This Sunday, Neil Patrick Harris hosts the Emmys, which purports to honor the finest television of last year, but is mostly an opportunity for the voters to repeatedly honor the same people over and over again. If the Golden Globes are awful because of their nomination process, at least they usually get the winners right. The Emmys, meanwhile, are constantly behind the curve. Will anything change this year? Let’s dive into the nominations…
Nominees: Laura Dern (Enlightened), Lena Dunham (Girls), Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie), Tina Fey (30 Rock), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep), Amy Poehler (Parks & Recreation)
Should Win: Poehler, who (stunningly!) has yet to win for her three-dimensional, warm hug of performance as Leslie Knope. I’ve already resigned myself to her never winning, like Steve Carell for The Office, but I’ll keep banging the drum for her regardless.
Will Win: Barring a return trip to the podium for Fey, all signs point to Louis-Dreyfus winning her second-straight trophy. Her character underwent a major transformation this season, adding much-needed shading and empathy for embattled Vice President Selina Meyer, while still being searingly funny.
Nominees: Alec Baldwin (30 Rock), Jason Bateman (Arrested Development), Louis C.K. (Louie) Don Cheadle (House of Lies), Matt LeBlanc (Episodes), Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)
Should and Will Win: Like Amy Poehler, the real champ should be Nick Offerman for his reliably funny and heartfelt performance on Parks & Rec, but even if he’d been nominated there’s no stopping Louis C.K. this year. The star, producer, writer, director, editor, everything of Louie is riding a groundswell of support and should coast to the win in a weak category. I expect him to win for writing, too.
COMEDY SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Nominees: Mayim Bialik (The Big Bang Theory), Julie Bowen (Modern Family), Anna Chlumsky (Veep), Jane Krakowski (30 Rock), Jane Lynch (Glee), Sofia Vergara (Modern Family), Meritt Wever (Nurse Jackie)
Should Win: Krakowski, who cranks everything about Jenna up to 11 and beyond, and has never won. She has a chance, if voters are feeling a 30 Rock sweep, but…
Will Win: …They won’t. Modern Family, even in its weakest season yet, is still a juggernaut, and Julie Bowen will win again despite having had very little to do in it.
COMEDY SUPPORTING ACTOR
Nominees: Ty Burrell (Modern Family), Adam Driver (Girls), Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live), Tony Hale (Veep), Ed O’Neill (Modern Family), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family)
Should Win: I have a lot of residual affection for Tony Hale from Arrested Development, but his role on Veep isn’t near that level…yet. Honestly, I’m rooting for Hader. He’ll be dearly missed on Saturday Night Live, and if Stefon can’t win, we all lose.
Will Win: Ty Burrell, obviously. Maaaaaaybe Ed O’Neill (it’s his turn, I guess), but barring some vote-splitting catastrophe, Burrell — the funniest actor on the show — wins for the second time.
Nominees: 30 Rock, The Big Bang Theory, Girls, Louie, Modern Family, Veep
Should and Will Win: 30 Rock, for its fantastic final season that gave us the perfect ending for Liz Lemon & company. The most fervent hope, however, is simply that Modern Family NOT win for the hundredth time. It still totally could, and that makes me sad–not because it’s a bad show, but right now it’s playing it completely safe, content to rake in the eyeballs, money, and awards that should go to a bolder, stronger, and stranger show. I could easily see Veep or Louie sneak in, but I think 30 Rock goes out on top.
Nominees: Connie Britton (Nashville), Claire Danes (Homeland), Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey), Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel), Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men), Kerry Washington (Scandal), Robin Wright (House of Cards)
Should and Will Win: I’ll be mildly shocked if Claire Danes, as the shattered but resolute force of nature that is Carrie Mathison, doesn’t repeat. She puts on an absolute clinic, and deserves to make us even more tired of watching her win things. That said, Moss & Wright are real dark horses — Moss, if voters also want to acknowledge her fantastic work on Top of the Lake, and Wright if House of Cards has more overall support than most think. Even Kerry Washington has a shot, with Scandal probably owning bigger ratings than all three of those shows combined. And, uh, WHERE IS TATIANA MASLANY?
Nominees: Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey), Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom), Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Damian Lewis (Homeland), Kevin Spacey (House of Cards)
Should Win: What a friggin’ stacked category. It’s almost impossible to choose, and while I’d love for this to be Cranston’s 4th win as Walter White, I’m almost inclined to pick against him because he’s practically GUARANTEED to win it next year for the show’s final season. Jon Hamm is in almost the same boat, as he’ll now have two more chances to win instead of just one with Mad Men’s final season being split in half. So I’m rooting for Damian Lewis, who was incredible in the first season of Homeland and gives a white-knuckle performance in this year’s submitted episode, “Q & A” (which is my pick in the writing category, so that ep could go three-for-three.)
Will Win: All three of those actors could easily win, but I’m betting voters are going to give it to the movie star. Kevin Spacey is mesmerizing in House of Cards, even with all his quirks and affectations. He’s Netflix’s best shot to win anything, and I think they will. Almost nothing would surprise me, though.
DRAMA SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Nominees: Morena Baccarin (Homeland), Christine Baranski (The Good Wife), Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones), Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad), Christina Hendricks (Mad Men), Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey)
Should Win: I think this is Gunn’s award to lose next year, but I just want to acknowledge the incredible work she’s done, under an insane amount of pressure from viewers who actively hate Skyler White (and even Gunn personally, by proxy) for a variety of unjust and probably misogynistic reasons.
Will Win: Maggie Smith has won this award two-straight years, and there’s no reason to think it will stop now. People just love the Dowager Countess, and as voters have shown with Modern Family, they’re not big on the whole “novelty wearing off” concept.
DRAMA SUPPORTING ACTOR
Nominees: Bobby Cannavale (Boardwalk Empire), Jonathan Banks (Breaking Bad), Jim Carter (Downton Abbey), Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), Mandy Patinkin (Homeland), Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad)
Should Win: Another fiercely competitive category, but the first eight episodes of Bad’s final season belonged to the world-weary Mike Ehrmantraut, played exceptionally by Jonathan Banks. The character actor has a superlative episode to showcase (“Say My Name”), and I’d love for him to take that trophy to…uh, Belize.
Will Win: I fully expect Paul’s streak to be broken, as Mandy Patinkin picks up the award most pundits thought he deserved last year. Saul “The Bear” Berenson is as sublimely understated a character as you’ll find on television, and could be Homeland’s third acting win of the night–remarkable for a series that took a step down this year.
Nominees: Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, Homeland, House of Cards, Mad Men
Should Win: We’ve already established that Breaking Bad already has this thing sewn up in 2014, and Mad Men likely the year after that, but where does that leave poor Game of Thrones? The HBO epic raised its game from the already-stellar second season, providing the watercooler moment of the year (the Red Wedding) gorgeous cinematography, and a dozen knockout performances — deftly written and directed while juggling enough plots, subplots, and secret plots to make Tyrion Lannister’s head spin. This is Thrones’ best chance to win for a while, and maybe ever. Why not reward it now?
Will Win: Five out of six nominees have a real shot (sorry, Downton), and Breaking Bad will probably win its first series award, which will be wonderful — except that last year’s amazing episodes have already been undercut by this year’s EVEN MORE AMAZING episodes. So it goes.
Will Win: Behind the Candelabra, in all categories. All sewn up like a glittery jumpsuit.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments!