It's the Alterna-Emmys, the alterna-greatest night of the year for the TV altera-industry! As is the new policy, I'll present the actual nominees, followed by a couple of (in my opinion) snubs, and then I'll meld the two categories together to form a Frankenstein's monster of an uber-ballot. My ballot will then spend a year observing a Swiss family in order to learn human behaviour, but the ballot will turn violent when it's rejected by said family. It's quite a tragedy all-around, really. Anyway, I will pick a winner in each category, but keep in mind that it's only my choice as a winner, not who I think will actually win. Since, as you'll see, my opinions and those of the Academy are apparently very, very different.
(The full list of actual Emmy nominees can be found here, btw.)
BEST DRAMA Actual nominees: Breaking Bad, Dexter, The Good Wife, Lost, Mad Men, True Blood
Alterna-nominees: Dollhouse, Justified, Law & Order, Treme
Having never seen Good Wife or True Blood, those two can safely be shunted aside in place of Dollhouse and Treme. Now, you might remember that I've never actually seen Treme either, but consider it a make-up nomination for the fact that David Simon and company were never nominated for jack-squat for The Wire. L&O was included on the alterna-ballot solely because I suspected the show might get a token lifetime achievement nod for what ended up being its final season. This is actually an overall very strong category, and I'd be satisfied if any of the other four shows won --- in Lost's case, probably more as a lifetime achievement-type of thing, the other three all had exceptional seasons. While all three were great, Breaking Bad was the best show of 2010 and deserves the top prize most of all.
Will win: Mad Men (probably) Should win: Breaking Bad
BEST LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA Actual nominees: Connie Britton/Friday Night Lights, Glenn Close/Damages, Mariska Hargitay/Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, January Jones/Mad Men, Julianna Margulies/The Good Wife, Kyra Sedgwick/The Closer
Alterna-nominees: Anna Gunn/Breaking Bad, Katey Sagal/Sons Of Anarchy
I'm pretty sure Gunn was submitted as a lead actress, which may have been a misfire given how her role was more of a supporting venture and she might've had a better shot at cracking that category. Regardless, she certainly should've been included here over such tired nominees as Sedgwick or Hargitay. (Since 'Sons Of Anarchy' and Sagal's performance in particular are supposed to be amazing, she gets on the ballot too.) Having watched only one of the nominated shows, technically I should give the award to January Jones by default, but....well, if you've seen Jones' legendarily terrible SNL hosting gig last winter, you understand my hesitation. Several of my friends have been talking up Friday Night Lights for years, and since Connie Britton (and Kyle Chandler) were both given long overdue nominations this year, I feel safe in giving Britton the alterna-Emmy.
Will win: Close Should win: Britton
BEST LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA Actual nominees: Kyle Chandler/Friday Night Lights, Bryan Cranston/Breaking Bad, Matthew Fox/Lost, Michael C. Hall/Dexter, Jon Hamm/Mad Men, Hugh Laurie/House
Once again, lead actor in a drama is arguably the toughest category of the bunch. The great Bryan Cranston put in another superb effort on Breaking Bad this year but given that he's won the last two Emmys, it may be time to spread the wealth. Really, anyone other than Matthew Fox is a solid choice, and even Fox did a good job in the season-long rehab of Jack's character that was the final season of LOST. Take your pick between Hall, Hamm and Laurie as to which actor will/should be rewarded for their various iconic roles. I'll narrowly single out Jon Hamm just for how well he dealt with the revelation of his Dick Whitman persona.
Will win: Hard to say, but probably Cranston Should win: Again, hard to say
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA Actual nominees: Christine Baranski/The Good Wife, Rose Byrne/Damages, Sharon Gless/Burn Notice, Christina Hendricks/Mad Men, Elisabeth Moss/Mad Men, Archie Panjabi/The Good Wife
Alterna-nominees: Jennifer Carpenter/Dexter, Cherry Jones/24, Olivia Williams/Dollhouse
I'd expect that this category is Elisabeth Moss' to lose, though Gless and Baranski are long-time Academy favourites who could easily win. It seems like every Emmy night at least one shoulder-shrug of a result and Gless or Baranski winning would seem to qualify as this year's edition. I'm somewhat surprised to see last year's surprise winner Cherry Jones get the shaft, given that this season, 24 gave her some actual decent material to work with by playing Macbeth to Gregory Itzin's Lady Macbeth. But still, Jones, Williams and Carpenter all get on the uber-ballot in place of Baranski, Gless and Panjabi. As usual, Rose Byrne gets to remain on the ballot due to Pretty.
Will win: Moss, Gless or Baranski Should win: Moss
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA Actual nominees: Andre Braugher/Men Of A Certain Age, Michael Emerson/Lost, Terry O'Quinn/Lost, Aaron Paul/Breaking Bad, Martin Short/Damages, John Slattery/Mad Men
Alterna-nominees: Giancarlo Esposito/Breaking Bad, Vincent Kartheiser/Mad Men, Bob Odenkirk/Breaking Bad, Dean Norris/Breaking Bad, Clarke Peters/Treme
Talk about a hella-deep category. You can argue that Emerson didn't have much to work with this season on LOST and I didn't actually see Short's performance on 'Damages,' but still, it's hard to argue against either of those two winning. The other four nominees were also varying degrees of awesome. My alterna-ballot takes a deep breath and replaces Braugher with Peters (Braugher is excellent, but his show is pretty repetitive) and Short with Norris (basically the first half of Breaking Bad's season was devoted to giving depth to Hank's character and Norris just killed it). You can argue all day about who should be on the ballot, but #1 is clearly Aaron Paul. Now, you might wonder why John Lithgow isn't on this list since he would seemingly be the monster favourite for his amazing role on 'Dexter' this season. Lithgow, like Jimmy Smits last year on the show, submitted his name into the guest actor category, in spite of the fact that he was in every episode, was listed in the opening credits and was the season's major antagonist. I don't agree with the rules, folks, but even the Alterna-Emmys abides by them. (Though had Lithgow been in the supporting category, that would've cleared the way for Gregory Itzin to win a well-deserved guest Emmy for playing President Logan on 24. "THAT'S JACK BAUER!")
Will win: Braugher or O'Quinn in a 'goodbye to LOST' award to the show's most iconic actor Should win: Paul
BEST COMEDY Actual nominees: Curb Your Enthusiasm, Glee, Modern Family, Nurse Jackie, The Office, 30 Rock
Alterna-nominees: Archer, Community, Parks & Recreation, Party Down
It took us long enough, but we finally have a classic Emmy 'WTF' category. Were I filling out a ballot, Modern Family and CYE would stay, but the other four would be jettisoned in place of my alternate nominees. Office and 30 Rock weren't bad this season, but not up the class of the other programs. I was under the impression that Nurse Jackie was a drama and my Jane Lynch love isn't quite deep enough to overlook the fact that "Glee" is pretty poorly written and acted. This category should've been a tough pick, but the weakness of the nominees makes Curb Your Enthusiasm the pretty clear choice. The extra year off really invigorated the show, and the 'Seinfeld reunion' storyline was just pure gold from start to finish.
Will win: Modern Family Should win: Curb Your Enthusiasm
BEST LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY Actual nominees: Toni Collette/United States Of Tara, Edie Falco/Nurse Jackie, Tina Fey/30 Rock, Julia Louis-Dreyfus/The New Adventures Of Old Christine, Lea Michele/Glee, Amy Poehler/Parks & Recreation
Alterna-nominees: Lizzy Caplan/Party Down
Again, I was under the impression that 'Nurse Jackie' was actually a drama, though it might be one of those shows that falls into dramedy genre confusion. Whatever. The Academy's apparent love of it and its proven love for Edie Falco leads me to believe that Falco has a good shot at taking home her fourth Emmy. Either her or Lea Michele gets swept up in the 'Glee' gleefulness, or defending champ Toni Collette wins another somewhat out-of-nowhere trophy. As to who the winner SHOULD be, Amy Poehler should have this one in the bag. Hopefully she can at least snag an Emmy to make up for the otherwise total snub of her great show.
Will win: Falco or Michele Should win: Poehler
BEST LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY Actual nominees: Alec Baldwin/30 Rock, Steve Carell/The Office, Larry David/Curb Your Enthusiasm, Matthew Morrison/Glee, Jim Parsons/Big Bang Theory, Tony Shalhoub/Monk
Alterna-nominees: Joel McHale/Community, Adam Scott/Party Down
This is as good a place as any to discuss the total omission of 'Community' from the list of major nominees. Sure, the show's ratings weren't great, but come on, not even one nomination? To make matters worse, Joel McHale was actually one of the actors (along with Sofia Vergara) selected to announce the Emmy nominations, so it's not like the Academy didn't know he existed. Instead, McHale is set aside for yet another goddamn Tony Shalhoub nomination? Weak. McHale would've been my hands-down choice to win, but since he's not even nominated, I'll instead toss a vote to Steve Carell for an overdue Emmy for playing Michael Scott. Given that next season will be his last on the show, he might actually have a shot at finally winning if enough Emmy voters feel the same way. Part of me admittedly would love to see Larry David win an Emmy for playing himself and frankly, that scene where he plays George Costanza needs some type of award.
Will win: Baldwin or what the hell, Shaloub Should win: Carell
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY Actual nominees: Julie Bowen/Modern Family, Jane Krakowski/30 Rock, Jane Lynch/Glee, Holland Taylor/Two and a Half Men, Sofia Vergara/Modern Family, Kristen Wiig/Saturday Night Live
Not that it matters in the face of the inevitable Jane Lynch steamroller, but you can take all of my alterna-nominees can slot them into the ballot in place of everyone but Lynch and, oh, let's say Julie Bowen. Some pretty lazy picks from the voters in this category, I must say. C'mon Emmys, what's not to like about Ellie Kemper? And Alison Brie, America's new sweetheart! And Aubrey Plaza, America's other sorta-sweetheart? And Megan Mullally, you love her! Aren't these all better options than Holland frickin' Taylor?
Will win: Lynch Should win: Lynch
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY Actual nominees: Ty Burrell/Modern Family, Chris Colfer/Glee, Jon Cryer/Two and a Half Men, Jesse Tyler Ferguson/Modern Family, Neil Patrick Harris/How I Met Your Mother, Eric Stonestreet/Modern Family
Alterna-nominees: Ted Danson/Bored To Death, Bob Einstein/Curb Your Enthusiasm, Donald Glover/Community, Ed Helms/The Office, Nick Offerman/Parks & Recreation, Ed O'Neill/Modern Family, Chris Pratt/Parks & Recreation, Danny Pudi/Community, Rico Rodriguez/Modern Family
Oh, supporting actor in a comedy. You always giveth and taketh away. On the bright side, the comedy duo of Ferguson and Stonestreet are the funniest part of Modern Family, so it's good to see them both get nominations when it was semi-assumed that they'd split the vote. Ty Burrell also deserved recognition. So that's three good ones and now, onto the three downers. The great NPH, as I've written before, didn't bring his A-game to HIMYM this season. I wouldn't recognize the guy from Glee if I ran into him on the street, so I can't judge. And Jon Cryer, come on. I'm going to make the rare move of substituting an altera-ballot of ALL alternate nominees....namely, Danson, Glover, Offerman, Pratt, Pudi and Rodriguez. Even with these alternates, it still leaves off the likes of O'Neill, Einstein and the 'Party Down' guys. This category really is just too damn deep to be wasting nominations on Cryer or the Glee punk.
Will win: Burrell or Cryer Should win: Tie vote between Ferguson and Stonestreet