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Posted at 04:30 PM ET, 09/15/2011

Steve Carell: Five reasons he deserves the Emmy for best actor in a comedy


Steve Carell: World’s best boss, maybe, but will he finally be an Emmy-winning one? (JUSTIN LUBIN/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Steve Carell has been nominated for an Emmy Award five times for his role as the hapless, “Lazy Scranton”-rapping Michael Scott on “The Office.” Every time, he has lost, usually to a Shalhoub or a Baldwin. (Last year, in a change of pace, Jim Parsons beat him.)

During this Sunday’s Emmys, Carell’s name will be called for a sixth time in the best actor in a comedy category. And finally he looks poised to win.

Emmy Award prognosticators from numerous outlets seem convinced that Carell’s got this thing locked up. Vulture predicts he’s going to get the trophy, as do Entertainment Weekly, Goldderby.com, E! Online and the Hollywood Reporter.

But should Carell take the Emmy for his work in a season of “The Office” that wasn’t its best, or even its second-best?

I say yes, for the following five reasons.

1. This Emmy will finally and deservedly reward Carell’s entire run on “The Office”: Sure, it’s always a little unfair when awards turn into make-up trophies: honors that represent a larger body of work that merited recognition earlier. But push that aside for a moment and consider how criminal it would be for Carell to never receive the Emmy for playing such a memorable, perpetually quotable character. Given how crucial he was to “The Office’s” success, it just seems wrong not to acknowledge his achievement, especially since ...

2. Carell pulled off a tough feat: He effectively followed in the footsteps of Ricky Gervais: When the American version of “The Office” first arrived on NBC’s airwaves, many were skeptical about its ability to even remotely approximate the comedic genius of the British version. In particular, it seemed impossible to imagine anyone doing a better version of David Brent than Gervais. But Carell, to his credit, didn’t do a version of David Brent. He created his own special brand of narcissistic cluelessness in Michael Scott. Which, given the odds against him, is pretty impressive.

3. “The Office” wasn’t great this season, but Carell was: “The Office” has not been as consistently funny for the past couple of seasons. But Carell, especially during his last run of episodes, was consistently convincing and even moving as Scott. Just watch his reaction to his co-workers’ “Rent” riff below and try not to get a tad teary.

4. The competition in his category, while worthy, is not super-tough: Matt LeBlanc’s nomination for “Episodes” is its own reward, given that the show didn’t register with a mass audience; Jim Parsons won the Emmy last year, and the fact that both he and Johnny Galecki got nods for “The Big Bang Theory” may mean they cancel each other out; Alec Baldwin has already won twice; and that leaves one more nominee ...

5. Louis C.K. And for him, there’s always next year. Louis C.K. is the nominee that most people are rooting for if they aren’t rooting for Carell, so he could be a surprise winner. But with “Louis” returning for a third season, the comedian has another chance at an Emmy next year. Sunday is Carell’s last opportunity at an Emmy for playing Michael Scott. And really, after all the “That’s what she saids” he’s uttered for our entertainment, doesn’t he deserve an award with a bit more heft than a Dundie?

By  |  04:30 PM ET, 09/15/2011

Tags:  Emmy Awards

 
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