Times Critics’ Emmy Picks Blur Lead-Supporting Split

New York Times TV critics Alessandra Stanley and Ginia Bellafante both submitted Emmy picks on Sunday under the headline “And the Nominees Should Be…”

Only for about a third of their choices for lead actor and actress in a comedy and drama, the nominees can’t be — because those performers weren’t submitted in the lead acting category.

Stanley gave a well-deserved promotion to supporting actor Michael Cudlitz (“Southland”), but it was the actresses that received the most bumps up: Hope Davis (“In Treatment”), Portia de Rossi (“Better Off Ted”), Chloe Sevigny (“Big Love”) and Holland Taylor (“Two and a Half Men”). The biggest head-scratcher, though, might have been Chris Rock as the narrator in “Everybody Hates Chris,” which suggests she must have thought the comedy category was really slim pickings this year.

For her part, Bellafante also elevated Sevigny to lead status, along with Justin Kirk (“Weeds”), Jeremy Piven (“Entourage”), Lisa Edelstein (“House”), Jane Lynch (“Party Down”), and Madeleine Martin (“Californication”).

Granted, there’s a fair amount of strategy and politicking in deciding how performers are submitted, but some of these are clearly supporting players. Although I understand the impulse to simply single out those actors that you liked, the fomal way in which the choices were presented within the paper’s special “Emmys section” sort of muddied the waters, especially if Emmy voters fill out their ballots the way California primary voters do — you know, read the ballot recommendations in the polling booth and make up your mind at the last minute.

So consider this effort to set the record straight a public-service contribution to the TV academy, ensuring that the Emmy voting process is handled more smoothly than the standard election in Florida or Ohio.

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