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Guests shine in comedies

Emmy voters to determine who is most worthy

GUEST ACTOR

Will Arnett
“30 Rock”
Why he might win: Arnett has been nommed for “30 Rock” in this category twice before. He never won for “Arrested Development” either. It’s time.
Maybe not: Arnett has been Jack Donaghy’s foil for a couple of seasons, and his character had a more minor role this time around.

Matt Damon
“30 Rock”
Why he might win: Damon did what he did best for many years, played a good American boy. This was classic, charming Damon, and both Liz Lemon and auds fell for it.
Maybe not: In a sitcom full of quirky characters, it was hard for Damon to stand out. It’s tough to say — “30 Rock” fans may hand their votes to the marvelously unpredictable Will Arnett.

Idris Elba
“The Big C”
Why he might win: Elba proved his range on the Laura Linney starrer. His character, Lenny, was a major departure from Elba’s stints on “The Wire” and “The Office.”
Maybe not: This year is the first time Elba has been Emmy nominated, and he has two. If he wins, it might instead be for his meatier role as a British cop on BBC America’s “Luther.”

Zach Galifianakis
“Saturday Night Live”
Why he might win: Galifianakis got props for bringing his weirdness to “SNL” with a strong opening monologue and shaving his head on screen. His extremes are refreshingly unique.
Maybe not: He got some flak for being more stand-up than sketch while hosting, and his non-sequiturs were viewed by some as cop-outs, not clever.

Nathan Lane
“Modern Family”
Why he might win: When Jesse Tyler Ferguson asks Lane’s character, Pepper, if he could ever “turn it off for a second,” the answer is, of course, “no.” Lane is always on and always clearly having fun on screen.
Maybe not: Yes, Lane was a joy to watch, but viewers have seen him in the fun gay role before. Let’s see him guest on “Game of Thrones,” and not as a jester.

Justin Timberlake
“Saturday Night Live”
Why he might win: Timberlake, on his way to being the next Alec Baldwin, is a favorite of the show. And the digital short “3-Way” got big laughs for reprising Timberlake and Andy Samberg’s Emmy-wining “Dick in a Box” characters.
Maybe not: Timberlake has won once in this category already. No one’s crying a river if he doesn’t go home with the statue.

GUEST ACTRESS

Elizabeth Banks
“30 Rock”
Why she might win: Banks’ sexy, aggressive news anchor brought a clever foil to Liz Lemon’s nerdy insecurity on “30 Rock,” a fresh vibe that was welcome on the vet series.
Maybe not: Despite several successful TV gigs, Banks is seen more often as a film actress. She even had to reach out to “30 Rock” on her own to get involved.

Kristin Chenoweth
“Glee”
Why she might win: Chenoweth lost in this category last year, but she’s back again. Second time might be the charm, and her charm is undeniable.
Maybe not: “Glee” has three nominees in this category, meaning the age-old awards problem: The vote split.

Tina Fey
“Saturday Night Live”
Why she might win: Fey has been recognized in the past for her Sarah Palin impersonation on the show, and she pulled it off again in her 2011 hosting stint.
Maybe not: While Fey certainly brought sparkle back to “SNL,” some critics were tired of her Sarah. Maybe it only resonates in a presidential election year.

Dot-Marie Jones
“Glee”
Why she might win: Jones embodied what “Glee” is all about — praising the underdog. Everything about her was a pleasant surprise, and she managed to stand out in a series already full of the strangely special.
Maybe not: A newbie to the popular Fox series, she might still have some proving to do.

Cloris Leachman
“Raising Hope”
Why she might win: Emmy voters love 85-year-old Leachman. She’s been nominated 22 times, and if she wins this will be her ninth — more than any actor or actress ever.
Maybe not: Appearing in practically every episode, voters could feel that competing in this category is somewhat unfair.

Gwyneth Paltrow
“Glee”
Why she might win: Paltrow proved she could let loose by singing a cuss-filled (OK, it was censored) tune, even having fun with a Lindsay Lohan diss in her dialogue. And, yes, she can sing.
Maybe not: Paltrow sang on “Glee,” on “Glee! Live in Concert,” in “Country Strong.” Voters may feel oversaturated at this point.

ROAD TO THE EMMYS: THE GUEST STAR
Guest star eligibility worthy of debate | Drama guest stars vie for Emmy | Guests shine in comedies

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