The Emmy nominations are here, and as always I’ve forgotten not to care about them. Every year I am annoyed by every awards show, but I still follow them faithfully like a sad, hungry dog that will never be properly fed. If you are in the same position, enjoy this guide to the major categories!
Outstanding Drama Series
Better Call Saul
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
Orange is the New Black
This category features one of the most egregious snubs of the year, as The Americans is denied a nomination despite the magnificence of its third season. None of the chosen nominees is particularly surprising, although it’s getting dull to see Downtown Abbey, Homeland and House of Cards consistently put on the ballot ahead of much better and more creative shows. I suppose I’d like to see Mad Men take this on its final lap of honour, but The Americans was the best drama on TV this year, and if it’s not even in the running I don’t care that much who wins.
Should win: Mad Men
Outstanding Comedy Series
Parks and Recreation
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Parks and Rec gets its second ever series nomination for its seventh and final season! This is a pretty strong category and an unjust world, so I don’t think Mike Schur and co. will win, but they should. Parks is almost unique in the sitcom landscape as a show grounded in optimism, kindness and human connection. For seven years it has proved that the values of love and loyal friendship can go hand in hand with bitingly sharp comedy, and I think it’s done more to revolutionise the sitcom than has ever really been appreciated. As far as the others go, there are no hugely weak links, although I think Broad City has earned a nomination more than all of them bar Parks and Veep. Still confused that Transparent is in the comedy category at all.
Should win: Parks and Recreation
Lead Actor, Drama
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Kyle Chandler, Bloodline
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
I don’t want to be cruel, but Kevin Spacey getting nominated ahead of Matthew Rhys is ludicrous enough that if I weren’t so familiar with the madness of TV awards I wouldn’t believe it. The most recent season of The Americans was a constant showcase for Rhys, and he was awesome in every episode. His absence means I’m hoping Jon Hamm finally gets some recognition for his years as Don Draper. I’ve had a few issues with Mad Men and its final season, but Hamm was never one of them. He’s had to carry the show through its ups and downs and hasn’t once come up short.
Should win: Jon Hamm
Lead Actress, Drama
Taraji P. Henson, Empire
Claire Danes, Homeland
Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Robin Wright, House of Cards
One of the big talking points of these Emmys is Maslany’s first nomination for her work on Orphan Black. I haven’t seen the show yet but people whose opinions I respect seem very happy, so I am too I guess. It’s a tough category to call, but maybe Maslany getting on the ballot sheet at all is a sign that her time has come? I can’t say she should win without having watched her show, though. I’ll get round to it… (Goes without saying but Keri Russell’s exclusion is a disgrace.)
Should win: Elisabeth Moss
Lead Actor, Comedy
Anthony Anderson, black-ish
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Will Forte, The Last Man on Earth
Louis C.K., Louie
William H. Macy, Shameless
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
No nomination for Jim Parsons! I can’t say I’m disappointed but it’s a minor surprise given his history in this category. There are no real frontrunners here, which makes things quite interesting. I’d go with Jeffrey Tambor for his powerful and nuanced performances in Transparent—I don’t think it’s a great show, but he has been very impressive.
Should win: Jeffrey Tambor
Lead Actress, Comedy
Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback
Lily Tomlin, Grace And Frankie
Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
This is a stacked category. Although it’s a shame to see Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson miss out, there was never going to be room for all the incredible female performances from the last year. History suggests that Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a lock for the eventual win, but this has been a breakout period for Schumer and I wouldn’t be amazed to see her take it either. Then, of course, there’s Poehler, who will get my heart’s vote every time.
Should win: Amy Poehler / everyone
- Inside Amy Schumer should win for Variety Sketch Series, and I think the buzz from Schumer’s upcoming movie Trainwreck will only help her with that.
- Peter Dinklage is nominated again for Supporting Actor in a Drama, even though there are several other actors from Game of Thrones alone who probably deserve it more (it’s possible that his horrible English accent colours my view of this).
- It would have been great to see Vincent Kartheiser nominated for his role as Pete Campbell on Mad Men, but given how reluctant the voters have been even to recognise Jon Hamm, that was always unlikely.
- A notable victory this year for diversity. There are still a lot of very white categories, but nominations for Viola Davis, Taraji P. Henson, Anthony Anderson, Uzo Aduba, Daniel Oyelowo, Tituss Burgess, Andre Braugher, and many other people of colour suggest a welcome step forward.
- The Americans gets one acting nomination: Margo Martindale for Guest Actress. She was good and I’d be very happy to see her win, but she faces fierce competition from Allison Janney, who was possibly the best thing about Masters of Sex.
- Key gets nominated but Peele doesn’t? Weird.