Emmys 2013: Who will win outstanding lead actress and actor in a comedy series?

emmys-2013-comedy-lead-actor-actress-poll.jpgAnother Thursday, another deep dive into a major Emmys category here at Zap2it. So far, we've looked at the supporting actor/actress categories for both comedy and drama. Now it's time to look at the leads in those categories before delving into the shows themselves.

As established in the last two weeks, we'll look at three things when analyzing each category: Who Will Win, Who Should Win, and What Show Would Benefit Most From Winning. There may be overlap in some cases. Maybe there will be a three-way split. Who knows? Only one way to find out.

Outstanding lead actor in a comedy series

Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy, "30 Rock"
Jason Bateman as Michael Bluth, "Arrested Development"
Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper, "The Big Bang Theory"
Matt LeBlanc as Matt LeBlanc, "Episodes"
Don Cheadle as Marty Kaan, "House of Lies"
Louis C.K. as Louie, "Louie"

Who Will Win?

Last year's win for Jon Cryer makes trying to guess the winner something of a fool's game. But let's pretend reality has an iota to do with this year's awards and proceed accordingly. And here on Planet Earth, this is a two-man race. We can safely eliminate Cheadle (here for his movie-star credentials), LeBlanc (here because people still think of "Friends" fondly), Bateman (here because they had to throw the poor fourth season of "Arrested Development" a bone), and C.K. (a critical darling admired more for his work in total rather than his acting in particular).

That leaves Parsons and Baldwin, both of whom have taken home two awards each in this category. Baldwin probably should have submitted "My Whole Life Is Thunder" in order to show his range, but instead submitted the Willy Wonka-inspired "A Goon's Deed in a Weary World". That leaves the door open for Parsons, who did his usual top-notch work as Sheldon Cooper this season. The biggest wildcard may lay offscreen: How much of Baldwin's real-life antics will ultimately sway voters? Were this not the final year of "30 Rock," I'd say Parsons would win. But sentimentality over the end of the smart NBC satire may lead people to hold their noses and make Baldwin the victor.

Who Should Win?

Louis C.K. delivered one of the more impressive performances on any show in the past year. While seemingly one-note on the surface, his fictionalized self strove week after week to break beyond his small existence and connect with the large, frightening world around him. No other character on this list went on a tenth of the journey that in-show Louie did. Still, while C.K. has been nominated for each of the show's three seasons, we're guessing that nominations are the show's ultimate prize when it comes to this category.

Which Show Would Benefit Most From Winning?

Does anybody talk about "Arrested Development" anymore? When Mitch Hurwitz tells anyone who will listen that he's got ideas for another season, does it raise even an eyebrow? Anticipation was so fever-pitched for the fourth season of "Arrested" that potentially no content could have matched it. But the overstuffed, undercooked batch of episodes released by Netflix all but killed popular interest in the franchise as a whole. With precious few nominations this year, "Arrested Development" needs all the help it can in order to re-enter the pop-culture discourse and have any hope of getting the Bluths back together again in a meaningful fashion.

So, who ya got? Vote below.



Outstanding lead actress in a comedy series

Tina Fey as Liz Lemon, "30 Rock"
Laura Dern as Amy Jellicoe, "Enlightened"
Lena Dunham as Hannah Horvath, "Girls"
Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton, "Nurse Jackie"
Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, "Parks and Recreation"
Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer, "Veep"

Who Will Win?

Many of the nominees are repeats this year, with Dern's inclusion and the omission of both Melissa McCarthy and Zooey Deschanel the only differences. As good as Dern was, both she and Falco will suffer from being on little-seen cable shows that aren't overtly comedic. The numbers for "Girls" are not much better. But the show (and Dunham herself) is nearly inescapable. However, the episode she submitted ("Bad Friend") is a terrible representation of the work she did this season. Poehler and Fey both submitted episodes that showed their emotional as well as comedic range (the Ben/Leslie wedding, the "30 Rock" finale), which should put them in top contention. But look for Louis-Dreyfus to repeat, based on both name recognition as well as spearheading the show's strong second season. Whereas Cheadle and LeBlanc earned nominations based on voter familiarity, Louis-Dreyfus' work will actually take her to the podium.

Who Should Win?

It's a little insane that Poehler hasn't won yet. But "30 Rock" had the stronger material over the past 12 months, and that's due to Fey's presence in front of as well as behind the camera. Baldwin's a near shoo-in, but without Liz Lemon, Jack Donaghy is just a two-dimensional blowhard.

Which Show Would Benefit Most From Winning?

"Parks And Recreation" has been on the bubble for nearly its entire existence. Its upcoming sixth season is a combination of faith on the part of NBC and the fact that if they had ANYTHING that would earn higher ratings, "Parks" would have long been thrown out on the streets. Still, it's not "Parks" that would ultimately benefit from this victory so much as "every other comedy on NBC." The network has a small but devoted fan base, and could use the eyeballs that an award such as this could throw its way. The "Parks" audience is the "Parks" audience at this point, but there are plenty of newcomers this fall that could use all the help they can get.

Who's your pick? Vote below.



Now that you've voted in the polls, explain your choices in the comments below. Who deserves to win, and why?
Photo/Video credit: NBC, FX, CBS, HBO