Emmy predictions: Will comedy voters crown ‘Glee’ or ‘Modern Family’?

Yesterday, I offered my predictions for the Emmy drama categories. Today, it’s the comedies’ turn. (And in between, Fienberg offered up his own picks. Later today, we’ll be posting a podcast where we discuss all of this.)

As I explained yesterday, I’m not good at predicting this stuff, and you need to factor in that all the awards are voted on based on a single episode (for the acting/writing/directing categories) or on a handful of episodes (for the series categories), which only complicates things more. When predicting who will win, you can’t just ask who was the best over the whole season. You have to look at who picked the right episode and who didn’t. (You can see the full list of actor submissions here.)

After the jump, my comedy picks for who should and who will win:

Outstanding Comedy Series: “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (HBO), “Glee” (FOX), “Modern Family” (ABC), “Nurse Jackie” (SHO), “The Office” (NBC), “30 Rock” (NBC)

Should win: Of these six (since I was disappointed but not surprised to see a lack of nominations for “Parks and Recreation” and “Community”), “Curb” had by far the funniest season, as Larry David got to do a “Seinfeld” reunion his own terms, bringing that great comedy better closure than he provided in its own finale a decade earlier. Some of the “Seinfeld”-lite episodes were sketchy, but that group also included the hilarious “Vehicular Fellatio” and “The Bare Midriff.”

Will win:
You should never underestimate the inertia of Emmy voters leading to “30 Rock” winning again for a very weak season, but odds are this is going to be a coronation of one of the two hot rookies: “Modern Family” or “Glee.” “Glee” got more hype, but Emmy voters on the whole tend to be conservative, and “Modern Family” is essentially a traditional family sitcom minus the laughtrack and plus a quasi-documentary format. Everyone in town – particularly everyone with a lot of comedies on their resume – seemed happy that that show’s success finally put a stop to all the “Is the sitcom dead?” stories, and it may win for that alone. (And also for being awfully funny.)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series:
Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock” (NBC), Steve Carell, “The Office” (NBC), Larry David, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (HBO), Matthew Morrison, “Glee” (FOX), Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS), Tony Shalhoub, “Monk” (USA)

Should win: It’s ridiculous that Carell has yet to win one of these, but he wasn’t particularly well-served by this very bad season for “The Office.” Parsons deserved to win last year, but “Big Bang” this season pushed a little too far into becoming The Sheldon Show, and Parsons’ work seemed stale at times as a result. But I go with David, whose work this season opposite the stiff-as-always Jerry Seinfeld was a reminder of just what a good comic actor he’s become. Forget about making the choice based on a single episode; I’d argue David deserves it just for the scene where he tries to play George Costanza in the “Seinfeld” reunion special.

Will win: Baldwin seems to have a lock on the award until either “30 Rock” is canceled or he follows through on his various public promises to retire when his contract is up. But don’t count out Shalhoub, who already has three Emmys for this part, and who submitted the very emotional two-part “Monk” series finale. (Voters tend to be suckers both for extra-long submissions and comedy submissions where the actors get to be dramatic, or vice versa).

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Toni Collette, “United States of Tara” (SHO), Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie” (SHO), Tina Fey, “30 Rock” (NBC), Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “The New Adventures of Old Christine” (CBS), Lea Michele, “Glee” (FOX), Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation” (NBC)

Should win: “Parks and Recreation” went through an amazing creative transformation between its first and second seasons, going from a shaky “Office” clone to a distinct, warm and hilarious comedy that’s much better than most of the Outstanding Comedy Series nominees. Much of the credit for that transformation goes to Poehler, who dialed back her character’s enthusiasm from cartoonish to simply exaggerated and endearing, and who was more than happy to play point guard and set up her wonderful (and un-nominated) supporting cast. The lack of other major nominations for “Parks and Rec” suggests she doesn’t have a shot at winning, but she was great.