We are one month away from Andy Samberg stepping on the stage at The Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles to host the 2015 Primetime Emmy Awards. With voting now officially open as of August 17, I am here to give you some insight into what may happen come the biggest night in television on September 20.
Now, I currently watch 70 shows plus or minus 2. By currently I mean the shows are still in the process of making new episodes and I have seen every episode of these shows to date. Yes, 70. That is not a typo.
I will specify which shows I do not watch as I take you through each of the “major” categories and what I think is going to happen.
*- denotes shows of which I did not watch this season
Better Call Saul (AMC)
Downton Abbey (PBS)*
Game of Thrones (HBO)
House of Cards (Netflix)
Mad Men (AMC)*
Orange is the New Black (Netflix)
Lets cut right to the chase. Mad Men or Game of Thrones. Game of Thrones or Mad Men. Even before the nominees were announced, it was these two shows that were going to be the biggest competition come Emmys night. No more Breaking Bad, and True Detective was not eligible, leaving the most popular show on TV- Thrones vs. the most popular Emmys show- Mad Men. Better Call Saul is the only new nominee this year to fill the void of the Breaking Bad withdrawals, and I do believe it will be in contention in the future, but 2015 is not its year. House of Cards season 3 was its worse yet, taking it out of the major contenders, and Downtown Abbey is always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Leaving the two shows truly in contention. Thrones’ fifth season was truly remarkable and obviously controversial. It somehow finds a way to get better every season, making it easily one of the greatest shows of all time, behind The Wire and Breaking Bad. It’s a fantasy show, but it’s so much more than that. Acting is always incredible, it’s visually appealing, plus I don’t think there has been another show that drives so many people crazy after a character death, and all the theories that exist are so outlandish that all of them sound legitimate. Then there’s Mad Men. Four-time consecutive Drama Series winner, eight-time nominee losing only to Homeland’s first season and Breaking Bad twice for it’s split up season five. This is the last time eligible for the Emmys since the show came to an end after seven seasons and the fact it not only won before, but won FOUR times; puts it ahead of every other nominee in this category. I’m going with Mad Men here, simply because Game of Thrones will have at least three more chances to compete. Plus, only one show in the history of The Emmys won Best Drama on HBO and that is The Sopranos, which won just twice, so I feel the voters aren’t ready to give HBO another victory just yet.
Dark Horse: Better Call Saul. Better first season than Breaking Bad, but Breaking Bad started during the writer’s strike so you can’t blame them. Saul was really one of the best first seasons of a show in recent memory and it’s not only here because voters miss Bad.
I’m still bitter The Americans was not nominated, because I think its recent season was the best season of a show this past year. C’mon voters! Get your act together!
Female Lead Actor in a Drama
Claire Danes- Homeland (Showtime)
Viola Davis- How to Get Away with Murder (ABC)
Taraji P. Henson- Empire (Fox)*
Tatiana Maslany– Orphan Black (BBC America)*
Elisabeth Moss- Mad Men (AMC)*
Robin Wright- House of Cards (Netflix)
Danes and Wright are the only two who have been nominated every year of their respective shows, but I don’t see either of them winning this award. Danes won twice, but hasn’t been as good since the second season. I honestly think this year’s winner will be for a new nominee i.e. not Moss. Although from the Mad Men episodes I have seen she does some stellar work. This is her sixth nomination for playing Peggy Olson and most people think she is as worthy of a victory as Jon Hamm is so don’t count her out. Maslany is probably more famous for not being nominated than she is for her actual role(s) in Orphan Black, and what’s working against her is I’m sure the majority of voters have not actually seen the show. Henson and her super popular new TV show blew up in the entertainment industry setting records and breaking them week-to-week for Fox finally putting the network back into the Emmy faithful. Then there’s the favorite: Viola Davis who single-handedly makes HTGAWM one of the most exciting shows on TV and proving Shonda Rhimes can do whatever the hell she wants. You may notice Julianna Margulies is once again not here after winning the award last year and that only makes this race more interesting. History could be made giving this award to the first woman of color, either Henson or Davis, but my faith in the voters is always on the decline, but it’s so hard to go against Davis, so she is my pick.
Dark Horse: Claire Danes. Regardless of the decline of a performance, she won twice for her portrayal as Carrie Matheson only lost one time last year to Margulies who, like I said, is not here this year. Plus, Homeland was able to make it back in after taking a year off from Drama Series contention showing more support through the academy than any first time nominee.
Male Lead Actor in a Drama
Kyle Chandler- Bloodline (Netflix)
Jeff Daniels- The Newsroom (HBO)
Jon Hamm- Mad Men (AMC)*
Bob Odenkirk– Better Call Saul (AMC)
Liev Schreiber- Ray Donovan (Showtime)*
Kevin Spacey- House of Cards (Netflix)
Will Hamm finally win his Emmy is the equivalent of will Leonardo DiCaprio ever win an Oscar, and everybody is hoping it will happen. Hamm seems like an Emmys curse. Mad Men won four times for Series, Hamm got added to nominees as a producer, and it didn’t win again. He’s not a producer this year, FYI. He was nominated twice for guest acting in 30 Rock and didn’t win. So far he is 0 for 13 in Emmy nominations, not including his two nods this year. He lost to Bryan Cranston four times. Cranston is no longer nominated. During Breaking Bad’s off year, he lost to Kyle Chandler for Friday Night Lights. Chandler conveniently made his comeback this year for a new show. He lost to Damian Lewis who is no longer on Homeland and finally he lost to Jeff Daniels who is also competing for the final time this year for the atrocious last season of Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom. Spacey, like most of Netflix shows, is on the decline compared to the other nominees. He should have won in season one, but lost in a shocker to Daniels for his performance in a pilot episode. This year is the year Jon Hamm will win. I don’t think any of the other nominees gave strong enough performances to compete with Hamm, and the Emmys need to give him a going away present that Hugh Laurie and Steve Carell did not get for House and The Office, respectively. Not only that, but Hamm may leave the show with two Emmys if he wins Male Guest Actor in a Comedy for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which I think he deserves.
Female Supporting Actor in a Drama
Uzo Aduba– Orange is the New Black (Netflix)
Christine Baranski– The Good Wife (CBS)*
Emilia Clarke- Game of Thrones (HBO)
Joanne Froggatt– Downton Abbey (PBS)*
Lena Headey– Game of Thrones (HBO)
Christina Hendricks- Mad Men (AMC)*
Can you believe that a show has won four Drama Series Emmys has never won for any of its acting? Hendricks has been nominated five times already for her acting in the show, and I don’t think she will win this year either. Froggatt is nominated once again, ensuring that Downton Abbey will always be nominated in this category year after year. Baranski is another person consistently here who probably won’t win, especially with the lack of recognition from the academy this year. I’m a bit surprised to see Clarke’s name return to the category especially since I wasn’t all too impressed with her performance for season five, but happy nonetheless that Game of Thrones gets recognized every year. That leaves us with the strongest two contenders – Aduba and Headey. Aduba is making a double switch. She previously was considered as a guest actress in season one and OITNB was previously a comedy contender. Now she was bumped to supporting for drama in the second season because of all of the rule changes. It really shows two things: how talented you have to be to get nominated for the same role in two different genres in consecutive years AND how much the voters love her character. I think OITNB competing in Drama this year is the worst thing for the show and its nominees because Drama is much more competitive than Comedy. This award will go to Lena Headey simply because, with all the nominations Thrones has received this year, it set records for viewers on HBO and her walk of shame, shame, shame *ding ding ding* was one of the hardest scenes to watch this past year of TV ,and it felt like the viewers were being tortured as much as Cersei was. It was the most memorable scene of the show not involving a dying character.
Dark Horse: Hendricks. For a show I haven’t yet fully watched it’s hard to deny the talented ensemble cast over its seven season run and I really hope for the fans and cast’s sake someone wins an acting Emmy. Seeing a clean-sweep would be pretty ridiculous though, but would definitely get people talking and make next year’s race even crazier.
Male Supporting Actor in a Drama
Jonathan Banks- Better Call Saul (AMC)
Jim Carter- Downton Abbey (PBS)*
Alan Cumming- The Good Wife (CBS)*
Peter Dinklage– Game of Thrones (HBO)
Michael Kelly- House of Cards (Netflix)
Ben Mendelsohn- Bloodline (Netflix)
Let me start off by saying we can already eliminate Carter and Cumming.If either was going to win it would have happened by now. Michael Kelly really has no business being here, but voters love House of Cards and this third season was pretty much built up to get Kelly a nomination. They focused most of the season on Doug Stamper even though it’s a show about Claire and Frank. Dinklage is always fantastic and Thrones has made him the most recognizable star on the show since Sean Bean’s quick exit, plus he has already won so that will keep him in consideration, but if he can’t win an Emmy for his best performance on the show last season (Tyrion’s trial) then can we really expect him to win this year? It’s tough, especially since the two actors he’s lost to are not nominated this year: Aaron Paul (twice) and Bobby Canavale for Breaking Bad and Boardwalk Empire, respectively. Then you have new show nominees filling out the category – Banks for Better Call Saul and Mendelsohn for Bloodline. I think the Emmy goes to one of them. Banks was previously nominated for this same role in Breaking Bad, where viewers around the role fell in love with his scary, quiet character, Mike Ehrmantraut. Mendelsohn gave what I think may be the best season-long performance out of this bunch and as soon as I finished Bloodline I tweeted, “If Banks does not win the Emmy it better go to Mendelsohn.” I still stand by that. However, in order to win the academy does not vote based on the entire season, though I’m sure some of them do. It is based on a single episode, or sometimes even a single scene, which explains why Jeff Daniels won two years ago. Nobody has time to watch an entire season of every show nominated (except me, but I can’t vote), but they have time to watch an episode entry for each nominee. This is why Jonathan Banks will win. He has the episode in Five-O where you see a completely different side of Mike than we are used to. He goes very soft and emotional, showing how much depth this character truly has. Without this episode, the character is almost the same as we have seen before in Breaking Bad. Mendelsohn does not have one scene, or even one episode, to call him a winner, it is his entire character story line that puts him into contention. This is a reason why it is sometimes said “getting nominated is their victory.” I also don’t feel like enough voters even watched Bloodline in the first place.
Dark Horse: Michael Kelly. Only for the fact that it will be to award House of Cards for something since it has yet to win any major category in the first two seasons.
If you have any questions regarding categories not discussed here, please tweet them to me @DillonReedRose.