As the always contentious Emmy nominations, this was not a bad year. However, 2016’s choices were not bereft of bones to pick, starting with both main Best Actress categories, where the two most memorable new characters on television, Rebecca Bunch and Rachel Goldberg, saw their performers snubbed. Perhaps most welcome is the Modern Family domination hitting a wall. Here’s our thoughts on the good, the bad, and the ugly of this year’s Emmy nominations, announced yesterday.
Fave Pick: Master of None
Meh Pick: Modern Family
Snubs: Broad City, Lady Dynamite, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Grace and Frankie, Orange is the New Black
Will Win: Veep
Not too much to criticize here, other than the lazy selection of Modern Family, roughly five years after its sell date. Master of None was a huge and welcome surprise. Aziz Ansari’s thoughtful, and deceptively earnest, modern-life-in-ones-30s love story (plus) won many hearts and minds, but seemed like it might be too under the radar to catch a nomination, but here we are. Fellow Netflix comedy Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt upped its game in season two, so no shocker there. HBO comedies Veep and Siliicon Valley were at their apex this year, so no argument if one of them takes the night, and it almost certainly will be the former. Broad City had a transformative year, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend created a romcom musical clever enough to win over people who hate both and Lady Dynamite created a uniquely demented universe around Maria Bamford, but each of those were probably a bit too outlandish for Emmy voters.
Fave Pick: Mr. Robot
Meh Pick: Homeland
Snub(s): UnREAL, Marvel’s Jessica Jones, Marvel’s Daredevil, Rectify
Will Win: ?????
Nothing too surprising here. Mr. Robot was one of last year’s most ambitious and best written programs, and it follows a Golden Globe win with a well-deserved Emmy notice. Better Call Saul is matching its parent sequel blow-for-blow, but is probably a long shot to win. The rest of the field are old hands – Home of Cards disappointed some people and Homeland has been doing the same thing for ages, but is only our Meh pick by default. Game of Thrones is not always a guarantee despite its pedigree. We would have loved to see the most dramatic show currently on television, reality show expose UnREAL, get its due, but it’ll have to settle for a supporting mention for Constance Zimmer’s uber-manipulator Quinn. We’ll give the Emmys some extra credit for not giving a sentimental nomination to The Good Wife‘s final season, as the once-mighty show may have gone out on a high note with its finale, but certainly limped to the finish line.
Best Actress, Comedy
Fave Pick: Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie
Meh Pick: Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer
Snub(s): Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Cast of Orange is the New Black
Will Win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
If ever there was a lock, its Louis-Dreyfus who wins this pretty much every year she’s on television, but veteran Tomlin – who put on a clinic in the middle of one of the best casts on screen in Grace and Frankie – could have an outside shot to dethrone the reigning queen of comedy. Tracy Ellis Ross has been one of our favorites since her Girlfriends days. But WTF Emmys? Rachel Bloom may be the brightest stars in the biz right now, but despite her Golden Globe win, she’s shut out at the Emmys.
Best Actor, Comedy
Fave Pick: Aziz Ansari, Master of None
Meh Pick: William H. Macy, Shameless
Snub(s): Randall Park, Fresh Off The Boat
Will Win: Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
Perhaps the most pleasing category, Actor in a Comedy Series brought us welcome picks in unlikely auteur Ansari, along with Will Forte in Last Man on Earth and Anthony Anderson in Black-ish, both superior performances that could easily be overlooked. Tambor is an Emmy flystrip however, so that’s probably a done deal.
Best Actress, Drama
Fave Pick: Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Meh Pick: Claire Danes, Homeland
Snub(s): Shiri Appleby, UnREAL, Kristin Ritter, Marvel’s Jessica Jones, Sarah Lancanshire, Happy Valley, Rose McIver, iZombie
Will Win: Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Ok, we get it, Claire’s Carrie Mathison is a hot mess – her performance is great, but truly getting old, and Shiri Appleby created one of the most unforgettably dark trainwrecks in recent memory in UnREAL‘s Rachel Goldberg. FTW, we’re gonna go out on a limb and pick this as the year the voters finally come to their senses and award frequent worst snub (this side of Ron Swanson) Maslany with a long-awaited accolade for her absolutely sublime performance as over ten different characters on Orphan Black.
Best Actor, Drama
Fave Pick: Kyle Chandler, Bloodline
Meh Pick: Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Snub(s): Andrew Lincoln, The Walking Dead, Charlie Cox, Marvel’s Daredevil, Aden Young, Rectify
Will Win: Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Some more great picks here, particularly the always brilliant Chandler, unignorable Odenkirk, and Mr. Robot‘s brooding lead Rami Malek. Schreiber is always wonderful, but Ray Donovan is just not the best palate for him. Andrew Lincoln was never going to be nominated as The Walking Dead is Emmy kryptonite, but he had perhaps his most compelling season as the conflicted zombie-fighting leader. On that note, here’s an early prediction that Jeffrey Dean Morgan to overcome the Emmys disdain for the walker show next year as the ultimate unmovable force Negan.
Best Supporting Actor, Comedy
Fave Pick: Louie Anderson, Baskets
Meh Pick: None
Snub(s): Nick Offerman, Parks & Recreation (sorry, its an automatic reaction at this point, even with Parks & Rec off the air for well over a year), Ethan Embry, Baron Vaughn, Grace & Frankie, Fred Melamed, Lady Dynamite, LaVerne Morris, New Girl
Will Win: Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Ok, we know it will probably be Tony Hale, who owns this slot, and not undeservedly so, but we’re gonna predict this is the year that Burgess and his 10k Kimmy nicknames breaks through this year. It was cool to see UCB co-founder Matt Walsh get a mention for his banner year (of sorts) as sad sack Veep press secretary.
Best Supporting Actress, Comedy
Fave Pick: Anna Chlumsky, Veep
Meh Pick: Kate McKinnon, SNL
Snub(s): Ana Gasteyer, Lady Dynamite, Noel Wells, Master of None, Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black, Stephanie Beatriz, Veep
Will Win: Chlumsky
It’s not that McKinnon’s not great on SNL (although her characters tend to blend), just that it seems a lazy pick. It’s wonderful to see our girl Chlumsky get her due for her best year as beleaguered Amy on Veep.
Best Supporting Actor, Drama
Fave Pick: Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
Meh Pick: Jon Voigt, Ray Donovan
Snub(s): Mike Colter, Marvel’s Jessica Jones, Christian Slater, Mr. Robot
Will Win: Banks
Jonathan Banks’ Mike Ehrmentraut is the exact sort of performance Emmy loves and hopefully he takes home an Emmy for his second go-around as the reluctant underworld enforcer. Ben Mendolsohn acted his heart out as accidental villain and central victim in the first season of Bloodline, but he was an afterthought in its lesser second season.
Best Supporting Actress, Drama
Fave Pick: Constance Zimmer, UnREAL
Meh Pick: Too Many Thrones
Snub(s): Linda Cardellini, Bloodline
Will Win: Lena Hedley, Game of Thrones
At least UnREAL was remembered in one category, and Zimmer surely deserves it as snubbed show creator – but still eager showrunner – Quinn King. And not that we have anything against Game of Thrones; at least half our editors love it. However, half the category is a bit much.
The 68th Primetime Emmy Awards will air on Sunday, September 18, 2016 on ABC.