Emmy Awards Preview – Nominee Analysis: 30 Rock

While it certainly didn’t come out of nowhere, considering that it had nominations in both lead acting categories, 30 Rock’s Emmy win last year was still a bit of a surprise. However, it was a pleasant one, and signaled and onslaught of critical praise and accolades for a series that (at that point) seemed to be on shaky ground where it matters most these days: ratings.

But with a third season guaranteed and more hardware in the closet, 30 Rock has gone from the upset victor to the perennial frontrunner for the 60th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. And with great power comes, well, great responsibility; in this instance, responsibility to pick the right submissions to reflect the season’s quality.

Outstanding Comedy Series

Submission: Unknown

My Suggestion: “Secrets and Lies”

It’s hard to pick a single episode to encapsulate an entire season: I think the show’s smartest segment has to be “Rosemary’s Baby,” for a lot of reasons I’ll discuss further below, while part of me gravitates towards “Greenzo,” featuring a fantastic David Schwimmer in the title role. However, I like “Secrets and Lies”: it has a great storyline featuring Baldwin and perennial Emmy favourite Edie Falco, a couple of great moments for Tracy Jordan, and the fantastic ending sequences as corporate republicans reveal their inner demons. Regardless of which they actually choose, however, the deal is sealed either way.

Chances: Definite Nomination.

Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Tina Fey

Submission: “Episode 210”

My Suggestion: “Sandwich Day”

In this instance, my suggestion isn’t hostile: the last pre-strike episode may have been rushed, but Fey knocked both her initial interaction with and her late-night phone call sessions to the co-op board of her new apartment out of the park. In particular, the image of Fey on the phone while walking on her treadmill and drinking a glass of red wine while proclaiming that she bought a black apartment stuck with me for a long time. However, “Sandwich Day” had Fey doing what she does best: being neurotic and eating on camera (plus looking really attractive in the dress on the left. An argument could also be made for “Succession,” as Liz goes corporate, but something about that episode didn’t sit right for me.

Chances: Definite Nomination.

Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Alec Baldwin

Submission: “Rosemary’s Baby”

It was the most inspired piece of comedy all year, a stunning sequence wherein Jack Donaghy comes alive with the spirit of Tracy Jordan’s father (From funky North Philly with an unattended root canal), mother, Tracy himself, the white guy his mom left his dad for, and their upstairs neighbour Mrs. Rodriquez. A monkey could have chosen this submission, and it pretty well guarantees that Baldwin is the front runner. It’s also a much better tape than he had last year (The decent but not overly great “Hiatus”), so the chances of anyone else topping it seems unlikely.

Chances: Definite Nomination, Likely Win.

Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Tracy Morgan

Submission: “Secrets and Lies”

Morgan was smart enough this year to submit in the proper category (he submitted in lead last year), especially since Tracy never really had a showcase episode as a character this year. “Secrets and Lies” is as close as he gets, however, if only because of one of my favourite lines of his season:

“I do not want to disappoint my Japanese public…especially Godzilla! Ha ha ha…I’m just kidding, I know he doesn’t care what humans do!”

Now, his major problem is that he’s only in two scenes, so there is definitely going to be screentime issues when being compared to other competitors in the category.

Chances: Unlikely.

Jack McBrayer

Submission: “Episode 210”

McBrayer had a lot of different choices here, but this is a smart one: while it is a strike-rushed segment, McBrayer does great work in displaying Kenneth’s coffee addiction, from his manic discussion with Liz to his general insanity. I think that he’s had better scenes as a character, but if the goal is to show off comic chops this one does the trick.

Chances: Dark Horse for a potential nomination, but not likely.

Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Jane Krakowski

Submission: “The Collection”

My Suggestion: “Jack Gets in the Game”

This is, again, not a hostile suggestion: I’m torn between which of the “Jenna gets fat” episodes she should select. On the one hand, I think that “The Collection” features the most direct comedy (And a great David Blane line) that could make it more broad – on the other hand, I kind of like her journey in the first episode, especially considering her overweight rollerskating and her trips to see Dr. Spaceman. Either way, it was a strong arc for Krakowski.

Chances: Will make the Top 10, little chance at a nomination.

Guest Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Will Arnett – “Jack Gets in the Game”
    • A sure bet, particularly with this great submission.
  • David Schwimmer – “Greenzo”
    • A bit of a tough sell, considering he was never an Emmy favourite, but he’s awesome in the episode.
  • Dean Winters – “Subway Hero”
    • My sentimental pick, as Dennis is one of the show’s best characters and Winters knocked it out of the park.
  • Matthew Broderick – “Cooter”
    • Big name star, great finale performance, good shot at a nomination.

Guest Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Carrie Fisher – “Rosemary’s Baby”
    • She’ll get a lot of attention being in Baldwin’s submission, and for being great in it.
  • Elaine Stritch – “Episode 209”
    • She’s an Emmy favourite, and won last year for a much stronger episode – this one pales in comparison, but she’ll get a nod.
  • Edie Falco – “Episode 210”
    • She was an Emmy darling, and was quite funny, although I might have changed this submission to play more to her humour. Regardless, well deserved.

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series

Contenders: “Greenzo,” “Cooter,” “Rosemary’s Baby”

Likely Nominees: “Greenzo,” “Rosemary’s Baby”

Outstanding Direction in a Comedy Series

Contenders: “MILF Island,” “Rosemary’s Baby,” “Cooter,”

Likely Nominee: “Rosemary’s Baby”

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