Tube Talk: Tough competition, but Emmy winners deserving

By Paula Hendrickson
Contributing Writer

Did you enjoy the opening number of the Emmys as much as I did? Host Jimmy Fallon and four of the Glee kids—Emmy nominees Lea Michele and Chris Colfer plus Amber Riley and Cory Monteith—singing their own version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” while rounding up a celebrity glee club.

Fellow nominees Tina Fey, Jon Hamm and Jane Lynch joined them along with Joel McHale, Jorge Garcia and others. A cameo by Kate Gosselin (so heavily made up in dancing regalia that I almost didn’t recognize her) fell flat, but Betty White teaching Jon Hamm some raunchy dance moves was inspired. Seeing so many stars representing several series—American Idol judge Randy Jackson even joined the backup band—gamely playing along was a lot of fun.

With tough contenders in most of the major categories, this was a year without a lot of clear frontrunners. The only real surprise for me came when The Closer’s Kyra Sedgwick beat out The Good Wife’s Julianna Margulies for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama. Don’t get me wrong. Sedgwick is great as Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson. This was her fifth Emmy nomination for the role, and her first win. But The Good Wife was a breakout hit with strong buzz and critical praise, especially for Margulies’ emotionally-layered performance. Like countless others, I was wrong about the one category I thought would be the easiest to predict. I was wrong. (Seeing Margulies present the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award to her former ER co-star George Clooney almost made up for it.)

I’m thrilled that The Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons won Lead Actor in a Comedy. I was also glad to see Glee represented with Lynch’s win as Supporting Actress in a Comedy and executive producer Ryan Murphy winning a directorial award. I love Modern Family, too, so the show’s big win was gratifying, as was Eric Stonestreet’s win for Supporting Actor in a Comedy—a category more than half filled with Modern Family actors. I thought that might split the vote, but it didn’t.

Edie Falco—past multiple-Emmy winner on the drama side for her memorable work on The Sopranos—proved once again to be an Emmy favorite, this time for her comic turn in Nurse Jackie.

Bryan Cranston is one of the best actors working today. The guy is equally gifted at comedy and drama. I honestly didn’t expect him to three-peat as Lead Actor in a Drama for Breaking Bad, but he did. Pat Emmy winner Terry O’Quinn kept upping his game throughout Lost’s final season, so I thought he had a good shot at taking home a second statuette, but Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul turned in an exemplary performance definitely worthy of his Supporting Actor win. The Good Wife’s Archie Panjabi was also a standout in the Supporting Actress category.

I have to admit it, I kind of hoped Lost might win for Outstanding Drama. As frustrating as Lost could be, it was always well produced, well acted and had great dialogue. But Mad Men is still a great show, and like Cranston, it walked away with a three-peat.

There was tough competition in most categories this year, but overall, I’m pretty contented with this year’s winners. How about you?

Paula Hendrickson is a regular contributor to Emmy magazine and Variety, and has been published in numerous national publications, including American Bungalow, Television Week and TVGuide. Send in your suggestions to

From the Sept. 1-7, 2010 issue

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