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 actress categories. The former is one of a few categories featuring seven nominees due to ties, while the latter pits the upper-class wit of “Downton Abbey” versus the dirty meth dealings of “Breaking Bad” (among others contenders).
Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series
Mayim Bialik, “The Big Bang Theory”
Julie Bowen, “Modern Family”
Anna Chlumsky, “Veep”
Jane Krakowski, “30 Rock”
Jane Lynch, “Glee”
Sofia Vergara, “Modern Family”
Merritt Wever, “Nurse Jackie”
Alan’s pick: I’ll be honest and say that Wever and Krakowski are the only ones on shows where I watched the entire season, and I didn’t come close with most of the others. Since the game requires me to make a pick, I’ll stick with those two, and as much as I love Wever, this season wasn’t her best showcase, so I’ll take Krakowski, who had a number of memorable moments in the curtain call season, including singing the final number for “TGS.”
Dan’s pick: I didn’t love the start of the season, but the home stretch of this “Veep” run was superb and Anna Chlumsky has the sublime “First Response” as her submission episode. The episode, featuring Allison Janney, is full of splendid silent reactions from Chlumsky’s Amy and also includes a priceless final act breakdown from the normally tightly wound character. So Chlumsky is my top choice, but probably Krakowski is my second pick, based on her slightly surprising centrality in the series finale. When you get to sing the closing sendoff to one of TV’s all-time great sitcoms, you have a good chance of recognition.
Alan’s pick: When in doubt in a comedy category, pick someone from “Modern Family.” When in doubt in this category, pick Julie Bowen.
Dan’s pick: It’s Sofia Vergara’s turn. Julie Bowen won the past two years and somehow didn’t submit her most potent episode, the one in which Claire deals with a possible heart condition. Of course, Vergara also skipped on submitting her seeming standout episodes with the birth of Gloria’s baby. Instead, Vergara went with the slightly schtickier “Yard Sale” in which we learned about Gloria’s past as a ventriloquist. Expect this to be Vergara’s Fizbo equivalent and she’ll romp to victory.
Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series
Morena Baccarin, “Homeland”
Christine Baranski, “The Good Wife”
Emilia Clarke, “Game of Thrones”
Anna Gunn, “Breaking Bad”
Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men”
Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey”
Alan’s pick: Sometimes lost in the discussion of why some “Breaking Bad” viewers just hate Skyler White is how good Gunn is in that role, and her work throughout last summer’s episodes – and particularly in her submitted episode, “Fifty-One,” where Skyler memorably interrupts Walt’s birthday dinner – was perhaps her best yet.
Dan’s pick: Emilia Clarke has the best SCENE of anybody in this category, with the climactic moments of “And Now His Watch Is Ended.” I don’t often sit on my couch cheering when I watch episodes, but the close of that hour is as good as it gets. But when it comes to overall episodes? I guess I’ll agree with Alan. Anna Gunn’s showcase in “Fifty-One” is stellar. From her sequence in the pool to “What are you waiting for?” “For the cancer to come back,” it’s a great episode and a great Skyler episode.
Alan’s pick: Emmy voters love “Downton Abbey,” but it’s been harder to celebrate the show once it had to go head-to-head with the HBO, AMC and Showtime shows. So Maggie Smith became the outlet for their love last year, and I suspect she will again – unless, as I’ve been saying, there’s a rising “Breaking Bad” tide that lifts Gunn’s boat along with her male co-stars. (There’s also a slim chance that Clarke’s big scene at the end of the fourth “Thrones” episode of the year will impress people, but will 8 minutes of screen time – most of it with her speaking Valyrian – work on the fantasy-agnostic Academy members?)
Dan’s pick: I don’t view Maggie Smith’s very probably win as a sign of Emmy voting complacency. Would she be my pick? Obviously not. However, Maggie Smith’s submission episode is the season premiere in which she was going toe-to-toe with Shirley MacLaine in an epic grande dame-off. MacLaine was one of the year’s biggest Emmy snubs, but honoring Smith here would be tangential recognition.