This week I’ll be pretending that I have an Emmy vote and discussing my picks for all the major categories. Once it gets closer to the time that nominees are actually announced, I’ll do an official “picks” column. Today: Lead Actress in a Comedy Series!
Two things before we get going: First, I’m only choosing performers or writers that are actually on the ballots, so these choices are all real possibilities. Second, unlike in the writing categories where I decided to give each series an opportunity at only one slot, so these categories won’t be dominated by one writer or team, acting categories have the chance to be filled with multiple performers from one series. I wanted to stick to the one-per-program rule, but just couldn’t in some categories, so with this being my dream ballot, I might as well ignore many “rules.”
Into the lead categories and the home stretch of the ballot. I won’t lie, this is kind of a weak category.
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
I actually never thought too much of Poehler before this season of Parks and Rec. I liked her on SNL, but didn’t love her and the issues with her Leslie Knope character from S1 of this series have been talked about ad-nauseum. However, this season, she blew me away. She was funny, warm, cute, smart, etc. in a way that really charmed me. Leslie is no longer the female equivalent of Michael Scott and at this point, she’s actually a much better and more likable character. It’s interesting that on The Office, the “supporting” players like Jim, Pam and Andy are the series’ heart, while on Parks and Rec, it’s obvious that Leslie serves that role. Poehler deserves a lot of credit for handling that and the comedy very, very well.
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
I think the Liz Lemon isn’t much of a stretch performance for Fey, but she still nails it most of the time, particularly the embarrassing stuff that brings about much of the series’ comedy. The stuff from the Dealbreakers episode filming is still one of the best moments in 30 Rock history and that’s certainly thanks to Fey’s performance.
Lea Michelle, Glee
Surely the Glee glow extends down to its leading lady in an especially weak category, so I suspect that Lea Michelle will be nominated in this category. Although she finds herself in the perfect role for the talents that she does have — meaning she tends to over-emote with facial expressions and sometimes struggle with the more subtle scenes, but can clearly knock it out of the park when the musical interludes are used to tell a story — I still think that’s enough and probably warranted. Her Rachel is perhaps the most overtly comedic lead on the series, so Michelle won’t have the same trouble that Matthew Morrison has with playing all dramatic moments in a “comedy” category. She’s still young and could drastically improve in the future, but that won’t stop Michelle from being nominated.
Courtney Cox, Cougar Town
She was definitely trying way too hard at the opening part of the series when I actually watched Cougar Town every week, but from everything I’ve heard, Courtney Cox settled down a little bit once the series found its identity in the second half of the season. I admittedly haven’t seen a full episode since before Christmas, but I liked her enough early on and couldn’t really find anyone else to point out in already-mentioned weak category. Plus, it seems like she’s a shoe-in to be nominated, right? Right!?
Toni Collette, The United States of Tara
Collette was last year’s kind-of surprise winner, but it’s obvious that the Emmy voters love 1.) film stars moving to television and 2.) actors who play multiple roles within one series. Thus, not so much of a surprise and Collette has to be the favorite going into this year’s awards as well. Tara is a series that I don’t particularly love or keep up with, but the only reason I do watch on occasion is because of Collette’s wonderful performance.
Portia de Rossi, Better Off Ted
Oh, Better Off Ted, how sad it is that less than 3-4 million people watched you. Portia de Rossi was far and away the best part of a damn funny series, playing who did whatever it took to further her career — and yet you still kind of love her as a character. The characters are different, but it’s the same type of likable horrible person that de Rossi nailed on Arrested Development, yet another great, but doomed comedy. She sure knows how to pick ’em.
Lead actor in a comedy coming up!
Past days of the Dream Ballot