Several months ago, I posted my dream Emmy nomination list knowing full-well that many of my favorite shows were going to be royally snubbed because of their genres (Fringe), networks (Southland), titles (Cougar Town), or penultimate seasons (Big Love). It's okay. I've dealt with it.
When the nominations came out, there was the usual list of overrated critical darlings (Modern Family, Mad Men), fan favorites (Glee, Jim Parsons), and WTH? nominees (Pillars of the Earth = So. Bad.), but there was also a huge mix of pleasant surprises. Although I don't see it winning, how fantastic was it to finally see Friday Night Lights get a Best Drama nomination (a nomination that I like to think honors the show, rather than just the final season -- I'll go to the mat for season 3's ultimate superiority)?! Or what about Cat Deeley's well-deserved (and long overdue) nomination for Best Reality Show Host? YES!
Because the awards are later tonight, I thought I'd post a predictions list just for kicks and giggles. For each major category, I've posted who I think will win (WW), who I think should win (SW), and who I would write on the ballot in a perfect world (WO). I wasn't exactly 100% with my Golden Globe pics, so we'll just have to see how this goes down tonight. Here's a list of nominees for you to reference.
Outstanding Comedy Series
WW: Modern Family
SW: Parks and Recreation
WO: Cougar Town
Modern Family is a fun show, with a great ensemble and plenty of laughs to go around, but it's not as well-rounded as Parks and Recreation, which fires on every cylinder 99% of the time. Every single character on P & R, from Amy Poehler's overachieving B-student-that-could Lesley Knope to Retta's zingy Donna, is nuanced to perfection, and the timing this season was absolutely perfect. I don't know, man. Can you think of another episode of a comedy show more perfect than "Harvest Festival" this season?
Outstanding Drama Series
WW: Mad Men
SW:Friday Night Lights
FNL deserves the prize for both its excellent farewell season and its largely unrecognized body of work. Mad Men still bums me out. The other acceptable win in this category is Dexter, which I recently became a fan of, and which is awesome.
Outstanding Miniseries Or Movie
WW: Downton Abbey
SW: Downton Abbey
I'm not hugely invested in this category this year. I haven't actually seen Downton Abbey, but my buddy Lizzy tells me its awesome, so I'm taking her word for it that it's better than Pillars of the Earth, which was actually one of the worst TV movies I've ever seen, The Kennedys, which had bright spots (Greg Kinnear and Barry Pepper), but would have been libelous if it wasn't so silly, Cinema Verite, which was alright but uneven, and Mildred Pierce, which lost me pretty early on, in spite of a killer performance from Kate Winslet (as ever).
Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series
WW: Steve Carell
SW: Steve Carell
WO: None. They got this one right.
It's nice to see Louis C.K. get a nomination this year for Louis, which I like a lot. But this year should belong to Steve Carell, who was a bright spot on the last flailing season of The Office.
Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series
WW: John Hamm
SW: Kyle Chandler
WO: Bill Paxton
Paxton should have gotten a nomination this year for his scary-good ability to play a flawed, often unlikable anti-hero on the final season of Big Love, but alas. Kyle Chandler deserves this award for his utterly perfect performance.
Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series
WW: Laura Linney
SW: Amy Poehler
WO: Courtney Cox
This category makes me mad. For one, how does Courtney Cox not have an Emmy nomination yet? There's no reason she shouldn't have gotten one this year for Cougar Town. I'm also going to be very annoyed if Laura Linney or Edie Falco walk away with this. Showtime and HBO's loose definition of "comedy series" drives me a little insane. Both of those actresses are fantastic on their respective shows, but it's a little debatable if either show is truly a comedy show. Can we please just change the category name to "Outstanding Half-Hour Show", because a half-hour show does not necessarily a comedy make. It should be no surprise that I'm rooting for Amy Poehler here. She was pitch freaking perfect in the episode "Flu Season".
Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series
WW: Elisabeth Moss
SW: Connie Britton
WO: Anna Torv
Anna Torv was a long-shot for a nomination because she's on a sci-fi show (don't even get me started), but I think I convinced myself that she couldn't possibly be ignored again after her season of playing, like, a million characters really well. Sigh. In any case, I think Connie Britton's got the best shot at winning something for FNL, but everyone seems to think Elisabeth Moss will likely win instead. It's a crying shame for Britton because she really deserves an Emmy for this season. I especially love the way she played the rift between Coach and Tami in the last few episodes of the season.
Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series
WW: Chris Colfer
SW: Ed O'Neil, I guess
WO: Nick Offerman
Ron Swanson's Pyramid of Greatness. I think the Modern Family guys are going to split the vote, deferring to Colfer (who, again, probably shouldn't be in a "comedy" category. Mrrr.), but I'm not very invested in this category as it stands. A lot of missed opportunities here.
Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series
WW: John Slattery
SW: Josh Charles
WO: John Noble
Josh Charles strikes me as an understated actor. He didn't really stand out on Sports Night, but he was always a solid backbone to the show. I feel the same way about his performance on The Good Wife: he doesn't get a lot of "big" scenes on The Good Wife, but he's absolutely solid.
Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series
WW: Sofia Vergara
SW: Sofia Vergara
WO: Busy Phillips
I just want to say that I totally called Kristen Wiig's well-deserved nomination in this category. Given Cougar Town's ridiculous Emmy shutout this year, Busy Phillips' snub is unsurprising, but still annoying. I adore Sofia Vergara's performance on Modern Family, and it would be great to see her or 30 Rock's underrated Jane Krakowski take home the statue.
Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series
WW: Margo Martindale
SW: Margo Martindale
WO: KaDee Strickland
Justified fans, I apologize. Your show just doesn't do it for me. Margo Martindale, however, is always superb (remember how I told you I just became a Dexter fan? Her character broke my heart in season 3). KaDee Strickland was also a long-shot for a nomination for Private Practice, a soapy, uneven formula show, but she really rose to the occasion this season in Charlotte's rape plot. Like, wow.
Outstanding Reality-Competition Program
WW: Amazing Race
SW: So You Think You Can Dance
WO: I'm okay with this list.
Amazing Race always wins. Blah, blah, blah. American Idol reinvented itself this year following Simon Cowell's departure -- pretty successfully I might add -- but it doesn't have the heart that So You Think You Can Dance does. I'd love to see SYTYCD pull out a lovable underdog prize this year. Project Runway should be punished for letting Wretchin' Gretchen win last season.
Outstanding Host For A Reality Or Reality-Competition Program
WW: Cat Deeley
SW: Cat Deeley
WO: I'm only invested in one nominee!
I think Cat Deeley's got a shot at this, and I'd really love to see her win. The thing that separates her from other hosts is the way she advocates for all of the contestants, while keeping the show, with its long-winded judges and crazy dancer shenanigans, running smoothly. She's graceful, professional, and personable. There was an episode last year where the sound stopped working in her mic, a contestant got injured, and the music cues seemed to be out of sync, but she powered through and made it look easy. Cat Deeley.