TV Eye

Good for Gold

<i>Mad Men</i> has been nominated in numerous categories, including Outstanding Lead Actor for Jon Hamm.
Mad Men has been nominated in numerous categories, including Outstanding Lead Actor for Jon Hamm.

The Emmy Awards will be presented this weekend. I won't bother making predictions except to assume that whomever I choose as the rightful winner is sure to lose.

Here are some of the major nominees. As always, I start with the writers.

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series: Only two series are nominated in this category – Flight of the Conchords (HBO) and 30 Rock (NBC). Of the five nomination slots, 30 Rock has four. On odds alone, it looks like the Tina Fey comedy will walk away with a trophy, though I'd love to see the underappreciated, admittedly offbeat Conchords get some love. At the same time, I'm wondering where a nomination for The Office (NBC) is, as well as for the kooky workplace comedy Better Off Ted (ABC). Ted never got any traction with viewers and was allowed to burn off its episodes this summer.

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series: Again, only two nominations – one for Lost (ABC), the remaining four nominations for Mad Men (AMC). Mad Men is simply the finest thing on TV at the moment. Enough said.

Now, for the actors. These nominations are typically perplexing because the Emmy crowd seems to love rewarding the same individuals over and over again while overlooking other exemplary performances. This is evident in the following category.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory (CBS); Jemaine Clement, Flight of the Conchords; Tony Shalhoub, Monk (USA); Steve Carell, The Office; Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock; Charlie Sheen, Two and a Half Men (CBS).

It's high time to reward Carell for his nuanced performance as Michael Scott on The Office. It's amazing that he can make such an annoying character so lovable. Carell makes it look easy. Give him a trophy, already.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad (AMC); Michael C. Hall, Dexter (Showtime); Hugh Laurie, House (Fox); Gabriel Byrne, In Treatment (HBO); Jon Hamm, Mad Men; Simon Baker, The Mentalist (CBS).

This is actually a well-rounded list of nominees. But of course, I'm going with Hamm from Mad Men. My second choice would be Simon Baker, who is deliciously droll in a mediocre procedural. He deserves a reward for making The Mentalist seem better than it really is.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, The New Adventures of Old Christine (CBS); Christina Applegate, Samantha Who? (ABC); Sarah Silverman, The Sarah Silverman Program (Comedy Central); Tina Fey, 30 Rock; Toni Collette, United States of Tara (Showtime); Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds (Showtime).

Again, many good choices here, but my pick is Collette. Her dazzling performance as a woman with multiple personality disorder is down-to-earth, touching, and entirely believable. And while Tara is a comedy, it's the first series I've seen that presents mental illness without veering too far into pathos or high comedy.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama: Sally Field, Brothers and Sisters (ABC); Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer (TNT); Glenn Close, Damages (FX); Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC); Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men; Holly Hunter, Saving Grace (TNT).

Parting for a moment from my usual braying for Mad Men, I would like to see Holly Hunter take the trophy. Her work flies under the radar because her vehicle (like Baker's The Mentalist) is weak. Aside from Close over on FX, Hunter is giving one of the most exciting performances on TV.

The 61st annual Emmy Awards will be handed out Sunday, Sept. 20, at 7pm on CBS. I'll be Twittering during the Emmys, so fire up the laptop if you want to tap along to the telecast.

As always, stay tuned.

Follow TV Eye on Twitter: @ChronicleTVEye.

Email Belinda Acosta at [email protected].

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the Emmys, Flight of the Conchords, 30 Rock, Tina Fey, The Office, Better Off Ted, Lost, Mad Men, Steve Carell, Jon Hamm, Simon Baker, The Mentalist, Toni Collette, United States of Tara, Holly Hunter, Saving Grace, 61st annual Emmy Awards

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