Unpopcult at the Emmys: Leading Men

Woo hoo! The Emmy nominations are out, and Jed and I are a bit excited about them.  Okay, a lot excited.  So we’re taking advantage of the fact that we suddenly have no tv to watch (hello, off-season!) and indulging ourselves with a LOT of Emmy posts over the next few days.  Humour us…

I’m delighted I get to talk about the Leading Men categories –  or “Outstanding Lead Actor” if you want to be formal about it – because of the high swoon factor amongst the nominees.  Obviously, though, that’s not the point, so, er, anyway, let’s start with the surprises – finally FINALLY, Kyle Chandler’s been nominated for “Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama” for his work on Friday Night Lights.  He’s always been brilliant (even if I’m only on season 2 just now) and the only thing wrong with his nomination is that it didn’t happen years ago. 

But hang on!  Matthew Fox is nominated too!  And his valedictory turn in Lost this year deserved it, so I’m delighted for him as well. Am I supposed to choose between them?

I guess I should be grateful then that Timothy Olyphant didn’t make the cut for Justified, and make it even harder to pick my winner, but I don’t feel grateful.  His performance was perfect.  Nuanced, mesmerising and perfect.  And, like Fox and Chandler, it would have been someone new in the list of nominees.  Instead, we get the old guard of Laurie, Hall, Hamm and Cranston, yet again.  We all know I’d keep Jon Hamm in because a) I love him and b)  he needs to win sometime DAMMIT, but, good as the other three guys are, I’d have preferred to see Olyphant in there instead of any one of them.  Not that he’d have a hope of winning, I don’t think – it’s Foxy vs Hamm vs Chandler for me.  So Cranston’ll probably win it again.  Sigh.

To be honest, I’m a lot less invested in the “Oustanding Lead Actor in a Comedy” category.  As you know, I don’t “do” comedies so the only one of these shows that I’ve watched this season is Glee, and yes, Matthew Morrison’s Mr Shu is lovely and fun and everything, but I’m surprised to see him nominated.  Was he this year’s best lead actor in a comedy?  I have no idea.  Why has Chuck’s Zachary Levi missed out on a nomination yet again?  Again, I have no idea (and I’m not happy about it).  But who’s going to win? Well…. 

Tony Shalhoub’s fine in Monk, but it finished ages ago.  Jim Parsons from The Big Bang Theory has his fans too, but I don’t think he’s going to take it either.  And The Office’s Steve Carrell  and Curb’s Larry David have both been around for ages, and been nominated many times; I think their ships have already sailed.  Baldwin or Morrison, then?  Personally, I’d give it to Matt because a) I like a change and b) he deserves extra credit for all the rapping he has to do.  But I doubt these are the same criteria used by the Emmy voters; Alec will probably take it again.

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7 thoughts on “Unpopcult at the Emmys: Leading Men

  1. Red July 9, 2010 / 9:48 pm

    I don’t know why Two and a Half Men as so many nominations. It’s just ok and not even particularly funny.

  2. Jed Bartlet July 10, 2010 / 8:52 pm

    I would be surprised by Hugh Laurie winning – he was perfectly fine, but in what was generally acknowledged to be a sub-standard season of ‘House’. Matthew Fox’s performances were his best since season 1, but not enough to win. And while it is indeed fantastic to see Kyle Chandler get a shout, he would be even more of a surprise than Laurie. So it’s a Cranston/Hall/Hamm shootout for me. It’s about time Hamm won, but I wonder whether the sentimental vote might just get Hall home? (And I agree that Timothy Olyphant should be in there. I’d expect him to be next time.)

    As for the comedies – as I said some time ago I love Matthew Morrison, but best actor? Nope. Best all-round song and dance man, perhaps, but if it’s acting being rewarded it’ll go somewhere else. The last season of ’30 Rock’ seems to have attracted a lot of criticism, although in my view it was nowhere as bad as some are saying. But once negative buzz gets going it can quickly become received wisdom. It might be Jim Parsons’s year.

  3. CJ Cregg July 10, 2010 / 9:21 pm

    I probably should have been a bit clearer in my post, Jed – I would like Fox, Hamm or Chandler to win, but I agree I don’t see Chandler taking it either. I actually wondered if the sentimental vote might give Fox the win – last season of Lost and all that – and I do think he was great, but I think you’re probably right, and he’s a longshot. Hasn’t Dexter’s recent season disappointed some people as well, though? I thought that might harm Hall’s chances.

    On the Matt Morrison front, is it ever just the acting that’s being rewarded? There are always so many other factors at play in the voting – like the buzz, as you point out, and Glee’s had a LOT of buzz this year. Even if the back nine were incredibly patchy.

  4. Kay20 July 11, 2010 / 6:41 am

    LOVE the Friday Night Lights nominations. The Taylors are awesome. I think Chandler has more of a chance to win than Connie (Margulies has a lock on that Emmy), but I hope if anyone beats him out it’s Matthew Fox, who put in a fantastic season on Lost.

    I’m actually excited for once, contrary to some years due to the overall newcomers. Though 2 and a half men, really????????

  5. CJ Cregg July 11, 2010 / 12:06 pm

    Me too, Kay – much more excited than usual! (And that’s pretty excited ;-)) I totally agree with you that the number of repeat wins and repeat noms in all the categories, not just this one, is a bit of a problem for the Emmys in the sense that, while a lot of them might well be deserved (probably all of them in the Lead Actor in a Drama category, less so in some of the others…), it can make things a little boring and frustrating if new folk can’t break in because 3 slots in every main category are pretty much already locked.

    I remember commentators everywhere last year discussing the Emmys struggle to get the wider public interest and ratings for the ceremony itself because the same folk are in there, year in year out and because a lot of those shows have low ratings, but I don’t know if there’s any way to address the interest/ratings problem and maintain the integrity of the process (such as it is), short of putting a cap on the number of times a person or show can be nominated which obviously wouldn’t be fair. I suppose they could start introducing new categories like Best Breakthrough Performance or Best Dramedy or whatever to widen the field, but that seems a bit People’s Choice-y for the Emmys if you know what I mean. Anyone got any suggestions? I’m sure the Emmy people would be grateful…

  6. Jed Bartlet July 11, 2010 / 8:25 pm

    It’s the same issue we discussed last year when considering the Mercury Music Prize nominees: https://unpopcult.wordpress.com/2009/07/21/the-barclaycard-mercury-music-prize-2009/#comments

    You either reward quality or you don’t. There are plenty of other measures of popularity, and plenty of awards (as you say) which recognize it. I suppose one way to do it might be to have separate categories for network and cable shows and performances in the big awards, but that too feels artificial. There’s also a lot to be said for lineage and history: the winner of this category this year, for example, wins the same award as Raymond Burr, Daniel J. Travanti, Peter Falk, Ed Asner, Dennis Franz, James Gandolfini…

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