As Emmy voters consider picks, Deggans recommends a few dark horses
It's that time of year again: the Emmy voters are making their choices.
Every year, some names are obvious. House star Hugh Laurie always gets a nod for managing acerbic one-liners while pretending to limp and hiding his British accent. 30 Rock's Alec Baldwin always gets props for shining on one of TV's best comedies at a time when there's not much competition.
But there are a few names bound to be missed in all the hoopla. Here's a few folks I hope the Emmy academy doesn't forget come nomination time (announced July 16):
Best Supporting Actress, drama: Allison Pill, In Treatment -- It doesn't get the attention of some basic cable shows, but HBO's series about a tangled therapist and his patients is a serious seminar on acting. And no one has nailed their moments better than Pill, as a student in denial about her advancing cancer.
Best actor, drama: Charlie Hunnan, Sons of Anarchy -- The industry seems to have overlooked this amazing FX series about a family-run motorcycle gang and their various criminal enterprises in a California town. But in a show stocked with great performances, Hunnan stands out as the gang's second-in-command and leader in waiting, Jackson "Jax" Teller. Doesn't hurt that Hunnan is another Englishman hiding his accent in a note-perfect portrayal of a California dude.
Best guest actor, comedy: Justin Timberlake, Saturday Night Live -- As the only consistently funny element of a venerated comedy franchise, pop star Timberlake should get something for his achievement. The Motherlover video alone should be eligible for some kind of "most likely to make milk shoot out your nose" award, or something.
Best actress, drama: Parminder Nagra or Angela Bassett, ER -- I know; before the finale, you pretty much stopped watching this show completely. But take it from one of the five or six ER fans who watched religiously, Nagra notched an amazing arc as overstressed student turned surgery ace Neela Rasgotra. And St. Pete homegirl Bassett's work nailing tough ER boss Cate Banfield was also a highlight.
Best actor, drama: Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad -- Star Bryan Cranston gets all the attention on this AMC series as a cancer-stricken chemistry teacher who starts making meth to pay his bills. But Paul also shines as his knuckleheaded former student and business partner, playing Jesse Pinkman as a clueless, self-destructive loser without ever veering into parody.
And here's the best comedy short of the year: *