Emmy Predictions

Awards shows rank somewhere around candy corn and yellow dot sales on the list of things that make my irrationally happy, which means this Sunday is a big deal for me. There will be ballots and snacks and camping out on the couch for 8 hours to watch all the red carpet coverage. And in case you have the same devotion to famous people congratulating each other, I have provided this helpful little list of predictions for all the major awards.

Note: When I say will I am basing it off the current odds being reported as well as my own observations of Academy voting habits and when I say should I mean in my own biased, personal opinion. 

Supporting Actress Drama

Archie Panjabi – The Good Wife

Anna Gunn- Breaking Bad

Maggie Smith – Downton Abby

Joanne Froggatt – Downton Abby

Christina Hendricks – Mad Men

Christine Baranski – The Good Wife

Who Will Win: Maggie Smith

Who Should Win: Christina Hendricks

Maggie Smith is the odds on favorite, mostly because she’s Maggie freaking Smith, but I’m already designing my Team Joanie t-shirts. This was Christina Hendricks’ season; she owned every scene she was in. Do you remember that scene with her and Jon Hamm at the bar? Do you? Go re-watch it. I’ll wait. See, wasn’t that magical? Don’t you want to give her an Emmy? Now go tell all your friends, preferably the ones who are members of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Supporting Actor Drama

Aaron Paul – Breaking Bad

Giancarlo Esposito – Breaking Bad

Brendon Coyle – Downton Abby

Jim Carter – Downton Abby

Jarred Harris – Mad Men

Peter Dinklage – Game of Thrones

Who Will Win: Giancarlo Esposito

Who Should Win: Aaron Paul

This category was the hardest to make a decision on, at least for me. Personally, I believe this is a Breaking Bad standoff, and while Walt may have blown up Gus, I fear he’ll be the one demolishing Jesse come awards night. That sounds unfair. Both men are beyond deserving of accolades. Giancarlo Esposito as Gus Fring was the definition of contained menace and brought a subtly to villainy that is very rare. He had me rooting for him instead of Walt for most of the season (but I have my own, well documented, issues with Mr. White). Aaron Paul on the other hand delivered a believable arc from guilt and anguish to a tired maturity that never seemed contrived or false. Both beautiful performances, I just personally prefer Aaron Paul’s.  What tips it in Giancarlo’s favor is that he won’t be back for more nominations (in this role), Aaron Paul still has two more Emmy cycles to take home the prize.

Supporting Actress Comedy

Mayim Bialik – Big Bang Theory

Merrit Wever – Nurse Jackie

Julie Bowen – Modern Family

Kristen Wiig – SNL

Sofia Vergara – Modern Family

Kathryn Joosten – Desperate Housewives

Who Will Win: Julie Bowen

Who Should Win: Sofia Vergara

Julie Bowen has the odds in her favor (unmeant Hunger Games reference, but still fitting because Julie Bowen would dominate an arena filled with these other nominees. Have you seen her guns?) and while its much deserved, I think she tends to get all the hype while Sofia is often forgotten. Her looks may have gotten her some places, but she rarely relies on her pretty for a punch line and delivers just as consistently as Bowen.  Possible Upset: Kathryn Joosten could win the dead vote (which she actually deserves for West Wing, but who ever wins for what they should have?)

Supporting Actor Comedy

Ed O’Neill – Modern Family

Jesse Tyler Ferguson – Modern Family

Ty Burrell – Modern Family

Eric Stonestreet – Modern Family

Bill Hader – SNL

Max Geenfield – The New Girl

Who Will Win: Ed O’Neill

Who Should Win: Ed O’Neill

Sorry Stefan and Schmidt, it’ll have to be an honor just to have been nominated. This one is a full on Modern Family cage match to the death.  Ed O’Neill is the favorite and he could squeak out a win based on backlash from that whole “only one not nominated” kerfuffle. However, that incident was brought on by the common misconception that the straight man in comedy has the easier job and all the awards go to the wacky one. If that happens again, Ty Burrell will be putting another Emmy up on the mantle.

Lead Actress Drama

Julianna Margulies – The Good Wife

Michelle Dockery – Dowton Abby

Elizabeth Moss – Mad Men

Kathy Bates – Harry’s Law

Claire Danes – Homeland

Glenn Close – Damages

Who Will Win: Claire Danes

Who Should Win: Elizabeth Moss

I’m at a bit of a disadvantage here, because I currently only watch one the shows with a nominated leading lady (I adore Damages, but all the  network drama has be embarrassingly behind).  Anyway, it’s looking like Claire Danes will be picking up her second Emmy this year (the first was for Temple Grandin in 2010. She was also nominated for My So-Called Life in 1994). However, Mad Men devotee that I am, I would love to see Elizabeth Moss take it. She’s been woefully overlooked for years while turning out some amazing work. This wasn’t her best season (she just wasn’t on screen enough), but she still handed in performances that deserve some recognition. It won’t get it, but a girl can dream.

Lead Actor Drama

Steve Buscemi – Boardwalk Empire

Michael C. Hall – Dexter

Bryan Cranston – Breaking Bad

Hugh Bonneville – Downton Abby

Jon Hamm – Mad Men

Damien Lewis – Homeland

Who Will Win: Bryan Cranston

Who Should Win: Bryan Cranston

This seems like a difficult category to predict because all the men are so insanely talented and are each the driving forces behind their respective shows, which just so happen to be some of the best dramas on television ever. But it’s not difficult at all. Bryan Cranston is going to win because Bryan Cranston always wins because Bryan Cranston is a beast. End of story.

Lead Actress in a Comedy

Zooey Deschanel – The New Girl

Lena Dunham – Girls

Edie Falco – Nurse Jackie

Amy Poehler – Parks and Recreation

Tina Fey – 30 Rock

Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Veep

Melissa McCarthy – Mike and Molly

Who Will Win: Amy Poehler

Who Should Win: Amy Poehler

There’s a strong possibility that Julia Louis-Dreyfus will take the win for her critically adored (and rightly so) depiction of an ill-equipped Vice President. She’s an awards darling (this is her 13th Emmy nomination of which she has won two, once for Seinfeld and once for The New Adventures of Old Christine, which everyone can agree is evidence of a bias), but let’s be honest, Amy Pohler has already cornered the market of the hapless politician and I think the general outrage at Parks and Recreation being shut out of the Best Comedy category will manifest in a long overdue win for Ms. Pohler.

Lead Actor in a Comedy

Larry David – Curb your Enthusiasm

Jon Cryer – Two and a Half Men

Louis C.K. – Louie

Jim Parsons – Big Bang Theory

Don Cheadle – House of Lies

Alec Baldwin – 30 Rock

Who Will Win: Jim Parsons

Who Should Win: Louis C.K.

It’s a toss-up between returning champ Jim Parsons and upstart Louis C.K. It just depends on whether the voting body is more interested recognizing something fresh or staying faithful to the old guard of comedy.  Personally, I think they see the nomination as recognition enough.

Drama Series

Boardwalk Empire

Breaking Bad

Downton Abby

Mad Men


Game of Thrones

What Will Win: Mad Men

What Should Win: Breaking Bad

This one really comes down to Breaking Bad and Mad Men, with most TV critics split down the middle. Without a doubt they are the two best shows currently on TV which makes it extremely difficult to choose just one.  The 4th season of Breaking Bad (which is what’s up for consideration in this Emmy cycle) was one of its strongest, because they all keep getting stronger every year, whereas this season of Mad Men was an uncharacteristically weak one (don’t get me wrong, a weak Mad Men is still better than 98% of what else is on TV). However, Mad Men is returning to the Emmy’s after being ineligible last year with the reputation of winning every year it’s been nominated before that. Plus, winning this year will break the record for most Emmys for a drama (it is currently tied at 4 with LA Law and The West Wing while Frasier holds the record with 5 for comedy). That’s a pretty poetic narrative for voters to ignore.

Comedy Series

Curb your Enthusiasm


30 Rock


Modern Family

The Big Bang Theory

What Will Win: Modern Family

What Should Win: Modern Family

People love the shit out of Modern Family, just accept that. Trust me, the other nominees already have.

Check back Monday for my rundown on how the night went and how my own ballot turned out!

The Emmys air Sunday Sept. 23rd at 8/7c on ABC. 

– Devin Mainville


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