There is a deja vu aspect to the Emmy Awards, the annual television celebration that usually begins with a gimmicky musical number or comedy sketch and ends with "Mad Men" winning a best drama statuette.
The repetitiveness of the affair might have convinced some viewers that all the repeat nominees we see year after year already have at least one win to their credit. But a number do not. I call them the Almost Winners, the often nominated but (so far) never triumphant television stars. Ten have earned nods in major categories again this year. If you're seeking underdogs to root for during Sunday's big event, airing on ABC, these are the people to champion:
1. Jon Hamm
For all the hype about how "Mad Men" wins every year, it's worth noting that not a single one of its actors has captured an Emmy yet. And that includes the man who brings Don Draper to heavy-drinking, smooth-sales-pitching life; this year marks the fifth time he has been nominated.
2. Michael C. Hall
"Dexter's" serial killer, like Hamm, is going for his fifth attempt to win in best actor in a drama. He also lost in the same race back when he was playing a non-murderous undertaker on "Six Feet Under."
3. Elisabeth Moss
The actress who plays "Mad Men's" Peggy Olson has struck out on three occasions but will step up to the Emmy plate for a fourth time.
4. Christina Hendricks
Oh, look, another "Mad Men" star who hasn't won. Hendricks, a.k.a. the shapely and smart-as-a-whip silent partner Joan Holloway, is up for her third nomination as best supporting actress in a drama.
5. Amy Poehler
Poehler's Leslie Knope won an election on last season's "Parks and Recreation." So maybe she'll finally win the Emmy for best actress in a comedy on her third try? (For those keeping score, she also lost twice in the supporting actress category when she was on "Saturday Night Live.")
6. Ryan Seacrest
The ubiquitous media personality has been recognized for five years running in the best reality-show host category, for his work on "American Idol." With perennial winner Jeff Probst not nominated this time, maybe this will be his year. Unless . . .
7. Tom Bergeron
. . . it turns out to be the "Dancing With the Stars" emcee's year. Like Seacrest, he's landed in the reality host category annually since 2008, the year it was created.
8. Connie Britton
She was never nominated for "Spin City" and missed twice for her role as Tami Taylor on "Friday Night Lights." But Britton's a contender again, this time for lead actress in a miniseries for birthing a freaky baby on "American Horror Story."
9. Ed O'Neill
This is only the second time O'Neill has gotten a nod as crusty Jay Pritchett on "Modern Family." But given all his years on "Married With Children," some might think he has more nominations or wins under the belt that used to provide such an ideal resting place for his hand. He doesn't.
10. Larry David
Emmy voters have nominated David five times for his etiquette-less portrayal of himself on "Curb Your Enthusiasm," but his name has never been the one read from the dais. He does, however, have two non-acting Emmys from his "Seinfeld" days. So if he loses again Sunday, you know, yadda yadda yadda.
- Night & Day
Chris Tedesco making music of his own
Chris Tedesco, cousin of acclaimed Niagara Falls musician Tommy Tedesco -- a local legend who made a name for himself in the sound studios of Los Angeles in the 70s and 80s -- has walked a similar musical path.
- JENNINGS: Chieftains kick off St. Patrick's Day weekend We are less than two weeks from Artpark's unveiling of their Tuesday and Wednesday headliners, and there is little doubt they will continue to get bigger and better. While you are waiting to make your summer concert plans, there are a ton of fantastic shows coming this weekend, covering many genres.
- Penguin Days photo contest back at the Aquarium of Niagara The Aquarium of Niagara is celebrating the 23rd annual Penguin Days March with a penguin photography contest.
Rapids Theatre's St. Patrick's Day party rescheduled
The Rapids Theatre St. Practice Day Party featuring The Fighting Jamesons and Rock Radio 103.3 The Edge has been rescheduled for Sunday, May 18, due to inclement weather.
- 'Shrek the Musical' on stage at Lockport's Palace Theatre The Historic Palace Theatre and Curtain Up Productions is presenting "Shrek the Musical" at the Palace, 2 East Ave. beginning this weekend.
- CALLERI: Off-beat 'Chemistry' and study of Vermeer prove small movies are alive and well A theater is reborn and a visionary artist is given new life.
- Local movie "Boys 2 Men" premieres to great public response When Niagara Falls musician Torez Lamar approached local filmmaker Orundi Colvin about making a music video, neither had any idea that they would end up selling out two theater showings with the result.
- JENNINGS: Willie Nile, Blues Brothers Revue highlight week The artists keep flowing into the area and this weekend there are more than enough solid offerings to satisfy various musical tastes.
- Cocktail Festival returns with two-day run in Lewiston More than 10 restaurants, bars and retailers will join together to encourage patrons to "Quench their thirst for History" at the second annual "Lewiston Cocktail Festival."
- SEAsonings warms things up at Aquarium of Niagara Had enough slipping and sliding, sneezing and freezing? No need for cold medicine, just drop by the Aquarium of Niagara from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday. It's time for our annual winter fundraiser, SEAsonings - The Original Taste of Niagara.
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- Chris Tedesco making music of his own