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June 22, 2010

Emmy voting ends; who has the heat?


By Randee Dawn

The "White Collar" sky banners have landed, the free "Monk" ice cream is melting and those "Dexter" coffee rings are piling up in the trash. Yes, ballots are now in for this year's Emmy nominations.

Will there be surprises when the noms are announced July 8? Maybe, but only a few, according to insiders we've polled.

Expect the drama series nominations to look somewhat familiar: "Mad Men" and "Lost" are red-hot for series. "Breaking Bad should also make an appearance, along with "Dexter." But "The Good Wife" should have enough buzz to crash the category. One of the FX dramas -- "Damages," "Justified" or "Sons of Anarchy" -- could also slip in here too, or even "Treme," "Parenthood" or "True Blood," the latter being helped by its return to hit ratings last week.

As for comedy, NBC's two-time winner "30 Rock," along with CBS' hit "The Big Bang Theory," should make the cut. But many believe NBC's "The Office" and Showtime's "Weeds" are vulnerable, especially considering freshmen series "Glee" and "Modern Family" have dominated the buzz this season. "Parks and Rec" could slip in as a dark-horse, and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" might be rewarded for its genius Seinfeld reunion storyline.

One pleasing fact about the lead actress categories are the number of non-ingenues; Sure, Anna Paquin of "True Blood" makes for pretty bus poster material, but standing alongside likely nominees Kyra Sedgwick ("The Closer"), Glenn Close ("Damages") January Jones ("Mad Men") and Julianna Margulies ("The Good Wife") she's probably going to have to keep her seat on awards night. Margulies has completely revitalized her career with this well-written role, and the anticipated battle between her and Close (who has won for the past two years on "Damages") will be one of the key races to watch.

Edie Falco could have been formidable in either drama or comedy with "Nurse Jackie," but in the comedy category she's a near-certain nominee –even with classy competition from Lea Michele ("Glee") and last year's winner Toni Collette ("United States of Tara"). Will "SNL" alums Tina Fey ("30 Rock") and Amy Poehler ("Parks & Recreation") pop up in the nominee listings again this year? Likely, but alongside a former "Soprano" with multiple wins in a complex, biting role in the lead? It hardly seems a fair fight.

The funny guys category won't get the kind of shakeup it deserves; Alec Baldwin ("30 Rock") will of course return, as will long-deprived Jim Parsons ("Big Bang Theory") and Steve Carell ("The Office"). Matthew Morrison will be riding a "Glee" wave that is almost certain not to crash on the shoreline, and never count Tony Shalhoub ("Monk") out – it'll be the last time he's eligible for the role that has already earned him three Emmys already.

Meanwhile over in drama, Michael C. Hall's "Dexter" had a standout year (though a large part of that had to do with guest John Lithgow), and he's the sentimental favorite after dealing with health issues. He'll likely stand toe-to-toe against Hugh Laurie ("House"), Simon Baker ("The Mentalist") and Jon Hamm ("Mad Men"), all of whom will likely go home empty-handed; Hall's main competition here might be Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad"), a winner for the past two years (like Close in the lead actress category). Do Kiefer Sutherland ("24") and Matthew Fox ("Lost") deserve some kudos for their now-defunct roles? Sure, but don't expect them to get it.

Then again, if they sent over some last-minute ice cream perhaps things will turn out differently.


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