Jim Parsons admits he was shocked to be named Best Comedy Actor at last year’s Emmy Awards, telling Gold Derby: “Right before they announced it, I really felt like I had a moment of clarity where I thought it won’t be me. When they did say my name, it’s the most unreal feeling I’ve ever acutely had in my life. It had a feeling of levity or otherness about it.”
He won with his second consecutive bid for playing theoretical physicist Dr. Sheldon Cooper on “The Big Bang Theory.” Our experts and editors agree that Parsons is a strong contender again this year, although they give the edge to sentimental favorite Steve Carell who is winless after five bids for “The Office.”
While two of their rival nominees from last year — Larry David (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) and Tony Shalhoub (“Monk”) – aren’t in the running, category newcomers could include Joel McHale (“Community”) and Rob Lowe (“Parks and Recreation”). This race has a history of repeat winners. Shalhoub won two of his three trophies consecutively while Alec Baldwin (“30 Rock”) prevailed twice in a row. Two of Kelsey Grammer‘s four wins for “Frasier” were consecutive as were two of John Lithgow‘s three for “Third Rock From the Sun.” Michael J. Fox owned this award for three years running for “Family Ties” and Carroll O’Connor did likewise for “All in the Family.”
Despite his success, the Emmys process remains daunting to Parsons: “When I finally was able to nominate as an Emmy member … I realized how surprising it is that anything ever gets done … the Scantron and bubbles and list of names … well, I’m shocked I’ve ever been nominated when I look at it this way. It feels very hard to achieve.”
Four months after taking home the Emmy, Parsons won his first Golden Globe. He was handed the award by his co-star Kaley Cuoco who, as Penny, is often his sparring partner on the show. Indeed, she figures in one of his possible episode submissions if nominated. In “The Apology Insufficiency,” his character causes problems for Howard (Simon Helberg). “I enjoyed having Sheldon deal with some sort of crisis of guilt. He felt so bad and needed to try and correct it. He couldn’t, and more importantly, normally he can. There was one scene I had where I had to confess my sins to Penny in the bar.”
Parsons is also considering two other episodes. In “The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification,” Sheldon is worried about his life expectancy and builds a robot substitute. And in “The Zazzy Substitution,” Sheldon becomes depressed about the end of his relationship with Amy (Mayim Bialik), and his roommate Leonard (Johnny Galecki) is forced to summon his tart-tongued mother (Laurie Metcalf) for some tough love.
Parsons is spending the hiatus making his Broadway debut in the Tony-winning revival of Larry Kramer‘s play “The Normal Heart.” In this gripping drama about the AIDS crisis, Parson’s character Tommy Boatwright provides some much-needed comic relief.