Emmys 2015: Where is the “Drama” in the Drama races?

Emmys

I love predicting the Emmys.  I love following the Emmys.  Why?  Because the Emmys, unlike the Oscars, are sort of the wild frontiersman of the awards universe.  The voters seems to actually to the due diligence required to vote!  They seemingly watch everything–all six episodes submitted in each category by the nominated performers.  They seemingly are impervious to buzz and cultural pressure.  When the world was telling us Matthew McConaughey was a lock to win an Emmy for True Detective, the Emmy voters decided that Bryan Cranston‘s work in “Ozymandias” was more their preference.  When outside pressures told us Jon Hamm was finally going to win for his Mad Men submission “The Suitcase,” Emmy voters just…felt something strong towards Kyle Chandler‘s Coach Taylor.  Simply put, they do their own thing.

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And having said that…doesn’t it seem like the Drama races at the Emmys are set in stone?  While my heart is rooting for Mad Men to prevail in its final season, I don’t really see any nominated Best Drama Series besting Game of Thrones and its 300 nominations for the top prize.  Likewise, while Kevin Spacey has a strong submission, Best Drama Actor seems far and away Jon Hamm‘s–finally.  Then there’s the Drama Actress race, which seems to surely go to Viola Davis for her well-praised and new-and-shiney work in How to Get Away With Murder.  The two supporting races seem long concluded after Jonathan Banks (Better Call Saul) and Lena Headey (Game of Thrones) were nominated and wisely chose their season-best tapes for their respective Best Drama Supporting Actor and Actress races.  And even the Drama directing and writing races seem a done deal for Game of Thrones‘ season finale and Mad Men‘s series finale.  Heck, most people are expecting Master of Sex to sweep the Best Drama Guest acting categories, too.  Indeed, in none of the aforementioned races does there even seem to be a legit, strong, looming silver medalist.

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But this is the Emmys.  I could just as easily see Mad Men, Kevin SpaceyRobin Wright, Michael Kelly, or Uzo Aduba win the big Drama races, if the voters continue their very Emmy-style way of doing whatever they want to do.  But that’s what I find so interesting.  The Comedy races, in contract, all seem wide open, with no clear frontrunner in any race, aside from Jeffrey Tambour.

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Personally, I think I’ve come to terms with all the Drama frontrunners.  Game of Thrones‘ fifth season was objectively not as good as its first four, but that should hardly be seen as a slight considering the epic quality of the show’s entire run–simply put, Game of Thrones would make a handsome winner.  Likewise, how can someone NOT root for Jon Hamm? Sure he very well may be an Emmy winner by the time his Lead Actor in a Drama Series category is announced–he’s heavily favored to win Comedy Guest Actor for his brilliant work in the Netflix great Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt–but his work in Mad Men ought to finally be recognized.  As for Viola Davis, I question the moral compass of any human who doesn’t root for Viola Davis in everything ever.  And Banks and Headey?  Overdue rewards for multiple seasons’ worth of crafting and perfecting great characters.  Heck, and a final adios to Matthew Weiner for scribing one of television’s best written shows?  Hard not to be happy for them, right?

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Another fact that gets me through the Drama frontrunners is the simple fact that they’ve all never won Emmys before.  Game of Thrones has only ever won ONE above-the-line Emmy, and that was for Peter Dinklage in the show’s first season back in 2011.  Jon Hamm obviously has never won, and Viola Davis hasn’t even been nominated before this year.  Banks is a three time nominee and Headey has only been nominated once before.  After a year of repeat winners across the board at the 2014 Drama Emmys (Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston, Julianna Margulies, Aaron Paul, and Anna Gunn were all picking up at least their second Emmys), it’s nice and refreshing to think that the 2015 Emmys could be ushering in a new class of winners.

What are your predictions for the 2015 Drama Emmys?  Personal choice?

Personal Picks of the Nominees:
Drama Series: Orange is the New Black
Actor: Jon Hamm
Actress: Elisabeth Moss
Supporting Actor: Jim Carter
Supporting Actress: Uzo Aduba
Directing: “Mother’s Mercy” – Game of Thrones
Writing: “Person to Person” – Mad Men

Predicted Winners:
Drama Series: Game of Thrones
Actor: Jon Hamm
Actress: Viola Davis
Supporting Actor: Jonathan Banks
Supporting Actress: Lena Headey
Directing: “Mother’s Mercy” – Game of Thrones
Writing: “Person to Person” – Mad Men