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Can drama champ Edie Falco make Emmy history with comedy win?

August 11, 2010 |  1:26 pm

Both of our Emmy experts -- Rob "Rob L" Licuria (AwardsHeaven) and Chris "Boomer" Beachum -- are predicting Edie Falco to win the comedy actress category for the first season of "Nurse Jackie." Should she prevail, Falco -- who won three of her six Emmy bids for the series "The Sopranos" (1999, 2001, 2003) -- would join Carroll O'Connor ("All in the Family," "In the Heat of the Night") as the only lead regulars to have won Emmy Awards for both comedy and drama series.

Edie Falco Nurse Jackie Emmys COMEDY LEAD ACTRESS: ROB'S PREDIX
1. Edie Falco, "Nurse Jackie" ("Pilot")
2. Toni Collette, "United States of Tara" ("Torando!")
3. Tina Fey, "30 Rock" ("Dealbreakers Talk Show #0001")
4. Amy Poehler, 'Parks & Recreation ("Telethon")
5. Lea Michele, "Glee" ("Sectionals")
6. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "New Adventures of Old Christine" ("I Love What You Do for Me")

ROB'S COMMENTARY: Julia Louis-Dreyfus was fortunate to garner another nomination in this category for the final season of "Old Christine," as the show ended without much fanfare and some expected that she might be overlooked. This episode does not present us with anything really exceptional to judge, but is what we would expect from Louis-Dreyfus – great timing as the sassy and dysfunctional Christine. But in terms of range and impact, I was left wanting more.

In my opinion, Lea Michele should have chosen the vastly superior pilot episode over this one in which she is not given much in the way of comedy to do at all. She belts out a great number and is given some poignant feel-good dramatic material, but in comparison with some of the other actresses in this category, it comes off a little slight and forgettable.

Amy Poehler similarly could have chosen a number of episodes, and yet is given similar material as the bumbling and not-very-self-aware Leslie Knope. She is very likable, and has some funny moments, but I think she might have been better off submitting "Pawnee Zoo."

As for Tina Fey, she has a few more laughs up her sleeve, but I think the writing lets her down as the episode descends into the ridiculous (and not in a good way). I just kept thinking that both of these brilliant comedic actresses didn't have a winning episode to rely on this year.

I think that this category is really a showdown between the two Showtime powerhouses — Edie Falco and Toni Collette, both of whom bring a bit more gravitas and "acting" to their roles in comparison with the other four women. Collette won last year, and many might think that her win was a one-time deal, but going by her chosen episode, "Torando," I think she has a great chance of repeating. Admittedly, her performance is not an overtly "funny" one (and the same thing can be said for Falco), but when she transforms into the new alter ego "Shoshanna," I was absolutely dazzled by her characterization, accent and the dry humor that that particular character adds to the show. Trust me. Don't count her out just because the show itself is not the funniest thing on TV.

Similarly, Falco and "Nurse Jackie" are not belly-laugh inducing, but obviously, Emmy voters love the show (nominated for best comedy series), and they definitely love Falco (multiple winner for "The Sopranos"). Falco displays a wildly out of control character -- drug addict, liar, adulteress and unconventional nurse -- and is given some sharp-tongued lines to throw at those around her. There is also likability in some scenes that may be just enough to tip voters over the edge.

Edie Falco Emmys Sopranos COMEDY LEAD ACTRESS: BOOMER'S PREDIX
1. Edie Falco, "Nurse Jackie" ("Pilot")
2. Tina Fey, "30 Rock" ("Dealbreakers Talk Show #0001")
3. Toni Collette, "United States of Tara" ("Torando!")
4. Amy Poehler, "Parks & Recreation" ("Telethon")
5. Lea Michele, "Glee" ("Sectionals")
6. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "New Adventures of Old Christine" ("I Love What You Do for Me")

BOOMER'S COMMENTARY: I had a pretty good feeling Falco would win this award way back when it was announced by Showtime that she would be starring in a new comedic drama. She certainly doesn't disappoint, especially in the premiere episode, in which the audience gets a real sense of who she is and why she is one of the hospital's best nurses. Voters will also discover a gifted comedic actress with some very funny moments as well as a couple of heroic ones. Falco is so good she even carried the show almost by herself into a somewhat unexpected nomination for best comedy series.

The top comedic performance in this category is once again given by Fey. I think it might be her best submission yet, with great physical comedy and one-liners throughout as she attempts to launch her own talk show. In a different year, she probably would have won her second Emmy in this category. Collette certainly shows range in her episode, especially in the momentous basement scene in which she lets loose all of her alter egos within a short period of time. Unfortunately, for all of the buildup to that moment, I thought the writing and directing let her down a good bit with the pacing and delivery of the scene. It felt forced, flat and underwhelming.

My own personal choice to win an Emmy (any Emmy) would be Amy Poehler, who added extra layers to her small-town character this season and developed her into one of television's funniest people. I was certainly fearful about whether that could ever happen, based on the first few episodes last spring, but the second season was outstanding in just about every way. As a bonus, she even wrote this particular episode, set during a local TV telethon in which everything goes wrong throughout the night.

If Michele wins this Emmy, it would strictly be because of the frenzy for her show, "Glee," and the one big performance toward the end. Her "acting" moments on this episode were few and far between -- and certainly not funny in any way. I am glad Louis-Dreyfus has two Emmys already, because her last shot for this unfairly promoted and scheduled series will not do it for her again.

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Upper photo: Edie Falco in "Nurse Jackie." Credit: Showtime

Lower photo: Falco at the 2003 Emmy Awards. Credit: Fox


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