You know Hugh Laurie is going to get his props. And so will Tina Fey and Glenn Close. There are certain TV stars who are pretty much cold-stone locks when it comes to garnering Emmy nominations.
And though we certainly don’t begrudge them their raves, the Emmys would be utter dullsville if they consist entirely of predictable, rubber-stamp choices. We crave an infusion of fresh faces and new blood.
With that in mind, it’s time to be proactive and make some helpful suggestions to voters currently mulling their Emmy ballots — suggestions pegged exclusively to newcomers or familiar faces who inexplicably have been overlooked in the past.
And we’re hoping that some of our choices actually have a chance to break into the inner circle this year, now that the TV academy has expanded the number of nominees in the major categories from five to six.
Take a look and see if you agree:
BEST ACTOR, DRAMA: We were thrilled when Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”) won last year on his maiden voyage in the category. But where was the love for Kyle Chandler, the inspiring and compelling head coach in “Friday Night Lights”? Also, we realize “Lost” has won its share of hardware, but why does Matthew Fox keep getting jacked by Emmy voters?
BEST ACTRESS, DRAMA: It’s time that we recognize the superb and subtle work January Jones is doing as a conflicted housewife on “Mad Men.” Another actress deserving of some attention this year is Anna Paquin, who plays the telepathic waitress at the heart of “True Blood.”
BEST ACTOR, COMEDY: Let’s hear it for the nerds. Both Zachary Levi (“Chuck”) and Jim Parsons (“The Big Bang Theory”) deserve to land nominations for their geeky — and hilarious — contributions to prime time.
BEST ACTRESS, COMEDY: Not many viewers saw it, but Toni Collette’s performance as a woman with multiple personalities in “The United States of Tara” was a tour de force of comic acting versatility. And let’s put in a good word for Christina Applegate. A nomination would be a classy going-away gift after ABC rudely canceled her “Samantha Who?”
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA: Walton Goggins went toe-to-toe with Michel Chiklis on “The Shield” and kept us riveted to his sad and desperate end. Also worthy of consideration: John Noble. His bizarre mad scientist brought some much-needed levity and quirkiness to “Fringe.”
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS, DRAMA: Jumping back on that “Friday Night Lights” train, it’s a crime that Connie Britton has been snubbed for two years in the Best Actress category. Now she’s shifting over to the supporting category in trying to land a nomination. Let’s hope the move pays off. Meanwhile, all the women in “Big Love” are exceptional, but this season it was the scheming Chloe Sevigny who really caught our eye.
BEST SUPPPORTING ACTOR, COMEDY: While Fey and Alec Baldwin get most of the attention on “30 Rock,” all Tracy Morgan gets are big, hearty belly laughs. It’s time to pay him his due. And on “How I Met Your Mother,” Jason Segel continues to win us over with his combination of charm and childlike goofiness.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS, COMEDY: The adorable Jenna Fischer has always been a gem on “The Office,” but this season she stepped out and upped her game. Toss her a nomination. And do the same for Cobie Smulders for her hilarious work on “How I Met Your Mother.”
Nominations for the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards will be announced July 16. The trophies will be handed out during a telecast on CBS on Sept. 13 — one week earlier than previously announced.