This year's Emmy ballot includes a number of surprises as performers strategically shift categories in an effort to take home the gold. It was posted at the TV academy's website Monday and voters have till 5 p.m. PT on June 28 to return their ballots to the accountants. Nominees will be revealed in the wee hours of July 19.
The first name on the ballot, Tim Allen, is a familiar one. In the heyday of "Home Improvement" in 1994, he was mistakenly not submitted. Allen is contending for his return to series TV in "Last Man Standing." He is hoping for a Best Comedy Actor bid and, as reported in recent weeks by Gold Derby, four formerly featured funny fellows are trying to break into that race as well.
2009 supporting champ Jon Cryer ("Two and a Half Men") is hoping to jump up as are Garret Dillahunt ("Raising Hope"), Ed Helms ("The Office"), and Adam Scott ("Parks and Recreation"). Why the change for so many? Two of last year's nominees -- Steve Carell ("The Office") and Matt LeBlanc ("Episodes") -- are not eligible.
Among the funny ladies, Cloris Leachman ("Raising Hope") was nominated last year as a guest actress but has new billing and must compete as Best Comedy Supporting Actress. Hoping to join her in that category are Kaley Cuoco ("The Big Bang Theory") and Teri Hatcher ("Desperate Housewives") who both move from lead to supporting.
Two of Hatcher's co-stars, Marcia Cross and Eva Longoria, decided not to enter for the final season while Felicity Huffman, who won in lead for the show's first season in 2005, is staying put there. The late Kathryn Joosten is on the supporting ballot after two guest wins in 2005 and 2008.
Almost all of the 2011 comedy winners return including series champ "Modern Family," leads Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory") and Melissa McCarthy ("Mike and Molly") and "Modern Family" featured folk Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen. The only exceptions are guest winners Justin Timberlake ("Saturday Night Live") and Gwyneth Paltrow ("Glee").
The big news on the dramatic side has been known for weeks: last year's champ for Best TV Movie/Miniseries, "Downton Abbey," must now compete for Best Drama Series. The cast, including 2011 supporting movie/mini actress winner Maggie Smith and lead movie/mini nominee Elizabeth McGovern, will now be jockeying for positions in the competitive drama series acting categories.
Returning after a year's absence are "Breaking Bad" and three-time Best Drama Actor Bryan Cranston and 2010 Supporting Actor winner Aaron Paul plus "Damages" and its two-time Best Drama Actress winner Glenn Close and nominee Rose Byrne.
"Mad Men" actress January Jones moves once again, this time going from lead to supporting while the second Mrs. Don Draper, Jessica Pare, jumps all the way from guest to lead. Giancarlo Esposito, formerly a guest star on "Breaking Bad," now tries his luck in supporting.
Two of last year's drama series winners - lead Kyle Chandler ("Friday Night Lights") and supporting player Margo Martindale ("Justified") - are no longer eligible. However, series winner "Mad Men," series star Julianna Margulies ("The Good Wife"), supporting actor Peter Dinklage ("Game of Thrones"), and guest star Loretta Devine ("Grey's Anatomy") are all in the hunt. The other guest winner, Paul McCrane ("Harrys Law"), did appear in an episode but is not on this year's ballot.
In the longform categories, ATAS had ruled that FX could submit "American Horror Story" as either a drama series or a miniseries since the program would be completely different from one season to the next. The network executives decided to go the mini route, bringing along stars Dylan McDermott, Connie Britton, and Jessica Lange.
The committee also ruled that the ABC programs "Missing" (with Ashley Judd) and "The River" (with Leslie Hope and Bruce Greenwood) could compete as miniseries since they would each only have one season due to low ratings.
Notable movie and miniseries performers who chose not to submit themselves this year include Ethan Hawke, William Hurt, and Donald Sutherland ("Moby Dick"), Anna Friel, Bob Hoskins, and Rhys Ifans ("Neverland"), Jason Isaacs ("Case Histories"), and Bill Pullman ("Innocent").
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