Sat. Sep 26th, 2020

2014 Emmy Analysis: Guest Actress Comedy, Guest Actor Drama (Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Scandal)

From left, Guest Actress in a Comedy Series co-stars and co-nominees, Uzo Aduba and Laverne Cox
From left, Guest Actress in a Comedy Series co-stars and co-nominees for Orange is the New Black, Uzo Aduba and Laverne Cox

Our Emmy Expert Nicole Latayan examines the Guest Actress in a Comedy Series and Guest Actor in a Drama Series categories and offers his insight and predictions based on the submitted tapes.

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series:

Tina Fey is a filler here, and her nomination can be credited to some name checking. Aside from the Girls parody at the start of her episode, the focus of the whole season opener was to highlight the newbies of the cast and she pretty much played second fiddle (intentionally, maybe) to them given them the spotlight most of the time.

McCarthy continues to get nods for her SNL hosting and while her material continues to deteriorate over the years (I was once sure that falling down the stairs bit and the salad dressing tasting one two years ago would seal the deal), she still has the broadest comedy among six tapes here. If an SNL actress were to win, it will be her.

Joan Cusack benefits from the genre shift as her tape is comedic. She resorts to an alternate to help Frank’s liver transplant, but then the whole situation goes awry. Her last arc in the episode though is getting married to Frank while he’s in the hospital, clad in her wedding gown ,and I can see that resonating well to voters since it was a riotous and hilarious approach.

Natasha Lyonne is the weakest among three Orange women. Sure she has her own flashback, but she was relegated to the dramatic scenes, and I don’t know how that will play out here.

Then there’s “Lesbian Request Denied.” Laverne Cox is clearly the star of this episode, and while I think it’s an open secret of some sort, not everyone is aware that it was her twin brother playing out the male scenes. I think people will think it’s both her and will help her with the OMG range factor. Like Lyonne, hers is more of the dramatic arc in her episode, but I think Cox has the complete arc in hers which puts her to an advantage.

Aduba was probably “unwise” to submit the same episode, but she provided the comic relief in between Cox’s storyline, and she’s one of the show’s breakout stars. One also must remember that Aduba ended the episode with her peeing in front of Chapman (Taylor Schilling) , and that’s the last bit they’ll see before the credits roll.

I keep going back on forth between Aduba and Cox, but the deciding factor is that guest tapes aren’t edited this year so they have to go through 6 hours of episode here (well 5 since a pair submitted the same episode), and in “Lesbian,” Cox just shined more than Aduba. She also has the narrative going for her, and that’s why I’m predicting her for the win.

01. Laverne Cox, “Orange is the New Black”
02. Uzo Aduba, “Orange is the New Black”
03. Melissa McCarthy, “Saturday Night Live”
04. Joan Cusack, “Shameless”
05. Natasha Lyonne, “Orange is the New Black”

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series

Downton Abbey‘s Paul Giamatti wasn’t given anything to do. He has a really small arc botched in random parts of the episode, and he’s not even the stand out of it, so I think it’s a case of name checking. That said, it can also put him to an advantage being the most “prominent” name in this line up, which is a bad scenario to think.

The same can be said for Dylan Baker as the obligatory The Good Wife representative. While his episode is connected to the main arc with Alicia, it was more between Alicia and his wife and he’s relegated to the reaction scenes only. Even the last part of the episode featured Alicia and the wife with him walking on the background.

Robert Morse has his “showiest” submission as he had the whole number at the end, but I don’t think it will be enough to break the Mad Men no-acting win here. I can see him siphoning votes for it, but it’s too short especially since you’ll be watching the whole episode. He appeared twice earlier in the episode for some blink or you’ll miss it shots, but there’s a certain vibe of “tribute” to him at the near end so there’s that.

In Scandal, Joe Morton is all screaming and showy and in your face and his episode showed the history of his character. He’s scheming and strict and caring, so I can see that appealing to a lot of voters.

Then there’s also Masters of Sex‘s Beau Bridges. He submitted the season finale where he admitted to his wife of something about his youth. It was a double arc as well since he also had the firing of Masters or not decision in it. What makes him a standout is that he was integrally inserted in the episode, but I think the fact that it was far from the OMG acting makes me dubious about his “sure” win.

Lastly, Reg E. Cathey gets in a surprise nomination for House of Cards. Upon rewatching the episode, it’s when his friendship with Francis Underwood’s character was put into jeopardy when issues involving Freddy’s son pop up and that it might affect and cost Underwood any negative publicity. It was mostly a passive silent performance, but I think it’s one that’s really gonna resonate well with voters and had a complete resolution at the end. I see this as a two way race between Cathey and Morton. For some reason, the surprise wins here the past few years (Paul McCrane, Dan Bucatinsky) where all for showy loud performances and that works to Joe Morton’s advantage.

However, I’m sensing a Glynn Turman type of win for Cathey (and no, it’s not because they are both black actors). My comparison stems from the idea that he is a long time working veteran character actor whose arc is one that elicits the most sympathy here (both dealing with their sons) and he was shown many times in his submission provided with a complete arc. I just feel that it’s one that will have the most passionate fans from the voters that can propel him to a win. I mean if he can pull off the surprise nomination, then a win isn’t out of grasp as well.

01. Reg E. Cathey, “House of Cards”
02. Joe Morton, “Scandal“
03. Beau Bridges, “Masters of Sex“
04. Robert Morse, “Mad Men“
05. Paul Giamatti, “Downton Abbey“
06. Dylan Baker, “The Good Wife“

There is more Emmy analysis to come and you can always join the conversation in the forums and check out the rest of the Emmy Experts’ predictions and podcasts.

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