Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Annual Emmys Farce

Tonight's the Big Night, the awards show that proves the Oscars aren't the biggest joke around. It's wise to not get too emotionally invested in the Emmy Awards: these are the voters who denied the existence of Deadwood, after all; who regularly coronated Tyne Daly on Cagney & Lacey. (Does anybody still remember which one she was?) Yet the Emmys are invariably more amusing than the Oscars, with far less pomp and circumstance; and every now and then they'll throw you a curveball and get something exactly right.

Rather than slog through all the categories, I'm going to offer a few random thoughts. For Best Drama, Mad Men with its 16 total nominations is the favorite here; and it is the best show on television, no matter what Wolcott says. I don't think it's a sure thing, though. If Mad Men doesn't take it, look for a dark horse like Damages to pull an upset win. (Comedy? I'll go with 30 Rock.)

Best Actor: Haven't they changed the name for this award to the Spader yet? Or the Shalhoub? James Spader for Boston Legal and Tony Shalhoub for Monk have won so many times (for Drama and Comedy, respectively) that both have to be serious contenders once again. Alan Sepinwall predicts the winner will be Jon Hamm for Mad Men, and that Bryan Cranston for Breaking Bad has no chance. I disagree. Hamm, while superb, is a relative newbie, whereas the Cranston love has been building for quite some time. I predict Cranston as the darkhorse for Dramatic Actor, and I'll guess Steve Carell as Comedy Actor for The Office. Unless, God help us, it's Spader and Shalhoub.

Best Actress: Unlike the Oscars, the lead actresses on TV Drama are all heavy hitters, except for the consistently atrocious Mariska Hargitay from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. (Who, naturally, has previously won this category). I'll take Glenn Close for Damages, because it's a big juicy role and she hasn't been in anything significant for a while. (She's never won an Oscar.) For Comedy, here's hoping Tina Fey for 30 Rock pulls it off. I think she will. Unless she doesn't. In which case, why not Mary-Louise Parker for Weeds?

Glancing over the supporting categories, of which I have no clue, my gut picks are Jeremy Piven (Entourage), Ted Danson (Damages), Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies), and Dianne Wiest (In Treatment). (Scientific studies have proven conclusively that voters are incapable of resisting the name "Dianne Wiest.") The only no-brainer is John Adams for Best Miniseries, with the biggest question being which of its three supporting actors -- Tom Wilkinson, David Morse, Stephen Dillane -- will win their category? I'm going to pick the less known, more deserving Dillane, whose Thomas Jefferson haunts over the series as a specter of democracy compromised. If Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney don't win Best Actor and Actress as John and Abigail Adams, they'll never win for anything.

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