The 2015 Emmy nominees are so full of familiar faces to the degree that the newcomers are negligible. When picking winners, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (ATAS) tends to keep awarding old favourites or layers accolades on one standout newbie. To acknowledge both Emmy traditions and hopes-against-hope, the Tribune has made its predictions for this years big winners, and added in arguments for the unlikely favourite.
Best Comedy Series
Will win: Veep
This year, the real question is: Who can prevent Modern Family from winning an unprecedented sixth consecutive Emmy? Veep seems to be an obvious candidate. The show, which has been poking fun at Washington’s often messy political business since 2012, seems to get better with each new season. Having been nominated every year since its debut, the time might be just about right to pick up an award.
Should win: Parks and Recreation
It seems hard to believe that Parks and Recreation has not won a single Emmy. After all, the show has been a staple of primetime comedy since 2008 and has enjoyed critical acclaim as well. The ATAS tends to snub everything that is in any way related to Amy Poehler, so this will probably be another year without recognition for this great show.
Best Actor in a Comedy Series
Will win: Jeffrey Tambor – Transparent
Giving a performance that displays a level of depth and melancholy that didn’t seem possible from this usually-comedic actor, Tambor shines in his role playing a man who decides to transition to become a woman late in life. Although it won’t be a flashy enough performance for some voters, the importance and impact of a role like this will not be lost on the committee at large
Should win: Jeffrey Tambor – Transparent
Sometimes a performance is so good that even the Emmys can’t mess it up. This is one of those perception-altering performances that will be talked about for years to come.
Best Actress in a Comedy Series
Will win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Veep
The embodiment of the expression “old habits die hard,” Louis-Dreyus is slated to have a four-peat win for her role in Veep. At this point giving the award to Louis-Dreyfus feels more like paying a yearly rent check, but if Bryan Cranston can win this often, so can she.
Should win: Amy Poehler – Parks and Recreation
Now that Parks and Recreation has finished, this is Poehler’s last chance to snag the award. We expect the show to act towards Poehler the same way it did towards Steve Carrell at the end of The Office, leaving her high and dry in spite of seven hilarious seasons.
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Will win: Tituss Burgess – Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
The musical stylings of Burgess as the effeminate, fame-hungry Titus Andromendon in Peeno Noir, an ode to black penis, should be enough to earn him an Emmy. It is Burgess’ ability to add seriousness and stability to a character designed to be outlandish and untamable that proves this breakout actor is deserving of the award.
Should win: Tituss Burgess – Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
The Titus Andromendon character was met with overwhelming adoration online. An entire cult following committed to Burgess’ memorable conviction and fresh relatability can’t be wrong.
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Will win: Allison Janney – Mom
Inertia is the key factor here: When somebody gets awarded for a show relatively early in its run, they tend to stay a winner until the show falls out of favour. Combined with the fact that Allsion Janney is a great actress—as well as a perennial Emmy favorite (if she wins, it’ll be her seventh acting Emmy)—this award is hers to lose.
Should win: Anna Chlumsky – Veep
Chlumsky, playing the vice president’s long-suffering chief-of-staff, has been doing some of the most subtly compelling character work on television. Every physical tic and line reading serves to create a fully-realized character who could have easily been played as one-note unlikeable.
Best Drama Series
Will win: Mad Men
Despite its arguable decline in quality in its later seasons, Mad Men saw a late-run return to form as the show sped up Don Draper’s inevitable fall from grace. The fact that Emmy voters are fond of awarding a show in its final year of eligibility (see Breaking Bad last year) means Mad Men is likely to take a final victory lap.
Should win: Orange is the New Black
Mad Men was great, but Orange is the New Black’s second season was one of the best stretches of television in recent memory. The heightened sense of drama and history that Lorraine Toussaint’s Vee brought to the show elevated what was already a series with a fantastic ensemble cast and sense of place.
Best Actor in a Drama Series
Will win: Jon Hamm – Mad Men
This should be the year that Hamm finally wins a long overdue Emmy. While Mad Men as a whole has snatched numerous Emmys, the front man himself actually never won despite being nominated every year since 2008. In his parting year as Don Draper, it seems almost inevitable that the Academy finally acknowledges his performance.
Should win: Jeff Daniels – The Newsroom
Yes, Jeff Daniels already won in 2013 and yes, The Newsroom’s final season might have had its weak points. But awarding Daniels would be a gesture to honour a show that presented an idea how a different version of the media circus could look. Plus, everyone who saw the season finale would be hard-pressed not to wish the whole cast more recognition.
Best Actress in a Drama Series
Will win: Taraji P. Henson – Empire
Typically acting awards go to the performances that feature the most acting—not necessarily the best. Such is the case with Henson’s admittedly fun, broad performance as the conniving matriarch of Empire’s central family. Combined with the zeitgeist appeal of Empire, this award seems close to a sure thing.
Should win: Elisabeth Moss – Mad Men
So far, Mad Men has been nominated for 31 acting Emmys, but has won none of them. This is a particular travesty with Elisabeth Moss, who has had one of the most satisfying character arcs in television playing Peggy Olsen’s transformation from a meek secretary to a prominent copywriter.
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Will win: Jonathan Banks – Better Call Saul
Already nominated for the same role in Breaking Bad, Jonathan Banks is back to take home the award for his reprisal of Mike Ehrmantraut. Unlike the predictions for some other categories, this win isn’t a clear call—newcomer Ben Mendelsohn of Bloodline has already been making waves among expert predictors—but expect Banks to float along with expected love for Better Call Saul.
Should win: Jim Carter – Downton Abbey
On his fourth nomination for the role of Mr. Carson, Carter has been soundly ignored this Emmy season by all but the nominating committee. His brilliant portrayal of a butler being forced to confront changing gender roles within the Abbey provides a dramatic, historically riveting glimpse into the overlooked lives of those affected by the First World War. He is deserving of more than a round of nominations.
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Will win: ?????
It’s a toss-up. This is the year of multiple returning actresses all in the roles of strong supporting female characters. Christine Baranski is back for her role in The Good Wife, along with Joanne Froggett for Downton Abbey and Christina Hendricks in Mad Men. Two Game of Thrones actresses along with Uzo Aduba of Orange is the New Black round out the nominations. It’s anyone’s game, excluding Emilia Clarke, who just isn’t at the same talent level of her competitors.
Should win: Christina Hendricks – Mad Men
Everyone who was nominated for this award clearly has the potential to win, but nobody deserves it like Hendricks does. The six-time nominee often stands in the shadow of her equally winless co-star Jon Hamm; but her portrayal of Joan Harris was mesmerizing and worthy of full recognition.