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Emmy clawfest over best comedy actress: Tina Fey vs. Toni Collette (and watch out for Christina Applegate! Meow!)

August 8, 2009 |  3:35 pm

Our forum moderators and Emmy gurus Chris "Boomer" Beachum and Robert "Rob L" Licuria ( fiercely disagree over who'll win the Emmy bout for best comedy actor (follow their smackdown blow by blow here), but they, well, kind of concur on the actress match-up.

What needs to be stressed, underlined and ballyhooed about these predictions is that there's real muscle behind them. They're based upon viewing of the actual episodes submitted to Emmy judges by nominees as samples of their best work from the past TV season. Each contender gets one. Titles are noted in parentheses below.

Below are the views of Rob and Boomer. Since we let Rob kick off analysis of the actors' race, we'll have Boomer lead our tracking of the actress' race.

Tina Fey Toni Collette Christina Applegate news Emmys

1. Tina Fey, "30 Rock" ("Reunion")
2. Toni Collette, "United States of Tara" ("Pilot")
3. Christina Applegate, "Samantha Who?" ("The Pill")
4. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "New Adventures of Old Christine" ("Everybody Says I Love You Except Richie")
5. Mary-Louise Parker, "Weeds" ("Lady's a Charm")
6. Sarah Silverman, "Sarah Silverman Program" ("There's No Place Like Homeless")
BOOMER'S COMMENTARY: This category boils down to Tina Fey vs. Toni ColletteApplegate is charming in her episode, but there aren't any real laugh-out-loud moments as she takes a new pill to enhance her past memories. 

The same can be said for Louis-Dreyfus, who has submitted such amazingly funny episodes in the past. The poor writing in this one really lets her down, and it doesn't help that she is constantly upstaged by her brother.

What can I say about Parker that hasn't been said every year?  She once again submits one of the poorest performances not only in her category, but maybe in all Emmy categories.

Silverman is funny, but I don't think Emmy voters are ready to reward her quite yet.  And that brings us back to Fey vs. Collette.  I find Collette's show intolerable to watch, so that totally influences my ability to view her performance.  It is an actor's dream to play a person with multiple personalities, and she does a perfectly fine job of it (as much as I dislike the show itself, I can certainly appreciate a good performance).  There is no way it is enough to bring down Tina Fey this year.  Fey is on such a roll with her career, there is virtually no possibility that the Emmys will pass her over yet (even though this episode doesn't provide her with as good a showcase as last year and gets stolen somewhat by Alec Baldwin).  Watch out, Tina! This is probably your last stop at getting acting awards now that Edie Falco is lurking over your shoulder for the next few years.

1. Tina Fey, "30 Rock" ("Reunion")
2. Toni Collette, "United States of Tara" ("Pilot")
3. Christina Applegate, "Samantha Who?" ("The Pill")
4. Mary-Louise Parker, "Weeds" ("Lady's a Charm")
5. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "New Adventures of Old Christine" ("Everybody Says I Love You Except Richie")
6. Sarah Silverman, "The Sarah Silverman Program" ("There's No Place Like Homeless")

ROB'S COMMENTARY: Toni Collette is great in the pilot episode of this great new show. Although veering more toward the dramatic, her scenes in which she plays the rebellious teen "T" and the thuggish caveman "Buck" are quite funny and winning. I am in the camp that loves this show, the writing, the cast and especially its leading lady. And patriotism has nothing to do with this at all. We all know how much Emmy voters absolutely love split-personality roles, and they also love to honor film actors. Toni Collette stands to be a real spoiler in this race if voters take to this episode like I did.

Likely standing in her way is Tina Fey, arguably the most critically acclaimed TV star last season. Problem for Tina is — I wasn't enamored with her episode submission, as some others might have been, and I think some Emmy voters will share this view, perhaps preferring to honor her elsewhere (in the guest-actress category). The laughs just aren't as frequent as they should be for such a funny show. And yet, Emmy voters do love to repeat themselves, and they will find it hard to resist voting for the lead actor and creative mastermind behind this year's most-nominated comedy.

Christina Applegate, who unfortunately won't be returning to our screens next season in this great little show, is very much in this race, and would be a deserving winner. Her episode ("The Pill") is fantastic — probably the best one of the six in this category: laughs, range, screen time, likability. Applegate has it all. But the question is: Can she win, over comedy heavyweight Tina Fey and buzzed film star Toni Collette, in a small show that was canceled without much fanfare?

Mary-Louise Parker, unfortunately, never submits very good episodes. "Lady's a Charm" is OK. She's in it a lot. She has a few good scenes, especially on the U.S.-Mexico border crossing, but the laughs just aren't there. She would have been better placed had she submitted "No Man Is Pudding." The argument most in her favor is one that nobody else in this category has — the overdue factor.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus submitted badly. I am a big fan of hers and her show, but she is slightly annoying in this episode, which is not one of the show's best. It will not help her to the podium again this September. I wish she had submitted the wedding episode instead. Finally, what can I say about Sarah Silverman while still being respectful? I don't get it. I don't get the show, and I don't understand how she was nominated in this category. Sorry. On top of her likely outsider status is that the episode itself is a bit of a stinker — politically incorrect as Sarah Silverman can be, but also kinda irritating and even a little offensive. Just not my thing. No disrespect Sarah!

It's a battle between Fey and Collette, with Applegate poised to surprise. For now, I'm going safe with Tina Fey.


Dueling Emmy predix: Alec Baldwin vs. Steve Carell

Photos: Showtine, NBC, ABC

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