The 2013 Primetime Emmy Awards will be presented on Sunday, Sept. 22, starting at 8 Eastern on CBS, with Neil Patrick Harris as host. From now until Sunday (sometimes multiple times a day), Dan Fienberg and I will be making our usual picks for the major categories – for both what should win and what will (and keep in mind that Dan is much better historically at predictions than I am).
Next up, we’re dealing with the comedy and drama supporting actor categories. The former is dominated as usual by “Modern Family” men, albeit not quite as dominated as the last few years, while the latter features four former Emmy winners (albeit only two of them for their current roles).
Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series
Ty Burrell, “Modern Family”
Adam Driver, “Girls”
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, “Modern Family”
Bill Hader, “Saturday Night Live”
Tony Hale, “Veep”
Ed O’Neill, “Modern Family”
Alan’s pick: Again, I watched very little “Modern Family” this year, though I was relieved (and surprised) that two-time winner Eric Stonestreet wasn’t nominated for playing the increasingly one-note, unlikable Cam. (Though that fault is on the writers more than him.) Hader was my preference a year ago, and he had a wonderful farewell season, including the sketch in his submission episode where he plays a puppeteer and dealing with PTSD from his involvement in the Grenada conflict, plus Stefon’s fabulous send-off. That said, Driver is doing such weird, specific and at times incredibly powerful work on “Girls” that I’d like to see him get recognized for it.
Dan’s pick: Adam Driver, Bill Hader and Tony Hale would all be good choices. I’d probably favor one of the HBO guys, who give very, very different performances in their submission episodes. Tony Hale has some hilarious physical business in “Running” and he’ll benefit from his centrality in an episode that is also defending champ Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ submission episode. Driver, in contrast, has more dramatic material in “It’s Back,” the episode that marked the start of Adam’s arc with Shiri Appleby. I think Driver did better work in “On All Fours,” but that episode and Adam’s actions in that episode, really polarized viewers, so Driver probably made the smarter choice here. I could see the value/desert in wins for either Driver or Hale, but I’ll take Driver because I think he had a more interesting overall season on “Girls” than Hale had on “Veep.”
Alan’s pick: When in doubt in a comedy category, pick someone from “Modern Family.” As a former winner (and the best thing about the show), Burrell seems the most obvious candidate, but I’m going to keep guessing that O’Neill is going to get his turn at the podium, especially when he submitted an episode where Jay finds out he’s about to have another baby.
Dan’s pick: OK. So it’s going to be one of the “Modern Family” guys. Because that’s who wins this category. But which? Jesse Tyler Ferguson has the episode in which he beats a kid at handball and… Meh. Ty Burrell has the VERY broad farce of the episode in which Matthew Broderick comes over to watch football and thinks it’s a date. And Ed O’Neill has the episode in which he goes fishing with Jay and hilarious hijinks ensue. I think O’Neill had other episodes that might have played better. Burrell wins again.
Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series
Jonathan Banks, “Breaking Bad”
Bobby Cannavale, “Boardwalk Empire”
Jim Carter, “Downton Abbey”
Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones”
Mandy Patinkin, “Homeland”
Aaron Paul, “Breaking Bad”
Alan’s pick: Paul has won the last two years he was eligible (Dinklage won in between), and he’s great, but he didn’t have a whole lot to do in “Breaking Bad” season 5.0. Banks, on the other hand, became the weary soul of the show for his final seven hours, and even if we’re just discussion his submission episode (his farewell, “Say My Name”), it’s a tour de force of stoicism. I thought long and hard about Patinkin, who was superb in an expanded role in “Homeland” season 2 (and should’ve been nominated for season 1), but then my head filled with the sound of Mike Ehrmantraut’s departing words, and I knew it was him.
Dan’s pick: I’m not the expert here, but I don’t think Bobby Cannavale, Jim Carter or Mandy Patinkin chose their best available submission episodes (though Patinkin’s work in the finale is still totally worthy). Peter Dinklage has a super showcase with the marriage episode. Aaron Paul has “These are great greenbeans, Mrs. White” and the well-played aftermath to “Dead Freight” in “Buyout.” I wouldn’t hesitate, though, to give my own personal Emmy to Jonathan Banks, whose work in “Say My Name” is as good as spotlighted character acting gets.
Alan’s pick: Patinkin last won an Emmy in the mid-’90s, for “Chicago Hope.” He has a prickly personality and has burned a lot of bridges in Hollywood, but he’s also a respected actor, he’s on a show that did very well at the Emmys last year, and he was very strong throughout this second season (including his work in his submission episode, the season finale), despite problems elsewhere. He wins unless “Breaking Bad” suddenly turns into a steamroller this year, at which point Paul becomes the favorite based on voting history.
Dan’s pick: I think that if Giancarlo Esposito couldn’t beat Aaron Paul last year, Jonathan Banks is going to have a real struggle this year, with an even more subtle performance. For me, this comes down to Mandy Patinkin and Aaron Paul. I think that if Patinkin had gone with “The Clearing” for his submission episode instead of “The Choice,” he’d have a much more likely win. Instead, I’m picking Aaron Paul, who has somehow gone from the always-deserving darkhorse to the still-always-deserving safe choice in a matter of years. The thing with Aaron Paul is that you can never quibble with him winning, even if you might want somebody else in your heart-of-hearts.