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
Better Call Saul
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
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!
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?
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!
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.
Outstanding Comedy Series
Parks and Recreation
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
Outstanding Variety Sketch Series
Inside Amy Schumer
Key & Peele
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.
Outstanding Limited Series
American Horror Story: Freak Show
The Honorable Woman
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.
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.
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.
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
Zoe Kazan, Olive Kitteridge
Something tells me that the winner of this category will have American in the name!
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!
Outstanding Reality-Competition Program
The Amazing Race
Dancing With the Stars
So You Think You Can Dance
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.
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.
Outstanding Television Movie
Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Curtain, Poirot’s Last Case
Grace of Monaco
Hello Ladies: The Movie
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.
The 2015 Primetime Emmy Awards air in September on FOX
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.