Note: This post is the latest in an on-going series of pieces exploring the major categories at the 2015 Emmy awards. We will cover actors, actresses, and series – Comedy and Drama – through the end of the voting period on August 28. See something you like or a performance you’d like to single out? Share the posts and create some Twitter buzz! We’ll see you at the Emmys.
There are a few fresh faces in the Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series category this year and a few returning faces (that Showtime block must be killing it). The big question mark is will Transparent‘s placement in the Comedy categories clash with voters who may perceive the work to be more dramatic in nature. People like to laugh in their comedies, and, while Transparent is an excellent show, it’s not exactly full of jokes. But if Jeffrey Tambor doesn’t win here, then who does? Our money is on Will Forte’s dark-horse performance in Last Man on Earth.
Here are the episodes these actors submitted for Emmy consideration.
Performer: Anthony Anderson as Andre Johnson in Black-ish
Episode: “Sex, Lies, and Vasectomies” (Season 1, Episode 18)
Highlights: Andre gets caught in a lie after Bo misses her period.
Why He Could Win: It’s a freshman show, which adds a new face to the category. Anderson beat out golden boys like Jim Parsons to be here. Plus, positive reviews of the show help.
Why He Could Lose: The submitted episode involves a topic that’s been done to death in the sitcom world. Plus, this is the show’s sole nomination, so there isn’t necessarily a ton of love for this series (yet!).
Performer: Don Cheadle as Marty Kean in House of Lies
Episode: “It’s a Box Inside a Box” (Season 4, Episode 12)
Highlights: In the season 4 finale, K&A is on the verge of becoming huge—if Marty can convince people to stick around.
Why He Could Win: This is the fourth time he’s been nominated in this category for this role, so he’s overdue for a win. He did win a surprise Golden Globe for the role, albeit over two years ago.
Why He Could Lose: Who’s watching House of Lies? It certainly doesn’t have the buzz of shows like Transparent or Last Man on Earth. Plus, no SAG nomination for the role ever shows a weakness among the actors.
Performer: Louis C.K. as Louie in Louie
Episode: “Bobby’s House” (Season 5, Episode 4)
Highlights: Louie gets beaten up by a woman and has to mask his bruises with makeup.
Why He Could Win: Louie got a lot of nominations this year, including Outstanding Comedy Series. Plus, the submitted episode has him at his most vulnerable when he wears makeup and calls himself “Jornatha” proving the actor is willing to explore deeper topics like gender roles and stereotypes – miles above the standard sitcom fare. Hollywood loves drag. He’s also never won for this role, so this might be his year.
Why He Could Lose: Louie’s recent appearance on SNL wasn’t well-received, and his brand of comedy was questioned as going too far.
Performer: Will Forte as Phil Miller in Last Man on Earth
Episode: “Alive in Tucson” (Season 1, Episode 1)
Highlights: Phil Miller meanders around Tucson alone before deciding to kill himself.
Why He Could Win: By all accounts, the role/show shouldn’t work. A post-apocalyptic comedy? But in this pilot episode, Forte entertains and makes audiences feel something. Plus, Emmy voters nominated the show in the writing categories.
Why He Could Lose: Phil Miller is not a likable character by any means. Much of the first season brings cringe after cringe.
Performer: Matt LeBlanc as Matt LeBlanc in Episodes
Episode: “Episode 405” (Season 4, Episode 5)
Highlights: Matt owes millions in back taxes and is forced to make an appearance at a war criminal’s birthday party.
Why He Could Win: This episode includes a Friends reunion with David Schwimmer showing up at said war criminal’s birthday party and revealing he was paid more than LeBlanc on the NBC sitcom. Plus, Hollywood loves movies and TV shows that poke fun at themselves.
Why He Could Lose: Some questioned whether the series is running out of steam. Of all the shows, it’s one of the least buzzworthy.
Performer: William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher in Shameless
Episode: “A Night to Remem—Wait, What?” (Season 5, Episode 4)
Highlights: Frank has to retrace his steps after a drunken night (ala Hangover).
Why He Could Win: He’s never won before and he’s a beloved actor in the community. So much so, in fact, that he shockingly won a SAG Award earlier this year.
Why He Could Lose: In this episode, he wrestles with a young girl over her prosthetic leg. Not exactly an ideal Emmy clip. Plus, like House of Lies and Episodes, Shameless has been around the block for a few years now. It lacks some urgency or sex appear associated with winners.
Performer: Jeffrey Tambor as Maura Pfefferman in Transparent
Episode: “The Letting Go” (Season 1, Episode 2)
Highlights: Maura comes out to her family.
Why He Could Win: Thanks to an excellent, raw, emotional performance, Tambor won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Comedy as did the series. Plus, this subject is a hot-button issue right now, especially with Caitlyn Jenner’s transitioning.
Why He Could Lose: The Affair won Best Drama series at the Golden Globes and was ignored by the Emmys, and the SAG Awards ignored Transparent completely. Plus, some voters may feel that this show deserves to be in the drama category—not comedy.