will most likely lose out to HBO’s Game Change in the latter and Sherlock in the former. And speaking once again of Sherlock…
Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Lara Pulver, SHERLOCK
I adore Rachel McAdams and even kinda like the big Sherlock Holmes movie series, but they don't hold a candle to the BBC show and McAdams' Irene Adler CANNOT come close to Pulver’s hypnotic and seductive portrayal of Ms. Adler in Sherlock's season two opener episode "A Scandal in Belgravia". Even my girlfriend who hates that I watch those kind of shows was taken in by her performance and titular star Bendedict Cumberbatch's on-screen chemistry with her. Should be an instant nomination.
Guest Actor & Actress in a Drama Series
This is always one of my favorite categories, and though I seldom pick the right winner my top contenders are: Megalyn Echikunwoke in House of Lies, both Loretta Devine and Debbie Allen on Grey’s Anatomy, Jere Burns in Burn Notice, Michael B. Jordan on House, Matthew Perry, Carrie Preston (hilarious, since I can’t stand her on True Blood) and Julianne Nicholson on The Good Wife, Alexis Bledel and Joel Murray in Mad Men, and Critics Choice winner Lucy Liu on Southland. All fantastic performances, but I’d vote for Debbie Allen with Bledel as a runner-up in the female drama category and Perry as the winner in the male.
– Who do you all think will win in the big categories?
– Are you disappointed there aren't more Black faces in them all?
– Does it even matter in the long run that they're aren't?