Deserving And Early Emmy Award Prospects For A Perfect World
By Carson Blackwelder
The nominees of last year’s 64th Primetime Emmy Awards were filled with critical darlings, obvious snubs and a few fresh faces.
While the freshman class of nominees didn’t make a huge splash — unless your name is Homeland (Showtime) or the one-shot Game Change (HBO) — it did show the Academy is willing to recognize some breakout talent.
This season’s TV has already offered up some amazing performances, and the competition for the prized golden statues is sure to be heated. Unfortunately, for series that aren’t as popular as other shows or air their seasons long before the voting period, great performances can get overlooked.
Here’s a look at some fantastic performances we’ve seen so far on TV this year — ones I hope the Emmys won’t soon forget.
Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Tonight’s episode of NBC’s Parenthood marks the end of the family drama’s fourth season, which has largely focused on Kristina Braverman’s (Monica Potter) heart-wrenching battle with cancer.
Parenthood is known for its eagerness and beautiful craftsmanship when dealing with difficult issues: Max’s (Max Burkholder) Asperger’s syndrome, Julia (Erika Christensen) and Joel’s (Sam Jaeger) infertility and adoption struggle as well as Drew (Miles Heizer) and Amy’s (Skyler Day) teenage pregnancy storyline are just a few examples of what the show’s faced. However, the cancer storyline has been the scariest, most beautiful plot of the bunch this season.
The fourth chapter has proven to be a risk and, in my opinion, a triumph for showrunner Jason Katims, and Potter’s beautiful portrayal of a mom going through cancer puts her atop of my list in this category.
Despite Potter’s wonderful performance, as well as those of her fellow cast members, the only Emmy acting nomination Parenthood has received was for guest star Jason Ritter in 2012. I hope Potter can change that, but it will be tough to break through after flying under the radar for four years.
If the actress can grab a nom, her biggest competition is sure to be last year’s winner Maggie Smith for her role as the Dowager Countess on Masterpiece Theatre’s Downton Abbey. And as much as I hate to say it, there’s no beating the Dowager Countess.
Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Although cast members Claire Danes and Damian Lewis nabbed Emmys last year, Homeland’s Mandy Patinkin didn’t even receive a nomination.
As Carrie’s (Danes) mentor, Saul, Patinkin lends gravitas to the Showtime drama, which was especially needed during the melodramatic elements in the latter half of season two.
The final episode of the season especially showcased Patinkin’s talent in playing Saul, as just when he thought he lost everything, he touchingly regained the two most important women of his life and earned a new job. I can’t wait to see where season three takes him, as I’m sure he’ll get even more of the spotlight as he tries to track down Brody (Lewis).
Even though Patinkin has yet to be nominated for an Emmy for his Homeland role, he was nominated for a Golden Globe. And though he lost, coming off of last year’s Homeland Emmy sweep, there’s hope for the actor.
If he’s nominated, Patinkin’s biggest competition should be Breaking Bad (AMC) alum, and last year’s winner, Aaron Paul.
Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
One of the most surprising performances this season proves that good things do come in small packages.
Bebe Wood, Shania Clemmons on NBC’s new sitcom The New Normal, may be a preteen, but she’s proven that she can just as well portray a much older lady.
In the episode “The Couch Issue,” Wood showcases her divine imitation of Edith “Little Edie” Beale from Grey Gardens, a documentary made famous in 1975 and revived as an HBO scripted film in 2009.
This young actress has proven to be a shining light on The New Normal and delivers equal amounts of smiles and laughter — it’s pretty sad that she doesn’t stand a chance against the powerhouses of last year’s winner Julie Bowen and fellow nominee Sofia Vergara, both of ABC’s Modern Family.
Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Often overshadowed by his fellow hilarious costar Max Greenfield, New Girl‘s (Fox) Jake Johnson has delivered quite a superb performance this season on the sophomore comedy.
As fans count down the days until Johnson’s Nick Miller and star Zooey Deschanel’s Jess finally get together, Johnson is proving that his character is more than just the grumpy, heart-broken guy introduced in season one.
Nick is constantly trying to find himself on the show, and he bounces around from girl to girl, interspersing these romantic flings with his adorable Eeyore-esque moping. This season, though, Nick is more adamant to find his purpose in life — which is obviously not writing the next amazing zombie romance novel. Sorry, bud.
Johnson’s biggest competition is his equally deserving costar Greenfield, though given the Emmy’s track record of giving this award to any male caught breathing on Modern Family, both probably don’t stand a chance at winning.
Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Connie Britton is amazing — that’s pretty much a universal truth.
Coming off of two amazing performances, one as Tami Taylor on NBC and DirecTV’s Friday Night Lights and most recently as Vivien Harmon on FX’s twisted American Horror Story, pressure was on for Britton to not let her fans down.
And, of course, she didn’t.
Britton currently leads the freshman ABC drama Nashville as sassy, aging country star Rayna Jaymes, opposite young starlet Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere). Her vocals and signature attitude have lifted the show to a full-season pickup and Golden Globes nominations for herself and Panettiere.
Britton was nominated twice for Friday Night Lights and once for American Horror Story, so it’s not too far-fetched for her to get a nod for Nashville. However, her competition is pretty tough, especially with Danes (Homeland) coming off of her win last year.
Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Now that Fox’s underdog series Fringe has aired its final episode, its extremely small cult following is going to miss it.
Joshua Jackson, who portrayed protagonist Peter Bishop, led the show for its 100-episode run and has been nominated for “Choice TV Actor: Fantasy/Sci-Fi” at the Teen Choice Awards all four seasons, and probably will be for the fifth and final.
His powerful performance deserves a nod, even though the show never raked in the ratings and the finale only drew 3.2 million viewers and a 1.0 rating in the key demographic.
It’s a miracle that the show lasted this long, and it would be a miracle for Jackson to be nominated, especially given the likely competition: Lewis (Homeland), Jon Hamm (Mad Men) and Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad).
Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
It would be a long shot, but ABC’s Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 delivers the laughs every week, with much thanks to lead Krysten Ritter.
The likable-yet-psychotic Chloe (Ritter) is as over-the-top as one could imagine, and Ritter definitely portrays the best “B” on TV.
While the jury is still out on whether the low-rated Don’t Trust the B—- will receive a third season, audiences should squeeze every drop of funny out of Ritter’s performance while it lasts.
Ritter’s nomination is a long-shot, and winning would be even less likely, given the other likely nominees: Amy Poehler (NBC’s Parks and Recreation), Tina Fey (NBC’s 30 Rock) and last year’s winner, Julia Louis-Dreyfus (HBO’s Veep).
Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Another shining star for The New Normal in its premiere season has definitely been Andrew Rannells, the Broadway-boy-turned-lead-actor.
Fresh off of Broadway, playing in the hit show The Book of Mormon, Rannells is making waves as Lena Dunham‘s gay ex-boyfriend on the HBO series Girls, but he is truly making a name for himself as daddy-to-be Bryan Collins on The New Normal.
Both hilarious and sweet, Rannells is the total package, and his co-star Justin Bartha is lucky to have such a light and bright character to balance out the ho-hum personality of his character, David Murray. In short, Rannells brings hilarity to an otherwise sound, though sometimes PSA-sounding, sitcom.
This is the category that needs the biggest overhaul, as some of last year’s nominees are becoming an exhaustion to see nominated. It would be a breath of fresh air to see Rannells get some recognition.
Have you noticed any potential Emmy-deserving performances so far this season? Sound out in the comments below!
Tags: 30 Rock, 64th Primetime Emmy Awards, 65th Primetime Emmy Awards, Aaron Paul, ABC, AMC, American Horror Story, Amy Poehler, Andrew Rannells, Bebe Wood, Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston, CBS, Claire Danes, Connie Britton, Damian Lewis, DirecTV, Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, Downton Abbey, Edith "Little Edie" Beale, Erika Christensen, Fox, Friday Night Lights, Fringe, FX, Game Change, Girls, Grey Gardens, Happy Endings, Hayden Panettiere, HBO, Homeland, Jake Johnson, Jason Katims, Jason Ritter, Jon Hamm, Jonathan Banks, Joshua Jackson, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Julie Bowen, Justin Bartha, Krysten Ritter, Lena Dunham, Little Edie, Mad Men, Maggie Smith, Mandy Patinkin, Masterpiece Theatre, Max Burkholder, Max Greenfield, Miles Heizer, Modern Family, Monica Potter, Nashville, NBC, New Girl, Parks and Recreation, Sam Jaeger, Showtime, Skylar Day, Sofia Vergara, The Book of Mormon, The New Normal, Tina Fey, Veep, Zooey Deschanel