2014 Emmys Circuit: Final Analysis and Predictions

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The 66th Annual Primetime Emmy awards air on NBC this Monday night.  While a ton of awards were handed out last weekend at the Creative Arts Ceremony, the top tier categories still remain, including top series honors and a staggering 12 acting races.

I must confess, I feel most of my predictions “make sense” individually.  I strive to make them logically fit together on a macro scale, too.  For example, shows rarely sweep the Primetime Emmys.  Therefore, since I feel quite confident in 3 of Orange is the New Black‘s wins, I feel comfortable not predicting Kate Mulgrew to win, because 4 (and therefore 7 overall) just seems like “too much.”  Likewise, since I’m extremely confident in 3 of Breaking Bad‘s wins, I feel much more confident in betting against Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, and directing.

Finally, instead of listing the nominees in alphabetical order, noting a winner and an alternate, I’ve chosen to rank all the nominees in each category according to their likelihood of winning.  Editor-in-Chief Clayton Davis will weigh in with his picks during the weekend.  Enjoy!

BEST DRAMA SERIESbreakingbad2
01. Breaking Bad
02. True Detective
03. House of Cards
04. Game of Thrones
05. Downton Abbey
06. Mad Men

(note: I think there’s a pretty wide gap between #1 and #2)

BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
01. Matthew McConaughey – True Detective
02. Bryan Cranston – Breaking Bad
03. Kevin Spacey – House of Cards
04. Woody Harrelson – True Detective
05. Jon Hamm – Mad Men
06. Jeff Daniels – The Newsroom 

(note: flip a coin here between McConaughey and Cranston.  Walter White seems like the role, historically, that should win 4 Emmys, but McConaughey just seems like he’s going to pull this out, despite any logical argument for Cranston)

BEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIESrobinwright_houseofcards
01. Robin Wright – House of Cards
02. Julianna Margulies – The Good Wife
03. Claire Danes – Homeland
04. Lizzy Caplan – Masters of Sex
05. Kerry Washington – Scandal
06. Michelle Dockery – Downton Abbey 

(note: I think any–and I mean any— of the top 4 could win, but I’m sticking with Wright, despite a horrendous tape submission.  Every time I think of a non-Wright winner, it doesn’t seem right in my brain.  

For fun, you might want to check out the below video, which sums up my feelings on Wright’s tape submission)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIESWillGardner_Goodwife
01. Josh Charles – The Good Wife
02. Aaron Paul – Breaking Bad
03. Peter Dinklage – Game of Thrones
04. Jim Carter – Downton Abbey
05. Mandy Patinkin – Homeland
06. Jon Voight – Ray Donovan

(note: like many categories, this race is a tight one.  I think Charles, Paul, and Dinklage could all win, with the tiebreaker weighing in favor of the non-previous winner, who is the only representation of “Hitting the Fan” in any Emmy category)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIESustv-breaking-bad-s05-e14-5
01. Anna Gunn – Breaking Bad
02. Christine Baranski – The Good Wife
03. Dame Maggie Smith – Downton Abbey
04. Lena Headey – Game of Thrones
05. Joanne Froggatt – Downton Abbey
06. Christina Hendricks – Mad Men 

(note: If anyone other than Anna Gunn wins, we riot)

BEST DIRECTING FOR A DRAMA SERIES
01. Cary Fukunaga – True Detective – “Who Goes There”
02. Vince Gilligan – Breaking Bad – “Felina”
03. Tim Van Patten – Boardwalk Empire – “Farewell Daddy Blues”
04. Neil Marshall – Game of Thrones – “The Watchers on the Wall”
05. Carl Franklin – House of Cards – “Chapter 14”
06. David Evans – Downton Abbey – “Episode One”

(note: a worthy win for True Detective here makes sense.  It was a largely visual showcase, thanks in giant part to Fukunaga.  Don’t count out Breaking Bad showrunner Vince Gilligan, though)

BEST WRITING FOR A DRAMA SERIES
01. Breaking Bad – “Ozymandias”
02. Breaking Bad – “Felina”
03. True Detective – “The Secret Fate of All Life”
04. Game of Thrones – “The Children”
05. House of Cards – “Chapter 14”

(note: I think this could conceivably go three ways.  While “Ozymandias” was the most buzzed-about and beloved episode this entire season of television, it wasn’t penned by Vince Gilligan.  Likewise, voters may wish to reward showrunner Nic Pizzolatto for crafting not only McConaughey’s monologues, but writing every episode of this installment of True Detective)

BEST COMEDY SERIESorange-is-the-new-black-cast-21
01. Orange is the New Black
02. Modern Family
03. Veep
04. The Big Bang Theory
05. Louie
06. Silicon Valley

(note: many are calling this a 3-horse race, but I have little faith in a Veep win.  Nevertheless, I think Orange dethrones Modern Family because it’s simply too cool to vote for–and too good)

BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIESjim-parsons-james-earl-jones-the-big-bang-theory-recap-cbs
01. Jim Parsons – The Big Bang Theory
02. Rickey Gervais – Derek
03. Louie CK – Louie
04. William H. Macy – Shameless 
05. Matt LeBlanc – Episodes 
06. Don Cheadle – House of Lies 

(note: I want to be on the record ranking Gervais at least 2nd, but I’m not sure if his stellar tape can upset the comfortability that comes with voting for Parsons)

BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIESJulia-Louis-Dreyfus-of-Veep
01. Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Veep
02. Melissa McCarthy – Mike & Molly
03. Taylor Schilling – Orange is the New Black
04. Amy Poehler – Parks and Recreation
05. Edie Falco – Nurse Jackie
06. Lena Dunham – Girls 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
01. Jesse Tyler Ferguson – Modern Family 
02. Tony Hale – Veep
03. Andre Braugher – Brooklyn Nine-Nine
04. Ty Burrell – Modern Family
05. Adam Driver – Girls
06. Fred Armisen – Portlandia

(note: I’ve predicted Ferguson to win in the past.  His tape, “Message Received” is just too good to pass up and I don’t see Hale as the type of performance to repeat.  Not to mention, Braugher submitted poorly)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIESmom
01. Allison Janney – Mom
02. Kate Mulgrew – Orange is the New Black
03. Julie Bowen – Modern Family
04. Mayim Bialik – The Big Bang Theory
05. Anna Chlumsky – Veep
06. Kate McKinnon – SNL 

(note: flip a coin between five-time winner Janney and Emmyless Mulgrew)

BEST DIRECTING FOR A COMEDY SERIES
01. Jodie Foster – Orange is the New Black – “Lesbian Request Denied”
02. Gail Mancuso – Modern Family – “Las Vegas”
03. Louis CK – Louie – “Elevator, Part 6”
04. Mike Judge – Silicon Valley – “Minimum Viable Product”
05. Paris Barclay – Glee – “100”
06. Iain B. MacDonald – Episodes – “Episode Nine”

(note: “famous” directors tend to win these races, but Mancuso’s work on “Las Vegas” is perfect comedy direction, and deserves to win.  And this is coming from a very biased Orange fanboy)

BEST WRITING FOR A COMEDY SERIES
01. Orange is the New Black – “Pilot”
02. Louie – “So Did the Fat Lady”
03. Silicon Valley – “Optimal Tip-to-Tip Efficiency”
04. Veep – “Special Relationship”
05. Episodes – “Episode Five”

(note: this is a close race as well.  Louis CK crafted a beautiful monologue delivered masterfully by Sarah Baker in “So Did the Fat Lady.”  However, overall buzz and love for this season of Louie has been down.  Since Pilot episodes are Emmy magnets, I think Orange could ride a large wave of support and take this category along with it)

BEST MINISERIESfargo_tv
01. Fargo
02. American Horror Story: Coven
03. Treme
04. Luther
05. Bonnie & Clyde
06. The White Queen

BEST TV MOVIE
01. The Normal Heart
02. Sherlock: “His Last Vow”
03. The Trip to Bountiful
04. Killing Kennedy
05. Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight

BEST ACTOR IN A MOVIE/MINI
01. Billy Bob Thornton – Fargo
02. Mark Ruffalo – The Normal Heart
03. Benedict Cumberbatch – Sherlock: “His Last Vow”
04. Martin Freeman – Fargo
05. Chiwetel Ejiofor – Dancing on the Edge
06. Idris Elba – Luther

BEST ACTRESS IN A MOVIE/MINI
01. Cicely Tyson – The Trip to Bountiful
02. Jessica Lange – American Horror Story: Coven
03. Kristen Wiig – The Spoils of Babylon
04. Sarah Paulson – American Horros Story: Coven
05. Helena Bonham Carter – Burton & Taylor
06. Minnie Driver – Return to Zero

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A MOVIE/MINI
01. Matt Bomer – The Normal Heart
02. Martin Freeman – Sherlock: “His Last Vow”
03. Jim Parsons – The Normal Heart
04. Colin Hanks – Fargo
05. Joe Mantello – The Normal Heart
06. Alfred Molina – The Normal Heart

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MOVIE/MINI
01. Julia Roberts – The Normal Heart
02. Allison Tolman – Fargo
03. Ellen Burstyn – Flowers in the Attic
04. Kathy Bates – American Horro Story: Coven
05. Angela Bassett – American Horror Story: Coven
06. Frances Conroy – American Horror Story: Coven 

(note: another coin flip category, with a tie going to the celebrity who gets to scream)

BEST DIRECTING FOR A MOVIE/MINI
01. The Normal Heart
02. Sherlock: “His Last Vow”
03. Fargo: “Crocodile’s Dilemma”
04. Fargo: “Buridan’s Ass”
05. American Horror Story: Coven
06. Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight

BEST WRITING FOR A MOVIE/MINI
01. Sherlock: “His Last Vow”
02. The Normal Heart
03. Fargo
04. Treme
05. American Horror Story: Coven
06. Luther

(note: not a typo)

BEST VARIETY SERIES
01. The Colbert Report
02. The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
03. The Daily Show
04. SNL
05. Jimmy Kimmel Live!
06. Real Time with Bill Maher

(note: The Colbert Report won a writing Emmy at the Creative Arts Emmys, while SNL won its 5th consecutive directing Emmy)

OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A VARIETY SPECIAL
01. Billy Crystal: 700 Sundays
02. 71st Golden Globe Awards
03. 67th Tony Awards
04. Sarah Silverman: We Are Miracles
05. The Beatles: The Night That Changed America

(note: if the Golden Globes win, Amy Poehler will win her very first Emmy…but if 700 Sundays wins, I’m sure we’ll get a very heartfelt speech from Billy Crystal re: Robin Williams)