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Random Emmy Picks – Even Better Than the Real Thing?

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The Emmy nominations this year provoked an unfamiliar feeling in me. I'd almost describe it as contentment if that weren't a ridiculous notion.

Sure, there were some questionable choices. There were some overlooked shows and performances. But the limited selection of shows I have on my must-watch list — House, 30 Rock, The Office, Ugly Betty — are well represented, with just enough travesties of justice to make things interesting, like Dexter. After all, what use would the Emmys be if they weren't a lightening rod for our petty venom?

The biggest travesty for me as a new convert was the annual omission of The Wire. However, this is the year critics have to shut the hell up about about that, since they picked Heroes as program of the year for their own awards instead of the series so many of them keep calling one of the greats.

If there's ever a sure thing at the Emmys, this is it: The Sopranos ended this year, meaning it's guaranteed to sweep most if not all its categories. That would bother me more if it were a long-past-its-expiration-date Will & Grace instead of one of the most celebrated and talked about shows, but since I don't watch it, I'm already working on the grudge I'll feel when James Gandolfini, who already has a statue, beats Hugh Laurie, who should already have one.

So though I haven't seen many of the nominees, and don't care about others, I figure my chances of picking the winners are at least as high as anyone else's. Continuing the tradition I established way back in 2006, I'm making my completely ill-informed picks with my heart (what I want to win), my head (what I think will win), and a random number generator, which I suspect is more astute than the average Emmy voter.

Outstanding Comedy Series

  • 30 Rock
  • Entourage
  • The Office
  • Two And A Half Men
  • Ugly Betty

Heart: I almost need a random number generator to pick with my heart. 30 Rock, The Office, and Ugly Betty all brought laughter to my Thursday nights. But 30 Rock started off a little, er, rocky, and Ugly Betty hit an ugly patch towards the end, particularly when the appearance -blessed but acting-challenged Rebecca Romijn sucked the air out of every scene she was in. So I'm going to go with The Office, which had a terrific year from start to finish.

Head: The Office. My heart justified that one pretty well.

Random Number Generator: 5, so Ugly Betty. I'll take that, despite Romijn.

Outstanding Drama Series

  • Boston Legal
  • Grey's Anatomy
  • Heroes
  • House
  • Sopranos

Heart: House. But I'm not hopeful. Guess why.

Head: Grey's Anatomy had a dismal year and Boston Legal is too silly to take seriously as a drama. Heroes is wildly uneven and is of the genre that dare not speak its name at the Emmys. The Sopranos, well, I've heard it's really good. Plus, the Emmys rarely pass up an opportunity to reward even exiting shows that are long past their expiration dates, and The Sopranos wasn't that. It ended with … well, not a bang, more of a whimper from fans, but definitely with a lot of buzz.

Random Number Generator: 1, Boston Legal. The Random Number Generator apologizes to lovers of outstanding dramas everywhere.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
  • Ricky Gervais, Extras
  • Tony Shalhoub, Monk
  • Steve Carell, The Office
  • Charlie Sheen, Two and a Half Men

Heart: Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock. I'd never been a fan, but he takes this over the top role, chews it up, and spits it out. I mean that as a compliment.

Head: It's a close call, but I think Baldwin has the buzz.

Random Number Generator: 2, Ricky Gervais. That'll do

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

  • Keifer Sutherland, 24
  • James Spader, Boston Legal
  • Hugh Laurie, House
  • Denis Leary, Rescue Me
  • James Gandolfini, The Sopranos

Heart: Hugh Laurie, naturally. He brings delicate nuances to an outrageous character, creating one of the most memorable performances on television.  

Head: This is a tough one. Bias aside, I think Laurie has a genuine shot based on the "oops, we should have nominated him last year/has he really not won yet" defense. But I think the "last chance for The Sopranos" argument will give it to Gandolfini.

Random Number Generator: 1, Keifer Sutherland. I've taken RNG out back and beat some sense into it. After that season? Really?

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Tina Fey, 30 Rock
  • Felicity Huffman, Desperate Housewives
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus, The New Adventures of Old Christine
  • America Ferrera, Ugly Betty
  • Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds

Heart: I love Tina Fey but her gift is writing and being adorable more than acting. I'm backing America Ferrera.

Head: My head agrees with my heart.

Random Number Generator: 2. Felicity Huffman is a terrific actress but I do not get the appeal of that show.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

  • Sally Field, Brothers and Sisters
  • Mariska Hargitay, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit
  • Patricia Arquette, Medium
  • Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer
  • Minnie Driver, The Riches
  • Edie Falco, The Sopranos

Heart: I don't watch any of these shows regularly, if at all, so my heart is pretty quiet. I hear great things about Kyra Sedgwick in this role, and she's such a likeable actress, so she has a slight edge for me.

Head: I'm invoking the Gandolfini Rule and picking Edie Falco.

Random Number Generator: 4, Kyra Sedgwick. RNG is trying to make peace with me now.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Jeremy Piven, Entourage
  • Kevin Dillon, Entourage
  • Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother
  • Rainn Wilson, The Office
  • Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men

Heart: The transformation of Doogie Howser: Neil Patrick Harris.

Head: Rainn Wilson, though I think Jon Krasinski should have his spot.

Random Number Generator: 1. Well, I don't think so, but besides the been there, done that factor, I'd be okay with it.

Oustanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

  • William Shatner, Boston Legal
  • TR Knight, Grey's Anatomy
  • Masi Oka, Heroes
  • Terry O'Quinn, Lost
  • Michael Emerson, Lost
  • Michael Imperioli, The Sopranos

Heart: Anyone but Shatner. Otherwise, I'm torn between TR Knight and Masi Oka, for the same Emmy-unrelated reason: they're adorable.

Head: Anyone but Shatner. I didn't watch any of these shows last year, except for snippets of Grey's Anatomy to see if we were really still broken up (we were), so I have no idea. Terry O'Quinn was impressive in the season of Lost I did see, though, so I'll give him the edge.

Random Number Generator: 2, TR Knight. RNG breaks the tie in my heart.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Jaime Pressly, My Name is Earl
  • Jenna Fischer, The Office
  • Conchata Ferrell, Two and a Half Men
  • Holland Taylor, Two and a Half Men
  • Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty
  • Elizabeth Perkins, Weeds

Heart: Jenna Fischer, who imbues Pam with such a sad sweetness.

Head: I think it's between Fischer and Pressly, who is fantastic as the repulsive Joy, but the heart is swaying the head: Jenna Fischer.

Random Number Generator: 4, Holland Taylor. I would be so happy to see Two and a Half Men shut out, but Taylor is an undeniably fine actress.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

  • Rachel Griffiths, Brothers and Sisters
  • Sandra Oh, Grey's Anatomy
  • Chandra Wilson, Grey's Anatomy
  • Katherine Heigl, Grey's Anatomy
  • Lorraine Bracco, The Sopranos
  • Aida Turturro, The Sopranos

Heart: I'm not a fan of any of these shows, so that makes this hard. I wish I didn't have to punish the lovely Grey's actresses for their dismal storylines, but I just can't pick any of them. I'll go with Aida Turturro because she featured prominently in the one episode of The Sopranos I've seen, and I have a little crush on her cousin John.

Head: I'm going to go out on a limb and say The Sopranos actresses will split the farewell vote and Katherine Heigl will squeak through on charm and a smile and a hit movie.

Random Number Generator: 3, Chandra Wilson. A bright spot in a show whose light has dimmed.

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series

  • Tina Fey, 30 Rock, "Tracy Does Conan"
  • Robert Carlock, 30 Rock, "Jack-Tor"
  • Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, Extras, "Daniel Radcliffe"
  • Greg Daniels, The Office, "Gay Witch Hunt"
  • Michael Schur, The Office, "The Negotiation"

Heart: Can we give it to all of them? No? Then Greg Daniels for the episode where Oscar was outed and Pam dumped Roy. It deserves it just for Jim tricking Dwight and Michael into buying gaydar.

Head: The Emmys seem to love Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, and Extras is hilarious.

Random Number Generator: 2, Robert Carlock. Not my favourite episode of 30 Rock, but he can represent the entire show for me.

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

  • Ronald D. Moore, Battlestar Galactica, "Occupation/Precipice"
  • Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, Lost, "Through the Looking Glass"
  • Matthew Weiner and David Chase, The Sopranos, "Kennedy And Heidi"
  • Terence Winter, The Sopranos, "The Second Coming"
  • David Chase, The Sopranos, "Made In America"

Heart: Three from The Sopranos? No room for House? Dexter? The Wire (hey, I'm not one of the TCA critics; I can still complain)? This is where I start to stomp my feet. Battlestar Galactica is the only one of these I watch, so even though I haven't caught up with this season yet, I'll say Ronald D. Moore for the season premiere.

Head: One of The Sopranos. Would they dare give it to the controversial series finale? What the heck: I'll go with "Made in America" by David Chase.

Random Number Generator: 4, Terence Winter. One of the other Sopranos scripts would still prove the "last chance" theory right.

Tune in to FOX on Sunday, September 16, to root for your favourites. Just don't place any bets using Random Number Generator's picks. 

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About Diane Kristine Wild