Jennifer Armstrong
May 27, 2009 AT 12:00 PM EDT

Looks like Patrick Dempsey wants to make sure his chance at an Emmy nomination this year doesn’t become another victim of a showier serial killer (Dexter) or ladykiller (Don Draper). The Grey’s Anatomy heartthrob is taking himself down a notch from the leading-man category to supporting actor in his award campaign materials, the Los Angeles Times reports. You can’t blame a guy for trying: This season gave Dempsey noticeably more acting to do, as his Dr. Derek Shepherd navigated a shame spiral after losing a patient and also finally proposed to longtime star-crossed love Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo, who’s sticking in the lead category herself). He’s clearly trying to take advantage of his actual-range-of-emotions-showing clip reel while he’s got it. You never know when he’ll have to go back to simply looking pretty. Though, ironically enough, if there’s any season when the guy was a lead instead of supporting, it’s this one.

Other categorical surprises?
* Connie Britton as a supporting actress for another stellar season on Friday Night Lights. She deserves a nom even among the Glenn Closes and Holly Hunters, but certainly she should get a spot in the supporting category…right, voters? Please?
* Judy Reyes suddenly as a lead on Scrubs after about a thousand seasons.
* Chace Crawford, Ed Westwick, and Leighton Meester as leads for Gossip Girl. I’d love to believe they have a shot — Crawford’s grown tremendously this season and Westwick and Meester made the show worth taking seriously. But in categories with very grown-up actors like Sally Field and Gabriel Byrne, that longshot’s even longer.

What do you think, PopWatchers? Is Patrick Dempsey really a supporting actor? Who has a shot at nominations in these categories? Who would you like to see get a nod?

addCredit(“Richard Cartwright/ABC”)

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