2015 Primetime Emmy Awards: Predictions, Snubs & Surprises

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Whoa, it’s time for the Primetime Emmy Awards already? It feels like yesterday that I wanted to kick my TV over for Modern Family winning the comedy Emmy for the fifth time. What’s that? It’s back again for number six? Well super! At least there are some actual welcomed changes. The number of shows running for the top prizes have increased, and now a show must be 30 minutes long to be considered a comedy. Finally, some welcomed clarity which allows shows like Orange is the New Black to fight for awards that it actually should win. It’s also pretty awesome that Game of Thrones leads the pack with 24 nominations. Granted, that doesn’t mean it’s a surefire pick to win any of those, but it’s still incredible recognition.

Let’s break down those nominees and react thusly!

Outstanding Drama Series

game_of_tyrionBetter Call Saul

Downton Abbey

Game of Thrones

Homeland

House of Cards

Mad Men

Orange Is The New Black

Finally! Orange is the New Black is in a category where it actually belongs. Yes, the show has plenty of comedic elements, but it is definitely a drama through and through. Its inclusion, along with Better Call Saul, is really the only thing new here. Every other program is basically business as normal. I wouldn’t be entirely shocked if Mad Men takes this home for its much lauded final season. Of course, a part of me will always hope for Game of Thrones. I will say, however, that House of Cards definitely could have been substituted for another show. The third season was just not as good as the previous two.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Jon Hamm, Mad Men

Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

Jeff Daniels, Newsroom

Kyle Chandler, Bloodline

Bob Odenkirk,  Better Call Saul

Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan

I’m actually fairly pleased with this category. Even though it’s still missing actors that people desperately want in, like Mads Mikkelsen from Hannibal, it contains solid picks. I love that Bob Odenkirk is here as it bodes well for Better Call Saul’s future, and I’m quite surprised by Kyle Chandler’s inclusion for Bloodline. I’ve heard the show is great but no one is discussing his performance. Jon Hamm should definitely take this though. It’s time!

Photo Credit: Courtesy of AMC
Photo Credit: Courtesy of AMC

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder

Claire Danes, Homeland

Taraji P. Henson, Empire

Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black

Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men

Robin Wright, House of Cards

You happy Orphan Black fans?! You finally have exactly what you’ve wanted for years. Tatiana Maslany is up for an Emmy. Will she get it? It’s entirely possible, though it’s a stacked list. People fawned over Viola Davis for Murder, Mad Men ended and people love Elisabeth Moss, and Robin Wright was one of the better parts of a disappointing third season for House of Cards. I guess if Empire was going to get any sense of recognition, it had to be Taraji P. Henson. Claire Danes is sort of coasting into this too. She’ll be nominated until Homeland is over, huh?

Tatiana Maslany in Orphan Black. Photo: Jan Thijs/BBC America
Tatiana Maslany in Orphan Black. Photo: Jan Thijs/BBC America

Supporting Actor In A Drama Series

Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul

Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline

Jim Carter, Downton Abbey

Peter Dinklage, Game Of Thrones

Alan Cumming, The Good Wife

Michael Kelly, House of Cards

Now this is an interesting category. The only people returning are Peter Dinklage and Jim Carter taking their usual spots. Everyone else is a new addition for this year, though Jonathan Banks was nominated for the same role in Breaking Bad two years ago. Who’s to say who can take this, honestly? I’d love for Dinklage to get recognition since he slays it as always, but I’d be lying if I wasn’t impressed with Michael Kelly’s work in House of Cards. Both Ben Mendelsohn and Alan Cumming have been around the film and TV block too so they definitely have experience. We’ll see where this one goes!

Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC
Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC

Supporting Actress In A Drama Series

Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey

Lena Headey, Game Of Thrones

Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones

Christine Baranski, The Good Wife

Christina Hendricks, Mad Men

Uzo Aduba, Orange Is The New Black

Can you smell what Game of Thrones is cooking?! Two nominations in a single category. This has never happened in the Emmy’s before and I’m all for that. Can they take this home though? There is some definite competition here. Uzo Aduba is beloved by all who watch OitNB and might snag this, as could Christina Hendricks who has that final season advantage. Joanne Froggatt and Christine Baranski are mainstays, and despite their obvious talent, I don’t expect a win for either of them.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of AMC
Photo Credit: Courtesy of AMC

Outstanding Comedy Series

Parks and Recreation

Louie

Modern Family

Parks and Recreation

Silicon Valley

Transparent

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Veep

Alright Academy. We have a real shot here. You have six other, very much enjoyed shows to pick from that aren’t a program that many believe has declined greatly in quality. I’m honestly not expecting either Louie or Silicon Valley to win this. I’m very excited that Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is here but I’m not holding my breath for that either. I really, really, want Parks and Recreation to take this home. That is my best case scenario. I’d also settle for something that’s not Modern Family. Just end the streak already!

Sidenote: The Big Bang Theory getting shut out here is very big news. It’s been years since this show wasn’t in contention. As someone who stopped watching once this previous season began, I’d be the first to say the quality has dropped. It just started to feel repetitive and I stopped having interest. It’s set to go for many more years, which is all well and good for those who want to keep watching, but I think it’s the end for me. It’s a bad sign when you stop watching a show and actually don’t miss it.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Anthony Anderson, Black-ish

Louis C.K., Louie

Don Cheadle, House of Lies

Will Forte, Last Man on Earth

Matt LeBlanc, Episodes

William H. Macy, Shameless

Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

If it wasn’t for the Academy, I’d actually forget that House of Lies, Shameless, and Episodes even existed. They’re back once again to pad this category some more and go home empty handed. I love that Will Forte is here and would absolutely give this to him if Jeffrey Tambor wasn’t present. That man has it made in the shade with Transparent. I do have to say though that no Jim Parsons is quite a surprise. This is the first time since 2009 that he hasn’t been nominated, and has even won this award four times (would have been five but Jon Cryer took it in 2012). Are we really moving on, or is this a fluke?

Photo Credot: Frank Ockenfels/FX Networks
Photo Credot: Frank Ockenfels/FX Networks

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie

Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback

Julia Louis Dreyfus, Veep

Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer

Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie

Now this is a category I’m all about. Amy Poehler and Amy Schumer?! Good for them. They’ve both had big years and it’s absolutely warranted that they’re here. Schumer is currently on an astronomical rise so I can totally see her getting this. If I’m being honest though, I want this to go to Poehler. Parks and Recreation’s final season was some of her best work and she absolutely deserves to be recognized for it. Please, break the Julia Louis-Dreyfus streak. Give this to Poehler already.

Photo Credit: Danny Feld/NBC
Photo Credit: Danny Feld/NBC

Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series

Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Adam Driver, Girls

Keegan-Michael Key, Key & Peele

Ty Burrell, Modern Family

Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Tony Hale, Veep

I’m very happy that Andre Braugher, Keegan-Michael Key, and Tituss Burgess got much deserved nominations. Burgess winning this is something I’m personally hoping for because he was one the best surprises of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. He’s basically a one-liner machine and he’s still quotable well after the season has ended. Of course, as a fan of Arrested Development (still have yet to watch Veep. I’m getting to it!) I have a soft spot for Tony Hale. Truthfully though, I’d be happy if Ty Burrell doesn’t take this home. I know it sounds like I harp on Modern Family a lot but, c’mon, let’s give other shows a chance. Please?

Photo Credit: Comedy Central
Photo Credit: Comedy Central

Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series

Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory

Niecy Nash, Getting On

Julie Bowen, Modern Family

Allison Janney, Mom

Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live

Gaby Hoffmann, Transparent

Jane Krakowski, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Anna Chlumsky, Veep

If you were to tell me that Mayim Bialik would be the main rep for The Big Bang Theory and not Jim Parsons, I’d call you…a sane person who understands that shows do get worse. Bialik really is one of the best parts of that show still so I’m happy she’s here. My fiance is obsessed with Gaby Hoffman so I know she’s pumped for this too. For me though, I’m firmly Team Kate McKinnon. She’s still my top pick. I will say, however, that I’d also be happy with Jane Krakowski taking this. She killed it on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Kate McKinnon with fellow Emmy nominee Louis CK. Photo Credit; Dana Edelson/NBC
Kate McKinnon with fellow Emmy nominee Louis CK. Photo Credit; Dana Edelson/NBC

Outstanding Variety Series

The Colbert Report

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart

Jimmy Kimmel Live

Last Week Tonight

The Late Show

The Tonight Show

Lots of deja-vu with this category too, but I love the inclusion of Last Week Tonight. I’d push for Jon Oliver’s win any other year, but for this one, I’m all about The Colbert Report. Stephen Colbert absolutely crushed his final season and deserves some serious recognition for his work. Let’s save The Daily Show’s Emmy for next year too when it’s actually for Jon Stewart’s final run.

Photo Credit: Martin Crook
Photo Credit: Martin Crook

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series

Drunk History

Inside Amy Schumer

Key & Peele

Portlandia

Saturday Night Live

Well would you look at that! A new category that is definitely warranted. As a long time fan of the show, I’d love for Saturday Night Live to take this. It is the sketch show senior and it would be pitch perfect if it took the first Emmy of a fresh section. However, Key & Peele and Inside Amy Schumer are currently critical darlings of practically everyone. I’d say this is a dead race between those two insanely popular shows.

Drunk-History-use

Outstanding Limited Series

American Crime

American Horror Story: Freak Show

Olive Kitteridge

The Honorable Woman

Wolf Hall

Was American Crime really this good? Could’ve fooled me! American Horror Story is back for its usual spot though I have a feeling it won’t win. As with every other limited series category, I’m indifferent to this.

The Cast of American Crime - Photo Credit: ABC/Bob D'Amico
The Cast of American Crime – Photo Credit: ABC/Bob D’Amico

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a Movie

Adrien Brody, Houdini

Ricky Gervais, Derek

Timothy Hutton, American Crime

Richard Jenkins, Olive Kitteridge

David Oyelowo, Nightingale

Mark Rylance, Wolf Hall

Again, I’ve heard disappointing things about American Crime so I’m surprised that’s here. Thank you for the reminder that Derek exists as well Academy. Hopefully David Oyelowo can make up for his Oscar loss with an Emmy.

Photo Credit: Netflix
Photo Credit: Netflix

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or a Movie

Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Honourable Woman

Felicity Huffman, American Crime

Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Freak Show

Queen Latifah, Bessie

Frances McDormand, Olive Kitteridge

Emma Thompson, Mrs. Lovett

Another weak one for me. Jessica Lange is coasting in as always. I’ve heard great things about Maggie Gyllenhaal’s performance in The Honourable Woman so I’m expecting her to be a front runner.

Photo Credit: Sam Lothridge/FX
Photo Credit: Sam Lothridge/FX

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Limited Series Or A Movie

Regina King, American Crime

Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Freak Show

Angela Bassett, American Horror Story: Freak Show

Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Freak Show

Mo’Nique, Bessie

Zoe Kazan, Olive Kitteridge

Something tells me that the winner of this category will have American in the name!

Kathy Bates in AHS: Freakshow
Photo Credit: Michele K. Short/FX

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Limited Series Or A Movie

Richard Cabral, American Crime

Denis O’Hare, American Horror Story: Freak Show

Finn Wittrock, American Horror Story: Freak Show

Michael Kenneth Williams, Bessie

Bill Murray, Olive Kitteridge

Damian Lewis, Wolf Hall

Same with this one too! AMERICA!

Photo Credit: Michele K. Short/FX
Photo Credit: Michele K. Short/FX

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program

The Amazing Race

Dancing With the Stars

Project Runway

So You Think You Can Dance

Top Chef

The Voice

Can we talk about how this category has remained unchanged since 2012? What’s up with that? There are so many reality competition programs out there and yet these six are apparently the only ones worth watching. Then again, a lot of them are very similar. I wonder what the criteria for this is? Fun hosts? Engaging contestants? Agreeable winners? Ah who cares. I’ll probably be The Amazing Race or The Voice.

the-voice

Outstanding Host For A Reality Or Reality-Competition

Tom Bergeron, Dancing With The Stars

Jane Lynch, Hollywood Game Night

Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, Project Runway

Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance

Anthony Bourdain, The Taste

I like food so Anthony Bourdain.

project-runway

Outstanding Television Movie

Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Curtain, Poirot’s Last Case

Bessie

Grace of Monaco

Hello Ladies: The Movie

Killing Jesus

Nightingale

Hello Ladies: The Movie? Really? The show wasn’t even good enough to last beyond a season and yet the movie finale is up for an award. As for everything else, no opinions.

hello-ladies

The 2015 Primetime Emmy Awards air in September on FOX

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Luke Kalamar is Pop-Break.com’s television editor. Every Saturday afternoon you can read his retro video game column, Remembering the Classics. He covers Game of Thrones, Saturday Night Live and The Walking Dead (amongst others) every week. As for as his career and literary standing goes — take the best parts of Spider-man, Captain America and Luke Skywalker and you will fully understand his origin story.
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