Jason Bateman (Michael, Arrested Development): A revelation. The former child actor has grown into a wonderfully appealing leading man. As the one sane member of a bitterly dysfunctional family, Bateman drips with irony, sarcasm and wit.Zach Braff (J.D., Scrubs): Let's just get this out of the way now: Braff is a freakin' comic genius. Whew, we feel better now. That said, in a TV landscape overpopulated by cynics and sexpots, his gawky medicine man gently reminds us of the importance — and the appeal — of being earnest.Bernie Mac (Bernie, The Bernie Mac Show): Listen up America: Big Mac's day has come. And gone. He's overdue to be shown the love by the Academy. So what's the holdup? Bill Cosby, he ain't. But that's one of the (many) reasons we adore about the affable grump.Matthew Perry (Chandler, Friends): The other Matt may have gotten the spinoff, but it was Friends' resident wiseacre who turned our heads in this, the hitcom's last season. When the story of Chandler and Monica's adoption called upon Perry to deliver more than punch lines, oh baby, did he ever. Tony Shalhoub (Adrian, Monk): Painfully poignant yet hysterically funny, Shalhoub's masterful performance as a chronically phobic, obsessive-compulsive sleuth is one for the ages. The Columbo of our time.
Lead Actress — Comedy
Courteney Cox (Monica, Friends): She had already defined Monica so sharply that in the show's final year, it seemed Cox could have had little left to accomplish. Not so: The astute actress helped her character grow up — and us let go. As a result, come Emmy night, she oughta, ahem, clean up. Lauren Graham (Lorelai, Gilmore Girls): Anyone who says they don't make 'em like Katharine Hepburn anymore has never checked out this fast-talkin' dame in the closest thing to a heartfelt screwball comedy we've seen this decade. Maybe she was born in the wrong era, but if you ask us, the way she handles Lorelai's rapid-fire patter and dizzying romantic life is timeless. Sarah Jessica Parker (Carrie, Sex and the City): Like an aphrodisiac in Mahnolos, the princess of the City has made us fall in love over and over again. This season was no different except for, oh, one small matter: Carrie was playing for keeps, and so was her portrayer.Kerri Kenny (Deputy Trudy, etc., Reno 911): As a lovelorn, pathologically clueless deputy who's so pathetically funny she could almost make you cry, Kenny is like a female Don Knotts, unafraid to look absolutely ridiculous as long as it guarantees a laugh.Leah Remini (Carrie, The King of Queens): Even having to hide her real-life pregnancy didn't slow down this spitfire. As Carrie Heffernan, Remini is TV's sauciest wife (and she even makes you believe she's hot for Kevin James). Long live the Queen of Queens!
Supporting Actor — Comedy
David Cross (Tobias, Arrested Development): Cross is fearlessly grotesque as a disgraced doctor of questionable sexuality who's scorned by his wife and child, a goofy born loser foolish enough to marry into the Bluth family.Donald Faison (Turk, Scrubs): Pre-wedding jitters gave way to titters in the hands of able funnyman Faison. But he did more than leave us laughing; the affable actor made us understand exactly why Carla was so stuck on her young Turk. Brad Garrett (Robert, Everybody Loves Raymond): Garrett, a literal giant in the world of TV comedy, still earns big laughs and our sympathy as this lumbering and endearing sad sack, the long-suffering Eeyore of the Barone family.John C. McGinley (Dr. Cox, Scrubs): If the Emmys had a special category for sarcasm, McGinley would own it. But even in this broader category, the man behind the caustic surgeon should be able to cut out most of his competitors. No one else on TV draws more blood without ever raising a scalpel.Jeffrey Tambor (George Bluth Sr., Arrested Development): In his most satisfying role since the unctuous Hank Kingsley of The Larry Sanders Show, Tambor is deviously funny as a jailed patriarch with warped family values who finds unexpected fulfillment behind bars.
Supporting Actress — Comedy
Kelly Bishop (Emily, Gilmore Girls): She could frost a martini glass with just one glare. As a disapproving but loving society mother whose life isn't nearly as perfect as it looks, Bishop makes an art of exasperated, wounded pride.Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm): Although Hines' role was reduced this season, her presence was no less keenly felt. As Larry David's bemused missus, she remained the best in show — and also reestablished herself as one of TV's great re-actors. Judy Reyes (Carla, Scrubs): How do we love Judy? Let us count the ways. There's the way she epitomizes the concept of sweet-and-sour. There's the way she turned Carla into a Bridezilla with recognizable human qualities. There's the way... Oh, enough already. Reyes' brand of prickly humor is just plain good for what ails us. (And it only hurts a little bit... )Bitty Schram (Sharona, Monk): Monk, and Monk, would be lost without her. Schram is a scream as Monk's crass but caring nurse-sidekick and devoted partner in crimesolving.Jessica Walter (Lucille, Arrested Development): Mommie Dearest meets Medea in this veteran actress's triumphantly hilarious portrayal of a cruelly manipulative mother who just might love her children to death.