Monday, June 22, 2015

Emmy Predictions 2015: Who Will and Should Be Nominated for Guest Actor in a Comedy Series?

Voting has commenced for The 67th Annual Emmy Awards. Until June 26, voters will cast their ballots for the biggest awards in all of television. And now, it's our time to predict on what will happen - and what we would really like to.

Next up for analysis is Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.

The Nominees in 2014:
        Steve Buscemi, Portlandia
        Louis C.K., Saturday Night Live
        Gary Cole, Veep
        Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live (WINNER)
        Nathan Lane, Modern Family
        Bob Newhart, The Big Bang Theory

Three of the nominees from last year (Buscemi, C.K. & Lane) are once again eligible in this category. Neither Fallon nor Newhart returned for more guest appearances on their respective shows while Cole was moved up to the Supporting field this year. The guest categories are always difficult to analyze. But I'm going to try anyway.

Before I start my speculation on who's mostly likely to pick up a nomination this year, I have to break down the rules for this post. First of all, my 6 picks are essentially the nominees I would select if I was an Emmy voter filling out a ballot. That means I can only pick the actors who submitted themselves for consideration in the field. Plus, I have to honor the Emmy's new rules regarding what classifies as a drama vs. a comedy as well as who is a supporting actor vs. a guest actor. As much as I believe Orange Is the New Black is a comedy and Shameless is a drama, I have to honor the way that the organization has decided to classify them. It's also fair to assume that some stuff that could be deemed spoilers for any of the following shows will come up in discussing an actor's performance on said show. And now, without further ado.....

My 6 Picks for Who Should be Nominated for Guest Actor in a Comedy Series:
  • Jon Hamm in Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Throughout the first season, the Netflix comedy built up the face of the man who kept Kimmy and the rest of the mole woman underground for 15 years. When he finally appeared in the season ending trial, the role needed a compelling actor to play it. And Hamm absolutely brought so much to the character to the point where it was easy to see how anyone could fall under his charms. At times, it was absurd while at others it was completely hilarious. A perfect match of character and actor that should be rewarded.
  • Bradley Whitford in Amazon's Transparent: The premise at the center of Transparent is a very sensitive (but topical) issue. But the show strongly brought complexity to it. Whitford's character Marcy was able to bond with Jeffrey Tambor's Maura. And yet, each character also had its own intense texture. Whitford was compelling to watch as he acted opposite Tambor and brought just as much emotional devastation to the compelling narrative.
  • Michael Rapaport in FX's Louie: Rapaport completely gave himself over to the wonderful character that Louis C.K. created for him. At times, it was annoying watching just how desperate he was to cling to Louie. But the devastation of his police officer character loosing his gun brought out such a terrific comedy performance that was unhinged and brutal in its intensity. Him openly weeping on the ground was the only acceptable resolution to the story and it once again proved just how smart the show is capable of being.
  • Kevin Pollak in CBS' Mom: Pollak's performance as the former and current boyfriend of Allison Janney's Bonnie was simultaneously filled with high emotions (him living Bonnie and Christy at the hospital) and high laughs (him dealing with his ex-wife). He represented all that was optimistic and hopeful in the narrative as the rest of his family was trying to get their lives together. He brought out fun and happiness in them. But he also brought out the human connections that made such a strong impact on their lives in such a short amount of time.
  • John Hawkes in Comedy Central's Inside Amy Schumer: Hawkes' pick in this category really is just another excuse to talk about the greatness that was the "12 Angry Men" parody episode. That was one of the most innovative pieces of comedy writing all year long. Hawkes was a key part of that episode and thus should be talked about seriously in this category.
  • Dick Van Dyke in ABC's The Middle: The veteran ABC comedy essentially gave an entire episode over to the effortless charm of the Van Dyke brothers - Dick and Jerry. It was a simple premise as the family attempted to mend their relationship. But it did wonders in showing just how fun and charming both of them still are. Dick's comedic timing still remains a wonder to behold.
  • Also in the conversation: Louis C.K. & Bill Hader - NBC's Saturday Night Live; Josh Charles & Paul Giamatti - Comedy Central's Inside Amy Schumer; Ed Helms - FOX's Brooklyn Nine-Nine; Keegan-Michael Key - NBC's Parks and Recreation; Richard Kind, Jerry Minor & Dean Norris - Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; Seth Rogen - Comedy Central's Broad City; and Billy Bob Thornton - CBS' The Big Bang Theory.

My Predictions for Who Will Actually Be Nominated for Guest Actor in a Comedy Series:
  • Louis C.K. in NBC's Saturday Night Live: C.K. has been up in this category for the past two years. There's no reason why he shouldn't be a contender in the race yet again - even though his latest appearance on the long-running sketch comedy show was more controversial than his previous ones.
  • Jon Hamm in Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Not only is Hamm a regular nominee for his work on Mad Men, he has previously been nominated in this category three times for his appearances on 30 Rock. Him reuniting with the 30 Rock creative team for this new role is a story worth nominating. In fact, he's so good that he may even be the frontrunner.
  • Billy Bob Thornton in CBS' The Big Bang Theory: Thornton was just nominated for an Emmy last year for his work on FX's Fargo. His one-episode stint on the comedy was a different performance but one that voters could easily get excited about.
  • Bill Hader in NBC's Saturday Night Live: As a member of the regular cast on the late night series, Hader was singled out as a performer worth nominating in the Supporting field for his last few years on the show. Him coming back to actually host the show gives him a much better chance at winning. SNL hosts typically do well here - and I think Hader has the edge over the other submissions.
  • Bradley Whitford in Amazon's Transparent: The Amazon comedy will either get a ton of nominations for its first season or voters will only recognize Tambor's work. I'm guessing it will bring in a sizable amount of nominations - which Whitford should make easily. 
  • Ricky Gervais in ABC's Galavant: The Emmys have been known to nominate Gervais for a number of his projects. Derek wasn't that great of a show but he still got an acting nomination from it. Galavant had a lot of memorable guest stars in its first season. That and the songs are its strongest chances at getting nominations. And Gervais presents the best case in this category.
  • Also in the conversation: Hugh Bonneville & John Stamos - ABC's Galavant; Mel Brooks, Denis O'Hare & Rob Reiner - FX's The Comedians; Steve Buscemi & Kyle MacLachlan - IFC's Portlandia; Jim Carrey, Woody Harrelson, Kevin Hart, Chris Hemsworth & Dwayne Johnson, - NBC's Saturday Night Live; Josh Charles, Paul Giamatti & John Hawkes - Comedy Central's Inside Amy Schumer; Ed Helms - FOX's Brooklyn Nine-Nine; Werner Herzog, Keegan-Michael Key, Rob Lowe & Paul Rudd - NBC's Parks and Recreation; Richard Kind, Jerry Minor & Dean Norris - Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy SchmidtNathan Lane - ABC's Modern Family; Cheech Marin - The CW's Jane the Virgin; Kevin Pollak - CBS' Mom; Michael Rapaport - FX's Louie; Rob Reiner - Showtime's Happyish; Seth Rogen - Comedy Central's Broad City; David Schwimmer - Showtime's Episodes; Charlie Sheen - ABC's The Goldbergs; and Dick Van Dyke - ABC's The Middle.

Do you agree or disagree with my picks? Who do you think should be nominated in the Guest category this year? Speculate below in the comments!