Emmy's actor race a (mostly) level playing field

Tue Aug 3, 2010 11:51pm EDT
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By Randee Dawn

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - This year's actor pool reflects an even mix of stalwarts and newcomers.

Every year during the post- Emmy nomination churn, certain arguments get a lot of play: Broadcast can't beat cable! Newcomers are shut out!

For the first time in a while, those discussions are a bit more muted.

In the war between cable and broadcast, there was at least one major surprise this year: DirecTV managed to field a lead acting candidate for the first time in Kyle Chandler after his four seasons on "Friday Night Lights." And broadcast made a meaningful resurgence in both lead and supporting categories, thanks to breakout hits "Glee" and "Modern Family."

Those two series alone landed five of the 24 primary acting categories; nonbroadcast acting nominations take up just nine of the acting slots up for grabs in 2010 compared with last year's 10.

Lead actor in a comedy has only one newbie -- Matthew Morrison ("Glee") -- with the rest repeat nominees from last year: Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory"), Tony Shalhoub ("Monk"), Steve Carell ("The Office") and Alec Baldwin ("30 Rock").

Shalhoub and Carell have an edge in that their final seasons ("Monk" is canceled; Carell has confirmed his 2011 departure from "The Office") could call for a sentimental vote. Carell has never won for his role as the hapless Michael Scott, though Shalhoub has three wins as the OCD-addled private investigator. Their main stumbling block is Baldwin, who has won for the past two years and is still going strong, but no one has managed a three-peat in this category in more than 10 years.

As for Morrison's chances, the acting on "Glee" isn't its main appeal, which leaves Parsons more room to score what some consider an overdue win.   Continued...

<p>Cast member Matthew Morrison poses at a party to celebrate the premiere of the second season of the television series "Glee" in Los Angeles April 12, 2010. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>