Earlier this year, while attempting to liveblog the Oscars, I got tripped up by the 30-40 minute lag-time between my pushing "submit" and the updated content going live on the site. In the meantime, you guys were staying much more current in the comment section, responding to the broadcast as it happened… y'know, like a liveblog. So for tonight's Emmy broadcast, I'm going to join you down below. I won't be updating the main part of this document, except to mark up the winners. I'll be commenting–and responding to comments–in something a lot closer to real-time.
The Emmys are a little less comment-worthy than the Oscars, if only because there's less to talk about in terms of tradition and glamour; but perhaps because the award itself is less of a big deal, the Emmy show itself is often more entertaining than the Oscars, with more off-the-cuff speeches and genuine jocularity. Also the television Academy generally has its head even further up its ass than the motion picture Academy. Occasionally a worthy show or actor scores a surprise win, but by and large the Emmys are known for continuing to reward shows like Boston Legal and The West Wing long past their peak. So at the least, tonight's telecast should offer ample opportunities for "What?! That's bullshit!" moments.
So I'll see you down in the comments in a few hours. In the meantime, here are my choices for what I'd vote for in the major categories, if I were empowered to do so. (The winners will be in bold, after they're announced.)
Outstanding Comedy: Curb Your Enthusiasm; Entourage; The Office; 30 Rock; Two and a Half Men
My pick: 30 Rock, the most wildly inventive sitcom currently on the air, outside of the un-nominated It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia.
Outstanding Drama: Boston Legal; Damages; Dexter; House; Lost; Mad Men
My pick: My two favorite shows on TV are Mad Men and Lost, and those two are so different that I really don't know how to pick between them. Since Mad Men's probably going to win, I'll throw my love to Lost.
Outstanding Actor, Drama: James Spader, Boston Legal; Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad; Michael C. Hall, Dexter; Hugh Laurie, House; Gabriel Byrne, In Treatment; Jon Hamm, Mad Men
My pick: Gotta go with Hamm, for playing one of the most beguiling, often unfathomable characters on TV, though Cranston certainly deserves kudos too for anchoring an excellent, underwatched series with his steely gaze and quiet desperation.
Outstanding Actress, Drama: Sally Field, Brothers & Sisters; Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer; Glenn Close, Damages; Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit; Holly Hunter, Saving Grace
My pick: I enjoyed Close's turn in Damages, but it's nothing I haven't seen from her before. As great as Hunter has been in multiple movies over her long career, I've never seen her give a performance as close-to-the-bone as she gives in Saving Grace. I don't even like the show that much, but she still deserves to win.
Outstanding Supporting Actor, Drama: William Shatner, Boston Legal; Ted Danson, Damages; Zeljko Ivanek, Damages; Michael Emerson, Lost; John Slattery, Mad Men
My pick Whenever Emerson was on the screen, an already teriffic season of Lost ratcheted up a few notches. The same could be said of Slattery, actually; and Danson too. But for "The Shape Of Things To Come" alone, Emerson should get a trophy.
Outstanding Supporting Actress, Drama: Candice Bergen, Boston Legal; Rachel Griffiths, Brothers & Sisters; Sandra Oh, Grey's Anatomy; Chandra Wilson, Grey's Anatomy; Dianne Wiest, In Treatment
My pick: I actually didn't watch any of these shows this season, so I should probably recuse myself.
Outstanding Actor, Comedy: Tony Shalhoub, Monk; Steve Carell, The Office; Lee Pace, Pushing Daisies; Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock; Charlie Sheen, Two And A Half Men
My pick: I'd like to be contrary and pick Pace, the calm center of last season's best new show, but Baldwin actually had a few storylines in the second season of 30 Rock that required him to stretch a lot more, making Jack Donaghy into more than just a driven dude in a suit. This is arguably the best role of his formidable career.
Outstanding Actress, Comedy: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, The New Adventures Of Old Christine; Christina Applegate, Samantha Who?; Tina Fey, 30 Rock; America Ferrera, Ugly Betty; Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds
My pick: There's not really a bad choice in this category, but while I still have a critic-crush on Fey and I thought that Applegate made a contrived sitcom premise pretty charming, there's no character on TV right now as singularly, hilariously self-involved as Louis-Dreyfus' Christine.
Outstanding Supporting Actor, Comedy: Kevin Dillon, Entourage; Jeremy Piven, Entourage; Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother; Rainn Wilson, The Office; Jon Cryer, Two And A Half Men
My pick: Go Doogie go.
Outstanding Supporting Actress, Comedy: Kristin Chenoweth, Pushing Daisies; Jean Smart, Samantha Who?; Amy Poehler, Saturday Night Live; Holland Taylor, Two And A Half Men; Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty
My pick: This is the first year that SNL performers have been allowed into this category, and though the show was pretty weak last season, Poehler never been off her game. I'd be happy if she won. Or if Smart won, because on Samantha Who? she maintains a good balance of well-meaning and ashamed. But if I'm thinking about which of these actors I most look forward to seeing each week, I'd have to pick Chenoweth, a Broadway star finally getting her due on TV.
That's probably good enough, so I'll spare you my thoughts on why I'm pulling for Top Chef over The Amazing Race, and why Ryan Seacrest is underrated as a TV host, despite being a total tool. But I will add that if The Colbert Report doesn't win something this year, I'll… well, I'll be quite miffed. That's right: miffed!
Now let's watch…