EMMYS: Comedy Lead Acting Race Handicap

By | Thursday August 23, 2012 @ 8:00pm PDT

Ray Richmond is an AwardsLine contributor

Veteran nominees and previous winners make up most of the actor and actress nominations this year, with the exception of two first-timers: Lena Dunham of HBO’s Girls and Zooey Deschanel from Fox’s The New Girl. Here’s a look at each performer’s history with the TV Academy and where they stand in this year’s Emmy race:

COMEDY ACTOR

ALEC BALDWIN (30 Rock, NBC)

Emmy Pedigree: This is Baldwin’s sixth nomination in a row in this category for 30 Rock, and he’s got 14 Emmy noms in total (including a pair this year because he is also honored as one of the show’s producers). He’s converted two of those into wins, in 2008 and ’09. That’s to go along with three Golden Globe triumphs (2007, ’09, ’10) and a record seven SAG Awards. Jack Donaghy, Baldwin’s impossibly colorful and bombastic creation on 30 Rock, is truly a character for the ages. As good as everyone on the show is, without Baldwin it would never have survived.

What We Say: Everyone is relieved that Baldwin never followed through on his annual threats to leave the show. Yet barring an unforeseen flood of late buzz, his Emmy-winning days appear over.

DON CHEADLE (House of Lies, Showtime)

Emmy Pedigree: This is Cheadle’s fifth Emmy nomination, and he’s still looking for his first win. His first pair came in 1999, as supporting actor in the HBO original The Rat Pack and as lead in the film A Lesson Before Dying. He also had a supporting nom in 2002 for the telepic Things Behind the Sun and guest actor in a drama in 2003 for an episode of ER. Oh, yes, and Cheadle also landed an Oscar nomination as lead actor in 2005 for his work in the film Hotel Rwanda. His only major award win came in 1999 when he took home a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Sammy Davis Jr. in Rat Pack. His character on House of Lies, Marty Kaan, is a wonderfully bold and original creation. Too, Showtime is on something of a roll in placing lead actors in the
series categories.

What We Say: Cheadle has made a big impact on House of Lies in a short time with his comic vitality and effortless charisma. As such, he has a shot at an upset here. Read More »

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