Tuesday, June 23, 2015

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

The Nominees in 2014:
        Louis C.K., Louie
        Don Cheadle, House of Lies
        Ricky Gervais, Derek
        Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
        William H. Macy, Shameless
        Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory (WINNER)

Five of last year's nominees (C.K., Cheadle, LeBlanc, Macy & Parsons) are once again eligible. Gervais is still a contender for his role on Derek but had to move to the limited series/TV movie field because of only airing one elongated wrap-up episode this season. The category also features one of the most important performances of the year in Jeffrey Tambor on Amazon's Transparent as well as featuring the actual host for the awards ceremony in Andy Samberg for FOX's Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

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 Lead Actor in a Comedy Series:
  • Jeffrey Tambor in Amazon's Transparent: Tambor has been a great actor throughout his lengthy career. And yet, his role as Maura Pfefferman completely changed what he was capable of as an actor. He was fully committed to the importance of the role but also did a tremendous job at showing the personal details of this woman after living an entire life as a man. It was awe-inspiring watching him on the screen. He deserves to not only be nominated but win.
  • Chris Messina in FOX's The Mindy Project: Throughout the comedy's first two seasons, Messina has been stealing scenes and emotions as Danny Castellano. In the third season, his relationship with Mindy Kaling's leading lady took the show to a much stronger place creatively. That allowed for even more of Danny's depths to be explored. His personal life was proudly on display. His insecurities were felt and Messina made it an emotional role to watch. 
  • Will Forte in FOX's The Last Man on Earth: The first episode of the post-apocalyptic comedy was one of the strongest pieces of comedic writing and structuring all season. It features an isolated Forte as Phil Miller believing he is the only person left on Earth. It was a performance that perfectly pulled tragedy, narcissism, loneliness, humor and heart together in a compelling way.
  • Chris Geere in FX's You're the Worst: As the anti-relationship comedy learned quickly in its first season, Geere's smile is one of comedic wonders. It perfectly encapsulated the character in all the best ways as Jimmy was faced with falling in line with the standard relationship tropes. But Geere's work was also so much more than that smile. The comedy showed his abilities in many different ways and it was so joyful to watch (in its completely horribleness).
  • Andy Samberg in FOX's Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Samberg was very impressive as Detective Jake Peralta in the comedy's first season. But he was allowed to explore even more of the character in year two as he was given opportunities of genuine growth and maturation in ways both professionally and personally. He truly became an emotional romantic lead while still never losing that comedic and joyful wit.
  • Anthony Anderson in ABC's black-ish: Over the years, Anderson has been an actor the industry hasn't always given good material to. In black-ish, he finally found the role that he was perfect for. Dre Johnson is often opinionated and befuddled by the actions of his family but that quality was the basis for a strong performance that truly delved into a man doing his best to uphold the traditions of the past while still honoring the future of his family.
  • Also in the conversation: Jay Baruchel - FXX's Man Seeking Woman; Louis C.K. - FX's Louie; Nat Faxon - FX's Married; Johnny Galecki & Jim Parsons - CBS' The Big Bang Theory; Jeff Garlin - ABC's The Goldbergs; Jonathan Groff - HBO's Looking; William H. Macy - Showtime's Shameless; and Thomas Middleditch - HBO's Silicon Valley.

My Predictions for Who Will Actually Be Nominated for Lead Actor in a Comedy:
  • Jim Parsons in CBS' The Big Bang Theory: Parsons has picked up four Emmy trophies for his performance as Sheldon Cooper. As long as the show runs, he'll be a contender in this race - in both getting nominated and actually winning.
  • Louis C.K. in FX's Louie: Over the years, the Emmys have been very receptive to what C.K. is doing on his self-made show. Sure, that has led to wins in the writing field more than any of his other jobs. But this was yet another impressive season for the show. He won't just fall out of the race now.
  • Matt LeBlanc in Showtime's Episodes: Critical support is definitely divided for Episodes, but Emmy voters have traditionally responded well to what the inside showbiz show is doing. That should led to a nomination - even with a slightly stronger competitive field this year.
  • Don Cheadle in Showtime's House of Lies: Cheadle has been able to ride on name recognition and respect to three nominations for his work on the Showtime dramedy. That trend should continue - unless voters really want to embrace new talent.
  • Jeffrey Tambor in Amazon's Transparent: Tambor's nomination is basically the one thing that Emmy voters need to do this year. It's a completely transfixing performance that deserves to win. Amazon is an unknown quality. It's uncertain if they can launch a successful Emmy campaign. But the work is impressive and that should be what gets him in the race.
  • Billy Crystal in FX's The Comedians: Similar to LeBlanc, Emmy voters simply love inside showbiz shows as well as actors playing heightened versions of themselves. That's exactly what Crystal is doing on The Comedians. It also helps immensely that he is a perennial nominee in the writing and performing categories in the variety and special class fields.
  • Also in the conversation: Anthony Anderson - ABC's black-ish; Jay Baruchel - FXX's Man Seeking Woman; Steve Coogan - Showtime's Happyish; Jon Cryer - CBS' Two and a Half Men; Nat Faxon - FX's Married; Will Forte - FOX's The Last Man on Earth; Johnny Galecki - CBS' The Big Bang Theory; Gael Garcia Bernal - Amazon's Mozart in the Jungle; John Goodman - Amazon's Alpha House; William H. Macy - Showtime's Shameless; Chris Messina - FOX's The Mindy Project; Thomas Middleditch - HBO's Silicon Valley; Matthew Perry - CBS' The Odd Couple; and Andy Samberg - FOX's Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

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