In the weeks leading up to the 2007 Primetime Emmy Awards, I'll be looking at the nominees in some major categories and trying to predict who's most likely to win in these Emmy Breakdowns. Up today: Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.
America Ferrera ("Ugly Betty") — This has been Ferrera's year. She already has a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild award, and I can't see her momentum stopping anytime soon. I don't think Ferrera is necessarily the funniest actress on this very funny ensemble show, but she is definitely its heart. She's taken a character who could have been a caricature and made her into a lovable role model, and she definitely deserves credit for that. Chance of winning: High.
Tina Fey ("30 Rock") — My admiration for Fey is well-documented, and I think "30 Rock" really turned itself around when Fey figured out how best to play her character, the geeky, well-intentioned, often-bumbling Liz Lemon. Oddly, though, I don't think of "30 Rock" as her show from an acting perspective; she's there to be the straight woman for Alec Baldwin's Jack and Tracy Morgan's Tracy, and it only seemed to be at the end of the season that she was really carrying episodes alone. I'm glad to see her nominated, but I think it will take another season or two for her to win. Chance of winning: Low to moderate.
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Felicity Huffman ("Desperate Housewives") — This is a tough one. You already know why I love her, and I think she's the best "Desperate Housewives" actress by far. Her performances are often deep, emotional and moving — and that's exactly the problem I have with assessing her chances here. Will voters value straight-up humor over complex and nuanced performances like Huffman's? I'm really not sure, though Huffman's previous win in 2004 suggests that the Emmys do appreciate her work. Chance of winning: Moderate.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus ("The New Adventures of Old Christine") — This is the only show on this list that I don't watch routinely, so I'll admit I can't speak intelligently about her work relative to the others'. But she is the defending champion (her second Emmy — she also won one for "Seinfeld" back in the day), and she has a ton of recognition among voters. She's also on the most traditional show nominated in this category, and she could benefit from doing the kind of work that most people think of when they hear the word "comedy." Chance of winning: Moderate.
Mary-Louise Parker ("Weeds") — With all the good buzz around "Weeds" right now, I'd say Parker would be the front-runner for this honor if not for two things: 1) America Ferrera and 2) the Felicity Huffman issue. Like Huffman, Parker often does work on "Weeds" that is at least as dramatic as comedic. But I'm not sure where or how her particular brand of comedy will fit into this year's awards. Chance of winning: Moderate to high.