Dream Emmy Nominees 2013

The Emmys are so frustratingly stagnant that prognosticating them has become worrisomely simple, although if ever there were a year where the nominations could be upset this would be it. Here are my desired nominees for all the major categories which are hopefully less of a pipe dream than they seem (desired winner is bolded):

Outstanding Drama Series

  • Breaking Bad
  • Mad Men
  • The Americans
  • Hannibal
  • Rectify
  • Orphan Black

It’s a bit difficult to leave out Game of Thrones, which continued to be excellent, but as a season I felt it had too much padding (Theon, much of Tyrion, early Sam material) to quite elevate it to the coiled coldness of The Americans, the elegiac beauty of Rectify, the horrifying wonder of Hannibal, or the kinetic tautness of Orphan Black, the latter two of which had such high degrees of difficulty inherent in their premises.

Outstanding Comedy Series

  • Louie
  • Parks and Recreation
  • 30 Rock
  • Enlightened
  • Archer
  • Bunheads

I don’t believe Bunheads is actually on the Emmy ballot, but that’s only due to ABC Family’s negligence, because it deserves to be nominated, though I’d probably switch it out for Happy Endings or Arrested Development if I had to. Otherwise, Enlightened was the crowning achievement of the year in televisual drama or comedy given that it executed pretty much the best of both worlds. 30 Rock drifted into the ether with one of its best seasons and Parks, Archer, and Louie delivered more of their now-routine brilliance.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

  • Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men)
  • Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black)
  • Claire Danes (Homeland)
  • Keri Russell (The Americans)
  • Kerry Washington (Scandal)
  • Emmy Rossum (Shameless)

I must admit, I only regularly watch the shows of the first four women in this category, but I’ve seen some of what Washington and Rossum do and respect it greatly. But Maslany is the only logical choice here (in any other year, Moss or Russell would take it in a walk), her bravura performance is funny, moving, and bewilderingly complex, at one point playing a character who is playing a character who is playing a character and actually making that feel real.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

  • Jon Hamm (Mad Men)
  • Aden Young (Rectify)
  • Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)
  • Hugh Dancy (Hannibal)
  • Matthew Rhys (The Americans)
  • Damian Lewis (Homeland)

Much as I love Cranston, I love an underdog more, which is why I have to go for Aden Young, whose quiet, measured performance is pretty much perfect. As are most of the performances here, perhaps with the exception of Lewis, who unravelled somewhat as his show did after its stellar first five episodes. Poor Jon Hamm, though.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation)
  • Tina Fey (30 Rock)
  • Sutton Foster (Bunheads)
  • Krysten Ritter (Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23)
  • Ashley Rickards (Awkward.)
  • Laura Dern (Enlightened)

Dern is Dern, and she essentially won this category with the first episode of Enlightened’s second season. It’s arguable whether the show should be in this category (it shouldn’t), but it is, so there you go. Possibly controversial inclusions are Ritter and Rickards, who delivered very different but equally fearless female performances, one playing the world’s best-dressed sociopath for laughs, and the other nailing teenage romantic self-sabotage.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation)
  • Alec Baldwin (30 Rock)
  • Louis CK (Louie)
  • Jason Bateman (Arrested Development)
  • Jake Johnson (New Girl)
  • Peter Capaldi (The Thick of It)

This is unquestionably the single weakest category possibly in the entire Emmys, which is a good thing. Dudes have had their day. Baldwin, dickish though he may be, still rules the roost here; Jack Donaghy is a pantheon character on a pantheon show and he was no less brilliant in 30 Rock’s final season. My inclusion of Johnson is begrudging since I thought New Girl’s second season was often mediocre, but his pretty good performance elevated it where it needed to be. Capaldi I’m including simply because I’d like to see him nominated despite not having watched the show for a while (which I must remedy).

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

  • Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad)
  • Christina Hendricks (Mad Men)
  • Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)
  • Adelaide Clemens (Rectify)
  • Abigail Spencer (Rectify)
  • Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men)

Gunn has long been Breaking Bad’s secret weapon, and many are tipping that this will be the year she finally gets the recognition she deserves. So many asshole dudes on the internet hate Skyler for no reason, but Gunn’s performance is undeniably fantastic. Clemens is a close second for what may be the most sensitive portrayal of a religious person on TV, and Hendricks should have won last year for ‘The Other Woman’. Headey is direly under-appreciated for her work, too, in the face of a showier performance from Emilia Clarke (whom I almost included). As much as I love Dame Maggie, fuck her for ruining this category for far better performances on far better shows.

Oustanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

  • Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones)
  • Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal)
  • Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad)
  • Vincent Kartheiser (Mad Men) (tie)
  • Mandy Patinkin (Homeland)
  • Jonathon Banks (Breaking Bad) (tie)

Another stacked category, with Banks occupying Giancarlo Esposito’s slot of ‘Should Win But Won’t Because Emmys’. Kartheiser got more to do than ever this season on Mad Men, and was terrific every step. Coster-Waldau was the easy stand-out on Thrones, but will probably sit idly by while Peter Dinklage gets nominated for doing practically nothing. Patinkin anchored Homeland’s weak back-half, and Mikkelsen was as brilliant as he always is on Hannibal. Honourable mentions to Noah Emmerich, Jordan Gavaris, Kevin Rahm, and Corey Stoll.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Jane Krakowski (30 Rock)
  • Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development)
  • Carly Chaikin (Suburgatory)
  • Casey Wilson (Happy Endings)
  • Lucy Punch (Ben and Kate)
  • Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation)

This category is an insane bounty of riches, but I’d like to give honourable mentions to all the supporting Bunheads especially Julia Goldani-Telles and Bailey Buntain the Blonde Bunhead, as she is known. Also Eliza Coupe and Elisha Cuthbert and June Diane Raphael and Allie Grant and Ana Gasteyer and Jessica Walter and Julie White (who was one of the most rounded lesbian characters ever on TV) and Lake Bell and Anna Chlumsky and etc. etc. etc. forever. But Jane Krakowski NEEDS to win. NEEDS. Jenna sits alongside Jack in being timelessly funny and simply nominating her has never been enough. But watch Modern Family shit all over my dreams come Emmy night.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Damon Wayans Jr. (Happy Endings)
  • Will Arnett (Arrested Development)
  • Mike White (Enlightened)
  • Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation)
  • Adam Pally (Happy Endings)
  • Luke Wilson (Enlightened)

So many others I could include e.g Nick Offerman, David Cross, Jeffrey Tambor, Jack McBrayer, Charlie Day, Rob Huebel and maybe others. But they’ll all get passed over for the Modern Family bland armada and probably Bill Hader (fine) and maybe Max Greenfield (who deserved it last year but not this year).

And some assorted categories and who should win:

Guest Actress in a Comedy – Parker Posey (Louie). Unquestionably. Only Maria Bamford comes close for Arrested Development.

Guest Actor in a Comedy – Will Forte (30 Rock)

Guest Actress in a Drama – either Marin Ireland (Homeland) or Margo Martindale (The Americans) or Gillian Anderson (Hannibal)

Guest Actor in a Drama – Derek Luke (The Americans)

Outstanding Animated Series – Bob’s Burgers

Outstanding Variety Series – The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Outstanding Reality Competition Series – Rupaul’s Drag Race

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries/Movie – Lily Rabe (American Horror Story: Asylum)

2012 Emmy Nomination Predictions – Comedy / Variety / Animated

Hi there! Welcome to the second in a two-part post about this year’s Emmy nominations, which are set to be announced by Nick Offerman and Kerry Washington on July 19. We’re coming off the back of an insanely good year in TV – Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Parks and Recreation, Community, Louie, Archer, Homeland, Game of Thrones…there are a LOT of amazing shows and actors around at the moment which makes something like the Emmys rather hard to predict. Emmy voters are a fickle bunch. They can alternately be painfully conservative in their choices, or surprisingly forward-thinking. In the very rare cases in these categories where I’m unfamiliar with the shows, I am gauging them based on the opinions of other critics. So here goes!

Outstanding Comedy Series (preferred winner italicised, otherwise in the order of likelihood to win)

Modern Family, Parks & Recreation, 30 Rock, Louie, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Big Bang Theory

This could be a weird category, in that there’ll either be lots of attrition or very little. One thing’s for sure, Modern Family Mediocrity Train will likely chug its way to another undeserved Emmy. The show was a pleasant trifle when it began, but slowly became less and less interesting and more and more like a really conservative Tim Allen sitcom wrapped up in a mockumentary bow. The deserving winner would be Parks and Recreation which, weirdly, seems like an actual possibility this year, whereas last year it was a case of, “Well, thank christ it’s nominated.” The rest of the field is a bit odd – 30 Rock is a lock, but I’m guessing that Glee and The Office will drop out of the field because who gives a shit about either of them any more, really? The Big Bang Theory will, sadly, generic its way to another nomination, and Curb Your Enthusiasm, which wasn’t eligible last year, will likely garner yet another nomination for a season that contained Palestinian Chicken which, oh my god, go watch that episode.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Jim Parsons, Alec Baldwin, Louis CK, Larry David, Johnny Galecki, Adam Scott

Let’s clear this up: Jim Parsons is a skilled comic actor with good timing. But The Big Bang Theory is a boring, bland multicam sitcom trumped up as something far more complex because its writers spend all day on the Wikipedia page for ‘astrophysics’ so the show sounds smart while it makes jokes at the expense of an autistic man. Hilar. How Johnny Galecki is even a thing I don’t know. Alec Baldwin would be an acceptable winner but he’s won before so it’s kinda boring, but Jack Donaghy really is one of the greatest comedic characters of all time. That said, Louis CK really deserves this. He gets far greater range, and he also has the advantage of writing, directing and editing his show, achievements which can often work in favour of an actor in the disparate arms of the Academy. But it’s a long bow to draw, so Parsons is likely to pick up another inoffensive Emmy and make another inoffensive, uninteresting speech.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Amy Poehler, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Zooey Deschanel, Melissa McCarthy, Laura Dern

Amy Poehler better fuckin’ win this. I swear to god, you guys. I don’t know how you could watch the season 4 finale and vote for anyone else, or The Debate (which she also wrote and directed – big ups for that). But this is the Emmys, so who knows. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is one of the few comedic actresses on her level, as is Tina Fey. But who knows – the capacity for Zooey Deschanel to win just because the Emmys think that’s what young people would want is depressingly high. I like Zooey, and think she’s good in New Girl, but her role is so, SO easy that the idea of her being nominated, let alone winning, kinda hurts my soul. Melissa McCarthy will be nominated again but won’t win because no Bridesmaids this year, and Laura Dern won the Golden Globe somehow despite almost zero people watching the pretty good Enlightened, so she should be able to get sheeped to a nomination here.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Ty Burrell, Nick Offerman, Ed O’Neill, Eric Stonestreet, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Max Greenfield

This category gives me the shits. Fuck off Modern Family. None of you deserve awards for playing the same unchanging characters for 72 episodes. Nick Offerman, however, is iconic as Ron Swanson, and while putting him second here is probably a bit optimistic, he really does deserve a win, or at the least a nomination. Max Greenfield is the best thing about New Girl, and gives a legitimately fearless and funny performance, so it’d be nice to see him scrape in. But it’s hard to survive in the supporting categories against Modern Family drywall, so we shall see. Perhaps the voters will be bit more ‘meh’ on it after a season that received mixed reviews for being too stagnant and open their minds to difference. Per…haps.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Julie Bowen, Sofia Vergara, Betty White, Jane Krakowski, Kristen Wiig, Kathryn Joosten

Again, fuck off Modern Family. I like both Bown and Vergara, but oy, are they wasted on such a drab show. Ditto Betty White – Hot in Cleveland? Really? Can you believe she’s won two SAG awards for that show? At some point, surely she’ll have to say, “Seriously guys, the shows I’m on are shit. Please don’t reward me for them.” In a perfect world, though, Jane Krakowski would win an Emmy for playing Jenna Maroney, one of the funniest, most wonderfully unhinged characters on TV. From her various terrifying dalliances with Mickey Rourke through to her sexual walkabout, this was the season where many 30 Rock fans finally sat up and realised that Krakowski has been quietly putting in one of the show’s best performances each year since season 3 as the writers have amplified Jenna’s crazy. On a purely comic level, Krakowski should have this in the bag. But sadly, there might be too much working against her. In fact, it’s possible she’ll fall out of the field and be replaced with, say, Cloris Leachman, who is in the Betty White position of being a hilarious older actress on a crummy show (sorry, Raising Hope, you’re boring as hell). I like Kristen Wiig but ugh, SNL these days ugh, and I’m tipping Joosten to knock Jane Lynch out and get a posthumous nomination for being the best part of Desperate Housewives for the couple of years I bothered with it.

Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series

The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, Conan, Saturday Night Live, The Late Show with David Letterman

Having won this category every year since 2003 bar 2008, it’s hard to bet against The Daily Show, which continues to turn in excellent work with the November election looming. The Colbert Report could win, though, largely doing the same – that said, I find that Colbert tends to be less consistent and less focused than The Daily Show when both are at their best. The rest are probable locks, but it really is a two horse race.

Outstanding Animated Program

Archer, The Simpsons, Futurama, Avatar: Legend of Korra, Adventure Time

It’s difficult to believe that The Simpsons wasn’t nominated in 1993 or 1994, the years of its two best seasons – the 4th and 5th. How could you not nominate Marge vs. The Monorail? Last Exit to Springfield? Cape Feare? The list goes on. In any case, somehow forgotten then, The Simpsons is now essentially a lock regardless of whether they make a passable episode in any given year, which seriously bums me out given how low the show has gone. In any case, Archer is certifiably the funniest show on television right now. And if there were any chance that they’d submit in the Outstanding Comedy Series category, I’d want them to win that too. The season’s best episode, Lo Scandalo, is one of the funniest half-hours ever committed to screen. The rest, here, are just guesses really, because this category has bizarre attrition rates. But given the love for Legend of Korra (which I’ve yet to get to), and the increasing popularity of Adventure Time (that’s mostly me trying to will it into the category) and also because it’s great, means that they could be in with a shot. And Futurama has a great submission episode in Reincarnation, so they’ll likely pop up. My hopeful predictions will likely be quashed by shitty South Park/Family Guy/Robot Chicken episodes. Alas.

Outstanding Voice-Over Performance

H. Jon Benjamin, Dan Castellaneta, John DiMaggio, Kristen Schaal, Seth Green, Hank Azaria, Jessica Walter

Again, this is mostly a guessing category, but again, Archer you guys. Plus, H. Jon Benjamin now also has the increasingly great Bob’s Burgers to his credit, so anchoring two successful shows must count for something. John DiMaggio deserves some recognition for Bender and Jake the Dog, Kristen Schaal is incredible as Louise on Bob’s Burgers (as is Eugene Mirman and Dan Mintz, but they’re not as likely), Jessica Walter kills it as Malory Archer (and again, I wonder if this award should be an ensemble one, because Archer’s voice actors are second-to-none). Seth Green sucks but will probably be nominated, and in all fairness, Dan Castellaneta and Hank Azaria might not be saying anything funny most of the time anymore, but they do their darnedest.

And that should do it! When the nominees are announced I’ll go back over all of these, as well as assess the nominees for the Writing/Directing/etc. awards. See you in a week or so!

2012 Emmy Nomination Predictions – Drama / Miniseries & Movie / Reality

Hi there! Welcome to the first in a two-part post about this year’s Emmy nomination, which are set to be announced by Nick Offerman and Kerry Washington on July 19. We’re coming off the back of an insanely good year in TV – Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Parks and Recreation, Community, Louie, Archer, Homeland, Game of Thrones…there are a LOT of amazing shows and actors around at the moment which makes something like the Emmys rather hard to predict. Emmy voters are a fickle bunch. They can alternately be painfully conservative in their choices, or surprisingly forward-thinking. Now, I’ll admit right now that I’m not as up-to-date on the dramatic shows as I am on comedies, so where some of my predictions are coming from a place of my own knowledge, in other cases I am gauging them based on the opinions of other critics. So here goes!

Outstanding Drama Series (preferred winner italicised, otherwise in the order of likelihood to win)

Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Homeland, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire

I only watch four of these six shows – neither Downton Abbey nor Boardwalk Empire are really my thing – and I’m not up to season 5 of Mad Men (just yet, I’m halfway through season 4 and watching rapidly), but I’m pretty confident about these six nominees. There is a slight possibility that Dexter will be nominated again solely because the voters feel obligated, but by all critical accounts Dexter is just being edged out of the nomination field after an uneven sixth season. Mad Men has won four times in a row, and as much as I want Breaking Bad to win – its 4th season was one of the best ever, in my opinion – I think Mad Men will continue its streak. But here’s hoping Breaking Bad scores at least one win for being one of the best TV dramas ever made.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Bryan Cranston, Jon Hamm, Steve Buscemi, Kelsey Grammer, Hugh Laurie, Damian Lewis

Bryan Cranston is the one to beat here, although I feel bad for Jon Hamm. He truly is brilliant as Don Draper, and he was absolutely robbed last year, no matter how happy I was for Kyle Chandler. However, this feels like the inverse of the Drama Series category, where Cranston will dominate and Hamm hopefully scrapes an award by the time the shows ends. Cranston is lucky in this category because he is such an anchor for the show, whereas Mad Men often gives way to supporting characters like Peggy, Pete, and Joan. Breaking Bad has a laser focus on the life of Walter White, and Cranston’s performance is one of the absolute best, and he has the advantage of being given material with far more gravity than Hamm. Not 100% sure that Damian Lewis will scrape into a nomination, but I think he truly deserves it, as anyone who has watched Homeland will attest.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Claire Danes, Elisabeth Moss, Julianna Margulies, Elizabeth McGovern, Glenn Close, Mariska Hargitay

Claire Danes will win this award. That is honestly without dispute. Her performance in Homeland is often-times literally breath-taking, and she deserves this award. I feel somewhat conflicted, however, because I want Elisabeth Moss to win SOMETHING for playing Peggy Olsen. Having recently watched ‘The Suitcase’, I realise now that she absolutely should have won last year. Peggy is my favourite Mad Men character and Moss kills it in the role, but by all accounts her role in Season 5 was muted by comparison and she would be more at home in the Supporting category, where she could or would very likely win. The last three here I’m not 100% on, especially Close and Hargitay. But those two slots are up in the air, with Mireille Enos, Emmy Rossum, Jessica Pare and other all in contention in varying degrees. I don’t believe for a second that Hargitay deserves a nomination here – not that she is a poor actress – but I think she’ll managed to get nominated again out of regularity. Glenn Close will be nominated because Glenn Close.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Giancarlo Esposito, Peter Dinklage, Aaron Paul, John Slattery, Mandy Patinkin, Alan Cumming

This is one of the most stacked categories this year, with a serious embarrassment of riches in terms of great performances. I’m predicting a bit of an upset, solely because I can’t imagine anyone watching a Giancarlo Esposito submission episode and not vote for him. Gus Fring is one of the greatest villains in history, and yet he was somehow a villain you rooted for in small measures. Aaron Paul is brilliant in the same show, and Peter Dinklage is the returning winner and coming off a season in which he was at the forefront, but by comparison Dinklage just doesn’t have the material to best Esposito in my eyes. Slattery and Patinkin are welcome additions – depending on Homeland’s second season, watch for Patinkin as a possible favourite next year – and Cumming, while a great actor, will likely scrape in though there are likely more deserving nominees, like John Noble, Joel Kinnaman, Johnathon Banks, and so on.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Maggie Smith, Christina Hendricks, Kelly MacDonald, Christine Baranski, Archie Panjabi, Anna Gunn

Look, I love Maggie Smith to death. And from what I’ve seen of her on Downton Abbey, she’s great. But it’s not award-great. She can play an arch bitch with aplomb, but it’s such a nothing role for her, and this is a drama actress award. Which is why I’d give it to Christina Hendricks, even though I don’t think she quite has a chance against Smith who is an awards juggernaut in almost every capacity. Hendricks has done some insanely heavy lifting over the seasons on Mad Men and I strongly feel she deserves recognition, and this seems like the best year for her to do it. It’s close, but Dame Maggie will likely prevail, but I would be equally unsurprised for Hendricks to snap up her first Emmy. The rest of the field I don’t really care about because they are all on shows I barely watch, except Anna Gunn, who I think is seriously underrated as Skyler White. She cops it a lot from Breaking Bad viewers because the character is not terribly likeable, but Gunn does an excellent job with the role she has.

Outstanding Movie/Miniseries

Game Change, American Horror Story, Hemingway and Gellhorn, Sherlock, Hatfields and McCoys, The Hour

No personal prediction from me here because I don’t care, but what used to be (and I wish still was) Downton Abbey’s category is now wide open, and I daresay Game Change will take it.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Movie/Miniseries

Clive Owen, Idris Elba, Woody Harrelson, Bill Nighy, Benedict Cumberbatch

Again, I don’t really care, but I’ll go with Idris Elba because he’s great in everything and this Emmys is turning out to be a depressingly white affair.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Movie/Miniseries

Julianne Moore, Nicole Kidman, Emily Watson, Connie Britton, Rachel Weisz

The other four don’t matter, JuMo has this hands down.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Movie/Miniseries

Ed Harris, David Strathairn, Martin Freeman, Michael Gambon, Ralph Fiennes

Another bland category, but Harris will likely ride the Game Change wave.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Movie/Miniseries

Jessica Lange, Judy Davis, Sarah Paulson, Gillian Anderson, Frances Conroy

I’m extremely glad that American Horror Story has been submitted as a miniseries, even though that’s a bit of a dubious classification, because I don’t like the idea of Lange, who somehow won the Golden Globe and SAG, detracting from the chances of more deserving winners. Because while I love Jessica Lange, American Horror Story was a big, but entertaining, piece of shit.

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program

I’m not making any real prediction here, I just need to say that any show that isn’t RuPaul’s Drag Race is heinously undeserving.

Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program

Ditto above, but for RuPaul. It’ll probably be Jeff Probst again, which, ugh.

There we have that! My Comedy/Animated/Variety picks will be up in the next day or two. When the nominations are announced I’ll come back and see how I went!