Confession time: I don’t watch a lot of “critically acclaimed” television. My tastes aren’t exactly aligned with any years’ crop of Emmy nominees, but I was especially disappointed that some of my favorite shows and actors were overlooked this time around. However, I’m still going to attempt to predict how tomorrow night’s Emmy ceremony is going to go. I’m skipping the miniseries/TV movie categories because I have absolutely no knowledge of those nominees, but I hope my other picks (and the reasons behind them) might inspire you to fill out an Emmy ballot of your own.
Breaking Bad, AMC
Downton Abbey, PBS
Game of Thrones, HBO
House of Cards, Netflix
Mad Men, AMC
My Pick: Breaking Bad. I could see House of Cards possibly playing the spoiler here (to call attention to the success Netflix is having with its original programming), but I really think the buzz around Breaking Bad is too high right now—and has been for the last year or so—for it to go unrecognized. I can’t believe it’s never won before, so I think its time has come.
LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES:
Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey, PBS
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad, AMC
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom, HBO
Jon Hamm, Mad Men, AMC
Damian Lewis, Homeland, Showtime
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards, Netflix
My Pick: Bryan Cranston. The Emmys like to stick with what they know, and what they know is that Cranston is a force to be reckoned with. Spacey shouldn’t be counted out here, but I can’t see this award going to someone other than Cranston until Breaking Bad is done (which means, yes, I am already picking him to win next year’s Emmy, too).
LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES:
Connie Britton, Nashville, ABC
Claire Danes, Homeland, Showtime
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey, PBS
Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel, A&E
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men, AMC
Kerry Washington, Scandal, ABC
Robin Wright, House of Cards, Netflix
My Pick: Kerry Washington. This is a diverse category of fantastic leading ladies, but Washington has the kind of star power that Emmy voters love to call attention to. She’s the center of one of the most talked-about shows on television, and she turns in consistently great work, even with increasingly crazy storylines.
SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES:
Bobby Cannavale, Boardwalk Empire, HBO
Jonathan Banks, Breaking Bad, AMC
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad, AMC
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey, PBS
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones, HBO
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland, Showtime
My Pick: Mandy Patinkin. Homeland is probably going to win at least one Emmy tomorrow night, and I think it’s going to go to the man who was overlooked for any recognition last season. Patinkin’s restrained performance grounds a show that is known for its emotional breakdowns, hysterics, and crazy plot twists. I don’t know much about the character dynamics on Homeland, but it seems to me that Patinkin’s Saul is the steadfast glue holding the show together when it’s at its craziest.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES:
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad, AMC
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey, PBS
Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones, HBO
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife, CBS
Morena Baccarin, Homeland, Showtime
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men, AMC
My Pick: Anna Gunn. If I know nothing else about Breaking Bad, I know that Anna Gunn has turned in a performance that’s controversial, powerful, and polarizing. But there’s no denying that this woman has talent and has held her own opposite her commanding costars. Plus, she wrote this fantastic New York Times piece about her character, and that kind of love for the role she plays earns her big points in my book.
The Big Bang Theory, CBS
Modern Family, ABC
30 Rock, NBC
My Pick: Modern Family. Emmy voters love this show. They will always love this show. They will never stop loving this show. And I will never stop wishing Parks and Recreation could win this award instead.
LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES:
Jason Bateman, Arrested Development, Netflix
Louis C.K., Louie, FX
Don Cheadle, House of Lies, Showtime
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes, Showtime
Jim Parsons, Big Bang Theory, CBS
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock, NBC
My Pick: Alec Baldwin. It feels like there has to be some sentimental award given to 30 Rock in honor of its final season, and my gut says it’s going to go to Baldwin. Although it would be nice to see Louis C.K. take home the Emmy, and you can never count out Jim Parsons.
LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES:
Lena Dunham, Girls, HBO
Laura Dern, Enlightened, HBO
Tiny Fey, 30 Rock, NBC
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation, NBC
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep, HBO
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie, Showtime
My Pick: Amy Poehler. She’s probably going to lose again to Julia Louis-Dreyfus, but I can’t pick against my favorite comedic actress on television. This season, Poehler turned in some of her best work, making Leslie Knope perhaps more hilarious and genuinely heartwarming than ever before. Her subtle, honest work in both “Halloween Surprise” and “Leslie and Ben” should not be overlooked. Poehler has earned this award 10 times over if you ask me (but sadly, Emmy voters have yet to ask me).
SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES:
Adam Driver, Girls, HBO
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family, ABC
Ed O’Neill, Modern Family, ABC
Ty Burrell, Modern Family, ABC
Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live, NBC
Tony Hale, Veep, HBO
My Pick: Ed O’Neil. I’d love to see Bill Hader win this, but this award seems to always been a Modern Family man’s to lose. This time, it feels like it’s finally O’Neil’s turn.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES:
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory, CBS
Jane Lynch, Glee, Fox
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family, ABC
Julie Bowen, Modern Family, ABC
Merritt Wever, Nurse Jackie, Showtime
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock, NBC
Anna Chlumsky, Veep, HBO
My Pick: Julie Bowen. I think this category will be another example of Emmy voters sticking with what they know. Bowen’s work on Modern Family is consistently funny, and, while I think Jane Krakowski could play spoiler in honor of 30 Rock’s final season, I’m not sure anybody is getting in the way of another Emmy for Bowen.
The Amazing Race, CBS
Dancing With the Stars, ABC
Project Runway, Lifetime
So You Think You Can Dance, Fox
Top Chef, Bravo
The Voice, NBC
My Pick: The Amazing Race. I’d love to see So You Think You Can Dance (or even Top Chef), win, but I don’t think anyone is beating this continual Emmy darling.
What does your Emmy ballot look like? Are my picks crazy? Let me know in the comments!