For the preamble, including an explanation on what exactly the Andy TV Awards are, go here. Shows that received Emmy nominations in these two categories that I don’t watch, and thus had no chance of getting nominations here are The Sarah Silverman Program, Samantha Who?, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Brothers & Sisters, Brothers & Sisters, and Saving Grace . So basically, almost all of them.
Outstanding Leading Actress in a Comedy Series
Last year, this category was so weak that I wasn’t able to nominate a full five, so I suppose you could see it as a positive that I was able to get six… until you see the compromises I’ve made to get there. But maybe the fault isn’t with TV, but me for not watching Sarah Silverman or Old Christine. I’ll just have to live with that.
The nominees are…
Toni Collette in United States of Tara – I’m breaking my own rules with this nomination, as I gave up on USoT after two episodes, unable to stand the rampant Diablo Cody-ism of the show. But I can see why she got an Emmy nomination, and is a dark horse to win. It’s hard to get more showy than being a movie actress on TV playing a character with four separate personalities. [Note: I wrote that sentence before Collette actually did win the Emmy.]
Tina Fey in 30 Rock – At this point, what more can be said about Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon? I’m almost ready to do away with the gender split at comedy and just put her up against the guys.
Erin Karplunk in Being Erica – It’s okay if you’ve never heard of the show or actress. Being Erica is the only Canadian show I watch (although it is aired in the US on SOAPnet), an hour-long comedy-drama from the CBC starring Karplunk as a woman who gets to travel back in time through her past, Quantum Leap-style, to change the way her life shaped up. She’s currently challenging Tina Fey for the honour of being the actress on TV that I’m secretly in love with. Plus, it’s nice to hear some Canadian accents on TV every once and awhile.
Mary-Louise Parker in Weeds – The show wasn’t very good, and her character has become pretty loathsome, but that doesn’t mean that Mary-Louise Parker’s performance isn’t still strong. I just wish she was getting better material.
Amy Poehler in Parks & Recreation – This is mostly just me filling out the category. Poehler can be great, and in fact was pretty good in stretches during the bumpy first season of Parks & Recreation, but in truth, the show didn’t figure out how to best use her until the finale, so she hasn’t really earned this nomination. Hopefully next season will be better.
Jordana Spiro in My Boys – Spiro’s performance mirrors her show: affable, enjoyable, nothing spectacular. Which is enough to get you nominated in this crowd.
The award goes to…
Tina Fey in 30 Rock
Was there any doubt? Here’s hoping Amy Poehler steps up her game to make this more of a challenge for Fey next year. Edie Falco’s a threat as well if Nurse Jackie submits as a comedy. But for now, it’s Tina Fey’s world, and we’re just living in it.
Outstanding Leading Actress in a Drama Series
The flip side of having so many great actresses in lead-type roles drop down to Supporting Actress is that this category has suddenly become very weak. In part, this is because I don’t watch female-centric cable shows like Saving Grace or The Closer, which I’m okay with. I’ve never heard any effusive praise for either for anything but the performance of the leads (I actually gave The Closer a shot, but gave up quickly after realizing that most of it is standard procedural stuff).
The nominees are…
Glenn Close in Damages – I gave up on Damages about two-thirds of the way through the second season, but I saw enough to say that Glenn Close deserves her nomination here (and I wouldn’t be surprised if she won the Emmy). My only complaint is that it often feels like standard-issue Glenn Close, and you get the feeling that she could play this kind of role in her sleep. Still, that says more about the show’s perfect casting job of her than it says anything bad about her.
Eliza Dushku in Dollhouse – Hey, I can hear you laughing. Look, it’s not my fault. There really aren’t six worthy candidates out of the shows I watched, so it was either Dushku, Evangeline Lilly (whose probably the worst performer on her show), or Anna Paquin (whose Sookie Stackhouse might be the dumbest lead on television). I’m not one of those who think that Dushku is the worst performer on her show… but I understand why others do. But out of these lowly choices, she was the best. Here’s hoping that she improves enough in season two that this won’t seem so silly next year.
January Jones in Mad Men – Here we go with a honest-to-goodness nominee (well, as long as you don’t question whether or not she was leading or supporting). Jones stepped up significantly in the second season of Mad Men, as we got to see Betty start to develop some awareness and remind us that while it might be fun to see Don Draper fool everyone about his true identity or have sexy affairs, it’s not fun to be the person he’s deceiving and betraying.
Elisabeth Moss in Mad Men – Last year, I questioned Moss’ placement as lead. After season two, there’s no question that Peggy Olson is the co-lead. Moreover, as the series moves on, I suspect we’ll be tracking the rise of Peggy alongside the downfall of Don Draper. And after the brilliant performance she put on in season two, I know we’ll be in good hands if that’s the way it goes.
Molly Parker in Swingtown – You’re forgiven if you forgot that this show ever existed. I almost had when perusing the eligible actresses for this category and saw Parker’s name. Then I remembered that she was probably the only reason I kept watching that thoroughly mediocre show last summer and decided to shoot her a nomination. That said, I’m not exactly recommending that you rush out and get this series on DVD.
Jeanne Tripplehorn in Big Love – One of the reasons that the third season of Big Love may be its best is because the show seemed to realize that it’s the wives that make that show great and made sure to keep them vital (instead of overshadowing them with Bill’s aggravating schemes). Tripplehorn was great as Barb struggled with her faith all year, with her scene at the Mormon temple being one of the more powerful of the year.
The award goes to…
Elizabeth Moss in Mad Men
Elisabeth Moss performs an impressive trick every week, playing a mercurial character that keeps everything close to the vest, while still giving us enough to be engrossing. She doesn’t get the same benefits of similarly taciturn Don Draper of having mistress confidants or flashbacks, instead she has to find away to give enough to provide hints at where her head is at, without spelling it out. It was a tough call between Moss and Tripplehorn for this award, with Moss pulling ahead with her work in the episode that reveals what happened after her pregnancy (“The New Girl”) and her absolutely devastating scene with Pete to close out the season.