My Picks For This Year’s Emmys

Best Actor In A Comedy

Why is it getting harder and harder to find a smart, daring comedy centered around men any more? This is a slight exaggeration, of course, as I’m about to list quite a few people who are among them. But its very telling that Matt LeBlanc is leaving one of the smarter sitcoms on the air to star one of the weaker candidates on CBS. I’m not even a hundred percent sure I’ll have a wild card for this category — the pickings are so slim. But here goes.

Anthony Anderson, black-ish

There’s literally nothing he can’t do. Anderson has been so astonishing on this show, and so brilliant on so many dramas coming into this, that one almost forgot he started as a stand-up comic. Dre dealt with so many imagined crises this year — one found it harder to deal with the fact that his favorite child is going to college — that it was rather remarkable to see what happened when Bow went into distress with the child she had been carrying all season. To see him truly suffer is the kind of thing that would scream ‘Emmy bait’ if he spent the whole season earning it. I really would like to see him win.

Aziz Ansari, Master of None

The gap between season 1 and 2 was so long that one might have forgotten how brilliant he was in this created series. But Ansari more than demonstrated his ability by pushing reset and switching the series location to Italy. Watching Dev deal with some of the more unusual problems — his search for a lost cell phone, his battle for a prize chef, his endless search for love, and his quest for religious identity — was so remarkable you were astonished that he managed to fit so much in just ten episodes. I don’t know what season 3 will bring, but I look forward to it.

Donald Glover, Atlanta

Even if his comedy wasn’t the most brilliant debut of 2016, I’d still be in this guys corner. I’ve been a fan of this actor-writer-musician since his early work on the cult sensation Community, and seeing him return to a format that brought him such renown — only to make it even more brilliant was astonishing work. He’s already won the Golden Globe, a Broadcast critics choice, and a WGA. The competition will be fierce, but I think the odds are good he’ll be onstage Emmy night.

William H. Macy, Shameless

Yes, I’m actually advocating for a comedy that I’ve been known to openly despise. But considering that much of Season 7 was about so many of the Gallagher clan making large steps towards redemption, it somehow seems fitting that Frank being given credit for making progress — however minute — towards redemption. And watching him deal with the passing of Monica, a woman who none of the other Gallagher’s had any use for, was really rather touching. He earned his SAG award, and I think for once he’s earned the nod.

Thomas Middleditch, Silicon Valley

We’ve had so many arc of characters on TV dramas and comedies where the lead character goes further and further down a dark path. So it was actually rather refreshing to see Richard, the often beleaguered CEO on Pied Piper go on a similar journey, get darker, and at the last possible moment, pull out of it. It’s still not clear whether the series will have him go further into darkness, but it was entertaining for once. He deserves to repeat.

Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

It’s a little amazing that in this stage of the series, Maura is the most centered of the entire Pfefferman clan. But just when you feel Tambor can’t go any further dramatically or comically, you get an episode like the third season premiere which featured her frantically trying to find a potential suicide, running frantically through a shopping mall, collapsing in a heap, and finding herself being identified as a man by the EMTs. I don’t if Tambor will be able to make it a three-peat, but he’s sure as hell going to be there yet again.

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