Emmy’s 2016 WILL WIN/SHOULD WIN Picks

Earlier this year, I did a Dream Emmy Ballot and obviously the actual nominees look a lot different than the ones I chose. I’ve been doing some WILL WIN/SHOULD WIN picks for years now and these are, of course, based on the nominees we got, not necessarily the ones I wanted. So in my little write-ups justifying my picks, I don’t really reference what I would have done differently and just explain my picks based on what we got. Make sense? Okay, good. Let’s get to it.

LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA

Kyle Chandler, Bloodline
Rami Malek, Mr Robot
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

WILL WIN: Liev Schreiber
SHOULD WIN: Kyle Chandler

Ray Donovan is actually the only one of these shows that I don’t watch, but the chatter on Schreiber and Voight’s performances never seems to let up. I think there’s certainly a chance that Odenkirk walks away with this (which would be well-deserved) or maybe even Rhys, but my gut is saying Schreiber. There’s no clear, definitive winner like there’s been in years past and I think that works in his favor. I’d be thrilled if Malek walked away with it, but ultimately, I chose Chandler as my personal pick. The second season of Bloodline is riddled with flaws–though still fascinating in many ways–but Chandler was so brilliant and commanding no matter what was happening with the material. He made sure every second he was on screen was gripping television.

LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA

Claire Danes, Homeland
Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder
Taraji P Henson, Empire
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Keri Russell, The Americans
Robin Wright, House of Cards

WILL WIN: Viola Davis
SHOULD WIN: Tatiana Maslany

At a certain point, it just starts to feel redundant to say that Maslany should win this award every year, but her work gets no less impressive. From Sarah’s downward spiral in “The Antisocialism of Sex,” Krystal’s great comedic timing and Cosima’s devastating response to seeing Kendall killed right in front of her, Maslany brings depth to each character in a variety of ways. It never ceases to amaze. Aside from Maslany, Keri Russell had her best ever season on The Americans–which is saying a lot–and I’d love to see her win too. I think it’s going to be Davis again and that’s okay. She’s a tremendous actress on a trashy series, a series that I shamelessly love but a trashy series nonetheless. Her submission episode features her character losing a baby and, despite feeling a little too tonally dark and exploitative for such a  ludicrous series, there’s no denying that Davis’s performance was incredible and I think it’ll win her the Emmy for the second year in a row.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA

Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones
Maura Tierney, The Affair
Constance Zimmer, UnREAL

WILL WIN: Lena Headey
SHOULD WIN: Maura Tierney

Headey is great and she absolutely killed it in the finale this year so I’m totally on board with her winning. She may split the votes with her co-stars, but I feel it’s more likely the Game of Thrones love will be directed towards her and she’ll get the Emmy. But I decided to back a dark horse in Maura Tierney who is on a flawed series that is held together by exceptional performances. She stood out as the best among greats this season and everything from Helen crumbling under stress and getting a bit messy to the sadness and vulnerability she felt after her first post-marriage sexual encounter was played with such beautiful honesty.

SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA

Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Kit Harington, Game of Thrones
Michael Kelly, House of Cards
Jon Voight, Ray Donovan

WILL WIN: Peter Dinklage
SHOULD WIN: Jonathan Banks

I actually feel pretty indifferent about this category. Dinklage is great, of course, but I don’t especially think this was his best season (because it really wasn’t anyone’s best season on Game of Thrones). Harrington is fine but limited and really shouldn’t be nominated here, but I get it. Mendelsohn was excellent in season one of Bloodline, but his character felt so unnecessarily tacked on to season two, I had a hard time investing in the performance. I feel like he did too, honestly. Banks continues to bring to life to one of my favorite characters on television so I chose him, even though I think it would be ironic if he won for a season that didn’t really feature a standout Mike episode or moment like pretty much every other Saul or Bad season he’s been a part of prior.

LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY

Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Laurie Metcalfe, Getting On
Tracee Ellis Ross, black-ish
Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie

WILL AND SHOULD WIN: Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

I think this category is pretty much locked-down as long as she continues to submit for Veep and I find it hard to argue with this outcome. My second choice would be Kemper who did such tremendous work in the second season of Kimmy Schmidt that I’d love to see her recognized but I think heavy hitters like Laurie Metcalfe or Lily Tomlin are the only real competition for JLD if she even really has any.

LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY

Anthony Anderson, black-ish
Aziz Ansari, Masters of None
Will Forte, The Last Man on Earth
William H Macy, Shameless
Thomas Middleditch, Silicon Valley
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

WILL WIN: Anthony Anderson
SHOULD WIN: Aziz Ansari

Look, I think there’s a chance that Emmy voters loved Master of None as much as the rest of us did, but have such a populist slant that I still think the lead of ABC’s new golden child has the best shot of winning here (that is if Tambor doesn’t just win again and I think that’s the second most likely scenario). And trust me, I am not thrilled to make this prediction. Anderson seems to have plenty of fans but I find him grating and one-note. Black-ish doesn’t work for me on a number of levels, but if you recast both parents–particularly Anderson–it would instantly become a better show. Still, enough people that matter seem to disagree with me here that I think he wins the Emmy this year despite literally every single actor in this category being more deserving, particularly Ansari who gave such a personal, vulnerable and sweetly funny performance in Master of None.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY

Niecy Nash, Getting On
Kate McKinnon, SNL
Gaby Hoffmann, Transparent
Allison Janney, Mom
Judith Light, Transparent
Anna Chlumsky, Veep

WILL AND SHOULD WIN: Allison Janney

I can think of a number of ways that this category could be improved, but as it stands, I think it’s the weakest one of the night. Chlumsky is smart and capable on Veep but it’s not a particularly showy performance so I’d be surprised if she gets noticed for it beyond the nomination (although she keeps getting nominated so who knows?). I’m not a fan of Transparent so can’t speak with authority on either of those performances though I do enjoy Light’s work a lot more than Hoffman’s from what I’ve seen. McKinnon is occasionally brilliant but a little overrated in my view. It really comes down to Janney who continues to do such incredible work on a show that is a little too broad and low-brow for a woman of her talents, but has enough dramatic depth to allow her plenty of chances to still shine on both ends of the spectrum.

SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY

Louie Anderson, Baskets
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Keegan-Michael Key, Key & Peele
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Tony Hale, Veep
Matt Walsh, Veep

WILL WIN: Tony Hale
SHOULD WIN: Matt Walsh

This is such a great category and I really wouldn’t be upset about any of these actors winning, even Ty Burrell who remains the only funny part of Modern Family if I ever choose to tune in.  But there is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to supporting actors on Veep. I’d have picked Timothy Simons here as it really was his year, but Matt Walsh continues to excellent and hilarious work as Mike McClintock as well, a man who is pathetic and unqualified but still generally positive and hopeful. It’s a combination that works hilariously well and he’s been killing it for years. Tony Hale will probably still win because the Emmys love to reward the same actors over and over and while I don’t feel that Gary had as many moments to steal the show this year, he did walk in on POTUS with the VP and his reaction to that certainly justifies another Emmy on the shelf.

OUTSTANDING COMEDY

black-ish
Master of None
Modern Family
Silicon Valley
Transparent
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Veep

WILL AND SHOULD WIN: Veep

When showrunner Armando Ianucci stepped down after season four, I think we were all a little nervous about whether or not the show would remain as sharply funny as it’s always been. Fears were quickly alleviated and season five continued the tradition of brilliant political absurdity. It used to be that I watched Veep and figured that D.C. politics was probably secretly more like this show than anything else that’s ever been done. Well, it’s not a secret anymore and politics have become a terrifying circus that should just make us all want to cry, but Veep continues to mine rapid-fire humor from the horror. The entire ensemble was great as usual but JLD always shines when she gets to play Selina as especially frustrated and belligerent so the complications surrounding the recount made for fantastic television.

It’s been a good year for comedy and if Veep loses to Master of None, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt or Silicon Valley, I’d be okay because I think they all had excellent seasons and I would argue the first two are really almost just as deserving anyways. Unfortunately, I’d say black-ish has the best shot at an upset because it seems to be gaining more and more traction with critics and industry types. Not sure why. I checked back in for a few episodes in season two and I still feel like the show continues to fall well short of what it’s trying to be and is almost always more annoying than funny, but I still wouldn’t be shocked if it stole this award.

OUTSTANDING DRAMA

The Americans
Better Call Saul
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Homeland
House of Cards
Mr Robot

WILL WIN: Game of Thrones
SHOULD WIN: The Americans

I feel slightly optimistic that the Emmy’s suddenly recognizing The Americans in so many categories means that it will actually choose to give it some awards this year, but I’m not holding my breath. I think the Game of Thrones hot streak will continue. Based on its nominations this year, the television academy’s love for the series is only growing and it ended with two strong and widely-revered episodes. Despite the rest of the season being tedious and dull, I think it has this one in the bag. I can’t imagine any of these other series actually walking away with the award, although if it ends up being The Americans or Mr. Robot, know I’ll be grinning at home.

And lastly, I didn’t do a Limited Series section on my Dream Ballot because I didn’t watch them all. I feel a little more justified to weigh in here but not enough so that I’m gonna take the time to break down each category. In a nutshell, despite really enjoying the second seasons of Fargo and American Crime, I still think The People v OJ Simpson deserves to sweep. Specifically, along with the series winning, I’m picking Paulson, Vance and Brown. I’d say all of those will and should win in their categories. As for supporting actress, I think Jean Smart will win but I’d go for Regina King again. If you need a refresher, here’s the list of full nominees in those categories:

LIMITED SERIES

American Crime
Fargo
The Night Manager
The People v. OJ Simpson
Roots

LEAD ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE

Kirsten Dunst, Fargo
Felicity Huffman, American Crime
Audra McDonald, Billie Holiday: Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill
Sarah Paulson, The People v. O.J. Simpson
Lili Taylor, American Crime
Kerry Washington, Confirmation

LEAD ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE

Bryan Cranston, All The Way
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: The Abominable Bride
Idris Elba, Luther
Cuba Gooding Jr, The People v. O.J. Simpson
Tom Hiddleston, The Night Manager
Courtney B. Vance, The People v. O.J. Simpson

SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE

Melissa Leo, All The Way
Regina King, American Crime
Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Hotel
Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Hotel
Jean Smart, Fargo
Olivia Colman, The Night Manager

SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE

Jesse Plemons, Fargo
Bokeem Woodbine, Fargo
Hugh Laurie, The Night Manager
Sterling K. Brown, The People v. O.J. Simpson
David Schwimmer, The People v. O.J. Simpson
John Travolta, The People v. O.J. Simpson

 

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