Emmy Spotlight 2007: Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Jun 4, 2007  •  Post A Comment

If you were going to risk a fortune predicting one sure thing when the nominations for the 59th annual Primetime Emmy Awards are announced July 19, put your money on Tony Shalhoub. As the obsessive-compulsive private detective Adrian Monk on USA’s “Monk,” the actor has received an Emmy nomination every year of the show’s run.
“What comes after déjá vu? Is there déjá trois?” he asked last year as he collected his third Emmy for the performance. “Last year I was shocked. This year I’m comatose,” he told the press backstage.
Mr. Shalhoub confided last year that he thought “The Office’s” Steve Carell would beat him and the other nominees for the Emmy. The two actors are likely to be competing again in 2007.
“If you ask me, Steve Carell deserves to win,” said M.C. Cooper, TV editor at Men.com. “Nothing against Tony Shalhoub—he’s amazing—but Carell is due. He’ll get the nomination and I think he’ll win.”
“I think Steve Carell will be nominated again, and he’ll win this year thanks to publicity for his new movie, love for his show, plus some slim pickings in this category,” said Wesley Hyatt, author of “Emmy Award-Winning Nighttime Television Shows, 1948-2004.”
“The King of Queens” star Kevin James and “Two and a Half Men’s” Charlie Sheen were surprise entries in this category a year ago, and they could be repeat nominees. “Steve Carell and Tony Shalhoub for sure, but Charlie Sheen and Kevin James stand a chance,” said Michael Ausiello, TV Guide columnist. “Hopefully Jason Lee, who I think is really underrated for his performance in ‘My Name Is Earl,’ is also included. He does a fantastic job on that show.”
Another name being bandied around for a nomination is Alec Baldwin, who snared a Golden Globe for performance by an actor in a comedy as TV executive Jack Donaghy on NBC’s “30 Rock.” “Definitely reserve a spot for Alec Baldwin,” said Mr. Ausiello.
“Baldwin is probably a lock, not only because of the Golden Globe, but because his performance dominates that show,” said Ms. Cooper.
However, “I think of Alec Baldwin as a lead and not supporting,” said Mr. Hyatt, who can see Mr. Baldwin being nominated in either category.
Some actors, including the men on “How I Met Your Mother” and “Entourage,” may miss out on an Emmy nomination because their roles aren’t strictly the lead, but they’re more than supporting.
“‘How I Met Your Mother’ has been on for a couple of years now, but has never really snuck in there. But I think the one actor who stands a chance for a nomination is Neil Patrick Harris in the supporting actor category,” said Mr. Ausiello.
“Like ‘Entourage,’ ‘How I Met Your Mother’ is an ensemble show. Only Jeremy Piven gets recognized for ‘Entourage,’ and that’s in support. And he won the Emmy last year,” said Ms. Cooper. “If there’s one actor from ‘Entourage’ who may nab a lead actor nominee, it’s Kevin Connolly. He’s distinguished himself from the group.”
If it were up to Mr. Sheen, both he and Jon Cryer would be nominated for “Two and a Half Men” because their show relies so much on their collaboration. It’s like “The Odd Couple.” In an interview last year with TelevisionWeek, Mr. Sheen said, “Jon is so good. He’s so smart and his timing is so impeccable that it’s just a pleasure. He’s as generous as I like to think I am because, as I said, it’s teamwork.”
“I know Jon Cryer went into the supporting category last year, but he is a lead, and I think Emmy voters recognize it this time, and divide their support for him and Charlie Sheen,” said Mr. Hyatt. “But the airing of Baldwin’s private life in public does not help his chances with voters. To be safe, I’ll predict Jason Lee as a possible choice if Cryer or Baldwin is left out.”
“Scrubs” lead actor Zach Braff, a nominee in 2005, may make the cut again, and there are also experts who see Emmy reaching for some dark horses in this category, such as Ricky Gervais for HBO comedy “Extras” and James Roday for USA’s “Psych.”
“The one thing about the Emmys is that for every nomination that seems like a sure thing — say Tony Shalhoub in ‘Monk’ — they can toss in a curve ball that you’ll never see coming. In 2003, nobody predicted Bernie Mac would be nominated for his sitcom, but there he was, so you never know,” said Ms. Cooper.
At a Glance
Leading Contender
Steve Carell, “The Office” (NBC)
Other Likely Nominees
Tony Shalhoub, “Monk” (USA)
Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock” (NBC)
Jason Lee, “My Name Is Earl” (NBC)
Zach Braff, “Scrubs” (NBC)
Solid Picks
Charlie Sheen, “Two and a Half Men” (CBS)
Kevin James, “The King of Queens” (CBS)
Dark Horses
Jon Cryer, “Two and a Half Men” (CBS)
Ricky Gervais, “Extras” (HBO)
Kevin Connolly, “Entourage” (HBO)
James Roday, “Psych” (USA)

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