The themes of the Emmy’s this year are clearly diversity & the domination of mini-series. After a year of #OscarsSoWhite, this is a showcase for how much the entertainment industry has evolved in the newly dominant cultural medium. More eyes are on the shows and actors than ever before and we’re all better for it even if there’s no way to watch everything these days. Except all the voters watch HBO which is why they are going to clean-up again this year.
With that quick overview out of the way, onto the predictions. As with all entertainment awards shows keep in mind these are pointless and art is subjective. So it doesn’t matter but is a fun medium for talking about quality shows even if there are inevitably some problematic omissions and inclusions. Overall though the Emmy’s do a shockingly good job of nominating worthy shows, especially in the comedy categories.
Supporting Actor in a Comedy:
A Tony Hale repeat is the safe bet here despite the incredible performances in this category (including Hale). I’m so happy to see Matt Walsh recognized, although it is weird for those two to be singled out of a cast that has at least six Emmy worthy supporting performances by men. Keegan-Michael Key is always hilarious, but even for the final season of Key & Peele just a nomination is a huge win. Andre Braugher is an Emmy favorite and does great work on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, it just feels like his character & performance haven’t evolved much over time. Poor Tituss Burgess. He immediately created an iconic character and continued to dive even deeper in the second season and did amazing work with the fictional Tituss' love story, but if he didn’t win for Peeno-noooooooirrrr, then I don’t think he ever will.
As much as I love these other performances, even having only seen two episodes of Baskets so far I know Louie Anderson deserves to win. It is shocking that he can be heartfelt & funny while being taken completely seriously as Zach Galifinakis’ mother. It’s amazing, unexpected and wildly different than anything else in this category, so if this is not a Veep sweep then I think he has a chance to win.
Will win: Tony Hale
Could win: Louie Anderson
Should win: Louie Anderson
Supporting Actress in a Comedy:
This is another very strong category, however Allison Janney continuing her reign as Emmy’s Queen doesn't seem to be over yet. Kate McKinnon is great (and has some help from Ghostbusters given that she was the breakout character from it despite the poor box office performance), but no one from SNL has ever actually won in the supporting categories. Gaby Hoffman is very brave & gives a fantastic performance, but Judith Light has the funnier role. Getting On’s only hope of a win for their final season is a super longshot for Laurie Metcalf in lead, but good for Niecy Nash staying in the conversation.
Which brings us to Anna Chlumsky. She is better positioned than ever before to win this Emmy and it feels like this might finally be her year. Being the primary female foil for Julia Louis-Dreyfuss in Veep should be an impossible role, but Chlumsky has brought just the right amount of loyalty & frustration since day one, and goes toe-to-toe with Dreyfuss at every turn.
Will win: Allison Janney
Could win: Anna Chlumsky
Should win: Anna Chlumsky
Supporting Actor in a Drama:
My gut wants to say that having two Game of Throne’s actors in this category makes it much more difficult for one of them to win. Then I think about how much everyone talked about Jon Snow this year and realize it’s probably inevitable that Kit Harrington will win. I don’t think it was his best year, but he was not bad and momentum is strongly in his favor.
I’m a little more accepting of Jonathan Banks losing this year than I was last year, but if he goes through two series without winning an Emmy for Mike Ehrmantraut then it will be one of the great Emmy tragedies, so let’s hope he has something amazing next year (or Better Call Saul outlasts Game of Thrones).
Will win: Jonathan Banks
Could win: Kit Harington
Should win: Jonathan Banks
Supporting Actress in a Drama:
This category is justifiably dominated by the women of Game of Thrones, and I could not be happier that Maisie Williams finally got in. If one of them wins it will be Lena Headey, as Cersei had the biggest & best season out of these three characters. However if her co-star competition starts splitting votes I expect Maggie Smith to walk away with one last win for just showing up on Downton Abbey.
Will win: Maggie Smith
Could win: Lena Headey
Should win: Lena Headey
Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie:
This may be the toughest category for me. Not in predicting as I think Sterling K. Brown deservedly has this sewn up, but to have to be in a position and say that neither Bokeem Woodbine or Jesse Plemons should win for Fargo is difficult. Schwimmer’s work also shouldn’t be underestimated since he had to overcome the Kardashian problem (which he did with varying degrees of success), but if anyone besides Brown wins for that show it will probably be Travolta based on star power. I thought he was fine, it’s just tough believably playing a character like Robert Shapiro who already seems like a caricature in reality.
Will win: Sterling K. Brown
Could win: John Travolta
Should win: Sterling K. Brown
Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie:
This is the one place where it will be easy to give Fargo a win because it faces no competition from O.J. Add that to the fact it’s for Jean Smart, who not only gave an incredible performance that showcased the power an older woman could possess, but also fits the bill of a legend that the Emmy's like to reward.
Will win: Jean Smart
Could win: Regina King
Should win: Jean Smart
Lead Actor in a Comedy:
I would be shocked if Jeffrey Tambor lost this based on material alone. No one else in this category gets to stretch even half as far as he does, and Tambor pulls it off impeccably & powerfully. If he somehow loses though, this would go to one of the men leading an upcoming show with a unique voice. I’ll give the edge to Ansari over Anderson simply because Master of None has more of that prestige feeling than Black-ish, despite the latter’s brilliant job tackling important cultural issues head-on. It also doesn't hurt that Ansari himself is nominated in three other categories for his show (although that never helped Louis C.K. in the acting category).
Will win: Jeffrey Tambor
Could win: Aziz Ansari
Should win: Jeffrey Tambor
Lead Actress in a Comedy:
Julia Louis-Dreyfuss may just have to pull herself out of competition at some point. I usually hate repeat winners over & over but when someone is this deserving you can’t deny she has to win. I adore what Ellie Kemper is doing, and Lily Tomlin has that legendary star power, but if anyone has a shot at upsetting here it would be Laurie Metcalf who had three separate acting nominations this year for different projects.
Will win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Could win: Laurie Metcalf
Should win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Lead Actor in a Drama:
This one is kind of tough since the opening was there for Spacey to finally win with Jon Hamm & Bryan Cranston out of his way, but House of Cards & his role on it have lost a lot of buzz over the past year. Rami Malek is the easy alternative given how well received the first season of Mr. Robot was, but the less rapturous response to the currently airing second season may hurt his chances. Bob Odenkirk is still my favorite and I think he will continue to be underappreciated for his more subtle dramatic work, but Matthew Rhys is probably the real dark horse given the unexpected surge of nominations for The Americans in its fourth season.
Will win: Rami Malek
Could win: Kevin Spacey
Should win: Bob Odenkirk
Lead Actress in a Drama:
The loss of momentum for Kevin Spacey does not apply to Robin Wright as no matter what happens with House of Cards, she seems to keep getting better as her role continues to expand. Tatiana Maslany has still never won and Robin Wright isn’t that secure, so she’s certainly a possibility, as is Keri Russell for the same reason as Matthew Rhys. Last year’s winner Viola Davis is also waiting in the wings but given that she is now the only nomination for her show I don’t think they’ll give her the win.
Will win: Robin Wright
Could win: Tatiana Maslany
Should win: Tatiana Maslany
Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie:
Courtney B. Vance not only got the showy role here but he managed to chew scenery without being over the top (probably thanks to how well known & over the top the real Johnnie Cochran is). The only other possibility is if Emmy voters are so used to checking off Bryan Cranston’s name they default to that. Not to say Cranston or the others are bad at all, but Vance is the clear winner here.
Will win: Courtney B. Vance
Could win: Bryan Cranston
Should win: Courtney B. Vance
Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie:
Another one where having to say that an actor from Fargo shouldn’t win is painful, but as with Vance there is no way Sarah Paulson loses here. She was so incredible and managed to change a lot of attitudes about Marcia Clark decades after most people formed their first opinions of her. Maintaining her strong, steely persona while adding in some humanity was no easy task.
Will win: Sarah Paulson
Could win: Kirsten Dunst
Should win: Sarah Paulson
Veep is likely to repeat as not only did it get through a showrunner swap and may be even funnier than it ever was, but we're in the middle of an election that makes the show feel less & less like satire every day. Transparent will win this at some point, i just don’t see it happening now. This is an all star category (with one exception), so I just can’t believe how well the Emmy’s did with singling these out this year. There are too many shows to not be upset with some omissions, but that’s just inevitable.
Will win: Veep
Could win: Transparent
Should win: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
This category is nowhere near as strong as the nominated comedies, but it doesn’t matter what else is there - Game of Thrones is going to dominate. It's shocking The Americans finally got in, but Mr. Robot is still the VERY distant second place. At some point I hope that Better Call Saul gets the recognition it deserves for being a very different, (but still very good) show from Breaking Bad, but I think i should just be happy it continues to be nominated.
Will win: Game of Thrones
Could win: Mr. Robot
Should win: Game of Thrones
This is O.J. v. Fargo and as much as I love the individual parts of O.J. I think Fargo may be a slightly better whole. It’s basically a coin flip as we’re talking about the two best things to air on television during the nomination period, but if O.J. wins everywhere else it would be nice to see Fargo get some big recognition. Still, O.J. probably wins this easily.
Will win: The People v. O.J. Simpson
Could win: Fargo
Should win: Fargo
Well this is not exciting. Some good stuff nominated as always, but HBO will dominate with All The Way or Confirmation. Neither were bad, but neither were amazing.
Will win: All the Way
Could win: Confirmation
Should win: Luther
So there you have it – Once again there should be some deserving winners and less infuriating ones than there used to be. Enjoy the show!