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2016 Emmy Picks: Drama Series

With the 2016 Emmy Awards set to air on Sunday, September 18 at 8:00 ET/7:00 CT, the Entertainment Fuse television staff has made their picks for who should take home the coveted statues and who will be victorious next Sunday. This year's list of nominees has been one of the more surprising crops in recent years, with the vast majority of nominees coming from critically acclaimed shows and a number of shows getting recognition after years without. In the interest of economy, we will be releasing our picks over three days, with day two covering Drama.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series


Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut on Better Call Saul (AMC)

Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister on Game of Thrones (HBO)

Kit Harington as Jon Snow on Game of Thrones (HBO)

Michael Kelly as Doug Stamper on House of Cards (Netflix)

Ben Mendelsohn as Danny Rayburn on Bloodline (Netflix)

Jon Voight as Mickey Donovan on Ray Donovan (Showtime)

James Stancil: Who Should/Will Win: Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones Anthony Punt: Who Should/Will Win: Kit Harington, Game of Thrones - After having his character violently murdered and traumatically resurrected, Harington deserves some sort of break. While there is no one standout character in an ensemble piece like Game of Thrones, Harington comes closest to providing that elusive leading man quality Felicia Kudronowicz: Who Should Win: Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones - Peter Dinklage continues to impress on Game of Thrones. His scenes are always the ones I enjoy the most. His delivery is always flawless and I can’t help but love his character even when he’s making questionable decisions. Who Will Win: Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones - Dinklage has also won in the past and he seems to be a voter and viewer favorite. Jean Henegan: Who Should Win: Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul - Banks is just so damn good on Better Call Saul, that I hope he finally gets the Emmy that's been elusive throughout his time on both Saul and Breaking Bad. But if he couldn't win for his amazing work in season one, I'm not sure he'll pull it off this year. Who Will Win: Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones - I'm envisioning a Thrones sweep of the Drama awards its up for, so I suspect voters will once again go with Dinklage. But just so long as it isn't Harrington (the worst actor on the series), I'll be ok with it.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series


Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen on Game of Thrones (HBO)

Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones (HBO)

Maggie Smith as Violet Crawley on Downton Abbey (PBS)

Maura Tierney as Helen Solloway on The Affair (Showtime)

Maisie Williams as Arya Stark on Game of Thrones (HBO)

Constance Zimmer as Quinn King on UnREAL (Lifetime)

James Stancil: Who Should/Will Win: Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones Anthony Punt: Who Should/Will Win: Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey - Dame Maggie Smith’s saucy turn as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, has long been one of Downton Abbey’s strengths. Now that the show is off air, it only seems right to honor Smith’s memorable performance one more time. Felicia Kudronowicz: Who Should Win: Constance Zimmer, UnReal - Constance Zimmer absolutely slays as Quinn on UnReal. Her character is a badass boss who’s not afraid to say and do the craziest things to make good television happen. Every time a new aspect of her character is revealed, I get more invested. Who Will Win: Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones - Once again, I think someone from Game of Thrones will win for this, not that Emilia Clarke isn’t brilliant, but I would love to see Constance Zimmer win this one. Jean Henegan: Who Should Win: Lena Headey, Game of Thrones - I was torn between Headey UnReal's spectacular Constance Zimmer on this one, but I think Headey wins out, in part thanks to UnReal's disastrous second season, in my book. Consistently one of the show's biggest strengths, despite having to walk the tightrope of making Cersei understandable, if not sympathetic, Headey had a great sixth season arc and has earned the award. Who Will Win: Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey - I suspect Headey and Emilia Clarke will split the vote, allowing Smith to win yet another Emmy. Which will be unfortunate, since Smith has been operating on auto pilot for the final several seasons of the tired Downton Abbey.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series


Kyle Chandler as John Rayburn on Bloodline (Netflix)

Rami Malek as Elliot Alderson on Mr. Robot (USA)

Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill on Better Call Saul (AMC)

Matthew Rhys as Philip Jennings on The Americans (FX)

Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan on Ray Donovan (Showtime)

Kevin Spacey as President Frank Underwood on House of Cards (Netflix)

James Stancil: Who Should/Will Win: Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan Anthony Punt: Who Should/Will Win: Rami Malek, Mr. Robot - As the intense computer hacker Elliot Alderson, Malek has brought intensity and humanity to a role that could’ve been rote in the wrong hands. Malek’s standout performance is particularly impressive given the credentials of such noted actors like Spacey and Schreiber. Felicia Kudronowicz: Who Should Win: Matthew Rhys, The Americans - Matthew Rhys has been amazing on every season of The Americans, but this one was particularly impressive with the Martha storyline. His acting is some of the best on TV, not to mention his ability to pull off any facial hair. Who Will Win: Rami Malek, Mr. Robot - After winning the Golden Globe earlier this year, I think Rami Malek has a pretty good shot of winning this award too and I won’t be completely disappointed if he does. His work as Elliot has also been great to watch. Jean Henegan: Who Should Win: Matthew Rhys, The Americans - The fourth season of The Americans was the best season of television this year, and Rhys was a major part of why the show worked so incredibly well. I am desperately hoping for the series to sweep the top three awards in Drama, but I have a sinking feeling that only Keri Russell might win gold this year. Who Will Win: Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan - Emmy voters are notorious for awarding actors they've known for years in roles that aren't that great, which makes me think Schreiber will take this category. But, out of all the categories, this is the one with no real front-runner, so it could go to any of the guys listed.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series


Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison on Homeland (Showtime)

Viola Davis as Prof. Annalise Keating on How to Get Away with Murder (ABC)

Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyon on Empire (Fox)

Tatiana Maslany as Various Characters on Orphan Black (BBC America)

Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings on The Americans (FX)

Robin Wright as First Lady Claire Underwood on House of Cards (Netflix)

James Stancil: Who Should/Will Win: Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder Anthony Punt: Who Should/Will Win: Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black - Given that she plays multiple characters (i.e., clones) on Orphan Black, it can be argued that Maslany’s performance is the most virtuosic. Other performances in this category may be more dynamic (Taraji P. Henson) or more intense (Robin Wright), but Maslany has been consistently excellent while handling material that would challenge any actor’s skills. Felicia Kudronowicz: Who Should Win: Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black - I’m always going to be cheering for Tatiana Maslany for every award. Even though this past season might not have been Orphan Black's best, I definitely think she should be recognized for her ability to play so many different characters so seamlessly. I still forget that the clones are all played by Maslany. She makes playing five different characters an episode look easy. Who Will Win: Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder - Davis won last year, so I think she has a pretty good chance of getting it again. Jean Henegan: Who Should Win: Keri Russell, The Americans - To me, Keri Russell is the reason The Americans is as great as it is. Everything about her portrayal of Elizabeth Jennings, Russian spy, is nuanced and complex. The arc of the character over the past season was superb, and seeing Elizabeth slowly begin to thaw and open herself up to her emotions gave Russell some truly powerful moments to play. Who Will Win: Keri Russell, The Americans - While voters might go with Viola Davis again, I can't help but think this is the category where The Americans gets its major award. Russell is a known entity to Emmy voters, and the show has gotten so much acclaim as of late, I think she wins.

Outstanding Drama Series


The Americans (FX)

Better Call Saul (AMC)

Downton Abbey (PBS)

Game of Thrones (HBO)

Homeland (Showtime)

House of Cards (Netflix)

Mr. Robot (USA)

James Stancil: Who Should/Will Win: Game of Thrones Anthony Punt: Who Should/Will Win: Game of Thrones - No other show on television provides the same amount of water-cooler fodder than Game of Thrones. Major status quo changes and gruesome deaths are part of the usual order of things in the GOT universe, yet arguably the most talked-about TV moment of the season—when audiences finally found out the origin story behind Hodor’s name—proved that the show can nail the quiet reveals just as effectively. Felicia Kudronowicz: Who Should Win: The Americans - This is the first time that The Americans has been a serious Emmy contender and it’s about time! After just marathoning the whole series, it’s hard to believe it hasn’t been recognized sooner. Not only is it suspenseful and full of intrigue, but it is one of the most realistic and compelling family dramas. I’m really rooting for them this year. Who Will Win: Game of Thrones - In the eyes of Emmy voters, it seems like Game of Thrones can do no wrong. While this season was impressive, I think that other shows are doing more exciting things without relying on special effects and shocking their audience. Jean Henegan: Who Should Win: The Americans - The fourth season of The Americans was the best season of television to air this year. If things were fair (which they aren't, but one can dream), the series would be justly rewarded for putting together a taut, complex, and heart-wrenching season of television that was better than anything else that aired. Who Will Win: Game of Thrones - Emmy voters love Game of Thrones, so expect to see it win again this year, even though the show hit its peak several seasons ago.


Meet the Author

About / Bio
TV critic based in Chicago. When not watching and writing about awesome television shows, I can be found lamenting over the latest disappointing performance by any of the various Chicago sports teams or my beloved Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Follow me @JeanHenegan on Twitter.

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