Emmy Circuit: Showtime blends risky newcomers with standard vote getters

Showtime can often times be the Emmy secret weapon. From stacking the comedy actor deck with William H. Macy (“Shameless”), Don Cheadle (“House of Lies”) and Matt Leblanc (“Episodes”) for countless years regardless if people were watching to sneaking Leiv Schreiber into the competitive drama actor race last year, they have pulled off some major upsets. Their lineup looks similarly scrappy, with some shows outside of Emmys usual tastes looking to squeeze in.

DRAMA CATEGORIES

homeland-season-5-premiere-date-poster-official-1024x538“Homeland”

“Homeland” has always been an Emmy odd one. Sweeping its first season by surprise, the show was poised for more Emmy success. Besides more gold for Claire Danes, the show faded off the radar. However, it came roaring back last season after much critical acclaim. This season wasn’t at that high, nor was it at the lows it has been in the past. My guess is that the show is vulnerable if it doesn’t deliver, and it may have to kiss the major drama and directing slots goodbye. However, Danes seems to be a mainstay. Mandy Patinkin is less of a given, but is always one people seem to fill out on the ballot.

Likely Nominations:

  • Best Actress (Claire Danes)
  • Best Supporting Actor (Mandy Patinkin)

Possible:

  • Best Drama Series
  • Best Directing

ray-donovan-season-4“Ray Donovan”

The show has walked away with one acting nomination each season it has been in contention. The show has grown in popularity, so it is conceivable that both Leiv Schreiber as the title character and Jon Voight as his surly Father could get in together. Judging by the trend the Emmys have gone in, I’d give the edge to Schreiber to carry the torch for the series.

Likely Nominations:

  • Best Actor (Leiv Schreiber)

Possible:

  • Best Supporting Actor (Jon Voight)

1032076_0_0_97_564x423“Billions”

Where has all the heat gone for “Billions?” The show looked to be Showtime’s big dog in the hunt for Emmy glory. However, after the premiere, people stopped talking about it. There is some buzz around former “Homeland” star Damien Lewis and Maggie Siff got some good notices. However, Paul Giamatti is the Emmy darling who is always one to never count out. I’d bet on him and not much else.

Likely Nominations:

  • Best Actor (Paul Giamatti)

Possible:

  • Best Actor (Damien Lewis)
  • Best Supporting Actress (Maggie Siff)

the-affair_612x380“The Affair”

For my time and money, there was no better drama series than “The Affair” this year. I worried how the strong, buzzy freshman show would develop after season one. Luckily, it came back stronger and with more edge, showing the perspectives of the jilted spouses as well as the two people at the center of the affair. With Maura Tierney’s surprise Golden Globe win and the fact that she was absolutely electric, with no more than four winning tapes in her disposal if the Emmys still used the jury system, will propel her to a nomination. It’s not a guarantee, but I believe it is a shot that will pay off. Cynthia Nixon also guest stars, and one should never discount a famous former Emmy winner if they have a plum guest role. If Ruth Wilson couldn’t get in last year for her tremendous work, than this season will be a much harder get as she had less material to work with. Dominic West still has a shot as he had many great episodes to submit, but his callous character might put people off, the show isn’t an Emmy darling and the drama actor category is competitive.

Likely Nominations:

  • Best Supporting Actress (Maura Tierney)
  • Best Guest Actress (Cynthia Nixon)

Consider:

  • Best Drama Series
  • Best Actor (Dominic West)
  • Best Actress (Ruth Wilson)
  • Best Directing
  • Best Writing

1002762_3_0_01_444x250“Masters of Sex”

Despite having a slow as molasses start to it’s third season, the show really picked up towards the end, thanks to a Herculean performance by Elizabeth Fitzgerald. The period piece will get it some technicals and at this point there isn’t anything stopping Beau Bridges and Allison Janney from getting nominated. However, after losing out last year it looks like it will be extremely hard to get Lizzy Caplan back into the drama actress race, especially since her material isn’t as good as it once was. Michael Sheen does great work trying to make Bill Masters likable at all, but some tasks are just too much. Wonderful guest turns by Sarah Silverman and Judy Greer are more appropriate “guest” acting choices than Janney, who is nearly supporting, but they’ll be edged out by the frequent winner.

Likely Nominations:

  • Best Guest Actor (Beau Bridges)
  • Best Guest Actress (Allison Janney)
  • Best Art Direction

Consider:

  • Best Supporting Actress (Elizabeth Fitzgerald)
  • Best Guest Actress (Sarah Silverman, Judy Greer)
  • Best Costumes

Penny-Dreadful-s2-promo“Penny Dreadful”

Horror or supernatural fare are never Emmys strong suit unless it’s “Game of Thrones.” Even HBO is fallible. Despite a season 2 best drama series nod for “True Blood,” it couldn’t break into any of the other main categories, including Best Actress when Anna Paquin had won the Golden Globe. Many people have been championing the great Eva Green. While worthy as she is, the role is too genre for Emmy to really reward it. It was such an uphill battle for Tatiana Maslany to get in last year for “Orphan Black” and I don’t think the Emmys are cool enough to pick both Maslany and Green. However, the show will find more love in the craft categories.

Likely Nominations:

  • Best Art Direction
  • Best Costumes
  • Best Prosthetic Makeup
  • Best Original Composition

Consider:

  • Best Actress (Eva Green)

COMEDY CATEGORIES

shameless-showtime“Shameless”

The drama/comedy has gotten William H. Macy nominated ever since it made the switch from drama to comedy. The role of crazy, drunk Frank Gallagher is always too loud and bombastic for voters to pass up for a nomination. Barring any sort of resurgence from new or below the radar candidates, Macy will probably pop up again. However, the show is always best when it focuses on Emmy Rossum’s Fiona Gallagher. That she will go the whole series without an Emmy nomination to show for it is a shame.

Likely Nominations:

  • Best Actor (William H. Macy)

Consider:

  • Best Actress (Emmy Rossum)

showtime_71050“House of Lies”

Until further notice, Don Cheadle will be nominated for this show long after it has stopped airing. In fact, Don Cheadle will be nominated here for all of eternity. It’s just somewhat of a fact of life. There’s always a chance someone will come along and usurp his slot. However, at this point, I’ll believe it when I see it.

Likely Nominations:

  • Best Actor (Don Cheadle)

What are your favorite Showtime shows?

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