In the ever-changing television landscape, the Emmy’s are always a point of contention, with millions of internet trolls confusing “their favorite” show/actor/costume design with “the absolute best” example out of a nomination list full of remarkable and deserving competition. Sure, there’s always a nom that’s undeserving of an actual win (Andre Braugher) and more than a few notable snubs (The Americans, Jim Parsons). But focusing on the negatives is of little to zero use in the broader scheme of the human experience.
The focus should, instead, remain on celebrating the series’ and actors that have graced our television sets with performances, stories and season long growth. Every nomination is, in and of itself, a championship. There will be no losers on September 20, 2015, but as an avid television viewer these are the playoffs of the calendar year, so I might as well make some predictions. Here is my take on the Emmys: Who Will Win, Who Should Win.
Outstanding Drama Series
Better Call Saul
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
Orange Is The New Black
Who Will Win: Mad Men In its final, send-off season, Mad Men’s series finale was the talking point of the nation this year. Don Draper, Peggy Olson, Pete, Betty and Sally, these characters and others entered into the zeitgeist in a grand way and as their impending exits drew to a close the entire nation shuddered at the thought of leaving them behind.
Who Should Win: Mad Men Voters would be crazy not to pay their respects to one of the most critically acclaimed and “thought-piece-birthing” shows to grace our airwaves. Nobody will bat an eye when the Mad Men team gets a standing ovation after winning the most prestigious award of the night.
Outstanding Comedy Series
Parks & Recreation
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Who Will Win: Transparent June 26, 2015 was a grand day in the history of the United States, one that should not be soon forgotten, one that we should all be proud to have been witness to. You may think something as trivial as a television show has nothing to do with the important issues our time, but the critical and popular acclaim for Transparent symbolizes the changing world in which we live. Transparent, at its heart, is about acceptance, honesty (both with ourselves and with others) and the complicated nature of the most common human emotion: Love.
Who Should Win: Transparent Mostly for the reasons mentioned above, plus the fact that the show was really, really good.
Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Kyle Chandler, Bloodline
Jeff Daniels, Newsroom
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Live Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
Who Will Win: Jon Hamm While I’m not sure which episode was submitted by Mad Men to showcase the talent and writing behind America’s favorite con man, the season long journey of Don Draper is not one that can be summed up in one hour long arc. The voters should have to watch entire seasons of each of the nominees if this is to even be a fair fight, but suffice to say, each one of them watched Mad Men’s final send off in it’s entirety, so this is a wrap.
Who Should Win: Jon Hamm I know, I know, but trust me, this is the last time the “who will” and the “who should” will actually line up.
Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Claire Danes, Homeland
Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder
Taraji P. Henson, Empire
Tatania Maslany, Orphan Black
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Robin Wright, House of Cards
Who Will Win: Viola Davis There’s been simply too much hype behind Davis’ performance to not award her the trophy. She’s a bit of a “safer” pick than Henson if the voters are viewing this as a chance to award an African American woman the lead actress trophy with Kerry Washington missing out this year after being nominated the past two for her work on Scandal.
Who Should Win: Taraji P. Henson By all accounts (since I haven’t actually seen the show), she is lightning in a bottle compared to every other woman on television, but a short trainwreck (in a good way) of a season probably won’t be enough for her to beat out Davis.
Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
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
Who Will Win: Jonathan Banks Everyone in the world knows which episode Banks’ team submitted, and it was incredible. Banks has such a range of emotion, hitting the heartstrings and sending a real message in a scripted scene. Jonathan Banks is the best reason to watch Better Call Saul, and his Lost-style backstory episode was the best example he could put forth.
Who Should Win: Peter Dinklage This category, especially, is a shining example of why voters should have to watch entire seasons for each nominee. Granted, they probably all watched Dinklage’s performance on GoT, but that was a whole year ago (Dinklage and GoT is nominated for Season 4, not the recently aired Season 5).
Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
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
Who Will Win: Uzo Aduba The extreme boom that Orange is the New Black creates when it drops on Netflix hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Emmy voters. With the clear desire among the Academy to recognize diversity in television (both in actors and programming), voters will probably double-down to ensure at least one woman of color takes home an Emmy. Plus, she’s incredible on the show.
Who Should Win: Lena Headey Once again, Game of Thrones gets the shaft for it’s position in the calendar year. “Walk of Shame” aside, Headey took a bit of a back seat this last season, but last season held the Purple Wedding and Cersei’s subsequent decent into Chianti and self despair. Plus, after suffering through The Sarah Conner Chronicles, Lena should win every year.
Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Louis C.K., Louie
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Will Forte, The Last Man on Earth
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
William H. Macy, Shameless
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
Who Will Win: Louis C.K. Honestly, as long as Anthony Anderson doesn’t win, I’m good. Not that that show isn’t funny, but Anderson isn’t the one providing the comedy. Tracee Ellis Ross, Yara Shahidi, Marcus Scibner and Laurence Fishburne are the ones providing all the comedy. This is C.K.’s category until he stops making his show.
Who Should Win: Jeffrey Tambor Transparent stands as a changing of the guard, with edgier, broadening, more inclusive series’ find their home on internet streaming services. Tambor’s bravery (not in taking the role, he’s an actor) in embracing a psyche and bearing in for the world to see is truly impressive. Of course, I’m sure the writing helped.
Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Amy Poehler, Parks & Recreation
Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie
Who Will Win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus Like Louis C.K., this is her category for as long as she’s on the air. The HBO-ness of Veep allows her to drop f-bombs and make dirty jokes on a show where nothing really happens (sound familiar?) and the lovable band of misfits around her remind us all of our own venomous hatred for all the idiots we find ourselves surrounded by.
Who Should Win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus Maybe I did say that there wouldn’t be any more repeats between the “who will” and “who should”, but hey, I lied. Julia Louis Dreyfus is a comedy goddess. This was, however, the most egregious Emmy snub, as Ellie Kemper deserved at least a nom for the title character in The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Adam Driver, Girls
Keegan-Michael Key, Key & Peele
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Titus Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Tony Hale, Veep
Who Will Win: Titus Burgess Burgess wins when every voter realizes his costar Ellie Kemper is missing from the nomination list. Barring some kind of conspiracy by the broadcast networks to deny Emmys to Netflix and Amazon shows, Titus Burgess was funny in his delivery enough to take the prize in the formerly Modern Family-full category.
Who Should Win: Keegan-Michael Key Not that I can even make sense of the fact that he’s in the supporting actor category. His name is one half of the title; if that’s not a lead I don’t know what is. The number of characters he plays within each 22 minute is phenomenal, and if the Emmy were based on heart and commitment to a craft, Key (and the absent Peele?) deserves to be recognized.
That’s all the categories I’ll be going through. There’s more, but I really couldn’t give a rat about visual effects (Game of Thrones) or costume design (again, Game of Thrones). Now that we’ve poured over the nominations list, all that’s left is to sit and wait for two long months until the actual night of the Emmys. See you then!