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The 65th Primetime Emmy Awards are this Sunday, and while most television fans will be too busy watching the penultimate episode of Breaking Bad, the awards show sill generates enough excitement and buzz for us to care about it, even if we are a little distracted. Lets face it: the best part about any awards shows is rooting for your favorite performers and projects, and then when they inevitably lose, lashing out and acting all outraged about the actual winners. Who doesn’t love to feel superior and enraged that their favorite TV shows weren’t honored, especially when there are so many fantastic programs to get behind these days? So in anticipation of this Sunday's ceremony, we have chosen some of our favorite performances and TV shows in selected categories.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a TV Miniseries or Movie: Sarah Paulson, (American Horror Story: Asylum) Imelda Staunton, (The Girl) Ellen Burstyn, (Political Animals) Charlotte Rampling, (Restless) Alfre Woodard, (Steel Magnolias)
Our pick: Sarah Paulson
Though she is up against some intimidating and tough competition, it is hard to not root for Sarah Paulson whose dazzling performance in the outrageously insane American Horror Story: Asylum was always deeply engaging and delivered serious emotional resonance. While big names with prestige like Ellen Burstyn and Imelda Staunton could appeal to academy members, no other performance had as much range as Paulson’s. Also, having won the Critic’s Choice Award earlier this year bodes well for the actress.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a TV Miniseries or Movie: James Cromwell, (American Horror Story: Asylum) Zachary Quinto, (American Horror Story: Asylum) Scott Bakula, (Behind The Candelabra) John Benjamin Hickey, (The Big C: hereafter) Peter Mullan, (Top of the Lake)
Our Pick: Peter Mullan
If you saw Top of the Lake, you understand why we have to pick Mullan. As the brutal drug lord of a small town in New Zealand Mullan was brutal and chilling, but also imbued his performance with vulnerability and transformed what could have been a straight up villain to an ambiguous and compelling person. Mullan is an unlikely winner; the buzz surrounding both American Horror Story: Asylum and Behind the Candelabra is strong enough to push one of those nominees to the top. If we assume that the Asylum voters split between Zachary Quinto and James Cromwell the statuette is Bakula’s for the win.
Lead Actress in a TV Miniseries or Movie: Jessica Lange, (American Horror Story: Asylum) Laura Linney, (The Big C: hereafter) Helen Mirren, (Phil Spector) Sigourney Weaver, (Political Animals) Elisabeth Moss, (Top of the Lake)
Our Pick: Elisabeth Moss
Our love of Top of the Lake continues with this pick. Despite playing the beloved Peggy Olson in one of the most critically praised and influential television shows of the time, Elisabeth Moss is able to create a completely new persona and character, leaving behind any hints of her iconic role. She is captivating as Robin Griffin, a capable and tough cop haunted by the events of her past. Moss is impeccable in a role that could not be more different than the roles to which we've become accustomed; this is hers to lose.
Lead Actor in a TV Miniseries or Movie: Michael Douglas, (Behind the Candelabra) Matt Damon, (Behind the Candelabra) Toby Jones, (The Girl) Benedict Cumberbatch, (Parade’s End) Al Pacino, (Phil Spector)
Our Pick: Michael Douglas
Michael Douglas will win for his portrayal of iconic entertainer Liberace and deservedly so. It is a pretty brave performance, and not because of the character’s sexual orientation and the various gay love scenes, but because it is incredibly risky playing a person with such an identifiable way of speaking, being, etc. This is more than just an impression; Douglas gives the character emotional weight and isn’t just a caricature. Indeed, he commits entirely to the character and isn’t afraid to go to extremes. Also it’s really fun to watch him revel in Liberace glory. Douglas’ biggest opponent is Matt Damon, who is also very engaging in the HBO movie, but Douglas has this one.
Outstanding TV Miniseries or Movie: American Horror Story: Asylum, Behind the Candelabra, The Bible, Phil Spector, Political Animals, Top of the Lake
Our Pick: Top of the Lake
If you have read our earlier picks it comes to no surprise that we chose the exceptional Top of the Lake as the best miniseries or movie. Jane Campion and her partner Gerard Lee have created a moody, intense, and thrilling seven-part series that is full of intrigue, beautiful cinematography, and exceptional performances. Up against the star power (and Steven Soderbergh prestige) of Behind the Candelabra, as well as the hype of American Horror Story: Asylum, Top of the Lake has little chance to emerge as the victor, though we wouldn’t begrudge either of the two of the honor. If you haven’t seen it yet, do yourself a favor and watch it already.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy: Adam Driver, (Girls) Jesse Tyler Ferguson, (Modern Family) Ed O’Neill, (Modern Family) Ty Burrell, (Modern Family) Bill Hader, (Saturday Night Live) Tony Hale, (Veep)
Our Pick: Anybody that’s NOT from Modern Family
Look, we enjoy Modern Family just as much as anybody else, (maybe a little less), but their dominance in this category is just annoying, especially when there are so many comedic performances out there that are much more effective than anything on Modern Family. How have Nick Offerman or Chris Pratt or even Aziz Ansari been snubbed in favor of anybody on MF? How is it possible than not one actor from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has ever been recognized for his or her work on the show? Ugh. Ok, mini-rant over, this isn’t about who should have been nominated but who should win. We’d be perfectly happy if any of the non MF actors got the honor, but there is a soft spot in our hearts for SNL’s Stefan, so Bill Hader FTW!
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy: Mayim Bialik, (The Big Bang Theory) Jane Lynch, (Glee) Julie Bowen, (Modern Family) Merritt Wever, (Nurse Jackie) Jane Krakowski, (30 Rock) Sofia Vergara, (Modern Family) Anna Chlumsky, (Veep)
Our Pick: Jane Krakowski
This is a tough category, it doesn’t suffer that much from the Modern Family dilemma that the comedy actors' category does, but the Academy is in love with the show and its performers. Frankly, we’d rather see Sofia Vergara win over Julie Bowen (who is kind of overrated). But our dream winner would be Jane Krakowski, who has yet to win an Emmy for her hilarious portrayal of deluded C-lister Jenna Maroney.
Outstanding Actor in a Comedy: Alec Baldwin, (30 Rock) Jason Bateman, (Arrested Development) Louis CK, (Louie) Don Cheadle, (House of Lies) Matt LeBlanc, (Episodes) Jim Parsons, (The Big Bang Theory)
Our Pick: Alec Baldwin
Call us old-fashioned, but it would be awesome if Alec Baldwin got another win for one of the best seasons of the show. Our fangirl hearts are wishing for 30 Rock to just sweep the comedy categories on their last year on the awards circuit. Louis CK is probably most deserving of the recognition (Louie is without a doubt the most innovative and unique show out there), but Baldwin is the sentimental favorite.
Outstanding Actress in a Comedy: Laura Dern, (Enlightened) Lena Dunham, (Girls) Edie Falco, (Nurse Jackie) Tina Fey, (30 Rock) Julia Louis-Dreyfus, (Veep) Amy Poehler, (Parks and Recreation)
Our Pick: Amy Poehler
I know we just said we’re hoping for a 30 Rock sweep, but we are also desperate for any Parks and Recreation recognition. Poehler has been absolutely magnificent throughout the series and in this past season, in which Leslie Knope made huge strides in both her career and personal life, Poehler instilled in Leslie emotional gravitas without ever losing the funny. Similarly, Tina Fey managed to deliver an appropriately touching and emotional series finale without ever crossing the line into sappy. Oh, just give it to both of them, c’mon Emmy voters! But really, this category is full of talented women, and we couldn’t be mad about any of these ladies getting top prize.
Outstanding Comedy: 30 Rock, The Big Bang Theory, Girls, Louie, Modern Family, Veep
Our Pick: 30 Rock
Like we said before, it is the last year for the NBC comedy and it is the sentimental favorite, but that shouldn’t take away from how good the final season of 30 Rock actually is. Definitely one of the funniest and most successful seasons of the show, the material deserves to be acknowledged. Also, it is time that Modern Family gets knocked off its pedestal, even if it is by a past winner.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama: Bobby Cannavale, (Boardwalk Empire) Jonathan Banks, (Breaking Bad) Aaron Paul, (Breaking Bad) Jim Carter, (Downton Abbey) Peter Dinklage, (Game of Thrones) Mandy Patinkin, (Homeland)
Our Pick: Peter Dinklage
Mandy Patinkin is the likely winner, after being snubbed last year; luckily, the the voters wised up and gave him what he deserved, and though his performance is strong, the performance we enjoy the most is Peter Dinklage’s on Game of Thrones. The third season of the fantasy drama took Tyrion to new heights and Dinklage certainly delivered and has made him one of the most affecting and sympathetic characters on the epic series. Dinklage has the perfect mix of emotional depth and wiseass charm to pull off the iconic role.
Outstanding Supporing Actress in a Drama: Anna Gunn, (Breaking Bad) Maggie Smith, (Downton Abbey) Emilia Clarke, (Game of Thrones) Christine Baranski, (The Good Wife) Morena Baccarin, (Homeland) Christina Hendricks, (Mad Men)
Our Pick: Anna Gunn
No question, Anna Gunn’s performance in Breaking Bad demands praise and attention; we will lose faith in all that is good and holy if she gets snubbed. Seriously. The Maggie Smith streak needs to be terminated and she is Gunn's most formidable opponent. The Academy really needs to get over their Smith fascination. Yes, she is fantastic on Downton Abbey, but it is basically the same performance every season; there is no arc for the Dowager Countess. Gunn’s nuanced performance and heart-wrenching portrayal of Skyler White has transformed through the years and it keeps getting better. Can anything beat her transcendent performance in her submission episode “Fifty-One”? We hope not.
Outstanding Actor in A Drama: Hugh Bonneville, (Downton Abbey) Bryan Cranston, (Breaking Bad) Jeff Daniels, (The Newsroom) Jon Hamm, (Mad Men) Damian Lewis, (Homeland) Kevin Spacey, (House of Cards)
Our Pick: Bryan Cranston
Another tough category with great performances, but what Bryan Cranston does on Breaking Bad is just absolutely remarkable. Though Cranston’s performance is fantastic, Kevin Spacey’s movie star appeal could easily win over some voters and (last year's winner) Damian Lewis’ submission episode “Q&A” is a perfect showcase for the actor, despite Homeland’s uneven second season. We can still root for Walter White to stand triumphant.
Outstanding Actress in a Drama: Connie Britton, (Nashville) Claire Danes, (Homeland) Michelle Dockery, (Downton Abbey) Vera Farmiga, (Bates Motel) Elisabeth Moss, (Mad Men) Kerry Washington, (Scandal) Robin Wright, (House of Cards)
Our Pick: Claire Danes
Its becoming ridiculous how good Claire Danes is, and it is so obvious that she will again win all the awards. We would be annoyed if the performance didn’t deserve the attention it get (not a problem), and though we’d like to see some favorites up on that podium (Elisabeth Moss) we just cannot deny Danes the praise she so richly deserves.
Outstanding Drama: Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, Homeland, House of Cards, Mad Men
Our Pick: Mad Men
Yes, we know Mad Men already has four Emmy statuettes for this category, and after being knocked off the Emmy pedestal by Homeland, their time in Emmy heaven is likely over, but the show is just so good. Mad Men continues to be the most compelling drama on television, even up against excellent shows like Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones. It is unlikely that the AMC drama takes away the night’s top honor, but we can’t help but root for it. Though last year’s winner Homeland might be out of the running for its questionable second season, the Netflix original House of Cards has a lot going for it. It is not the best drama on the list, but the prestige David Fincher’s involvement brings, along with the movie star protagonists and the newness of being an online program, could propel it to a win.
What do you think of our picks? Who are you rooting for this Sunday?