emmyIt’s shaping up to be the year of the second bananas at the Primetime Emmy Awards, with the supporting comedy series acting categories packed with hot names.

The entire cast of breakout freshman comedy Modern Family was submitted as supporting, with Eric Stonestreet, Ty Burrell, Ed O’Neill and Sofia Vergara, who will be co-hosting the Emmy nomination ceremony, as top contenders. The other hot new comedy series this season, Fox’s Glee, also is expected to produce at least one supporting acting nomination, for standout Jane Lynch. And that’s not all.

Two of the three stars of the biggest feature comedy hit last year, The Hangover, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis, are up for supporting comedy actor for NBC’s The Office and HBO’s Bored To Death, respectively, while co-star Ken Joeng is in the running in the supporting comedy actor category for NBC’s Community. Those three series have a number of other solid supporting actor contenders: John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer, coming off a strong season-long storyline that included a wedding and a baby, and three-time nominee Rainn Wilson on The Office, the terrific Ted Danson on Bored to Death, and Community breakout co-stars Danny Pudi and Donald Glover who could land surprise nominations. NBC’s other Thursday comedies also are full of hot supporting talent. Parks and Recreation‘s list of supporting Emmy contenders is led by red-hot Aziz Ansari, a rising feature star and host of the MTV Movie Awards, with Nick Offerman, Chris Pratt, Rashida Jones and Aubrey Plaza also in the running. Meanwhile, 30 Rock has last year’s supporting acting nominees Jane Krakowski, Jack McBrayer and Tracy Morgan back in contention.

And then there is returning favorite Neil Patrick Harris, overdue for an Emmy after losing out to Jon Cryer last year. The How I Met Your Mother and Two and a Half Men co-stars will probably square off again this year, possibly joined by two other perennial favorites, three-time winner Jeremy Piven, who was surprisingly snubbed at the nominations last year, and his Entourage castmate Kevin Dillon. Weeds‘ Elizabeth Perkins, a three-time nominee, could also return on the distaff side, possibly joined by Hung‘s Jane Adams who, somewhat surprisingly, was submitted as supporting.

The unusually strong group of supporting comedy contenders this year reminds me of the field a few years ago when the supporting players on several comedy series often outshone the leads: Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally on Will & Grace, Brad Garrett, Peter Boyle and Doris Roberts on Everybody Loves Raymond, John Mahoney and David Hyde Pierce on Frasier and Will Arnett and Jeffrey Tambor on Arrested Development.