The Inlander's Wild Stab-in-the-Dark Emmy Predictions

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The Official Inlander Academy Awards Party consisted of the entire editorial staff dressing in their finest niceties, driving over to the swanky abode of staff writer Nicholas Deshais and wryly commenting on the festivities while sipping movie-themed cocktails.

The Official Inlander Emmys party this Sunday night will consist of me, alone, watching a fuzzy internet stream of the festivities while occasionally taking a swig from a measuring cup (no clean glasses) of pineapple-orange-banana juice. A good time will be had by me, I'm sure.

So in preparation, here are our Emmy predictions, despite the fact that I haven't seen many of the nominated television shows. (Which makes me perfect to get into the Emmy voter mindset.)


Outstanding Drama Series

True Blood, Dexter, Mad Men, The Good Wife, Breaking Bad, Lost

Will win: Lost. In the same way Return of the King, the weakest Lord of the Rings movie, won Best Picture, one of the weakest seasons of Lost will be rewarded for the entire run of an incredible can-never-happen-again television show.

Should win: Breaking Bad. I've never seen better, crazier, tenser, gutsier television than Breaking Bad's third season. Also, there was an entire episode about the protagonist trying to swat a fly. And it was AMAZING.

Shouldn't have been nominated: True Blood. Disclaimer: I've only seen clips. I've only read reviews. I've only seen Entertainment Weekly covers. But is True Blood great great or just campy great? Vampire stories should not be judged on the "not-too-bad-compared-to-Twilight-curve."

Should have been nominated:  Sons of Anarchy. The only reason Emmy voters didn't nominate this, I'm guessing, is because they were afraid that simply watching such a kickass — and heart-wrenching — show would emasculate them for all time.


Outstanding Comedy Series: 

Modern Family, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Office, 30 Rock, Glee, Nurse Jackie

Will win: Glee. OMG, Glee is, like, so hot right now.

Should win: Modern Family. Sure, it's not innovative. But it's essentially the Platonic ideal of the family-based sitcom. A great cast, even if they aren't the best ensemble on TV. ---

Should have been nominated: Community. That "best ensemble" title goes to Community. Modern Family's actors work well with only a few people. But Community's actors excel when they interact with each other. Plus, Community needs all the critical help it can get, going up against the Big Bang behemoth next year.

Shouldn't have been nominated: The Office. That this listless season of The Office was nominated is more evidence for the Greater Theory of Emmy Inertia. Instead, swap in Parks and Recreation, which was far, far funnier than the office this season.


Outstanding Lead Actor in a Dramatic Series

Jon Hamm, as Don Draper (Mad Men)
Kyle Chandler, as Eric Taylor (Friday Night Lights)
Hugh Laurie, as Dr. Gregory House (House)
Michael C. Hall, as Dexter Morgan (Dexter)
Bryan Cranston, as Walter White (Breaking Bad)
Matthew Fox, as Jack Shephard (Lost)

Will win: Jon Hamm on Mad Men. I've got this gut feeling that, with the cultural pervasiveness of Mad Men, voters will finally feel that Hamm's subtle performance deserves official applause.

Should win: Bryan Cranston on Breaking Bad. He's won twice before. But no actor I've ever seen plays the chords of silence like Cranston. I'd be happier if Kyle Chandler won, but Cranston is the best actor.

Should have been nominated: Matt Smith on Doctor Who. Okay, so British shows aren't eligible. But Smith deserves credit for taking the longest-running character on television — an eccentric timelord — and delivering a performance that somehow feels organic.

Shouldn't have been nominated: Matthew Fox on Lost. Most of these are great nominations, but Matthew Fox never once truly impressed me as an actor on any of the six seasons of Lost. Nominate Josh Holloway instead.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Larry David, as Himself (Curb Your Enthusiasm)
Tony Shalhoub, as Adrian Monk (
Monk)
Steve Carell, as Michael Scott (
The Office)
Matthew Morrison, as Will Schuester (
Glee)
Jim Parsons, as Sheldon Cooper (
The Big Bang Theory)
Alec Baldwin, as Jack Donaghy (
30 Rock)

Will win: Jim Parsons on The Big Bang Theory. Honestly, I wouldn't be excited to vote for any of these actors. I'm guessing that Jim Parsons has a better chance now than last year, now that Big Bang Theory has broken so far into the mainstream. Jim Parsons IS Big Bang Theory.

Should win: Jim Parsons on The Big Bang Theory. Sheldon Cooper annoys the other characters but yet, so far, manages to amuse — rather than annoy — the audience. That's talent.

Should have been nominated: Zachary Levi on Chuck. This is no major snub, but Levi's mix of geeky insecurity and geeky overconfidence provides the crucial heart and soul of a very fun show.

Shouldn't have been nominated: Tony Shalhoub on Monk. Once a show gets into its 8th season, I propose that the actor better have shown some impressive improvement to continually be nominated for an Emmy each year. Shalhoub creates a fun character — but not one with much acting arc, from what I can tell.


Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series

Tina Fey, as Liz Lemon (30 Rock)
Amy Poehler, as Leslie Knope (
Parks and Recreation)
Edie Falco, as Jackie Peyton (
Nurse Jackie)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, as Christine Campbell (The New Adventures Of Old Christine)
Lea Michele, as Rachel Berry (Glee)
Toni Collette, as Tara Gregson; (United States Of Tara)

Will win: Tina Fey on 30 Rock. She won an Emmy for her Sarah Palin impression last year. Expect that momentum to result in Emmy voters rewarding her for her work on 30 Rock this year.

Should win: Amy Poehler on Parks and Recreation. In season two, Poehler went from Steve Carrell-lite to create a unique, and very funny, starry-eyed (but not stupid) idealist.

Should have been nominated: Kaley Cuoco on The Big Bang Theory. Being the one normal girl in a TV show of nerds is a hard role to play, but over the past few seasons Cuoco turned her role from Generic Hot Girl For Nerds to Drool After, to a comedic force of her own.

Shouldn't have been nominated: Rachel Berry on Glee. In the pilot, Berry gave a genuine comedic performance. Now, she's a great singer, but she mostly performs in dramatic scenes that are neither dramatic nor comedic.  


Outstanding Lead Actress In A Dramatic Series

January Jones, as Betty Draper (Mad Men)
Kyra Sedgwick, as Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson (
The Closer)
Glenn Close, as Patty Hewes (
Damages)
Julianna Margulies, as Alicia Florrick (
The Good Wife)
Connie Britton, as Tami Taylor (
Friday Night Lights)

Will win: Julianna Margulies on The Good Wife. The Good Wife has been nominated for many an Emmy. It's likely that the actress that play the "good wife" has something to do with that.

Should win: Connie Britton on Friday Night Lights. Never before has a healthy marriage been portrayed more realistically on television. Britton has the more nuanced role between her and her TV husband, and the harder acting challenge.

Should have been nominated: Katey Sagal on Sons of Anarchy. Brutal. That's the best way to describe Sagal's weathered and grief-stricken performance on this season of Sons. If Sons were a movie, Sagal would have surely been nominated for an Oscar. And probably won. Too bad the Emmy voters, apparently, didn't watch this season.

Shouldn't have been nominated: January Jones on Mad Men. On a show populated with deeply-nuanced characters, Betty Draper is one of the more one-dimensional — and January Jones doesn't find any hidden depth.


Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Dramatic Series

John Slattery, as Roger Sterling (Mad Men)
Martin Short, as Leonard Winstone (Damages)
Aaron Paul, as Jesse Pinkman (Breaking Bad)
Terry O'Quinn, as John Locke (Lost)
Andre Braugher, as Owen (Men Of A Certain Age)
Michael Emerson, as Ben Linus (Lost)

Will win: Terry O' Quinn on Lost. Expect Terry O'Quinn, who played two very different John Lockes on this season of Lost, to be the flag-bearer to reward the final season of the landmark show.

Should win: Ben Linus on Lost. Linus has always been the most interesting character — sometimes petty, sometimes villainous, always manipulative — on Lost. The strength of his performance actually shifted the direction of the show. He deserves it.

Should have been nominated: John Noble on Fringe. Noble takes beats of wonder, passion, admiration, anger, guilt, and deep, deep grief and filters them through the prism of mad-scientist insanity.

Shouldn't have been nominated: John Slattery on Mad Men. Slattery does a stellar job of his character on Mad Men, but I'd trade in most other supporting actors on Mad Men — especially Vincent Kartheiser as Pete Campbell. Haven't seen Damages or Men of a Certain Age.


Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedic Series

 Jesse Tyler Ferguson, as Mitchell (Modern Family)
Chris Colfer, as Kurt Hummel (
Glee)
Jon Cryer, as Alan Harper (
Two And A Half Men)
Ty Burrell, as Phil Dunphy (
Modern Family)
Eric Stonestreet, as Cameron Tucker (
Modern Family)
Neil Patrick Harris, as Barney Stinson (
How I Met Your Mother)

Will win: Chris Colfer on Glee. Colfer's best scenes are dramatic, rather than comedic, but those scenes make for the most gripping submission tapes. Modern Family will split their votes, mostly.

Should win: Ty Burrell on Modern Family. Modern Family is full of  roles that wouldn't work with any other actor, but Burrell plays the dorky dad character in a way that's somehow endearing, instead of obnoxious (when he isn't advertising for Apple products.)

Should have been nominated: Jason Segel on How I Met Your Mother. Segel's lovable married character regularly turns out more grounded (and funny) comedy than Neil Patrick Harris's broader caricature. (Also, Nick Offerman on Parks and Recreation.)

Shouldn't have been nominated: Jon Cryer on Two and Half Men. My knowledge of his performance is limited to commercials for Two and a Half Men during the sporting events, but those few glimpses were not impressive ones. Anyone else nominated, however, deserves the award.


Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Dramatic Series

Christina Hendricks, as Joan Harris (Mad Men)
Rose Byrne, as Ellen Parsons (Damages)
Archie Panjabi, as Kalinda Sharma (The Good Wife)
Sharon Gless, as Madeline Westen (Burn Notice)
Elisabeth Moss, as Peggy Olson (Mad Men)
Christine Baranski, as Diane Lockhart (The Good Wife)

Will win: Ellen Parsons on Damages. Haven't seen Damages, but I expect the votes in Mad Men and The Good Wife to be split, and nobody in their right mind would vote for Gless, so that leaves Rose Byrne.

Should win: Christina Hendricks on Mad Men. Nobody really impresses me on this list, but Christina Hendricks does a very subtle job of mixing elegance, manipulation, and repression in her confident Mad Men character.

Should have been nominated: Anna Gunn on Breaking Bad. As the central marriage in Breaking Bad falls apart, Gunn portrayed the proceedings with a painful-to-watch (in a good way) progression from anger, to bitterness, to revenge, to helplessness, and finally to reclaim a twisted type of control. Fascinating.

Shouldn't have been nominated: Sharon Gless on Burn Notice. Hey guys, let's nominate the most annoying character on all  television this side of the Jersey shore for an Emmy.


Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedic Series

Jane Lynch, as Sue Sylvester (Glee)
Jane Krakowski, as Jenna Maroney (30 Rock)
Kristen Wiig, as Various Characters (Saturday Night Live)
Sofia Vergara, as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett (Modern Family)
Julie Bowen, as Claire Dunphy (Modern Family)
Holland Taylor, as Evelyn Harper (Two And A Half Men

Will win: Jane Lynch on Glee. The most popular character on a very popular show.

Should win: Jane Lynch on Glee. The one accurately rated character on a largely overrated show.

Should have been nominated: Alison Brie on Community. One of the best at in-the-background reaction shots on television, something any supporting actress should master.

Shouldn't have been nominated: Jane Krakowski on 30 Rock. It is a rare moment when Krakowski isn't a comedic drain on the entire show. Most her scenes are the most unfunny part of every episode.

For more TV commentary follow Daniel Walters on Twitter @danieltwalters.

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