Wednesday, July 09, 2014

My hypothetical 2014 Emmy ballot

It's time for me to once again fill out a hypothetical Emmy ballot for the 2013-14 TV season! I always have fun doing these, but they can also create such a challenge in years where there's just so much good television (and these last two TV seasons have in no way been lacking for quality). So let's see where my preferences lie this year!

Of course, you'll notice that when the actual Emmy nominations are announced tomorrow, they will look nothing like the nominations I've listed below. That's because the Emmys are BAD and WRONG, but such is life. Also, something odd happened this year in terms of categorization - two of my favourite shows, Netflix's "Orange is the New Black" and Showtime's "Shameless," have submitted themselves in the comedy categories after seasons in which both were unequivocally dramas. Initially I worried this would affect how many nominations I would give each, but I think instead I'm just going to ask you to disregard the "comedy" and "drama" split below entirely. After all, it is and always has been (for example) "Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series," not "Funniest Supporting Actor".

Recognition ho!

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Andre Braugher for playing Captain Ray Holt on Brooklyn Nine Nine (Fox)
Raul Castillo for playing Richie Donado on Looking (HBO)
Noel Fisher for playing Mickey Milkovich on Shameless (Showtime)
Timothy Simons for playing Jonah Ryan on Veep (HBO)
Jeremy Allen White for playing Philip "Lip" Gallagher on Shameless (Showtime)
Parker Young for playing Randy Hill on Enlisted (Fox)

My winner: This pretty much sums it up.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Danielle Brooks for playing Tasha "Taystee" Jefferson on Orange is the New Black (Netflix)
Aidy Bryant for playing various characters on Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Emma Kenney for playing Debbie Gallagher on Shameless (Showtime)
Kate McKinnon for playing various characters on Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Kate Mulgrew for playing Galina "Red" Reznikov on Orange is the New Black (Netflix)
Amy Schumer for playing various Amy Schumer fictionalizations on Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central)

My winner: Kate Mulgrew, and it isn't close despite how much I love all six of these actresses.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Josh Charles for playing Will Gardner on The Good Wife (CBS)
Peter Dinklage for playing Tyrion Lannister on Game of Thrones (HBO)
Noah Emmerich for playing Stan Beeman on The Americans (FX)
Vincent Kartheiser for playing Pete Campbell on Mad Men (AMC)
Dean Norris for playing Hank Schrader on Breaking Bad (AMC)
John Slattery for playing Roger Sterling on Mad Men (AMC)

My winner: In a slightly overrated final stretch of episodes, I would give the win to the underrated Dean Norris.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Christine Baranski for playing Diane Lockhart on The Good Wife (CBS)
Erika Christensen for playing Julia Graham on Parenthood (NBC)
Anna Gunn for playing Skyler White on Breaking Bad (AMC)
Annet Mahendru for playing Nina Sergeevna on The Americans (FX)
Kiernan Shipka for playing Sally Draper on Mad Men (AMC)
Maisie Williams for playing Arya Stark on Game of Thrones (HBO)

My winner: The fact that I never quite know where Nina's true allegiances lie is 50% in the writing, but 50% in the performance from the outstanding Annet Mahendru.

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
Scott Bakula for playing Lynn in the "Looking Glass" episode of Looking (HBO)
Jonathan Banks for playing Professor Buzz Hickey in the "Introduction to Teaching" episode of Community (NBC)
Louis C.K. for playing various characters in the "Louis C.K./Sam Smith" episode of Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Billy Eichner for playing Craig in the "Flu Season 2" episode of Parks and Recreation (NBC)
Mike O'Malley for playing Burt Hummel in "The Quarterback" episode of Glee (Fox)
Damon Wayans Jr. for playing Coach in the "Coach" episode of New Girl (Fox)

My winner: Do you want to know why I still give "Glee," a show that is now watched by almost literally no one, shit? Because they do scenes like the one in "The Quarterback" with Chris Colfer, Romy Rosemont, and Mike O'Malley that are just perfect, and they're capable of writing scenes like that all the time but choose not to. Dumb fucking show. Always a great performance from O'Malley. Between this and his writing work on "Shameless," and the fact that he crawled out of the comedy black hole "Yes, Dear," he's overdue for a significant Emmy.

Outstanding Guess Actress in a Comedy Series
Uzo Aduba for playing Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren in the "Lesbian Request Denied" episode of Orange is the New Black (Netflix)
Sarah Baker for playing Vanessa in the "So Did the Fat Lady" episode of Louie (FX)
Laverne Cox for playing Sophia Burset in the "Lesbian Request Denied" episode of Orange is the New Black (Netflix)
Nastaha Lyonne for playing Nicky Nichols in the "WAC Pack" episode of Orange is the New Black (Netflix)
Ursula Parker for playing Jane in the "Elevator Part 2" episode of Louie (FX)
Amy Sedaris for playing Pam in the "Apartment Hunters" episode of Broad City (Comedy Central)

My winner: Laverne Cox, and anyone who disagrees is wrong. Plain and simple.

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Raul Esparza for playing Dr. Frederick Chilton in the "Yakimono" episode of Hannibal (NBC)
Eddie Izzard for playing Dr. Abel Gideon in the "Mukozuke" episode of Hannibal (NBC)
Robert Morse for playing Bertram Cooper in the "Waterloo" episode of Mad Men (AMC)
Joe Morton for playing Rowan Pope in the "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" episode of Scandal (ABC)
Michael Pitt for playing Mason Verger in the "Tome-wan" episode of Hannibal (NBC)
Ray Romano for playing Hank Rizzoli in the "Promises" episode of Parenthood (NBC)

My winner: It was only two days into 2014 when Hank broke down in front of Sarah, Adam, and Kristina over the realization that he probably had Asperger's and I instantly thought, "I can't wait until July when I can put Ray Romano on my fake Emmy ballot."

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Gillian Anderson for playing Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier in the "Sakizuki" episode of Hannibal (NBC)
Anna Chlumsky for playing Miriam Lass in the "Yakimono" episode of Hannibal (NBC)
Allison Janney for playing Margaret Scully in the "Brave New World" episode of Masters of Sex (Showtime)
Lisa Kudrow for playing Rep. Josephine Marcus in the "Icarus" episode of Scandal (ABC)
Margo Martindale for playing Claudia in the "Behind the Red Door" episode of The Americans (FX)
Carrie Preston for playing Elsbeth Tascioni in the "A Few Words" episode of The Good Wife (CBS)

My winner: I think I was alone on an island for being greatly disinterested in the relationship between the Scullys, but Allison Janney played the hell out of Margaret's self-discovery in terms of sexuality and independence.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Louis C.K. for playing Louis C.K. on Louie (FX)
Andy Daly for playing Forrest Macneil on Review with Forrest Macneil (Comedy Central)
Neil Flynn for playing Mike Heck on The Middle (ABC)
Jeff Garlin for playing Murray Goldberg on The Goldbergs (ABC)
Jonathan Groff for playing Patrick Murray on Looking (HBO)
Jake Johnson for playing Nick Miller on New Girl (Fox)

My winner: A show like "Review" requires a tremendously good script, but it also needs to work in tandem with an actor like Andy Daly who commits to it 100%.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Malin Akerman for playing Kate Harrison on Trophy Wife (ABC)
Lena Dunham for playing Hannah Horvath on Girls (HBO)
Ilana Glazer for playing Ilana Wexler on Broad City (Comedy Central)
Abbi Jacobson for playing Abbi Abrams on Broad City (Comedy Central)
Wendi McClendon-Covey for playing Beverly Goldberg on The Goldbergs (ABC)
Emmy Rossum for playing Fiona Gallagher on Shameless (Showtime)

My winner: She's been overlooked every year for stellar work. This year especially, even submitting in the comedy side for an arc about a woman's dark, downward spiral, the failure to nominate Emmy Rossum will be a black mark on the Emmys.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Bryan Cranston for playing Walter White on Breaking Bad (AMC)
Hugh Dancy for playing Will Graham on Hannibal (NBC)
Jon Hamm for playing Don Draper on Mad Men (AMC)
Matthew McConaughey for playing Rust Cohle on True Detective (HBO)
Mads Mikkelsen for playing Dr. Hannibal Lecter on Hannibal (NBC)
Matthew Rhys for playing Philip Jennings on The Americans (FX)
Michael Sheen for playing Dr. William Masters on Masters of Sex (Showtime)

My winner: (First off, I'm limiting myself to one cheat on this ballot, in which a hypothetical tie prevents me from being forced to choose between Dancy and Mikkelsen.) I want to say Jon Hamm, only because it's ridiculous that he still does not have an Emmy for playing Don Draper. But I keep coming back to Matthew Rhys and how magnetic he is in the entirety of "Martial Eagle," particularly the scene where Phillip is ripping apart Paige's bible and screaming at her about respect (I question how much of Holly Taylor's reaction to that was really acting).

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Lizzy Caplan for playing Virginia Johnson on Masters of Sex (Showtime)
Julianna Margulies for playing Alicia Florrick on The Good Wife (CBS)
Tatiana Maslany for playing Sarah Manning and her clones on Orphan Black (BBC America)
Elisabeth Moss for playing Peggy Olson on Mad Men (AMC)
Keri Russell for playing Elizabeth Jennings on The Americans (FX)
Kerry Washington for playing Olivia Pope on Scandal (ABC)

My winner: Julianna Margulies should return to the field based on the Florrick/Agos defect arc, and especially with an episode like "Hitting the Fan". I'm more confident it's the episodes from the back half of the season after [spoiler] got [spoiler] in the [spoiler] that will bring her back in.

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series
Constantine Makris for "The Walk-In" episode of The Americans (FX)
Michelle Maclaren for the "To'hajiilee" episode of Breaking Bad (AMC)
Michael Rymer for the "Mukozuke" episode of Hannibal (NBC)
Mike Uppendahl for the "A Day's Work" episode of Mad Men (AMC)
Michael Apted for the "Catherine" episode of Masters of Sex (Showtime)
Cary Joji Fukunaga for the "Who Goes There" episode of True Detective (HBO)

My winner: I never want to watch anything not directed by Michelle Maclaren ever again.

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series
Akiva Schaffer for the "Charges and Specs" episode of Brooklyn Nine Nine (Fox)
Andrew Haigh for the "Looking for the Future" episode of Looking (HBO)
Louis C.K. for the "Elevator Part 6" episode of Louie (FX)
Jodie Foster for the "Lesbian Request Denied" episode of Orange is the New Black (Netflix)
Jeffrey Blitz for the "Pancakes, Divorce, Pancakes" episode of Review with Forrest Macneil (Comedy Central)
James Ponsoldt for the "Iron City" episode of Shameless (Showtime)

My winner: Jeffrey Blitz, who plays such a big and overlooked part in the comedic build of "Pancakes, Divorce, Pancakes".

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs for the "Working Girls" episode of Broad City (Comedy Central)
Bruce Eric Kaplan for the "Flo" episode of Girls (HBO)
Andrew Haigh for the "Looking for the Future" episode of Looking (HBO)
Louis C.K. for the "So Did the Fat Lady" episode of Louie (FX)
Tara Herrmann and Jenji Kohan for the "Can't Fix Crazy" episode of Orange is the New Black (Netflix)
Andy Daly for the "Pancakes, Divorce, Pancakes" episode of Review with Forrest Macneil (Comedy Central)

My winner: Andrew Haigh, for the reminder that more episodes of TV should just be two people having a conversation.

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg for the "Echo" episode of The Americans (FX)
Moira Walley-Beckett for the "Ozymandias" episode of Breaking Bad (AMC)
Steve Lightfoot and Bryan Fuller for the "Mizumono" episode of Hannibal (NBC)
Jonathan Igla and Matthew Weiner for the "A Day's Work" episode of Mad Men (AMC)
Sam Shaw and Michelle Ashford for the "Catherine" episode of Masters of Sex (Showtime)
Shonda Rhimes for the "It's Handled" episode of Scandal (ABC)

My winner: Igla and Weiner. When "Mad Men" is on fire, it's still hard for anything to top it in my eyes.

Outstanding Reality Competition Program
The Amazing Race (CBS)
Funny or Die's Billy on the Street (Fuse)
King of the Nerds (TBS)
So You Think You Can Dance (Fox)
Survivor (CBS)

My winner: It's still one of TV's best kept secrets: King of the Nerds, a relatively cheap, TBS reality show that clearly has more love and care put into it than almost anything else on the small screen.

Outstanding Variety Special
The Beatles: The Night That Changed America (CBS)
Best of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Primetime Special (NBC)
Hannibal Buress Live from Chicago (Comedy Central)
The Maya Rudolph Show (NBC)
2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (HBO)

My winner: This feels like cheating, but I'm going with the Fallon special. If only because the "Jimmy falls off the stool" joke that should never have worked once worked a lot.

Outstanding Variety Series
The Colbert Report (Comedy Central)
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Comedy Central)
Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central)
Key and Peele (Comedy Central)
The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson (CBS)
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (NBC)

My winner: There are only a handful of TV episodes this year I would call "perfect" so far. One of them is "I'm So Bad" from Inside Amy Schumer, which is such a dark, ballsy, hilarious examination of how women are persecuted by the male gaze constantly turning them into sex objects. I hope it gets attention in a field that is normally reserved just for Stewart, Colbert, and mostly-lifeless talk shows.

Outstanding Miniseries
Fargo (FX)
The Red Road (Sundance TV)
Treme (HBO)

My winner: Boy, Fargo sure dodged the "True Detective" bullet, huh?

Outstanding Television Movie
Clear History (HBO)
The Normal Heart (HBO)
Sherlock: His Last Vow - Masterpiece (PBS)

My winner: Sherlock...because...I guess? (I really blew it this year with the minis and movies)

Outstanding Comedy Series
Broad City (Comedy Central)
Brooklyn Nine Nine (Fox)
Looking (HBO)
Orange is the New Black (Netflix)
Review with Forrest Macneil (Comedy Central)
Shameless (Showtime)

My winner: There's just nothing on TV like Review with Forrest Macneil, much as I want to vote for "Broad City" so badly. (And reminder: this "OITNB" nomination is for season one, which I thought was good, not for season two, which I thought was amazing. Hence the non-vote.)

Outstanding Drama Series
The Americans (FX)
Breaking Bad (AMC)
The Good Wife (CBS)
Hannibal (NBC)
Mad Men (AMC)
Masters of Sex (Showtime)

My winner: Six fantastic, engaging dramas. Once again, I'm drawn back to The Americans, a show a lot of people will discover in 10-15 years and wonder what rock they were living under when it was on.

The nominations for the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards will be announced tomorrow morning.