The FOTS team makes predictions about Sunday’s Emmys ceremony, with varying degrees of confidence.
First off, it’s important to note that this year the voting rules have actually changed: there’s no longer a requirement that voters have to actually watch all of the nominated episodes (We know, right?), so voting is open to a LOT more people.
How will that effect Sunday’s winners? We have no idea. But we can guess…
LEAD ACTOR, DRAMA
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Kyle Chandler, Bloodline
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
David: With no Cranston or McConaughey in the field, it’s a clear runway for Jon Hamm to bring home his long-deserved first Emmy. Get this one right, voters. Finally.
Sean: Except… they really love Kevin Spacey and he delivered his best performance yet on House of Cards during Season 3. Odds are still on Hamm, but considering their aversion to him I wouldn’t count out an upset.
Rachel: Hamm reached brilliance this year, especially in “Person to Person.” Although Spacey will probably take it. And Odenkirk equally deserves it. I’m a fan of these nominees.
Chase: I just can’t bring myself to believe that Hamm won’t win. I’ll ride the sinking ship all the way down just like I did with Hugh Laurie and Steve Carrell.
LEAD ACTRESS, DRAMA
Taraji P. Henson, Empire
Claire Danes, Homeland
Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Robin Wright, House of Cards
David: I’m as thrilled to see Maslany here as I am perturbed by the continued snubbing of Keri Russell and The Americans. Regardless, I’m picking the highly respected Viola Davis to win.
Sean: It’s probably Viola Davis’s year, but the fact that Robin Wright still doesn’t have a trophy for House of Cards is ridiculous. Season 3 provided Wright with heaps of meaty material and she opened up the ice queen visage to provide her modern take on Lady Macbeth with layers of unexpected nuance. She deserves it.
Rachel: Prepare your local news in Picture in Picture on your television. When Maslany loses to Robin Wright, I’m going to burn down Hollywood. All of it. (I’d also accept an Elizabeth Moss win here…)
Chase: I’ll pick Teraji P. Henson, because I’m usually terrible at awards picking anyway.
SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA
Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Peter Dinklage, Game Of Thrones
Alan Cumming, The Good Wife
Michael Kelly, House Of Cards
David: The Academy isn’t quite ready (nor should they be) to anoint Better Call Saul as their next darling, but that shouldn’t stop Jonathan Banks from gruffly making his way to the podium. Watch out for Ben Mendelsohn, however.
Sean: Ben Mendelsohn is an explosive actor and Bloodline apparently provided him with one of his most volatile roles yet. I think he nabs it.
Rachel: Jonathan Banks should not only win this award, he should be my best friend.
Chase: I picked Dinklage to win last year even though I thought he didn’t deserve it. Then I was wrong. I don’t think he deserves it again, so I’ll pick Banks.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS, DRAMA
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Lena Headey, Game Of Thrones
Emilia Clarke, Game Of Thrones
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Uzo Aduba, Orange Is The New Black
David: Hopefully this is as easy for the voters as it was for me: Lena Headey should win for the season finale alone. Or, at least, her head. But it’s a VERY strong category, and Christina Hendricks is just as deserving of her first win as Jon Hamm…
Sean: There isn’t even a choice here. It has to be Lena Headey who should have been up for a win way back in the second season (she wasn’t even nominated). It’s about damn time. Now if only we can get Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner nominated for their increasingly brilliant performances.
Rachel: Remember that time Lena Headey took her clothes off (well, she didn’t actually, but she did pretend really hard)? Yeah. Emmy voters love that stuff.
Chase: Everyone seems so sure, so you’re obviously all wrong. I’m prepared to get out my dice again if necessary. Clarke.
OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
Better Call Saul
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
Orange is the New Black
David: Game of Thrones cleaned up at the Creative Arts Emmys last weekend, but Sunday I’m betting Mad Men finishes on top after a four-year absence. Anything else would be a scandal. (Though thankfully not a Scandal.)
Sean: Game of Thrones has the momentum to finally win the big award. It’s already on track to tie The West Wing for the most wins for a single season. Some say the backlash would be too big, but that wouldn’t come from the industry or the critics who adore the show. It would come from the black hole of petulant toddlers known as the internet, where fandom goes to die. Mad Men had its day in the sun long ago. Time to move on.
Rachel: Mad. Men.
Chase: Some people just want to watch the world burn. Thrones wins for its worst season.
WRITING FOR A DRAMA SERIES
Joshua Brand, The Americans: “Do Mail Robots Dream Of Electric Sheep?”
Gordon Smith, Better Call Saul: “Five-O”
David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, Game Of Thrones: “Mother’s Mercy”
Semi Chellas & Matthew Weiner, Mad Men: “Lost Horizon”
Matthew Weiner, Mad Men: “Person To Person”
DIRECTING FOR A DRAMA SERIES
Tim Van Patten, Boardwalk Empire: “Eldorado”
David Nutter, Game Of Thrones: “Mother’s Mercy”
Jeremy Podeswa, Game Of Thrones: “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”
Lesli Linka Glatter, Homeland: “From A To B And Back Again”
Steven Soderbergh, The Knick: “Method And Madness”
David: Give me Matt Weiner for Mad Men‘s superb(ly polarizing) series finale, and let the Academy throw Soderbergh and The Knick a bone for the directing prize. Though why Thrones’ “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken,” (regarded as the series’s worst episode) is here over “Hardhome” (perhaps its finest hour) is a question worthy of the Maesters.
Sean: The writing prize will go to Mad Men as that has always been the most praised aspect of that polarizing show. I think that Thrones will win directing for its glorious finale (that walk of shame is the clincher), but I would be far happier if Tim Van Patten got up on stage and collected the trophy for what might have been Boardwalk Empire‘s best hour. The show was never popular, but it has surprised in directing before. Coupled with its win in cinematography the other night, it would be a fine and fitting final tribute to a truly remarkable run on television.
Rachel: Although I equally applaud the direction of “Person to Person,” I like Matt Weiner for writing and David Nutter for that whole nude walk thing. You know those crazy, misogynistic Hollywood types! They love that stuff.
Chase: We’re picking what should win, right? “Do Mail Robots…” was maybe the best hour of TV I watched this year, and The Americans never gets the love it deserves. And Soderbergh to go with it. Big Name Prize Winner.
LEAD ACTOR, COMEDY
Anthony Anderson, black-ish
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Will Forte, The Last Man On Earth
Louis C.K., Louie
William H. Macy, Shameless
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
David: Jeffrey Tambor. Easy. (Though I think Will Forte is really underrated.)
Sean: Jeffrey Tambor really deserves this, though Transparent is not an easy show to define and I think it does it a disservice to label it as a comedy. Tambor’s touching performance further complicates matters. He gets few if any of the laughs. But a brave show like this deserves to be seen and rewarded. It being in this category likely makes us question what it means to be a comedy.
Rachel: David, remind me to roll my eyes at you next time I see you for the Will Forte comment. That show is a travesty to his talent. Jeffrey Tambor is the lock of all locks.
Chase: Tambor. It seems like the topical pick.
LEAD ACTRESS, COMEDY
Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback
Lily Tomlin, Grace And Frankie
Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Amy Poehler, Parks And Recreation
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
David: Hey, you know who else has never won an Emmy? Amy Poehler, shockingly. FIVE TIMES, she has been nominated for playing Leslie Knope and lost. It’s criminal. And that’s not to knock Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who has been and continues to be brilliant on Veep and may win for the fourth-straight year, but come on. Again, voters: you’ve got one last chance. DO THE RIGHT THING.
Sean: Though it would be lovely to see Amy Poehler finally collect her Emmy for Parks and Recreation or even a veteran like Lily Tomlin get up there, we have to accept that Julia Louis-Dreyfus owns this category. She’s killing the most scathingly funny comedic performance on television and each season brings out new depths of vile, self-involved political pathos to explore. No one holds a candle and no one else really deserves the award like she does. Try again next year, ladies.
Rachel: Amy Freakin’ Poehler. But it will be Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
Chase: Schumer. Keep burning, world…
SUPPORTING ACTOR, COMEDY
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Adam Driver, Girls
Keegan-Michael Key, Key & Peele
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Tony Hale, Veep
David: Even with one final snub of Parks‘ Nick Offerman, there are a lot of names here that would make me happy. Andre Braugher is a delight and Tony Hale has won before, but a win for Tituss Burgess would be the triumph of the night. Let’s hope we all get to raise a glass of Pinot Noir on Sunday.
Sean: Tony Hale really deserves it, but Tituss Burgess set the sitcom world ablaze with his delicious diva creation. I will have my Pinot Noir at the ready.
Rachel: Tituss Burgess is the best part of the standout show that is Schmidt. Girls is still a thing? I wouldn’t know. I’m a grown-up.
Chase: How many Tonys did “Spider-Man Too: 2 Many Spider-Men” win? NONE, you say!?!?! Burgess is too good for me to pretend I don’t like it.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS, COMEDY
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Niecy Nash, Getting On
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Allison Janney, Mom
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Gaby Hoffmann, Transparent
Jane Krakowski, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Anna Chlumsky, Veep
David: EIGHT nominees? Sheesh. And barring a surge from Chlumsky or McKinnon, it’s a foregone conclusion: a repeat for Allison Janney.
Sean: Anna Chlumsky finally got the material her character deserved this season and she mined it for all it was worth. It would be a worthy win, but Gabby Hoffmann’s complex performance in Transparent deserves to be recognized.
Rachel: Krakowski has long been underrated, but it will be Janney.
Chase: Speaking of things I could pretend I don’t like, Mayim Bialik went from guest star to the reason to watch The Big Bang Theory so quickly once she joined the cast. You might hate what everyone on this show is doing, but they’re all really good at it (also see: Simon Helberg).
OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES
Parks and Recreation
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
David: Please not Modern Family please not Modern Family literally anything but Modern Family. Veep or Transparent will win. I’m rooting for Veep.
Sean: Veep is the best comedy on television. Transparent is one of the best shows on television. Either would be a deserving winner, but it would be bold and relevant to go with Transparent.
Rachel: So, here’s the thing. Six shows on this list are nearly brilliant. And then there’s Modern Family. And it will win again. Also, I’m going to go throw up. (The right answer is Parks and Recreation. Or Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.)
Chase: I’m a Tina Fey acolyte, and I love Kimmy Schmidt. Silicon Valley is like a baby I’ve nursed since it’s birth. Transparent seems like the politically correct choice to win, though.
WRITING FOR A COMEDY SERIES
David Crane & Jeffrey Klarik, Episodes: “Episode 409”
Will Forte, The Last Man On Earth: “Alive In Tucson (Pilot)”
Louis C.K., Louie: “Bobby’s House”
Alec Berg, Silicon Valley: “Two Days Of The Condor”
Jill Soloway, Transparent, “Pilot”
Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci & Tony Roche, Veep: “Election Night”
DIRECTING FOR A COMEDY SERIES
Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, The Last Man On Earth: “Alive In Tucson (Pilot)”
Louis C.K., Louie: “Sleepover”
Mike Judge, Silicon Valley: “Sand Hill Shuffle”
Jill Soloway, Transparent: “Best New Girl”
Armando Iannucci, Veep: “Testimony”
David: Double wins for Jill Soloway, probably. That’s the safest bet — reward Veep’s ensemble and Transparent‘s visionary.
Sean: Jill Soloway should take home both categories. It would be criminal if she lost directing.
Rachel: Transparent. Like, totes.
Chase: Silicon Valley. I don’t care what you like.
LEAD ACTOR, LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Timothy Hutton, American Crime
Ricky Gervais, Derek Special
Adrien Brody, Houdini
David Oyelowo, Nightingale
Richard Jenkins, Olive Kitteridge
Mark Rylance, Wolf Hall
LEAD ACTRESS, LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Felicity Huffman, American Crime
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story
Queen Latifah, Bessie
Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Honorable Woman
Frances McDormand, Olive Kitteridge
Emma Thompson, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street
SUPPORTING ACTOR, LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Richard Cabral, American Crime
Denis O’Hare, American Horror Story: Freak Show
Finn Wittrock, American Horror Story: Freak Show
Michael Kenneth Williams, Bessie
Bill Murray, Olive Kitteridge
Damian Lewis, Wolf Hall
SUPPORTING ACTRESS, LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Regina King, American Crime
Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Freak Show
Angela Bassett, American Horror Story: Freak Show
Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Freak Show
Zoe Kazan, Olive Kitteridge
David: My picks here: David Oyelewo, Frances McDormand, Bill Murray, and Sarah Paulson. But you can’t make me care.
Sean: I’m with David here, there is nothing exciting about any of these categories. The only win I will be ecstatic about is Sarah Paulson, who delivered brilliance in the face of mediocrity and stupidity. It’s time for her to reap the rewards of American Horror Story, especially since she was the only reason to keep watching this past season.
Rachel: Where are Chase’s dice? Jenkins, McDormand, Murray, Kazan.
Chase: It’s darts this year, Rachel. Oyelowo, McDormand, Murray, Bates.
American Horror Story: Freak Show
The Honorable Woman
Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Curtain, Poirot’s Last Case
Grace of Monaco
Hello Ladies: The Movie
WRITING FOR A LIMITED SERIES, MOVIE OR DRAMATIC SPECIAL
John Ridley, American Crime: “Episode One”
Dee Rees, Christopher Cleveland, Bettina Gilois & Horton Foote, Bessie
Stephen Merchant, Gene Stupnitsky & Lee Eisenberg, Hello Ladies: The Movie
Hugo Blick, The Honorable Woman
Jane Anderson, Olive Kitteridge
Peter Straughan, Wolf Hall
DIRECTING FOR A LIMITED SERIES, MOVIE OR DRAMATIC SPECIAL
Ryan Murphy, American Horror Story: Freak Show
Dee Rees, Bessie
Hugo Blick, The Honorable Woman
Uli Edel, Houdini
Tom Shankland, The Missing
Lisa Cholodenko, Olive Kitteridge
Peter Kosminsky, Wolf Hall
David: When in doubt, pick Olive Kitteridge, which has the pedigree and the traction. (For movie, choose Bessie.) But Hugo Blick’s The Honorable Woman deserves a lot more love than it’s going to get.
Sean: Olive Kitteridge is going to be the big winner Sunday night, and, yes, Bessie will also do well.
Rachel: Why are we still talking about this?
The Amazing Race
Dancing With the Stars
So You Think You Can Dance
VARIETY TALK SERIES
The Colbert Report
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
Late Show With David Letterman
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
VARIETY SKETCH SERIES
Inside Amy Schumer
Key & Peele
Saturday Night Live
David: Final predictions! Yet another rubber-stamped win for The Amazing Race; a royal rumble between the final seasons of Stewart, Colbert, and Letterman breaks John Oliver‘s way; Amy Schumer is coronated as the current Queen of Comedy. (And that 12 Angry Men episode was some of the best 30 minutes of TV all year.)
Sean: Top Chef had a great season. Amy Schumer has the momentum. John Oliver is a miracle. Praise be.
Rachel: Who knew the Variety categories would reach their pinnacle the year The Daily Show and The Colbert Report leave us? I dislike reality programming on principle…so I’m skipping that one. Give me Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (he did get Snowden, after all) and Inside Amy Schumer because: she is #everything.
Chase: Top Chef, John Oliver (richly deserved), and Key and Peele. People feel a lot more comfortable with racial comedy than funny women.
The Emmys air Sunday at 8/7c on Fox.