Cultural Learnings’ 2008 60th Primetime Emmy Awards Nominations Predictions

When I started my Emmys coverage for this year’s ceremony a while ago, I (as always) had a lot of plans: previews of every category (Got through a lot), reviews of every submitted episode (Almost got through those), and all sorts of other grand schemes that never come to fruition. This is the nature of being a television critic of sorts: you have a lot to say, but balancing it and the rest of your life (See: Watching Television, clearly) can be a bit of a challenge. Let it be known I took most of that free time doing my duty and finally watching shows like The Wire, Six Feet Under and Flight of the Conchords.

However, there’s no way I could possibly procrastinate on writing up my various predictions. Predictions are one of those things that I think about more than I write about (I tried writing more this year, and after a while it petered off). Great sites like AwardsHeaven or Coco at the Movies or TV with Abe keep detailed lists for weeks or months ahead of time updating when the Top 10s come out, but I tend to ruminate a bit more introspectively. We’ll see how that goes this time around, when our access to the Top 10 lists for various categories makes this task easier, yes, but also far more competitive. But, I’m not in it to win it, so to speak; I’m just an Emmy fanatic who enjoys the thrill of participation.

So, without further adieu, my predictions for the nominations for the 60th Primetime Emmy Awards.

Outstanding Drama Series

  • Boston Legal (ABC)
  • Damages (FX)
  • House (FOX)
  • Lost (ABC)
  • Mad Men (AMC)

This is a very hard category to call, and admittedly I’m following my own interests here: there’s every chance of Grey’s Anatomy replacing Lost on this list based on its popularity alone, but something tells me that Lost’s episode submission (The fantastic “The Constant”) will elevate them through. Mad Men and Damages represent the new crop of summer cable hits, while Boston Legal and House should ride baity submission and Hugh Laurie, respectively, to nods.

Lead Actor in a Drama Series

  • James Spader (Boston Legal)
  • Jon Hamm (Mad Men)
  • Michael C. Hall (Dexter)
  • Hugh Laurie (House)
  • Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)

The first four are pretty much locks: while his show is too bloody to make it into major categories, Hall’s Emmy pedigree and the fantastic nature of his performance should get him the nomination he deserved last year. Meanwhile, “should have won before” Laurie and newcomer and Golden Globe winner Hamm will try to dethrone undefeated Emmy king Spader, and that last slot is up for grabs. I’ve gone with Bryan Cranston’s brave performance in the AMC series, one I need to finish watching at some point (Only got through the opening two episodes). Gabriel Byrne is the other option, but I believe that if Cranston made the Top 10 people were watching, and he would have performed well on the panels.

Lead Actress in a Drama Series

  • Sally Field (Brothers & Sisters)
  • Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer)
  • Holly Hunter (Saving Grace)
  • Glenn Close (Damages)
  • Mary McDonnell (Battlestar Galactica)

Those following the Emmy race will sigh at that last name – while the first four are more or less locks based on name recognition and showy performances, the fifth candidate in this category is somewhat more open. However, with previous nominees like Mariska Hargitay and Minnie Driver waiting in the wings, the chances of an actress from a science fiction series breaking through are slim. However, frak that kind of logical thinking: I want to have hope, for once, that they’ll see through the Science Fiction and discover a tremendous performance that is worthy of consideration.

Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

  • Michael Emerson (Lost)
  • Ted Danson (Damages)
  • William Shatner (Boston Legal)
  • Blair Underwood (In Treatment)
  • John Slattery (Mad Men)
    • 6th Nominee: Zeljko Ivanek (Damages)

I’ve been singing the praises of Ivanek since the series ended, and he has one of the best submissions on the list. However, I think he’ll only break in if we get six nominees. Emerson has a stunning tape, Danson has the popularity, Shatner has the track record, Underwood has a good submission, and Slattery will ride Mad Men’s buzz. I think it’s Emerson’s race to lose, but five or six this is going to be a stunningly good category.

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

  • Rose Byrne (Damages)
  • Candice Bergen (Boston Legal)
  • Rachel Griffiths (Brothers & Sisters)
  • Chandra Wilson (Grey’s Anatomy)
  • Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy)
    • 6th Nominee: Dianne Wiest (In Treatment)

While I was never really a fan of Rose Byrne on Damages, there’s more than enough buzz to get her into the winner’s circle. The rest of the list is old stalwarts, as Griffiths fights for the Emmy she probably should have won for Six Feet Under (And that Brothers & Sisters gave her decent material for) and Sandra Oh looks to finally break her drought as well. Wiest, however, is lingering on the outskirts as a seasoned performer who could easily take a spot, so Oh’s place is not safe in the least with potential spoilers waiting in the wings.

Outstanding Comedy Series

  • 30 Rock (NBC)
  • The Office (NBC)
  • Pushing Daisies (ABC)
  • Two and a Half Men (CBS)
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)

In this category, I think the first four are locks: 30 Rock has the buzz, Office has the popularity, Pushing Daisies has a stunning quality level in its pilot, and sadly the universe has deemed Two and a Half Men funny. The final slot comes down to HBO’s two shows, I feel, but Entourage hasn’t aired since last summer, and Curb has more pedigree with star Larry David.

Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Alec Baldwin (30 Rock)
  • Steve Carell (The Office)
  • Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm)
  • Lee Pace (Pushing Daisies)
  • Tony Shahloub (Monk)

Let the wishful thinking continue: Charlie Sheen is a likely nominee based on the popularity of Two and a Half Men, but my conscience cannot predict him. And so, I’m going with Lee Pace – I think the Pushing Daisies pilot was watched by a lot of people curious about its craft work, and they found a delightfully charming performance that is deserving of consideration. However, no matter who makes the list (I’m iffy on David, but think he’ll pull through), this is a battle between Baldwin and Carell, both of whom were robbed last year. Don’t count out David Duchovony’s turn on Californication, but that show missing the Top 10 makes me wary.

Leading Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Christina Applegate (Samantha Who?)
  • America Ferrera (Ugly Betty)
  • Tina Fey (30 Rock)
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus (New Adventures…Old Christine)
  • Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds)

It’s hard to predict what three Desperate Housewives tapes will do to this race, but my prediction is that they’ll cancel one another out. I’m tempted to include Cross, who is long overdue for another nomination, but the rest of the category features performers with more buzz and on series with more signs of life. Housewives’ snub in the comedy category tells me that the Emmys are over the show, so this seems like the more likely lineup (Although I’m tempted to say Ferrera gets snubbed for Cross, so if that happens curse my second thoughts).

Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Rainn Wilson (The Office)
  • John Krasinski (The Office)
  • Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men)
  • Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
  • Jeremy Piven (Entourage)
    • 6th Nominee: Jack McBrayer (30 Rock)

This is a tough category, mainly because the first five names seem like locks. Last year, Kevin Dillon broke into the category from Entourage, but that was with a great submission: this year, he has much worse material, and therefore I don’t see him making the cut. If anyone is going to break in, though, it’s Jack McBrayer for his turn as Kenneth the Page on 30 Rock. It’s the show with the most buzz this year in comedy, so the chances of it driving him to a nom are high.

Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies)
  • Jenna Fischer (The Office)
  • Elizabeth Perkins (Weeds)
  • Holland Taylor (Two and a Half Men)
  • Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty)
    • 6th Nominee: Amy Poehler (Saturday Night Live)

I feel really bad not including Jane Krakowski on this list from 30 Rock, but I think Tina Fey’s popularity will benefit her former SNL/Baby Mama co-star more. Still, I think the bias against sketch comedy will keep Poehler from cracking a Top 5. It’s a nice mix, I think, of the more seasoned talent (Taylor) with the younger and edgier fare from the other competitors – and, in a league of her own this year, Vanessa Williams looks to win an Emmy she probably deserved last year (A trend from last year’s show, no?)

Outstanding Reality Competition Program

  • The Amazing Race (CBS)
  • American Idol (FOX)
  • Dancing with the Stars (ABC)
  • Project Runway (Bravo)
  • Top Chef (Bravo)

Yes, it’s the same lineup as last year. No, I don’t expect that to change: when the latter two got references on 30 Rock, and the first one has never lost in the category, and the other two are the biggest shows on television? There’s no stopping this lineup.

Outstanding Reality Host

  • Jeff Probst (Survivor)
  • Phil Keoghan (The Amazing Race)
  • Heidi Klum (Project Runway)
  • Tom Bergeron (Dancing with the Stars)
  • Wayne Brady (Don’t Forget the Lyrics)

I think it’s a bit of a tragedy that Cat Deeley can’t make this category, as I love her banter and spontaneity on So You Think You Can Dance?, but I really hope that Bergeron does. Yes, Dancing with the Stars is not brilliant television in most areas, but his improvisation and quick-thinking turn cheese into charming cheese, something that deserves credit. Meanwhile, Klum and Keoghan ride the popularity of their shows despite not really being overly active hosts (Although Keoghan’s eyebrow deserves special mention), and Brady managed to win a Daytime Emmy when his show had already been canceled so don’t count him out. However, this category partially exists so Mark Burnett, by proxy, might finally win an Emmy award. Probst is omnipresent and great as Survivor host, and this might finally be his chance to shine.

That’s all I’ll be doing complete predictions for, mainly because the others get so tenuous and unpredictable. I will, however, be handling the writing, directing, guest and some creative arts awards later this week, but simply listing potential contenders vs. uniform predictions. For now, feel free to agree, disagree, or list your own predictions below!


1 Comment

Filed under Emmy Awards

One response to “Cultural Learnings’ 2008 60th Primetime Emmy Awards Nominations Predictions

  1. Yasser

    I Agree With You 100%.
    I Think LOST Will Fianlly Make The Cut…

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