Emmys: ‘Family Guy,’ ‘Flight of the Conchords’ up for top comedy

[17 July 2009]

By Hal Boedeker

The Orlando Sentinel (MCT)

At 61, the Emmys have struck a surprisingly hip pose.

Nominators threw a lot of love at Fox’s “Family Guy” and HBO’s “Flight of the Conchords,” two cutting-edge comedies. Both will compete for top comedy series with HBO’s “Entourage,” CBS’ “How I Met Your Mother,” NBC’ “Office,” Showtime’s “Weeds” and NBC’s “30 Rock.” The favorite would seem to be “30 Rock,” which has won the award the past two years and received 22 nominations, the most for any program this year.

AMC’s “Mad Men,” which won the drama prize last year, is the heavy favorite to repeat this year. The drama about 1960s advertising received 16 nominations. It is up against Showtime’s “Dexter,” AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” FX’s “Damages,” Fox’s “House,” ABC’s “Lost” and HBO’s “Big Love.”

A surprising omission was FX’s “Shield,” which concluded its run in memorably unsettling style. Nominators also ignored HBO’s “True Blood,” which is growing into a major hit for that channel.

The reality competition pits “American Idol,” America’s favorite series, against “Project Runway,” “Top Chef,” “Dancing With the Stars” and “The Amazing Race.” “Race” has won the prize six years in a row.

The Emmys will be presented Sept. 20 on CBS. Neil Patrick Harris of “How I Met Your Mother” will host.

Here are some other major categories:

The contenders for music/variety series are “The Colbert Report,” “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” “Late Show With David Letterman,” “Real Time With Bill Maher” and “Saturday Night Live.” “Daily Show” has won the prize six years in a row.

Lead dramatic actress: Sally Field of “Brothers & Sisters,” Kyra Sedgwick of “The Closer,” Glenn Close of “Damages, Mariska Hargitay of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” Elisabeth Moss of “Mad Men” and Holly Hunter of “Saving Grace.” Close won last year. Field and Hargitay are previous winners for their roles. Don’t be surprised if Moss triumphs here for her subtle work.

Lead dramatic actor: Simon Baker of “The Mentalist,” Hugh Laurie of “House, Michael C. Hall of “Dexter,” Jon Hamm of “Mad Men,” Gabriel Byrne of “In Treatment” and Bryan Cranston of “Breaking Bad.” Cranston won last year, and he’s a good bet to repeat because he gives such a searing performance. Baker’s nomination was encouraging because the Emmys recognized a series in its freshman year.

Lead comedy actor: Jim Parsons of “The Big Bang Theory,” Jemaine Clement of “Flight of the Conchords,” Tony Shalhoub of “Monk,” Steve Carell of “The Office,” Alec Baldwin of “30 Rock” and Charlie Sheen of “Two and a Half Men.” Baldwin won last year. Shalhoub has won three times for his role. Parsons, a breakout star, seems the likely victor.

Lead comedy actor: Julia Louis-Dreyfus of “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” Christina Applegate of “Samantha Who?,” Sarah Silverman of “The Sarah Silverman Program,” Tina Fey of “30 Rock,” Toni Collette, “United States of Tara” and Mary-Louise Parker, “Weeds.” Fey won last year, and Louis-Dreyfus is a previous victor for her role. Collette has the showiest role, a wife and mother with multiple personalities, and is a good bet to win.

Only two miniseries were nominated: HBO’s “Generation Kill” and PBS’ “Little Dorrit.” Talk about apples to oranges. HBO probably has the edge.

Made-for-TV movie: “Coco Chanel,” “Grey Gardens,” “Into the Storm,” “Prayers for Bobby” and “Taking Chance.” HBO dominated the category with nominations for “Gardens,” “Storm” and “Chance.” I liked “Chance” best, but “Gardens” probably will win. “Gardens” collected 17 nominations, and “Into the Storm” picked up 14.

Supporting actor, drama series: William Shatner of “Boston Legal,” Christian Clemenson of “Boston Legal,” Aaron Paul of “Breaking Bad,” William Hurt of “Damages,” Michael Emerson of “Lost” and John Slattery of “Mad Men.” I expect Paul will win because he is most crucial to his series’ success as a foil for Cranston.

Supporting actress, drama series: Rose Byrne of “Damages,” Sandra Oh of “Grey’s Anatomy,” Chandra Wilson of “Grey’s Anatomy,” Dianne Wiest of “In Treatment,” Hope Davis of “In Treatment” and Cherry Jones of “24.” Jones gave a wrenching performance as a U.S. president facing tremendous pressures.

Supporting actor, comedy series: Kevin Dillon of “Entourage,” Neil Patrick Harris of “How I Met Your Mother,” Rainn Wilson of “The Office,” Tracy Morgan of “30 Rock,” Jack McBrayer of “30 Rock” and Jon Cryer of “Two and a Half Men.” Cryer is a co-star on his series and could easily win. I think Harris has the edge.

Supporting actress, comedy series: Kristin Chenoweth of “Pushing Daisies,” Amy Poehler of “Saturday Night Live,” Kristin Wiig of “Saturday Night Live,” Jane Krakowski of “30 Rock,” Vanessa Williams of “Ugly Betty” and Elizabeth Perkins of “Weeds.” Poehler and Wiig did the most memorable work here.

Actor, miniseries or movie: Kevin Kline of “Cyrano de Bergerac,” Brendan Gleeson of “Into the Storm,” Ian McKellen of “King Lear,” Kevin Bacon of “Taking Chance,” Kiefer Sutherland of “24: Redemption,” Kenneth Branagh of “Wallander: One Step Behind.” What a great category. My choice: Branagh.

Actress, miniseries or movie: Chandra Wilson of “Accidental Friendship,” Shirley MacLaine of “Coco Chanel,” Drew Barrymore of “Grey Gardens,” Jessica Lange of “Grey Gardens” and Sigourney Weaver of “Prayers for Bobby.” It’s a toss-up between Barrymore and Lange. I predict voters will go for Barrymore; I’d prefer Lange.

Supporting actor, miniseries or movie: Ken Howard of “Grey Gardens,” Len Cariou of “Into the Storm,” Bob Newhart of “The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice,” Tom Courtenay of “Little Dorrit” and Andy Serkis of “Little Dorrit.” Here’s one category that’s a lock: Courtenay.

Supporting actress, miniseries or movie: Marcia Gay Harden of “The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler,” Jeanne Tripplehorn of “Grey Gardens,” Shohreh Aghdashloo of “House of Saddam,” Janet McTeer of “Into the Storm” and Cicely Tyson of “Relative Stranger.” McTeer seems to have the edge here.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/article/108384-emmys-family-guy-flight-of-the-conchords-up-for-top-comedy/