Handicapping the Race for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy

Sep 16, 2009

It’s not often the host of an awards show is himself up for one of the trophies, but "HIMYM’s" Neil Patrick Harris will be holding his breath when the winner of the outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series is announced at the Emmys Sunday.

Three-time champ Jeremy Piven is out of the running this year, and this is the rest of the field:
Jon Cryer, "Two and a Half Men"
Kevin Dillon, "Entourage"
Jack McBrayer, "30 Rock"
Tracy Morgan, "30 Rock"
Rainn Wilson, "The Office"

As in the supporting comedy actress category, actors on broadcast network comedies are the dominant force here, with Dillon the only rep from cable. For “Entourage’s” Johnny “Drama” Chase, this is well-tread territory—it will be his third year in a row as a contender.

Cryer and Wilson also are well-honored veterans. For Cryer, this is his fourth straight nom for playing Alan Parker, and as the show’s EP Chuck Lorre told me, “Cryer always brings it. He’s a comedy writer’s dream.”

The same could be said for Wilson, who’s on his third nom for playing Dwight. He recently told Vanity Fair the Emmys should be more like a contact sport, with screaming at competitors part of the game: "You’re going down, Tracy Morgan! I’m going to wipe the mat with you! You say you can win this Emmy? I’m gonna take this Emmy and… shove it in your nose!"

Everyone would expect Morgan to do something crazy/funny on stage if he takes home the Emmy, which would be a highlight of the telecast. He and McBrayer, both first-time nominees, are part of “Rock’s” record 22 nominations for a comedy series.

McBrayer had a big moment earlier this year at the expense of co-star and Emmy winner Alec Baldwin when Baldwin hosted "SNL" and in an opening skit, the audience fawned over Jack and ignored Alec.

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