"Mad Men" shaking up Emmy submissions

Wed Mar 31, 2010 11:07pm EDT
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By Randee Dawn

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The producers behind "Mad Men" are hoping to boost the Emmy chances of its highest-profile actresses by positioning last year's lead nominee Elisabeth Moss as a supporting contender.

Sources say the thinking is that January Jones, snubbed last year and the year before, will have a better chance in the lead actress category without competition from Moss.

Unlike the Oscars, Emmy candidates get to submit in whichever category they choose. And this move makes sense. Matthew Weiner's 60's-set drama began with Moss' corporate climber Peggy Olson front and center, but Jones's Betty Draper has slowly evolved from doting housewife to semi-empowered Don Draper-dumper. This season's arc, which peaked with Betty outing Don's deceptions and gearing up for a divorce, featured the kind of heavy "acting-acting" that Emmy voters tend to love.

Also, as "Desperate Housewives" and "Sex and the City" have shown, having main characters run against each other can lead to nullification. Moss would instantly become a front-runner for a supporting nod, but she'll face stiff competition from the likes of Chloe Sevigny ("Big Love") and Sandra Oh ("Grey's Anatomy) and newcomers Christine Baranski ("The Good Wife") and Khandi Alexander (once "Treme" debuts in April). She might even find strong competition close to home -- Christina Hendricks continues to wow as Joan Holloway, even in reduced appearances this season. And last year's winner, "24" president Cherry Jones, should show up again, especially now that the show has announced it will end after this season.

The Emmy Awards will take place in Los Angeles on August 29.