2015 Primetime Emmy Predictions
Say goodbye to summer and hello to fall. Yes, vacations are over, but we have a lot to look forward to, including new fall television. But before we get into the new plotlines, characters, and shows that we will be talking about around the water cooler, we have to take a moment to recognize the brilliance of television past. Granted, most of the nominees for this year’s Primetime Emmys will be returning this fall, but there are a few fabulous contributions that are on their last go-around: Mad Men and Parks and Recreation to name a couple. Luckily, there are plenty up-and-comers represented in the nominees listed below, which seems fitting given this year’s host is an up-and-comer himself. Andy Samberg, Golden Globe award winner for his show Brooklyn Nine-Nine will surely put on a show worthy of a former cast member of SNL at the very least. And with his musical background, I expect that the opening number will be one to remember.
Of course, even when we tune in to see the success or failure of the telecast and this year’s host, what we really want to see is who will take home that Emmy, often a good predictor of who will walk away with the Golden Globe come the winter. So let’s get down to business with my picks for the year.
Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series
Black-ish Anthony Anderson as Andre Johnson
Episodes Matt LeBlanc as Matt LeBlanc
House of Lies Don Cheadle as Marty Kaan
The Last Man on Earth Will Forte as Phil Miller
Louie Louis C.K. as Louie
Shameless William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher
Transparent Jeffrey Tambor as Maura Pfefferman
I always have difficulty determining what will win someone a comedy award when a nominee’s strength lays in the dramatic. Chris Colfer won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Kurt Hummel on Glee. Yes, Glee was a comedy, but the work Colfer was nominated for was primarily dramatic as his character was bullied. Yes, his comedic timing was still on point, but the nomination and subsequent win would not have happened unless he had been handed the dramatic storyline. The same can be said for Jeffery Tambor in his portrayal of Maura Pfefferman. Yes, he is brilliant in the comedic moments, but it is the softer, more emotional scenes that earned him the nomination and should garner him the win.
Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series
The Comeback Lisa Kudrow as Valerie Cherish
Grace and Frankie Lily Tomlin as Frankie
Inside Amy Schumer Amy Schumer as Amy
Nurse Jackie Edie Falco as JackiePeyton
Parks and Recreation Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope
Veep Julia Louis-Dreyfus as President Selina Meyer
After all of these years, I finally sat down and caught up on Veep. Now that I have, I can see why Julia Louis-Dreyfus has walked away with this award the last 3 years in a row. That said, Amy Poehler has been revolutionary from the beginning of Parks and Recreation. With its final year, Poehler deserves the Emmy more than ever. She is nominated for the series finale, which she also penned. In it Poehler’s Leslie Knope is struggling with moving on from the town she loves, and it doing so she brings all the joy of the very first episode together with the sense of accomplishment and sadness associated with the last. I will miss Parks and Recreation, but I will miss Leslie and her indefatigable spirit at its center.
Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series
Brooklyn Nine-Nine Andre Braugher as Captain Ray Holt
Girls Adam Driver as Adam Sackler
Key & Peele Keegan-Michael Key as Various characters
Modern Family Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Tituss Burgess as Titus Andromedon
Veep Tony Hale as Gary Walsh
This is a surprisingly difficult category, probably because it is one in which I have seen all but one of the nominees. But there was only one comedy that I was obsessed with this last year, and that was the delightful Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Amazingly, star Ellie Kemper was not nominated for her work this year; instead, the incredible supporting and guest cast were recognized. Of all of them, I hope that Tituss Burgess wins for playing the always over-the-top Titus Andromedon. If you haven’t yet seen his viral video hit, “Peeno Noir,” then you need to Google it. Yesterday.
Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler
Getting On Niecy Nash as Denise “Didi” Ortley
Modern Family Julie Bowen as Claire Dunphy
Mom Allison Janney as Bonnie
Saturday Night Live Kate McKinnon as Various characters
Transparent Gaby Hoffmann as Ali Pfefferman
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Jane Krakowski as Jacqueline Voorhees
Veep Anna Chlumsky as Amy Brookheimer
Another tough category, but see above. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was a pure delight, and Jane Krakowski was part of that magic. Yes, Jacqueline Voorhees does remind me quite a bit of 30 Rock’s Jenna Maroney, so it might not be too much of a stretch for Krakowski. Both characters see themselves as being above everyone else and have no sense of the consequences of their actions. But Krakowski does bring out the human in the absurd, whether it is in watching Kimmy eat a burger because she cannot eat it herself or trying to out her husband for cheating with his business partner, who happens to be a robot. She had me laughing hysterically and learning to love this flawed, but caring in her own way, individual.
Outstanding Comedy Series
Parks and Recreation
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Modern Family has dominated this category since 2010. Even though I would love to see some fresh blood win this award, namely Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, this has to be the year of Parks and Recreation. Usually as shows age, quality declines. Modern Family, while funny, is no exception to this rule. But Parks and Recreation managed to never falter in its seven seasons. And in a year with many shows ending and not always ending on a high note (I’m looking at you, Mad Men), Parks and Rec managed to deliver everything viewers could have hoped for in a perfect finale. While all of the nominees are deserving, I truly hope the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences gets this one right.
Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series
Better Call Saul Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill
Bloodline Kyle Chandler as John Rayburn
House Of Cards Kevin Spacey as Francis Underwood
Mad Men Jon Hamm as Don Draper
The Newsroom Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy
Ray Dononvan Live Schreiber as Ray Donovan
This year’s “Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama” nominees look pretty familiar. Even though Bloodline is brand new, you only have to go back a few years to see Kyle Chandler nominated and winning for Friday Night Lights. Bob Odenkirk is a new face, but it only seems fitting to see him there in the place of Bryan Cranston and Breaking Bad. I wish I could say Odenkirk deserves the win. He is an amazing actor. But Better Call Saul, despite my enthusiasm for it, didn’t really give him the best material. Instead, I look to a familiar name to take home this award for the first time. For some reason I always assumed that Kevin Spacey had won the Emmy for his superb work in Netflix’s House of Cards. I mean… he’s Academy Award winner, Kevin Spacey! He has been nominated every year but has failed to take home this prize. Let it be the last year I can say that.
Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series
Empire Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyon
House of Cards Robin Wright as Claire Underwood
How To Get Away With Murder Viola Davis as Annalise Keating
Mad Men Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson
Orphan Black Tatiana Maslany as Sarah, Alison, Cosima, Helena, Rachel and Krystal
Last year I complained that Tatiana Maslany was not nominated. This year, she finally is. And since I have been pushing for it every year, I have to predict that she will win the category. Just look at her competition. Sure she is up against some major stars who have put in some stellar performances this year. Who hasn’t quoted Taraji P. Henson’s character Cookie Lyon in the last year? And who didn’t tune in to see Viola Davis’ Annalise Keating teach us how to get with murder? But no matter who amazing those women are in general, and specifically in those roles, they only play one character each. Tatiana Maslany is being nominated for 6 characters, which doesn’t even fully representative of her work on Orphan Black. If an awards show could ever be called fair, Tatiana Maslany should be the one taking home this prize.
Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series
Better Call Saul Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut
Bloodline Ben Mendelsohn as Danny Rayburn
Downton Abbey Jim Carter as Mr. Carson
Game of Thrones Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister
The Good Wife Alan Cumming as Eli Gold
House of Cards Michael Kelly as Doug Stamper
Those who have read my awards predictions before know that I often do a little research before I actually predict. For most categories, I haven’t seen all of the nominees, so I feel that I need to have a bit more information before I take a guess. I also don’t want to miss out on some awesome television. While I did watch Veep this year, that was simply for my own enjoyment. This year, I put my research off to the last minute, but I finally sat down and watched a bit of Netflix’s Bloodline. While I was impressed with the always impeccable Kyle Chandler, it was Ben Mendelsohn’s performance as the deeply troubled Danny Rayburn that stood out most in this deeply complex drama. He has some stiff competition (including my favorites Alan Cumming and Peter Dinklage), but even though I haven’t finished the first season, I can already see his genius. I think that says a lot.
Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series
Downton Abbey Joanne Froggatt as Anna Bates
Game Of Thrones Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister
Game Of Thrones Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen
The Good Wife Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart
Mad Men Christina Hendricks as Joan Harris
Orange is the New Black Uzo Aduba as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren
Anna Bates just cannot catch a break. When you finally think she will have a moment of peace with her husband, she is raped, her rapist is killed, and she has to endure thinking that her husband murdered him, all before being arrested for the murder herself. Sure, Cersei Lannister was facing the loss of her throne and Daenerys Targaryen was having dragon mother issues, but I’m pretty sure they would both acknowledge that poor Anna has had a bad year. Since Anna has always been the rock of Downton Abbey, it was particularly jarring to see her stumble and be in need of support. Joanne Froggatt played the insecurity and fear beautifully. She has already been recognized with the Golden Globe; I predict she will add another trophy this year.
Outstanding Drama Series
Better Call Saul
Game of Thrones
House Of Cards
Orange is the New Black
How is one to pick? As I mentioned before, Better Call Saul was interesting, but a bit too slow in pace to live up to its fabulous source material. Eliminating that contender, we still have six exceptional series from which to pick. I’ll take Orange is the New Black out of the running as well, because even though I understand why it was moved to the drama category, I still think of it as a comedy. Mad Men’s final season was not its best, and it ahs been recognized before, so I won’t feel too bad if they miss their last chance. Of the remainder, I’m going to have to go with a personal favorite: Game of Thrones. Somehow, despite a massive ensemble cast, the show remains intriguing and balanced and largely true to the books that inspired the series. Having caught up almost completely to the source text, I am even more interested to see where they go from here and would like to see them recognized for the fantastic, mystical, heartbreaking season five.
As always, these picks are anything from well-informed to completely random and horribly biased. But isn’t that half the fun? To see how my predications pan out, tune into the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, September 20th, at 8ET/5PT on NBC.