Ray Richmond is an AwardsLine contributor
SUPPORTING COMEDY ACTOR
Emmy Pedigree: It’s Burrell’s third straight nomination here for Family, and he’s bidding for his second win in a row. He, like the rest of the cast, also took home a SAG Award the past two years as well as a TCA honor in 2011.
What We Say: Burrell could be poised to pull a repeat, but with the Family vote split four ways, it’s far more likely that voters will anoint new blood.
Emmy Pedigree: Ferguson has kept pace with his costars in landing his third Emmy nod for the show. However, unlike Ty Burrell and Eric Stonestreet, he’s yet to win.
What We Say: The guy is really, really good. But he’s surrounded on this show—and in this category—by really, really good. It’s Ferguson’s turn. Time for him to make room for a golden gal on the shelf.
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Emmy Pedigree: This is Greenfield’s first Emmy nomination after having had recurring roles on Veronica Mars, Ugly Betty, the ABC Family comedic drama Greek, and the TNT drama Raising the Bar.
What We Say: There’s a little buzz building for Greenfield’s role as Schmidt, but a win is pretty unlikely.
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BILL HADER (Saturday Night Live, NBC)
Emmy Pedigree: This is actually not Hader’s first Emmy nomination (though his first in supporting comedy actor). He earned a pair of noms previously as part of the production team on Comedy Central’s South Park and was part of the group that won for top animated program in 2009.
What We Say: While Hader is an SNL main stay, it’s still a little bit weird that he’s shoehorned into this category so incongruously. It’s highly unlikely that he’ll be able to knock off any of those Modern Family boys.
Emmy Pedigree: It’s O’Neill’s second Emmy nom to go along with a pair of Golden Globe nominations he earned for Married…with Children as the iconic Al Bundy. He’s also won two SAG Awards (2011-12) as part of the Modern Family cast. He’s still looking for his first win.
What We Say: O’Neill has successfully made the world forget that Bundy guy. He’s as good as anyone on the show—but not better than the other three adult male costars, one of whom will likely win here.
Emmy Pedigree: Yes, once again, this is Stonestreet’s three-peat as a category nominee. He was first from the cast to win in 2010. Burrell and Bowen followed last year. He also earned Globe nominations, but no win, in the past two years.
What We Say: To some degree, it comes down to how voters are feeling when they watch his submitted episode and how it stacks up with the competition. The suspicion here is that the prize will be going elsewhere.
SUPPORTING COMEDY ACTRESS
MAYIM BIALIK (The Big Bang Theory, CBS)
Emmy Pedigree: Believe it or not, it’s Bialik’s first-ever Emmy nom to go along with a SAG Award ensemble nomination this year.
What We Say: This is the kind of category, and the kind of year, where an upset is a distinct possibility. But as great as Bialik is as Amy Farrah Fowler, it would take a pretty huge one for her to slip in and claim this crown.
Emmy Pedigree: Joosten scored her fourth and final Emmy nomination this year roughly seven weeks after succumbing to lung cancer at age 72 on June 2. She already won a pair of trophies as guest comedy actress in Desperate Housewives for her role as meddlesome neighbor Karen McCluskey—in 2005 and ’08. She earned a third guest actress nom in 2010 before posthumously being graduated this season from the guest to the supporting ranks for the first time. The episode submitted for consideration showed Joosten’s character dying of cancer in a tender and wrenching farewell. And then a mere 20 days after that finale aired, Joosten passed away.
What We Say: While this is supposed to be a category honoring laughs, Joosten will almost certainly win here as voters see fit to honor a final noble performance.
Emmy Pedigree: Bowen is singled out here for the third consecutive year after having taken home the big prize in 2011. The actress also boasts eight SAG Award noms, winning those the past two years as part of the Family cast.
What We Say: When you’re a member of a cast that is this magnificent—as is the case with Modern Family—you probably only get one Emmy win per series run (at most). Bowen already got hers last year.
Emmy Pedigree: Vergara is still looking for her first Emmy win on her third nomination for Family as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett. She’s also landed Golden Globes noms the past two years, but no wins.
What We Say: There is no argument that Vergara is a spectacularly broad, effortlessly absurd piece of the Modern Family equation. Yet it’s difficult to imagine her evolving from deserved Emmy nominee to surprise Emmy winner anytime soon.
Emmy Pedigree: Wever has never received an Emmy nom, though one could argue that she deserved one for simply having survived Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip with her career more or less intact. Besides Studio 60, Wever also had a role in Lena Dunham’s acclaimed 2010 indie feature Tiny Furniture.
What We Say: The young New York City native is an up-and-comer who brings mirthful color to her character Zoey on Jackie. She will not win, however, as too few voters even know how to spell her name.
Emmy Pedigree: Wiig, who was nominated for a writing Oscar for Bridesmaids in February, is nominated here for the fourth time in a row as supporting comedy actress, which is quite the feat for someone working in a sketch comedy troupe on SNL. She’s also nominated this year as a voiceover artist for The Looney Tunes Show. Wiig has yet to win.
What We Say: If anyone in this category has a shot of beating out Kathryn Joosten, it’s Wiig. Her SNL farewell attached poignance to the laughs, and voters might want to honor someone who is poised to become a great big movie star.