Only things we’re used to picking here at the MoJaMa offices are our noses, but since it’s September and our new herringbone coat means fall is under way, we figured we’d fill you in like Craig David, our ill-informed readers, on our picks for the 60th Primetime Emmy Awards, airing Sunday, September 21st. Everything you could possibly want to know about the categories that matter to push you over the top in your Emmy party pool after the jump.
Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming Less Than One Hour)
Creature Comforts in America
King of the Hill
Analysis: The Simpsons never seem to lose, but Creature Comforts, from the brilliant minds behind Wollace & Grommit, could provide an upset.
Pick: The Simpsons.
Outstanding Art Direction for a Miniseries or Movie
The Andromeda Strain
Analysis: Only HBO has the budget to dress up a TV movie, particularly one not directed by Jay Roach.
Pick: John Adams
Outstanding Art Direction for a Multi-Camera Series
How I Met Your Mother
The New Adventures of Old Christine
Analysis: This is a crap-shoot, I suppose. Neither really has the luxury of ostentatious scene changes like a single-camera series, but HIMYM has been more daring with arranging single takes that rely on convincingly dressed sets.
Pick: How I Met Your Mother
Outstanding Art Direction for a Single-Camera Series
Analysis: Mad Men is a gorgeous period piece that can’t possibly lose. However, listed twice for two episodes, it might split the vote, allowing the candy-colored Pushing Daisies or loveingly cartoonish Ugly Betty to win.
Pick: Mad Men.
Outstanding Cinematography for Nonfiction Programming
Autism: The Musical
Ice Road Truckers
This American Life
Analysis: This American Life, a radio show adapted for the screen relies solely on images to translate from your ears to your eyes. Since it relies almost exclusively on beautiful cinematography to make this translation credible, we think it has to win. However, one can never count HBO out, which aired Autism, and Showtime doesn’t have a history of bringing in the big awards.
Pick: This American Life
Outstanding Cinematography for a One Hour Series
Analysis: Though Battlestar Galactica breathes new life into the televised sci-fi/action genre with compelling images, it’s impossible to ignore Mad Men. Impossible.
Pick: Mad Men
Outstanding Comedy Series
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Two and a Half Men
Analysis: The Office has floundered since its second season; Curb is past it’s prime; Entourage too has lost its footing; and Two and a Half Men is pretty much the same. You don’t have to squeeze those mind grapes too hard on this one.
Pick: 30 Rock.
Outstanding Drama Series
Pick: Mad Men
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
Rip Torn as Don Geiss, 30 Rock
Will Arnett as Devin Banks, 30 Rock
Steve Buscemi as Len, 30 Rock
Tim Conway as Bucky Bright, 30 Rock
Shelley Berman as Nat David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Analysis: It’s a tough one between the common 30 Rock contributors, Rip Torn and Will Arnett. Torn’s great and a big name to pick against, but Will Arnett makes it a tempting risk to take.
Pick: Rip Torn.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Pick: Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Pick: John Hamm, Mad Men
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries
Pick: Ricky Gervais, Extras: the Series Finale
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Pick: Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Pick: Kyra Sedgewick, The Closer
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries
Pick: Laura Linney, John Adams
Outstanding Made for Television Movie
Pick: Extras: The Extra Special Season Finale
Outstanding Invidual Performance In a Variety or Music Program
Analysis: Hm, Stewart for TDS, Fey for SNL, Letterman for his Late Night, or Colbert for his Report? History suggests Letterman but cultural capital leads us to believe Stewart could claim the statue. However, can one every truly count out Tinay Fey? Colbert is by far the most relevant, but are the Emmy’s out in LA too far behind the curve to understand the shifting popularity from the Daily Show to its 11:30 EST successor?
Outstanding Reality Competition Program
Analysis: Has the Amazing Race ever lost? This could be the year of Bravo with Project Runway and Top Chef competing for the top spot. But what about American Idol? Isn’t it about time it’s recognized as the benevolent giant that stops for a few months a year to allow other television shows to reach a piddling audience?
Pick: The Amazing Race
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Analysis: We personally believe Piven has become a repetitive caricature of himself on Entourage. Kevin Dillon’s great as Drama, but the nomination is probably credit enough for Brother Chase. NPH is our personal favorite, but can Rainn Wilson really be overlooked on The Office?
Pick: Rainn Wilson
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Analysis: Some heavy-weights in this category, Shatner, Danson, but Slattery of Mad Men is an actor’s actor who’s made a career for himself as a stage actor on Broadway. His subtle, amiable portrayal of Roger Sterling is makes every scene with him a joy to watch. Who would the quiet, complicated Don Draper be without Slattery’s amoral foil?
Pick: John Slattery
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Analysis: How Amy Poehler is nominated for SNL in this category, which seems exclusively meant for sitcom stars is beyond us. Obviously we love her and aren’t even bothering to look who else is nominated? Vanessa Williams? Go paint with all the colors of the wind. Oh but wait, Kristin Chennowith, the original Glinda from Wicked. She is incredible and completely worthy of adulation. Tough showdown between the blond chicks.
Pick: Amy Poehler
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Analysis: Grey’s Anatomy is still on? Weird. We don’t watch any of these shows so we’re just going to go with the Aussie from Six Feet Under.
Pick: Rachel Griffiths
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
Analysis: Ha! Flight of the Conchords is nominated. Well I suppose the music deserves attention, but the story lines, character development and dialogue were far too insufferable for us to really make it through the season without serious discipline. The real question is, which 30 Rock’s going to win? The one written by producer Jack Burditt, or the one written by Tina Fey? Hm, the episode entitled, “Rosemary’s Baby,” written by Burditt, featured Carrie Fisher as a washed up female comedy writer who lives in Little Armenia and was easily one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. “Cooter,” the episode written by Fey featured a guest appearance by Matthew Broderick and it was good, but not a 30 Rock best. But that’s like saying one John Mayer song is better than another one. They’re all gems that deserve our undivided loyalty and affection. But since we have to choose…
Pick: Jack Burditt, “Rosemary’s Baby”
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
Analysis: Wow. 2 Mad Men episodes vs. the seris finale of The Wire. Yeesh. This is like picking your favorite John Mayer…oh, did we say that already? Personally, I didn’t feel season 5 of The Wire was as powerful as season 1 of Mad Men, but seasons 3 and 4 of The Wire are some of the best on television. Could it be a political choice to award The Wire the way the Sopranos reaped in all the awards at the end of its run? But damn, Matthew Weiner wrote the sweet smelling beetlejuice, beetlejuice, beetlejuice out of the Mad Men pilot.
Pick: The Wire.
Outstanding Writing for Music, Variety or Comedy Show
Analysis: It’s CBS vs. NBC. Conan/SNL vs. Letterman/Stewart/Colbert. I suppose the real competition is between The Daily Show and Colbert. The Daily Show will probably win, but perhaps it’s time for Colbert to gain the recognition he and his team deserve after a stellar season last year. If we were going off of this year’s election coverage, sure the Daily Show would win, but last year did seem to be Colbert’s year.
Pick: The Colbert Report.