Jake Johnson is the latest actor to gamble on a leap up to Emmy’s lead race for Best Comedy Actor. Johnson, who plays underachieving bartender Nick Miller on the sophomore comedy “New Girl,” submitted in supporting last year but wasn’t nominated. His co-star Max Greenfield earned a bid in that category, but lost to “Modern Family‘s” Eric Stonestreet.
Johnson follows a string of actors who have promoted themselves in recent years. Adam Scott (“Parks and Recreation“), Garret Dillahunt (“Raising Hope“), and Ed Helms (“The Office“) all made the move, though none of them managed to break through.
One actor made a successful transition last year — after Charlie Sheen‘s dismissal from “Two and a Half Men,” Jon Cryer jumped from supporting to lead, which he won in one of the night’s biggest upsets.
Lead-acting races are usually the most competitive at the Emmys. However, in recent years the men from “Modern Family” have had a stranglehold on Comedy Supporting Actor, taking 11 out of 18 slots over the last three years and winning every time (Stonestreet in 2010 and 2012; Ty Burrell in 2011). This makes moving to lead more appealing to Emmy hopefuls.
Five of last year’s six Comedy Actor nominees are back in the running this year: Alec Baldwin (“30 Rock“), Don Cheadle (“House of Lies“), Louis C.K. (“Louie“), Jim Parsons (“The Big Bang Theory“), and Cryer.
-ADDPREDICTION:98:166:Click to predict Comedy Actor Emmy:ADDPREDICTION-
Larry David isn’t eligible, since “Curb Your Enthusiasm” won’t air any new episodes in this eligibility period, but two previous nominees could take his place: Jason Bateman (“Arrested Development“) and Matt LeBlanc (“Episodes“).
Will Johnson’s move to Best Comedy Actor pay off? Our forum posters have weighed in on his Emmy switch. Read their select comments below and join the discussion here.
Junk: Yes, leap up to Lead. He has had great storylines this season, and can be considered the co-lead with [Zooey Deschanel] especially now with the budding love story.
taloson: I doubt he’ll be nominated but he has a better chance in lead than what has become the “Best Supporting Actor in ‘Modern Family'” category.
Teproc: He’s far and away the MVP of the show, and the extra focus on him has also made Zooey Deschanel’s character better. He has a bunch of strong submissions too.
thesmartone: I don’t know if leaping up to lead would help him or hurt him. Lead Actor, for the first time in YEARS, is very competitive.
Rich Landry: I am very on the fence with this one. I think this show is one of the best ensembles on television right now. I would love to see Johnson nominated because he has been awesome this season. As has Greenfield. If “Modern Family” and “Arrested Development” were not in the picture, I would say no, but it could be a smart move. He really deserves a nomination and could be a strong contender in the category.