2015 Emmy Predictions and Proclamations

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On Sunday night, the 67th annual Primetime Emmy Awards will be handed out, and it stands to be one for the history books. Can Viola Davis or Taraji P. Henson become the first African-American woman to win Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series? Will Jon Hamm finally be rewarded for his portrayal of Don Draper, one of the best (and most bizarrely overlooked by the Emmys thus far) TV characters of all time?

We’ve gathered together some predictions and proclamations on what to expect. Check out our picks for who will win, who should win and who got snubbed in each of the major categories, and check back here on Sunday, when we’ll be posting the results in real-time.

The Emmys will air on Fox on Sept. 20 at 8 p.m. EST.

Outstanding Comedy Series

Louie, Modern Family, Parks and Recreation, Silicon Valley, Transparent, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Veep

Who Will Win: Transparent
Who Should Win: Transparent
Who Got Snubbed: Broad City

If any program possesses the momentum to finally dethrone Modern Family as the reigning Comedy Emmy juggernaut, it’s Amazon’s breakthrough dramedy, Transparent. Aside from the embarrassment of riches inherent in the pitch-perfect writing, directing and performances, the series’ deep dive into the tribulations of an older transgender character could not have emerged at a more pivotal time for the oft-persecuted community and its fight for visibility. Particularly in the wake of Caitlyn Jenner’s highly publicized transition, 2015 has provided an ever-deepening exploration into the kind of questions the show placed firmly in focus during its late 2014 debut. For Emmy voters, a win for Transparent would not only deservedly highlight a new series of remarkable quality but also serve as an effective, progressive statement.

Indeed, with such an assortment of worthy nominees, the only notable sin of omission is Comedy Central’s exceptional Broad City. Far from experiencing a sophomore slump, the show’s second year saw Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson bringing their absurdist, alt-world vision of NYC to bold new heights. Perhaps no one, however, expressed their disappointment in a lack of nominations better than Jacobson herself, who posted this little gem in reference to one of the show’s most memorable Season Two gags.—Mark Rozeman

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Anthony Anderson, black-ish; Matt LeBlanc, Episodes; Don Cheadle, House of Lies; Louis C.K., Louie; William H. Macy, Shameless; Will Forte, The Last Man on Earth; Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

Who Will Win: Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
Who Should Win: Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
Who Got Snubbed: Andy Samberg, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

After iconic roles in both The Larry Sanders Show and Arrested Development, it’s baffling that Jeffrey Tambor hasn’t won one of the six Emmys he’s previously been nominated for. But with Tambor’s incredible turn as Maura Pfefferman in Transparent, he has become one of the few assumed shoo-ins of the night, especially with the lack of a nomination for Jim Parsons. Will Forte, Louis C.K. or Anthony Anderson could make a big splash with a surprise win, but that seems highly unlikely. Even more surprising though, Emmy host Andy Samberg didn’t even earn a nomination for Brooklyn Nine-Nine—but to be fair, he had some tough competition in this category.—Ross Bonaime

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie; Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer; Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie; Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation; Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

Who Will Win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Who Should Win: Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Who Got Snubbed: Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Julia Louis-Dreyfus is the queen of the Emmys, and rightfully so. Her work on Veep is the best of her career (and she was on Seinfeld, so that’s saying something). However, Amy Poehler has been just as amazing over all these years playing Leslie Knope, and this is the last chance the Emmys have to reward her for all she did on Parks and Recreation. Poehler’s final season work was top notch, and she is deserving of a win. So is Louis-Dreyfus, of course, and while the Emmys have never given Poehler the time of day, they love handing handware to JLD, so she’ll probably win again. All this being said, in truth the real person who should have won this category didn’t even get a nomination. Ellie Kemper was so wonderful and likable and charming as the titular character in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. They should have invented new awards just to lavish her with the proper amount of praise. Instead, they snubbed her. Even so, it was a great year for lady-led comedy.—Chris Morgan

Outstanding 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

Who Will Win: Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Who Should Win: Tony Hale, Veep
Who Got Snubbed: Nick Offerman, Parks and Recreation

With Modern Family earning a considerable lack of acting nominations and likely ending its five-year streak as the Emmys’ favorite comedy, it would be a pretty big surprise for the show to go home with no awards in a major category. The likeliest winner seems to be Ty Burrell, who has won twice before, however there could very well be an upset from Tony Hale, who has become the new favorite in this category in recent years. This is one of Emmy’s closest competitions though, with everyone sort of making sense as winner. Braugher is an Emmy favorite as well and has won twice before, while Burgess and Driver are the two biggest rising stars in the category and Key & Peele’s recent ending could lead voters to Key. But despite how packed this category is with great choices, it’s a huge disappointment that Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation—one of the most iconic characters in recent comedy—will have never earned a nomination for this great role.—Ross Bonaime

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Niecy Nash, Getting On; Julie Bowen, Modern Family; Allison Janney, Mom; Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live; Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory; Gaby Hoffman, Transparent; Jane Krakowski, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; Anna Chlumsky, Veep

Who Will Win: Gaby Hoffman, Transparent
Who Should Win: Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Who Got Snubbed: January Jones, The Last Man on Earth

While five of these nominees have appeared in this category before, the two new nominees, Gaby Hoffman and Niecy Nash, bring a more understated and restrained performance into the mix. Hoffman could likely be the voters’ choice, with Transparent already a likely winner in many categories, especially because her character Ali Pfefferman has one of the most intriguing arcs in the series. However the Emmys might very well go in the opposite direction, with Kate McKinnon being one of the most reliable performers on Saturday Night Live and one of the few cast members to stand out in Emmy contention.—Ross Bonaime

Outstanding Drama Series

Better Call Saul, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, Homeland, House of Cards, Mad Men, Orange is the New Black

Who Will Win: Mad Men
Who Should Win: Mad Men
Who Got Snubbed: The Americans and The Good Wife

Mad Men ended its run in May, and this is the show’s last chance to win another Outstanding Drama Emmy. The Emmys love a good swan song. But the AMC drama, which will go down in history as one of the best television shows ever, also deserves to win. It’s not easy to bow out gracefully on TV. Expectations are high and long-running series often disappoint as they say goodbye. But Mad Men hit all the right notes—from Peggy and Stan’s happy ending, to Betty finding peace as she faced death, to Joan getting the career she deserves. The final moment of Don’s half-smiling (or was it a smirk?) at a yoga retreat left viewers forever pondering: did Don create the iconic Coke ad? That, my friends, is the way to go out. There are some shows, however, that never get any Emmy love, and somehow The Americans has inexplicably landed on this list. By far one of the best dramas currently on the air, the series deftly explores marriage, parenthood and loyalty against the backdrop of the Cold War. And no show surprises viewers more. As for The Good Wife, it remains network television’s best drama. The sixth season saw Alicia run for District Attorney as she (and the show) continued to grieve the loss of Will Gardner (Josh Charles). With the best guest stars in all of TV,The Good Wife deserved a spot at the Emmy table this year.—Amy Amatangelo

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul; Kyle Chandler, Bloodline; Kevin Spacey, House of Cards; Jon Hamm, Mad Men; Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan; Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom

Who Will Win: Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Who Should Win: Jon Hamm
Who Got Snubbed: Matthew Rhys, The Americans

Look, we live in a world full of injustice. I get that. But Emmy voters have a chance here—their last chance—to rectify one of their biggest oversights and finally give Jon Hamm an Emmy for Mad Men. They’ll do it, too, most likely, as they have a history of rewarding actors on beloved series in their final season (see also: Kyle Chandler winning for Friday Night Lights). Along with Chandler, Daniels and Spacey have won in this category before, Odenkirk will have more opportunities to win for Better Call Saul in years to come, and Ray Donovan is simply not a very good show, so Hamm finally seems like a shoo-in to take home what’s rightfully his.—Bonnie Stiernberg

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Taraji P. Henson, Empire; Claire Danes, Homeland; Robin Wright, House of Cards; Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder; Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men; Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black

Who Will Win: Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder
Who Should Win: Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men or Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Who Got Snubbed: Keri Russell, The Americans

The moment Davis took off her wig, the Emmy was hers. As cutthroat lawyer Annalise Keating, Davis has created an iconic role. Keating is a walking contradiction—strong yet vulnerable, cutthroat but compassionate, in charge yet out-of-control. In the show’s wacky first season of outrageous twists and turns, Davis kept the ABC drama grounded and made lines like “why is your penis on a dead girl’s phone” not laughable but heartbreaking. Plus she would make history and be the first African-American actress to win a Lead Actress Emmy—about damn time. Nothing against Davis, but she’s only playing one character. Maslany is playing eight (at last count), all so uniquely different that I have to constantly remind myself they are all being played by the same actress. Sure, you could say it’s an honor for Maslany to just break in and get nominated. But it would be fantastic to see her win. And perhaps even more deserving is Moss, who has been nominated six times for her role as Peggy Olson but has never won. We watched Peggy grow from naive assistant to confident woman and she should win just for the scene where Peggy arrives at her new job hungover with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth and sunglasses shielding her eyes. It was, by far, one of the best TV moments of the year. The major snub in this category is Keri Russell. As covert-spy-hiding-in-plain sight, she brings a nuanced, layered performance to Elizabeth Jennings on The Americans. And this season was Russell’s finest as Elizabeth struggled with loyalty to her country and loyalty to her daughter. Elizabeth is a cold-hearted murderer yet Russell brings a grace and humanity to the role. It’s outrageous that she’s never been nominated.—Amy Amatangelo

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul; Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline; Jim Carson, Downton Abbey; Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones; Michael Kelly, House of Cards; Alan Cumming, The Good Wife

Who Will Win: Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Who Should Win: Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
Who Got Snubbed: John Slattery, Mad Men

It seems highly unlikely that Game of Thrones will go home without a win in a single major category, and Peter Dinklage is arguably the show’s best shot this year. He’s won in this category before, but Emmy voters could instead opt to reward Jonathan Banks, who never won for his portrayal of Mike Ehrmantraut on Breaking Bad, for playing the same character on Better Call Saul. The biggest oversight here is John Slattery as Mad Men’s Roger Sterling, who—besides being the show’s comic relief—brought excellent dramatic performances to the series for seven years.—Bonnie Stiernberg

Outstanding 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

Who Will Win: Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black
Who Should Win: Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Who Got Snubbed: Kiernan Shipka, Mad Men

Uzo Aduba’s performance and storyline in Season Two of OITNB solidified, for me, that the show was going to continue doing great things and presenting important, typically marginalized storylines. Aduba deserved her Emmy win for Season One, and she deserves this nomination, but what Christina Hendricks did with Joan Harris on Mad Men was so incredible. Indeed, the growth her character experiences over the seasons is fascinating to watch, but the person we see at the End of an Era is practically unrecognizable. Even Elisabeth Moss’s Peggy Olson, in my opinion, does not experience the same dramatic shift. That Hendricks could go from playing the office bombshell, to SCDP partner, to becoming the head of her own production company—and that, in many ways, she was all of those things, at the same damn time during those final episodes—proves to me that her work must be acknowledged. Kiernan Shipka’s Sally Draper is worthy of attention for a very different reason. It’s incredible that Shipka, especially as a young actor, managed to hold on to those strange qualities that made Sally Draper a Mad Men favorite, all while growing into the role of this mature, opinionated and intelligent being. She had some heavy scenes in the last episodes that really allowed her to show off her capabilities, so hopefully we’ll see her go on to other projects and do the same (though she’ll always be little Sally Draper to me).—Shannon Houston