We’ve talked a lot in this space about Steve Carell and how he surprisingly hasn’t gotten any love from the folks at the television academy, at least when it comes to bringing home the hardware at the end of Emmy night. Sure, he gets nominated every single year, but like his compadre Hugh Laurie in the lead actor/drama category, he goes home empty-handed every year.
This year, though, may be Steve’s year. He’s getting a lot of buzz that he might actually win this time around, even though he’s said in various interviews that he’s going to the ceremony with low expectations. Given that he departed “The Office” this past season, the buzz might be correct. But there are also a lot of good reasons why he may get disappointed for a sixth time this year.
REASONS WHY CARELL WILL WIN
The academy loves recognizing people and shows when they’re out the door. It doesn’t matter if the show or actor has won in the past or has never won before, though the latter situation seems to be their MO; the academy loves to give what amounts to a lifetime (or series-time) achievement award. In the case of Carell, there’s the added factor that he should have won the award at least once already, and they may want to give it to him as an “our bad” kind of maneuver.
The academy loves to give hardware to movie stars. Yes, Carell is a movie star now, and has been for awhile. Even though his breakthrough on “The Office” came roughly at the same time that he starred in the monster hit “The 40 Year Old Virgin,” Carell has only been a part-time movie star because of his dedication to playing Michael Scott. But that’s changed in the last few years, and as we’ve seen from the nomination list this year (Kathy Bates, anyone?), the academy will take any chance it gets to honor someone who was a movie star at one time or another.
Carell put in his best performance this year. Seriously. He played Michael just right, as a man who is finally maturing in his mid-40s after having found the love of his life in Holly Flax (Amy Ryan). Though he still displayed a lot of the usual childish Michael-like tendencies of the past, he made his character’s transition and exit believable and emotional. For that alone he should get an Emmy.
REASONS WHY CARELL WON’T WIN
The academy has already established a love affair with Jim Parsons. Like Alec Baldwin before him, the academy loves repeat winners. And, even though “The Big Bang Theory” slipped a bit this year — sorry to say, but the addition of “the girls” to the show has made it less funny — Parsons has been as funny as ever. And now that the academy has broken the seal on giving him an Emmy, it’s not a leap to think he’ll win again.
“The Office” isn’t as good as it used to be. Despite Carell’s great performance this year, “The Office” is definitely on the downside of its run. There comes a point where it feels like the academy is just nominating people by rote no matter how much the show they’re on has declined — let’s call it the Tony Shalhoub Principle. And the voters may feel that while Carell is worthy of yet another nomination, the show itself isn’t deserving at this point. Still others may think that if he didn’t win five years ago when the show was at its peak, why should he win now?
Watch out for Matt LeBlanc. If Parsons doesn’t get it, Baldwin might. But if neither get it, it wouldn’t surprise us if the academy turned to four-time nominee Matt LeBlanc. It would be an opportunity to give him some belated recognition for his work on “Friends,” with the added bonus of making the academy look highbrow for giving the award to the mainly British production of “Episodes.” Seems far-fetched? Sure. But nothing surprises us about the Emmys at this point.
Why do you think this will (or won’t) be Steve Carell’s year?