The Emmy race for Comedy Actor has become a boring one recently. Over the years, the category has been plagued with repeat winners and similar sets of nominees, making it uninteresting to Emmywatchers.
However, this year the race is bound to be much more exciting. Steve Carell, a perennial nominee, is not returning due to his departure from "The Office." And Matt LeBlanc, who was nominated here last year for "Episodes" and over ten years ago for "Friends," is ineligible to return since the series will not air any new installments during the qualifying period for this year’s awards. This leaves two spots in the category open.
Leading the pack are two-time champions of this category Jim Parsons and Alec Baldwin, who earned their repeat wins for "The Big Bang Theory" and "30 Rock," respectively. Almost all of our Editors are predicting them to return to the race.
All of our pundits also agree that Louis C.K. will come back for the second year of his FX comedy "Louie," which will be airing its third season during the eligibility period. Larry David also appears on everybody’s list for the most recent season of his long-running comedy "Curb Your Enthusiasm." HBO will undoubtedly campaign heavily on his behalf. Beyond these four men, the category becomes much harder to predict.
This season featured many role promotions and cast changes, which are reflected in this category. Jon Cryer (the winner of Supporting Comedy Actor in 2009 for "Two and a Half Men"), Ed Helms ("The Office") and Adam Scott ("Parks and Recreation") have all decided to try their luck in the lead race after submitting in the supporting race in previous years. Each man has a case to make it into the category.
Cryer is beloved by the academy, having received six consecutive nominations for this role including the aforementioned victory in 2009. His role has also been expanded this season due to the departure of Charlie Sheen, a previous nominee in this category, from the series.
Helms is a movie star, well known to audiences due to his appearance in "The Hangover" and its sequel. His role has also been expanded this season due to Carell’s departure and he has been given his best material yet. However, Helms has yet to receive any recognition for this role, meaning he may not be on the academy’s radar.
Scott has been receiving praise from critics all season and has played a pivotal role in the show’s progression. It does not hurt that he is also on a likely Best Comedy Series nominee. He, too, has yet to receive recognition for this role, but he is appearing in numerous films this season and may benefit from this exposure.
Beyond these category-jumpers are newcomers Jeremy Sisto ("Suburgatory") and Oscar-nominee Don Cheadle ("House of Lies"), both of whom have strong cases to make appearances here. Lucas Neff ("Raising Hope") could also benefit from being seen on his nominated co-stars’ episodes last year and could receive a surprise nomination.
Johnny Galecki ("The Big Bang Theory") who received his first career nomination last year could also come back once again. Matthew Morrison, nominated in 2010 for "Glee", could also make a surprise return.
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