2011 Emmy Nominations Predictions – BEST ACTOR in a DRAMA and COMEDY SERIES

emmy 2011 best actors nomination prediciton

With the 2011 Emmy nominations almost upon us, it’s time to continue considering who should be up for television’s most prestigious event.

BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA
 

Now that Walter White is out of the picture, the Best Actor in a Drama Series race is going to be a hell of a lot more interesting this year. Which leading man do you think should go for the gold?

SEAN BEAN as LORD EDDARD ‘NED’ STARK in GAME OF THRONES
 

GAME OF THRONES You Win or You Die

Think about the challenge which faced Sean Bean. First of all, there’s the Lord of the Rings stigma which he had to shake off. Then there’s the fact that he had to play Ned Stark, a person of such sickening nobility and honor that he could so easily have been a flat and one dimensional preaching toe. Instead Bean played Ned Stark with a sense of poignant tragedy and we and he were forced to learn the hard way the lessons of the game of thrones: chivalry and honesty and goodness means nothing. The only rule of the game of thrones is survival.

#5 HOLT MCCALLANY as LIGHTS LEARY in LIGHTS OUT
 

Lights Out may have been too literal a title for this one season series, but just because it is gone forever does not mean it has to be forgotten. The story was sometimes muzzy and unfocused in tone but the writers at least had a fascinating central character and a great man to embody him. McCallany infused Lights with a weird combination of brutality, humor, strength, vulnerability. Moments like Lights walking into a gun pressed against his chest with a look of go on, punk. I dare you to or scenes where he threatens his daughter from revealing his dementia, plus all of the brilliantly directed fighting scenes, promised that while the show had a lot more to offer, brief as it was, McCallany gave it his all.

#4 STEVE BUSCEMI as NUCKY THOMPSON in BOARDWALK EMPIRE
 

boardwalk empire hbo season 2

Buscemi deserves the nomination, and not just because he’s Steve Buscemi, one of the greatest character actors of all time. He delivered one of the best performances of the year, humanizing a calculating criminal to a surprising level.

#3 TIMOTHY OLYPHANT as RAYLAN GIBBONS in JUSTIFIED
 

Justified

Timothy Olyphant is really hot. But that’s not the only reason he should get a nomination. He has a charisma about him and as Raylan Givens he displays a slow, Southern pacing in everything from his deliberate movements to his drawl. He’s cool.

#2 KYLE CHANDLER as ERIC TAYLOR in FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
 

kyle chandler friday night lights

Coach Eric Taylor is one of the best television characters ever. In a time when television is loaded with a plethora of anti-heroes and men with dark secrets, Coach Eric Taylor is a good guy trying to do what’s right by his family and his community and the kids he’s grown to love. He’s smarter than Ned Stark in that he can see that not all men are honorable, but despite this he maintains his honor. He’s a heroic figure, a genuine aspiration, one of the best (if not the best) television dads (biological or surrogate) of all time, and the Taylors are the best married couple ever to grace the screen. Say it with me now: clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!

#1 JON HAMM as DON DRAPER in MAD MEN
 

I need to preface my next statement with a warning: do not punch your computer screen when I tell you this, no matter how shocking and upsetting it is. I do not want to read in the news that anyone suffered a sudden head on collision with a laptop/computer/television as they enjoyed their lovely afternoon (or morning or night time) stroll. Okay, now that that’s over with, let’s get to the horror: Jon Hamm has never won an Emmy for his performance as Don Draper. Yes, I know. It’s a catastrophe that makes Darfur look like a playground tussle. But it’s true. How, you might ask? Walter White. Oh, you may say. Well, that’s understandable. Bryan Cranston is freakin’ awesome. He is. And he has three consecutive Emmys to prove it. Now that he’s out of the picture, Television Academy, do the right thing and give Don Draper the Emmy.

BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY
 

It struck me while coming up with this list that although I had to leave several deserving contenders off of my Best Actress in a Comedy list, I was scrambling to fill in the last two places. This year has not been kind to the leading men in comedy. Shall we see who made it?

#6 ZACHARY LEVI as CHUCK BARTOWSKI in CHUCK
 

Chuck

Chuck isn’t really a comedy. It’s a light drama. Sometimes it’s a dark drama, which I suppose would make it just a drama, but Levi has been very good throughout the show’s run so why the hell not throw him some gold? Face it: your only other alternative is Matthew Morrison. We all saw him hump the piano last year. Are you really going to reward him for molesting our eyes? Really?

#5 LOUIE CK as LOUIE CK in LOUIE
 

What CK does on his show Louie is unprecedented: he writes, directs, stars and edits every single episode. And he is brazenly funny and awkwardly poignant. It’s a fantastic performance.

#4 JIM PARSONS as SHELDON COOPER in THE BIG BANG THEORY
 

The Roommate Transmogrification

Last year’s Emmy winner Jim Parsons is the best part about a very good sitcom. The writers of The Big Bang Theory have never been kinder, giving him a hilariously awkward romance to play with, along with the usual fantastic relationship with Penny. Jim Parsons is completely deserving of a nomination.

#3 ALEC BALDWIN as JACK DONAGHY in 30 ROCK
 

Alec Baldwin’s Jack Donaghy is just the classiest dirtbag ever. From hitchhiking across the Canadian-US border with meth dealers so his child would not be born in the godforsaken Canada to donning Ronald Reagan masks during Skype sex to his fantastic relationship with Liz Lemon, Baldwin’s performance cannot be overrated.

#2 JOEL MCHALE as JEFF WINGER in COMMUNITY
 

COMMUNITY "Messianic Myths And Ancient Peoples"

Community is one of the best shows on television, and Joel McHale has enough self-aware cockiness that his performance as Jeff Winger manages to balance the tricky line between insipid arrogance and confident jackass with aplomb.

#1 STEVE CARRELL as MICHAEL SCOTT in THE OFFICE
 

THE OFFICE "Goodbye Michael, Part 2" Season 7 Episode 22

Steve Carrell has yet to win an Emmy for The Office and this is his last chance to do so. Now usually I’m against giving someone an award just because they were not recognised for past work, but there really were no standout leading man performances in a comedy this year that deserve the award (though no one really “deserves” anything). After an uneven first year, Carell finally found the right tone for his character and Michael has been a hilarious, awkward ball of delight ever since. The Television Academy should totally right that wrong and give him the gold.

Follow me on Twitter @CiaraMoyna