Powered by i.TV
April 24, 2014

My Emmy Predictions: Who Will Be Nominated, Who Should Be

by Maureen Ryan, posted Jul 8th 2011 2:15PM
Emmy nominations will be announced on Thursday, and expect me to raise my fist to the heavens and shout "Emmmys!" when some of my favorite performers and shows don't make the cut.

But undoubtedly there will be some pleasant surprises when the nominees are announced, and if you're wondering why I'm spending time on Emmy predictions at all, I'll briefly state my beliefs regarding awards shows: Sure, they're not reliable arbiters of excellence, but if awards-giving groups bring attention to shows that are wavering on the verge of cancellation and/or put spotlights on terrific performances that deserve recognition, then they serve a purpose in the media-entertainment ecosystem. In short, if awards like the Emmys help shows that need help, reward people who are doing great work and give me a chance to look at good-looking actors in fancy clothes before and during the ceremonies, honestly, what's the harm?

So, in that spirit of mildly realistic optimism, below you'll find two lists: The roster of shows and performers that I think will be nominated for Emmys by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the list of shows and performers that I think should be nominated this year.

Probably Will Be Nominated

Do I think every nominee in this section deserves to be there? No. But these are my predictions regarding the shows and actors that will make the Emmy list. Remember that the Emmy voters typically go by name recognition (I'd be willing to bet that the average voter has not seen as many potentially award-worthy shows and performances as you and I have), and they tend to reward certain shows and performers year after year, which makes the nominee rosters fairly stable, if not maddeningly repetitive.

Before you inundate me with "But what about [insert actor or show name]?" comments, be aware that 'Lost,' 'Breaking Bad,' 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' and 'Damages' were not eligible in this Emmy cycle. The full list of actors and acting categories that the Emmy voters chose from is here. If a performer's name wasn't on that list, I didn't consider that person for either of the rosters below.

By the way, I don't bother with movie, miniseries and guest actor awards. Life's too short to get caught up in the "Everybody gets a prize!" portion of the Emmy festivities.

In any event, here are the shows and performers I think will get nominations from the TV academy.

Best Drama

'Boardwalk Empire'
'The Good Wife'
'Mad Men'
'Dexter'
'True Blood'
'The Walking Dead'

Best Comedy

'30 Rock'
'The Big Bang Theory'
'Glee'
'Modern Family'
'Nurse Jackie'
'The Office'

I think both the comedy and drama categories will remain mostly static, as usual.

Best Actress in a Drama

Connie Britton, 'Friday Night Lights'
Mariska Hargitay, 'Law & Order: SVU'
Julianna Margulies, 'The Good Wife'
Elisabeth Moss, 'Mad Men'
Kyra Sedgwick, 'The Closer'
Kathy Bates, 'Harry's Law'

Moss moved up to the leading actress category this year, and rightfully so. She eminently deserves an Emmy win for her work in season 4 of 'Mad Men.'

Best Actor in a Drama

Steve Buscemi, 'Boardwalk Empire'
Michael C. Hall, 'Dexter'
Jon Hamm, 'Mad Men'
Hugh Laurie, 'House'
Timothy Olyphant, 'Justified'
Ray Romano, 'Men of a Certain Age'

If this is the nominee roster in this category, I won't be able to complain too much, except about the endless inclusion of Hall and Laurie, whom I will stipulate are superlatively great actors -- but they're stuck in shows that are not nearly as good as they used to be.

Best Actress in a Comedy

Toni Collette, 'United States of Tara'
Edie Falco, 'Nurse Jackie'
Tina Fey, '30 Rock'
Laura Linney, 'The Big C'
Lea Michele, 'Glee'
Amy Poehler, 'Parks and Recreation'

An Amy Poehler win in this category would make me happier than Ron Swanson at a free breakfast buffet. But I'm bracing myself for a Showtime win.

Best Actor in a Comedy

Alec Baldwin, '30 Rock'
Steve Carell, 'The Office'
Matthew Morrison, 'Glee'
Rob Lowe, 'Parks and Recreation'
Jim Parsons, 'Big Bang Theory'
Joel McHale, 'Community'

Both these categories will feature a repetitive list of names, I'm guessing. I wouldn't mind a Carell win for his final season of 'The Office,' in which he got several terrific showcases. And I don't write much about 'Community' because it's not my cup of tea, but I recognize that McHale does good work on the NBC comedy. Finally, every 'Parks and Rec' cast member deserves multiple awards, but the name-recognition factor may get Lowe on the list.

Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy

Jane Lynch, 'Glee'
Julie Bowen, 'Modern Family'
Sofia Vergara, 'Modern Family'
Kristen Wiig, 'Saturday Night Live'
Jane Krakowski, '30 Rock'
Betty White, 'Hot in Cleveland'

You know they're going to throw Betty a nomination sometime. Why not this year?

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy

Chris Colfer, 'Glee'
Neil Patrick Harris, 'How I Met Your Mother'
Ed O'Neill, 'Modern Family'
Eric Stonestreet, 'Modern Family'
Ty Burrell, 'Modern Family'
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, 'Modern Family'

Again, more of the same in this category. I wouldn't mind a Stonestreet win this year. Even if 'Modern Family' wobbled a bit in its second season, Cam was always hilarious.

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama

Archie Panjabi, 'The Good Wife'
Christine Baranski, 'The Good Wife'
Christina Hendricks, 'Mad Men'
Margo Martindale, 'Justified'
Kelly Macdonald, 'Boardwalk Empire'
Emilia Clarke, 'Game of Thrones'

Clarke is something of a long shot, but let's hope Emmy voters recognize her amazing work in the debut season of the HBO show. As for Martindale, if she doesn't get a nomination, I will be shocked and furious.

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama

Josh Charles, 'The Good Wife'
Peter Dinklage, 'Game of Thrones'
Chris Noth, 'The Good Wife'
Alan Cumming, 'The Good Wife'
John Slattery, "Mad Men'
Andre Braugher, "Men of a Certain Age'

Dramas that have genre elements can have a tough go of it (unless they feature vampires), but if HBO's prestige and the show's palpable quality can help 'Game of Thrones' swing some non-technical nominations, Dinklage is the most likely name on the list. I very much hope Braugher gets a 'MOACA' nod, and the same goes for his castmates, Scott Bakula and Ray Romano. Some Emmy love could help this tremendous show avoid cancellation, so my fingers and toes are crossed. By the way, if you're not watching this show, get caught up and please watch it in real time if (or, ideally, when) it returns.

Should be nominated

Best Drama

'Game of Thrones'
'The Good Wife'
'Mad Men'
'Friday Night Lights'
'Justified'
'Terriers'

'Game of Thrones' started out stiffly but matured into a gripping narrative. As for the rest of the shows, they rarely put a foot wrong in the tremendous seasons that they all had. It's been a while since 'Mad Men' was on the air, but I still remember certain scenes from season 4 as if I watched them yesterday ("That's what the money's for!"). As for honorable mentions, I have to throw one to 'Doctor Who.'

Best Comedy

'Chuck'
'Cougar Town'
'Louie'
'Modern Family'
'Parks and Recreation'
'The Office'

These are all shows I look forward to watching each week, and how cool is it that they're all quite different from each other? And I know, both 'Chuck' and 'The Office' had uneven seasons, but when both shows are good, they're damn near great, and I'd put them ahead of the other eligible comedies in the Emmy pool for that reason alone. 'Archer' deserves an honorable mention as well.

Best Actress in a Drama

Lucy Lawless, 'Spartacus: Gods of the Arena'
Connie Britton, 'Friday Night Lights'
Julianna Margulies, 'The Good Wife'
Elisabeth Moss, 'Mad Men'
Emmy Rossum, 'Shameless'
Anna Torv, 'Fringe'

All these actresses gave sensational, subtle performances, and if you were ever a 'Spartacus' doubter, Lawless' work in the show's most recent season would put those doubts to rest forever. Sentimentally speaking, I'd love it if 'FNL's' Tami Taylor got a much-deserved win for the show's farewell season.

Best Actress in a Comedy

Courteney Cox, 'Cougar Town'
Amy Poehler, 'Parks and Recreation'

I'm not going to lie, this is not a category in which I had an overflowing number of potential nominees. Though I'm half-tempted to give a slot to Melissa McCarthy, not only because she does good work on 'Mike and Molly' despite the comedy's stale, musty tone, but because she handily stole 'Bridesmaids' out from under a very talented cast.



Best Actor in a Comedy

Louie C.K., 'Louie'
Steve Carell, 'The Office'
Rob Lowe, 'Parks and Recreation'
Jim Parsons, 'The Big Bang Theory'
Johnny Galecki, 'The Big Bang Theory'
Jason Segel, 'How I Met Your Mother'

'HIMYM's' most recent season was unsatisfying on the Zoey front but very good on the Marshall and Lily front, and Segel in particular was heartbreaking as he dealt with the death of Marshall's dad. And it's about time Galecki's consistently good work on 'BBT' was recognized.

Best Actor in a Drama

Steve Buscemi, 'Boardwalk Empire'
Jon Hamm, 'Mad Men'
Kyle Chandler, 'Friday Night Lights'
Timothy Olyphant, 'Justified'
Donal Logue, 'Terriers'
Ray Romano, 'Men of a Certain Age'

Hamm should win, full stop. Still, there were a ton of great actors doing fine work this past year, including the men above and also James Badge Dale of 'Rubicon,' John Hannah of 'Spartacus: Gods of the Arena,' Sean Bean of 'Game of Thrones' and Charlie Hunnam, who was the best thing about 'Sons of Anarchy's' rocky third season. Still, Hamm has never won an Emmy for his incredible 'Mad Men' work. It's time to give him the much-deserved statue.

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy

Adam Scott, 'Parks and Recreation'
Ty Burrell, 'Modern Family'
Nolan Gould, 'Modern Family'
Nick Offerman, 'Parks and Recreation'
Chris Pratt, 'Parks and Recreation'
Eric Stonestreet, 'Modern Family'

Yes, I'm letting two shows run wild in this category. What of it? I'd absolutely love for all of these actors, who brought both heart and humor to these shows, get some recognition. Of course the category should belong eternally to the 'stache-master himself, Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman), but it would be wonderful if these other actors got some love, especially Nolan Gould, who has been terrific from day one on 'Modern Family.' Luke could have been a one-note dim bulb, but Gould not only demonstrates his note-perfect comic timing every week, he also reveals that Luke is the most emotionally perceptive member of the Dunphy clan.

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama

Mark Addy, 'Game of Thrones'
Scott Bakula, 'Men of a Certain Age'
Andre Braugher, 'Men of a Certain Age'
Alan Cumming, 'The Good Wife'
Walton Goggins, 'Justified'
John Noble, 'Fringe'

This category is a train wreck, in a good way. There are just way too many potential nominees to fit into the available slots, so what's above represents the best of the very best. Michael Shannon would have been a shoo-in for this list if his character hadn't been taken in an unfortunate direction by 'Boardwalk Empire,' and Michael Stuhlbarg, Stephen Graham and Michael Kenneth Williams also did amazing work on that HBO drama. Other tough omissions: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Jason Momoa and Mark Addy, 'Game of Thrones'; Richard Gant, 'Men of a Certain Age'; Dallas Roberts, 'Rubicon'; Jared Harris, 'Mad Men'; Jeremy Allen White and Cameron Monaghan, 'Shameless'; and Michael Raymond-James from the late, lamented 'Terriers.'

By the way, if you're looking for Michael Cristofer's name on this list (he played the fantastically weird spymaster Truxton Spangler on 'Rubicon'), he was submitted in the guest actor category, where I hope he's rewarded with a nomination.

Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy

Mayim Bialik, 'The Big Bang Theory'
Julie Bowen, 'Modern Family'
Carrie Brownstein, 'Portlandia'
Busy Philipps, 'Cougar Town'
Aubrey Plaza, 'Parks and Recreation'
Yvonne Strahovski, 'Chuck'

I looked at this list and thought, "What a wonderful collection of weirdos!" Brownstein may be a surprise in this category, but she did really solid work in IFC's addictive hipster satire 'Portlandia.'

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama

Margo Martindale, 'Justified'
Khandi Alexander, 'Treme'
Amy Ryan, 'In Treatment'
Emilia Clarke, 'Game of Thrones'
Christina Hendricks, 'Mad Men'
Kelly Macdonald, 'Boardwalk Empire'

Why was Kelly Macdonald put forward in this category? It's strange, given that she was clearly the female lead on 'Boardwalk' and she certainly gave a nuanced performance more than worthy of inclusion in the leading-actress category. Perhaps HBO or the actress' handlers thought she had a better chance at a nomination in this category, and they may well be right, but that just highlights the eternal frustration of the Emmys -- once certain performers get a lock on a particular category, nothing can dislodge them, which shuts out truly deserving actors in newer shows. Ah well. Tough omissions in this category include Laura Allen from 'Terriers,' Kiernan Shipka from 'Mad Men,' Melinda McGraw from 'Men of a Certain Age,' Madison Burge and Aimee Teegarden from 'Friday Night Lights,' Christine Baranski from 'The Good Wife' and Archie Panjabi, who won for 'The Good Wife' last year. By the way, I'd love for Emilia Clarke to get a nomination, and in a perfect world, she and Margo Martindale could both get Emmys. But Martindale well and truly owns this category, and I will be tempted to pour some apple pie for voters if they get this wrong.


Follow @MoRyan on Twitter.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

171 Comments

Filter by:
Peggy

What about the Middle? I think that it is a great comedy show much better than Modern Family.

July 15 2011 at 10:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brittany Bowman

Why isn't NCIS on the list? It's a dramatic show and all the actors are excellent. NCIS is a great TV show.

July 14 2011 at 4:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
j8518

Sorry, I like Mike and Molly.

July 14 2011 at 1:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Auntie Claudia

"If this is the nominee roster in this category, I won't be able to complain too much, except about the endless inclusion of Hall and Laurie, whom I will stipulate are superlatively great actors -- but they're stuck in shows that are not nearly as good as they used to be."

Absolutely agree about Hugh Laurie, who was criminally overlooked back when House was one of the best things on TV. The past season was a shambles, as if written by a bunch of amateurs who hated the show and were given free rein to trash it, and although Laurie deserves the damned Emmy for past achievement, I almost feel his winning would only encourage more bad writing.

July 14 2011 at 12:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lindy0428

Mark Harmon - best actor NCIS is the most entertaining show on TV. The interaction between the characters is great.

July 14 2011 at 9:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
vikings5688

NCIS is by far the best show on TV and all of the actors are hot but Mark Harmon is the best looking of them all.

July 14 2011 at 9:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sadiebysea

I.m not sure I understand why "Treme" has been left out. I look forward to seeing it every week and think it is marvelous.

July 14 2011 at 9:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Hello Karen

And what about NCIS? Great show and great actors.

July 14 2011 at 9:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
anniesmile

The best show by far for me is on Showtime... Shameless... and William H. Macy does the best acting job of his career

July 14 2011 at 9:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mopper1592

John Noble, 'Fringe' is so deserving of a win,let alone a nomination.

July 14 2011 at 8:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Follow Us

From Our Partners