Emmys 2012: 10 Actors and Actresses Worthy of First-Time Nominations

Emmy Rossum Naya Rivera Damon Wayans - H 2012
Showtime; FOX; ABC

Emmy Rossum Naya Rivera Damon Wayans - H 2012

A new crop of contenders will be unveiled after Emmy nominations are announced in less than 24 hours, bringing repeat mentions for favorites from Mad Men to Modern Family.

For others, the early morning announcement could bring a slew of first-time nominees the awards season buzz that helps define a career.

Ahead of the Kerry Washington and Nick Offerman's announcement, The Hollywood Reporter's The Live Feed team has picked 10 actors and actresses worthy of their first-time nominations.

THR's Emmy 2012 Coverage

Carrie Brownstein, Portlandia
A sleeper multihyphenate, Brownstein has had a bit of a coming-out party on IFC's Portlandia. The Wild Flag frontwoman writes and inhabits some of the funniest characters currently on television. And with Kristin Wiig moving on from Saturday Night Live, she's our heir apparent for queen of sketch comedy.

Jane Levy, Suburgatory
If the Emmys were eyeing fresh blood for comedy consideration from the usual suspects (30 Rock, Modern Family), look no further than Suburgatory's Levy, who stormed onto the scene playing the witty and sarcastic teenage daughter to Jeremy Sisto's single father. On the shoulders of any other actress, the half-hour satirical comedy just may be a completely different beast.

Monica Potter, Parenthood
On top of juggling the overzealous Braverman clan, Kristina became a new mom and dealt with postpartum depression before returning to work -- and looking out for her niece, Amber, as she juggled a busy home life and a demanding job in politics. Was there a dry eye in the house after Kristina's autistic son Max (Max Burkholder) called her the unthinkable?

Maggie Q, Nikita
It's all in the "Wrath" episode, a perfect showcase of what Maggie Q can do -- heartbreaking emotion -- when she's not kicking ass and taking names.

Ashley Rickards, Awkward
Deadpan timing and awkward looks for days, Rickards continues to bring the perfect blend of heart (and heartbreak) and comedic chops to MTV's critical darling. Now decide, Jake or Matty!

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Naya Rivera, Glee
Glee co-star Chris Colfer received recognition from the TV Academy for Kurt's coming-out storyline, but for Rivera's Santana, the process was an even harder one. After being outed in the middle of McKinley -- by a friend, no less -- the snarky cheerleader came out to her family in a heartbreaking scene in which her grandmother rejected her that made for one of the most realistic conversations yet on the Fox dramedy.

Emmy Rossum, Shameless
On Shameless, where chaos reigns supreme, Rossum's Fiona is the glue that holds the Gallagher clan together. From swearing up a storm to reuniting with love Jimmy/Steve, Rossum's portrayal is both refreshing and heart-wrenching. One of the most dramatic scenes of season two: Fiona's discovery of her mother's attempted suicide during Thanksgiving dinner.

Jason Schwartzman, Bored to Death
After three brief seasons on HBO, Bored to Death's only Emmy cred remains one nom (and win) for main title design. To kick-start the campaign for that possible TV movie continuation -- the comedy was canceled in December -- how about some overdue award show love for Schwartzman. He's been stealing scenes since Rushmore.

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Anna Torv & John Noble, Fringe
Genre fare -- and heavily mythologized, at that -- tends to get overlooked for awards consideration, with the exception of a few television shows (i.e. Lost), but if playing numerous versions of a character was on a checklist for nomination prerequisites, Torv and Noble would be tops. For Torv, who was introduced to American audiences when Fringe debuted in 2008, she has grown into a capable leading lady, holding her own against seasoned vets like Noble and co-star Joshua Jackson. And for Noble, he's arguably the heart of the series; an Emmy nomination has been years overdue.

Damon Wayans Jr., Happy Endings
In a perfect world, all six members of the Happy Endings crew would dominate the supporting categories like their friends at Modern Family -- but even a solitary nom for the sophomore season of the ABC comedy seems unlikely. That said, if the TV powers that be do show favor on Happy Endings, the first kudos should probably go to Wayans Jr. His blend of timing, frequent hysterics and inherited physical comedy continues to make him a standout.

Who would you like to see pick up their first Emmy nomination on Thursday? Hit the comments with your thoughts and check back bright and early for all things Emmy.