Emmys 2012: The Supporting Comedy Actor Race in Review, Including Our Dream Nominees
Aziz Ansari, Parks and Recreation
Pro: Stand-up Ansari's mad skills got a workout this season, as Tom's media conglomerate folded — Entertainment 720, we barely knew ye — and his relationship with Ann got a second go — or at least a drunken revisit.
Con: If only one of Parks' supporting guys gets on the ballot, it'll probably be co-star Nick Offerman (Ron).
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Pro: As spot-on this season as he was for the past two, there's very little chance that Burrell, who won the category last year, won't be back for another go.
Con: None that we can think of. He’s a lock for a nomination.
Chris Colfer, Glee
Pro: Colfer was great this season as Kurt hit several milestones, including going all the way with Blaine and graduating from McKinley.
Con: But this is the comedy category, remember? Colfer's heavy-duty scenes may have fallen too far to the "drama" side of the Fox dramedy for Emmy voters to put him on the list.
Charlie Day, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Pro: After Day impressed during a Saturday Night Live hosting gig in November, people started paying more attention to the Philadelphia regular.
Con: Even with the SNL boost and eight years as Philadelphia's Charlie, Day still isn't a household name. He'll likely be overlooked for someone with bigger buzz.
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Pro: Aside from his continued outstanding work as Family's Mitchell, Ferguson's appearances on So You Think You Can Dance and the recent Tony Awards telecast have made him live TV's go-to for upbeat fun. Plus, he's been nominated the past two years.
Con: Though Ferguson is a sublime straight man, he's often in the shadow of his eccentric on-screen partner, Eric Stonestreet, which could keep the redhead out of the running.
Donald Glover, Community
Pro: Our love for Glover's portrayal of Troy could fill a blanket fort the size of Colorado.
Con: See Danny Pudi's entry. Just because this should be the year Community gets the recognition it deserves doesn't mean it will be.
Max Greenfield, New Girl
Pro:How I Met Your Mother's Neil Patrick Harris carved an awesome Emmy niche for himself as a caddish supporting actor, and we can easily see Greenfield slipping right into it.
Con: Most of New Girl's buzz was about star Zooey Deschanel; while she's a lock for a nomination, Greenfield and his bros are less of a sure thing.
Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live
Pro: The fact that the SNL mainstay has yet to nab a nom is as ridiculous as the New York hotspots his Stefon routinely recommends to tourists.
Con: Much like Lindsay Buckingham in the "What Up With That?" sketch, frequent straight man Hader may get overlooked for his flashier competition.
Tony Hale, Veep
Pro: The Arrested Development alum plays Selena Meyers' purse-holder with a very funny, earnest sense of devotion.
Con: Most of Veep's buzz has been about lead Julia Louis-Dreyfus, which means that much like the public servant he plays, Hale's work is likely to go without acknowledgement.
Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother
Pro: Harris is a quadruple HIMYM nominee whose Barney remained awesome in the light of some big life changes this season.
Con: He was passed over for a nod last year.
Simon Helberg, The Big Bang Theory
Pro: What does a guy have to do to get Emmy voters' attention, go into space? Done. It's time for the long-overlooked Helberg to get some kudos of his own.
Con: With co-stars Johnny Galecki (Leonard) and Jim Parsons (Sheldon) getting the most Bang buzz, Helberg will likely find his Emmy chances flaming out like a rocket upon reentry.
Jack McBrayer, 30 Rock
Pro: The fact that McBrayer's yokel Kenneth can still make us laugh out loud after six seasons is tantamount to a Leap Day miracle.
Con: Though still funny, 30 Rock isn't the groundbreaker it once was, which makes it — and its cast — easy to move to the sidelines.
Jake M. Johnson, New Girl
Pro: If Emmy voters aren't into co-star Max Greenfield's lovable lothario, they'll probably back Johnson's silly, romantic Nick.
Con: Conventional wisdom says if any of the Girl guys get a nod, it'll be Greenfield.
Tracy Morgan, 30 Rock
Pro: This season, Morgan continued to imbue his 30 Rock alter ego with killer timing and a hilarious sense of overinflated importance.
Con: Morgan hasn't been nominated since 2009, and the Academy probably hasn't forgotten his homophobic stand-up routine from last summer. What's that about biting the hand that feeds you?
Nick Offerman, Parks and Recreation
Pro: This season, Offerman has climbed even higher on his own Pyramid of Greatness as Ron Swanson, Pawnee's deadpan Parks & Rec head.
Con: Offerman's portrait of laconic Ron was overlooked by Emmy voters for the past three years. We’re starting to give up hope.
Ed O’Neill, Modern Family
Pro: Think of O'Neill's 2011 nomination as a warm-up, because this year — in particular, Jay's funny, touching grappling with son Mitchell's homosexuality — belongs to the TV vet.
Con: Then again, O'Neill spent 11 years on Married With Children and received nary a nod…
Adam Pally, Happy Endings
Pro: The funny-as-heck Pally is the very definition of a scene-stealer.
Con: It may take another season or two before Endings‘ is on Emmy’s radar.
Jeremy Piven, Entourage
Pro: The final season of the HBO hit was Piven's last go-round as Entourage's ruthless Ari Gold; the nominating committee may give the much-lauded actor another nod for old times' sake.
Con: — Though he won three times during Entourage's heyday (2006 – 2008), Piven hasn't been nominated since — a possible signal that Emmy's attraction to him has cooled.
Chris Pratt, Parks and Recreation
Pro: Pratt's Andy is a great blend of doofiness, heart and plumber's crack.
Con: With co-stars Aziz Ansari and Nick Offerman in the running, Pratt's chances of making this year's nominee list aren't awesomesauce.
Danny Pudi, Community
Pro: If any member of the Community cast gets nominated, it'll likely be stellar scene-stealer Pudi.
Con: "If any member of the Community cast get nominated…" that’s a really big if.
Jim Rash, Community
Pro: After an Oscar win (for co-writing The Descendants' adapted screenplay), the man who plays Greendale's flamboyant Dean Pelton has more than earned an Emmy bookend.
Con: If the nominations do fall in Community's favor, we're thinking Danny Pudi or Donald Glover will get the nod before Rash does.
James Spader, The Office
Pro: Spader's an Emmy golden boy who won three out of the four years he was nominated for Boston Legal.
Con: Spader's Robert California was pretty unpopular, both with Dunder Mifflin Sabre employees and The Office's audience.
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
Pro: Read Ty Burrell's entry, and swap out "who won the category last year" with "who won the category in 2010." What can we say? Family is blessed with an extremely talented cast.
Con: Nada. He too is a sure thing for a nod.
James Van Der Beek, Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23
Pro: The Dawson's Creek grad plays a hyperstylized, narcissistic version of himself, and does it well. Hey, it worked for Matt LeBlanc, who was nominated last year for a similar part in Showtime's Episodes.
Con:B— didn't get underway until April, which didn't give Van Der Beek much time to wow Emmy voters.
Damon Wayans Jr., Happy Endings
Pro: Wayans Jr.'s Critics' Choice Television Award nomination for his portrayal of girlyman Brad could be a precursor to some sweet Emmy lovin'.
Con: The Endings‘ cast will likely be squeezed out by a few Modern men.
Rainn Wilson, The Office
Pro: Just when you think Dwight couldn't get weirder, Wilson tops himself — no small feat after eight seasons.
Con: Wilson's been nominated three times (the last time was in 2009) but never won, and the nearly decade-old series isn't getting the critical attention it once did. Wilson's probably a long shot.