I’m always curious about the Primetime Emmy Awards. Last year I went out of my way to find a way to watch them and was pretty heavily invested in the outcomes. In spite of this, the Emmys stand somewhere, in credibility between The Oscars (somewhat credible) and the Grammys (complete bizarre non-sense) and much of that starts with the nominations. Often a credible choice is made from the nominees but they have a tendency to be, well, a bit ridiculous honestly. They will honor performances that were rote and uninteresting yet on a popular series or made by a big name actor and often ignore performances that are laudatory for no discernible reason (that Nick Offerman not only has no Emmy but no nominations is nearing tragic).
So, all that said, I have decided that I ought to, based on the available information of who registered themselves to be nominated (and in what category – while I might think, for instance, that Jason Segel might be a candidate for ‘Best Actor’ or that Rob Lowe ought to be a Supporting Actor – I’m bound by their own decisions) and formulated what my ballot would look like, starting with two of the categories I have the strongest opinions on – Supporting Actress and Supporting Actor.
I’m not alone in doing this exercise – I’m aware of ongoing series by both Julia Hass and notably Alan Sepinwall, both of whom are putting out ballots I’d probably far prefer to what we’re likely to see. Also, it’s worth noting I have not seen all nominated shows (though I’ve seen a good portion of them)
We’ll start with…
Best Supporting Actress
Aubrey Plaza – Parks and Recreation
One of the main components of what makes what is, arguably the best and hard to argue as one of the best sitcoms on air work. As April Ludgate she’s generally been a sarcastic, cold type and while that hasn’t changed she’s evolved into something more and better in the latest season, taking step in character development and yet retaining all the charms of the character. An easy pick and someone who has consistently deserved recognition for a few years now.
Eliza Coupe – Happy Endings
Probably the longest long shot of all my picks (and probably who I’d vote to win, if it came to it) – she plays the dominant half of the series married pair Brad and Jane and, while playing what could be a caricature of a Type A sitcom type, manages to be consistently as entertaining and funny as anyone on any show. The Brad/Jane dynamic is probably one of the main reasons the show works.
For an example, see:
Mayim Bialik – The Big Bang Theory
Easily the most interesting thing about this show, at this point in time, are the female supporting cast and the former Blossom is the highlight of the bunch. She is a more specific and likeable version of Sheldon and it works – she feels like a vibrant, interesting character that is easy to invest in.
Ellie Kemper – The Office
The Office had a definite off year, still suffering from the loss Steve Carrell (and honestly, it’s been on a downslide for a few years now) but Ellie Kemper as Erin is probably the highlight of the show for me. The dim but appealing secretary got plenty to do – her romance with Ed Helms was one of the main stories on the series this year and while repeating many of their previous plots beats, she got plenty of time to shine. Another one who has deserved nominations in the past.
Colbie Smulders – How I Met Your Mother
Given several big plots this year, Colbie really knocked them out of the park. I think she’s always been laudable in her role as Robin but this year had several standout episodes where she showed emotional and comic range. I’m not sure she’d be a candidate in any of the past years but I think she’d make a strong nominee this year.
Nominee Six would be between: Allison Brie, Gillian Jacobs- Community, Casey Wilson, Elisha Cuthbert- Happy Endings, Jane Krakowski – 30 Rock, Sofia Vargia, Julie Bowen – Modern Family, Allison Williams – Girls
Ultimately I’d go with:
Zosia Mamet – Girls
The most purely supporting of all of these performers, Zosia’s Shoshanna has a tendency to not get a lot to do often times on Girls but when she did she was among the most amusing characters on all of television. It’s been said she feels like she’s imported from another, more traditional comedy show, and perhaps so but she’s a hoot and I think by the end of the season they’d figured out how to fit her particular brand of character into the ensemble more clearly. She moved slowly from pure comedy relief to being one of the easiest to root for characters on the show – she definitely is vibrating at a different frequency and it works.
And now for…
Best Supporting Actor
Nick Offerman – Parks and Recreation
Ron Swanson deserves to be the reigning king of this category and that he’s never even been nominated, as I said before, is a minor crime against humanity. Easily one of the best realized and funniest characters on television – it’d be hard to argue with him as the winner. He’s developed Ron into a character that is one of a kind, emotionally solid as a rock and still manages to surprise. If I care about any one item of business with the nominations it’s that this performance deserves a nomination – and what’s more this was a stand-out season for the character as well.
Chris Pratt – Parks and Recreation
As good as Offerman is, Chris Pratt as Andy Dwyer is as funny a character as any on television and always slowly being built into something bigger and better as time goes on. His relationship with Aubrey Plaza’s April is a highlight of the show and his hijinx is the most purely madcap of the cast and nearly always hits it’s mark.
Max Greenwald – New Girl
If anyone deserves to beat Nick Offerman here it’s easily Max Greenfield as Schmidt who was the easy breakout character of New Girl’s excellent cast. Another entirely unique persona and another great, emotionally relevant and comically terrific performance. He was an early highlight and as they fleshed out his character he only got better, funnier and easier to root for and understand. Another performance that is hard to beat. I’d put him and Offerman in a dead heat and likely do a very Award show thing I dislike and give it to the candidate likelier to not get another nomination. But it’d very close.
Adam Driver – Girls
Speaking of performers who evolved as their season continued, perhaps the biggest and best thing Girls did in it’s first season was introduce Adam Sackler as Hannah’s romantic interest and manage to do one of the most complex and interesting job developing a character of any show in television this year. And the performance had to be just right to pull it off and he pulled it off. One of the oddest, most compelling characters on TV. Another contender, really, but probably boxed out by the two I have already anointed.
Adam Pally – Happy Endings
Adam Pally’s Max is likely the least stereotypical gay character on all of television and another one of the funniest. Another example of purely funny character gaining some level of emotional depth. Had a great romance storyline and was all around the comic highlight of what is a very funny show.
Nominee Number Six would be between: Danny Pudi – Community, Damon Waynes Jr. – Happy Endings, Jake Johnson – New Girl, Ty Burrell – Modern Family, Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Segel – How I Met Your Mother, Tony Hale, Timothy Simmon – Veep, James Van Der Beek – Don’t Trust the B– in Apartment 23
Ultimately I’d go with:
Damon Wayans Jr. – Happy Endings
As the other half of Brad and Jane, it’s hard to not give it up to Damon Wayans Jr. for being one of the weirdest and most fun characters on a pretty weird and funny show. If he wasn’t perfect that couple wouldn’t work and Eliza Coupe’s arguable award worthy performance would be for naught. That’s at least nomination worthy.
That said – #6 here is hotly contested. It’s hard to give it to a 2nd cast member on the same show (and hard to make the call to have 3 nominations in only these two categories but the entire cast is up for nominations in supporting, so…).
And there we go!
I’ll return soon to look at Best Actor and Best Actress, perhaps later to look at some other categories and then also to finally reveal my Best Comedy Series picks. Look out for it, coming soon!