2013 Emmy Nominations Review (Lead Actress in a Comedy Series) – Who Should Win?
For the next few weeks I will be reviewing the nominations of all the major categories. For the Drama and Comedy categories, the actors will have to choose one episode that represents their best performance for Emmy consideration. I will use these episode submissions (along with some other factors) to determine who I believe deserves the Emmy the most. Bookmark this website or subscribe to be updated on new posts and categories.
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Here are the nominees for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series…
Tina Fey – 30 Rock (“Hogcock/Last Lunch”)
Laura Dern – Enlightened (“All I Ever Wanted”)
Lena Dunham – Girls (“Bad Friend”)
Edie Falco – Nurse Jackie (“Luck of the Drawing”)
Amy Poehler – Parks and Recreation (“Emergency Response/Leslie and Ben”)
Julia-Louis Dreyfuss – Veep (“Running”)
I watch all these shows regularly, except Parks and Recreation and Nurse Jackie.
Like last year, this is a very strong category. But there are two nominees that I definitely wouldn’t want to win (I know that “definitely” makes it seem like I think these nominees are awful…but that’s not it at all.) At number 6 is Edie Falco. You know, she (like the show) is a reliable rock. I don’t watch the show regularly during the season, but when I’m about to watch her submission to write this post, I always expect an enjoyable 30 minutes…and that is what I always get. Edie Falco submitted an episode where, on the day of her birthday, she tries to rearrange her work schedule so she can have partial custody of her children. It’s a solid performance from her that features some humorous scenes (her various encounters with her patients) and some dramatic scenes (her birthday party with her daughters). But…it’s not as dramatic as Laura Dern…and it’s not as funny as some of the other nominees. So there’s no reason for her to win.
When I first found out Lena Dunham had submitted “Bad Friend”…I was disappointed because I really thought “One Man’s Trash” was the show’s best episode and that she gave her strongest, most natural performance in that episode. It’s an episode where she literally only shares screen time with Patrick Wilson. I still honestly feel that way even after watching “Bad Friend”…but I have to admit, it’s a great episode for her. This is the episode where she decides to try cocaine for the first time with her gay roommate (played hilariously by Andrew Rannells) whom, she later finds out, had an affair with Marnie. This leads to Hannah giving a coked out emotional speech to Marnie about how much of a “bad friend” she is. It’s a great great moment and it’s just further proof that Dunham has grown as an actress. However…she’s not yet at the level of the actresses higher than her (including a couple who have yet to win an Emmy).
This top 4 is difficult for me but…I gotta make a choice. I think Tina Fey would be my 4th place choice. You know…she has created one of the greatest comedic characters of all time. I’ve always enjoyed Liz Lemon and Fey’s performance of her. Fey can go from being this quirky, awkward Liz to this straight-faced serious Liz in one scene and…I mean, that’s a skill right there. She decided to submit the finale, which might be a nice way to get voter sympathy. However…I really believe “Mazel Tov, Dummies” (her wedding episode) would have been a stronger, funnier, more compact episode, with just as much emotional resonance as the actual series finale. The finale gives her one really great scene where she tearfully says goodbye to Tracy at a strip club as a nice callback to the series pilot. However for the rest of the episode, I don’t think she has as much of a presence as she would had she submitted “Mazel Tov, Dummies.” Essentially, her episode submission is keeping her from being my top pick. But if she won for writing, songwriting, or even for the whole series, that would be awesome.
Veep is my favorite comedy show of the television season (oh oops, more on that later), and while I’m glad voters have decided to look at the series as whole and gave it nominations in the supporting acting categories, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss is the heart of the show and would deserve a nomination more than anyone else. She submitted a doozy of a submission where her character walks through a glass door, gets a bloodied up face, takes a bunch of painkillers and spends most of the episode in a loopy, fun-loving state. The next day, realizing she gets no respect from POTUS, Selina decides to not run for vice president again. It’s a great submission, definitely a stronger submission than last year. But, Louis-Dreyfuss won last year. It’s not that I’m against repeat winners (see Aaron Paul). But when she’s at practically the same level as the top 2, then I’m more inclined to root for the person who hasn’t won yet. I’d rather see the actual show win as a whole.
That leaves me to Laura Dern and Amy Poehler. I struggled with this all morning (Eastern Time). For the longest time, I was rooting for Laura Dern (I guess you already know where this is going). She gives such a warm, yet enthusiastic performance. Amy is such an endearing character and sometimes I can really relate to her frustrating optimism. Dern submitted the episode where Amy’s ex-husband (Luke Wilson) comes back from a Hawaiian retreat just as Amy was beginning a new, wonderful relationship. It puts Amy in a difficult position. It’s a very, beautiful, emotional performance…probably the most emotional in this category. She has exactly one funny scene where she yells at her mother for criticizing her hair right before her date. I always thought this show was more of a drama and that it should have been submitted in the Drama categories. But it’s too late for all that. Dern gives one of the best performances on TV and, for a while, after she was first nominated and after I finally caught up with the series, I was rooting for her to win as a nice source of validation.
However…in the end, once again, I’m putting most of my support behind Amy Poehler. I admit it…I haven’t been the most faithful to this show. Maybe with 30 Rock out of the way and Veep not premiering until 2014, maybe I’ll actually have more time to watch Parks and Recreation regularly. But, anyway, it was never because of the show’s quality…and it certainly wasn’t because of Poehler’s perfectly excellent performance as Leslie Knope. She’s like Tina Fey or even Steve Carell – she has truly created a legendary comedy character. She decided to submit two episodes that pretty much act as two-parter. While the first part is centered on Leslie frantically trying to plan a fundraising gala, the second part (“Leslie and Ben”) takes place at the same night as Leslie and Ben and their friends try to plan a quickie wedding. This is a tour-de-force performance that allows Poehler to be hilarious (when she creates a fake newscast where she plays all the characters) and dramatic (telling Ron Swanson that she wants him to walk her down the aisle) all at the same time. This is also just a wonderful episode in itself. Since this would have been the series finale anyway if the show hadn’t gotten the “back 8,” maybe voter sentiment will help her out here too.
Official, objective predictions will be revealed closer to the ceremony’s air date. More categories coming soon! Thanks for reading. Click here for more Emmy posts.