2014 Emmy nominees were just announced. Here are the main categories, with my picks for who I think should win and why.
Outstanding Drama Series:
"Breaking Bad" (AMC)
"Downton Abbey" (PBS)
"Game of Thrones" (HBO)
"House of Cards" (Netflix)
"Mad Men" (AMC)
"True Detective" (HBO)
Full disclosure: I haven't watched any of Downton Abbey. So, I obviously can't comment there.
But, the contenders for this main category are clearly Breaking Bad and True Detective. While Games of Thrones, House of Cards and Mad Men did turn in excellent seasons this year, they don't compete really with the series finale of Breaking Bad or the series debut of True Detective.
That said... this is really tough. I won't pretend to know how the voting will go, but my gut says that Breaking Bad will get this one. If it were any other show outside of True Detective, this wouldn't even be a conversation. The last season of Breaking Bad was brilliant. In my opinion, it was the best season of the series, and capped off a near perfect run, and became my all time favorite TV show. But, man oh man was True Detective out of left field some kind of awesome. The writing, the directing and acting, all top notch. It was a unique and rare bit of television, with the added bonus of being in anthology format. So the first season was really a one and done type scenario for the actors involved, making it more like a mini-series. And giving it an interesting edge to win, simply because of the format. Even still, slight edge to Gilligan and Breaking Bad. What a great show. I'm gonna miss it.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series:
Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad"
Jeff Daniels, "The Newsroom"
Jon Hamm, "Mad Men"
Woody Harrelson, "True Detective"
Matthew McConaughey, "True Detective"
Kevin Spacey, "House of Cards"
Damn. Once again a really tough choice. Slam dunk should be for Bryan Cranston. This is an all-time great performance, and he ended the series so well. I can't say that he completely carried the series, as Aaron Paul and the rest of the cast all brought their own touch that made each character. But, without Cranston, there would be no Heisenberg. And there would be no Breaking Bad. Just try and imagine another actor attempting to play that role. Doubt you could name another that would equal him, for Walter White. That's the mark of completely owning a role. He deserves to win.
But then there's McConaughey from True Detective. He also carved out and became a character that truly made the show. He was the main reason for me to keep watching the show. Of course Woody was great. But McConaughey, to use the same word again, OWNED the role. I think it comes down to Cranston v McConaughey. I would be happy either way, as Cranston has won several awards already for playing Walter White, while McConaughey has yet to. Of course, Harrelson deserves to be on this list, along with Jon Hamm who is always great. And talk about owning a role, Kevin Spacey from House of Cards... perfect in that role. This is the hardest one to choose. Not to mention that Jeff Daniels continues to shine on The Newsroom. Seriously, these actors from these shows are some of the best TV I've ever seen. Add in Game of Thrones, and most all my current favorites are accounted for. Still, if I had to pick, it would go: Cranston, then McConaughey, then Spacey, then Daniels, then Harrelson, then Hamm. (for this last season anyways)
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series:
Lizzy Caplan, "Masters of Sex"
Claire Danes, "Homeland"
Michelle Dockery, "Downton Abbey"
Julianna Margulies, "The Good Wife"
Kerry Washington, "Scandal"
Robin Wright, "House of Cards"
I can only say that I hope Robin Wright wins. She turned in a hell of a 3rd season. That's when her character really showed her true(er) colors, and you saw what she was capable of, and it sort of terrified me. I enjoyed it for sure.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series:
Jim Carter, "Downton Abbey"
Josh Charles, "The Good Wife"
Peter Dinklage, "Game of Thrones"
Aaron Paul, "Breaking Bad"
Mandy Patinkin, "Homeland"
Jon Voight, "Ray Donovan"
Peter Dinklage in Games of Thrones. This is like with Cranston in Breaking Bad; a role of a lifetime for him. He plays it perfectly. He is half the reason to watch the series, no pun intended. I hope he wins. Aaron Paul for #2, easy.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series:
Christine Baranski, "The Good Wife"
Joanne Froggatt, "Downton Abbey"
Anna Gunn, "Breaking Bad"
Lena Headey, "Game of Thrones"
Christina Hendricks, "Mad Men"
Maggie Smith, "Downton Abbey"
Hmmm... Calisi or Skyler? Uhh.. tough. I'll go with Skyler. Yeah, I hope she wins. Hendricks my #3. Always thought she was great in that role.
Outstanding Comedy Series:
"The Big Bang Theory" (CBS)
"Modern Family" (ABC)
"Orange is the New Black" (Netflix)
"Silicon Valley" (HBO)
Orange Is The New Black, all the way. Great show. Was miscategorized last year. Deserves to be recognized.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series:
Louis C.K., "Louie"
Don Cheadle, "House of Lies"
Ricky Gervais, "Derek"
Matt LeBlanc, "Episodes"
William H. Macy, "Shameless"
Jim Parsons, "The Big Bang Theory"
Just because I love the guy as a person, Louis C.K. His show is brilliant, if not very depressing. Gotta give the guy props though for writing, producing and acting and promoting the whole show, almost by himself. Shout out though to William H. Macy for Shameless. He plays it so well, he makes it look effortless.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series:
Lena Dunham, "Girls"
Edie Falco, "Nurse Jackie"
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep"
Melissa McCarthy, "Mike & Molly"
Amy Poehler, "Parks & Recreation"
Taylor Schilling, "Orange is the New Black"
Taylor Schilling. Even though it's hard because to label it a comedic performance is not quite right. It falls under that Weeds, Jenji Kohan comedy-drama, Nancy Botwin type role. But she has some moments during that show, where she monologues... worth the whole series just for those few scenes alone.
Outstanding Variety Series:
"The Colbert Report" (Comedy Central)
"The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" (Comedy Central)
"Jimmy Kimmel Live" (ABC)
"Real Time with Bill Maher" (HBO)
"Saturday Night Live" (NBC)
"The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" (NBC)
The Colbert Report. Especially since it's about to be no more. I have watched it since it debuted some 8 years ago. Great, great show.
Outstanding Animated Program:
"Futurama" (Comedy Central)
"South Park" (Comedy Central)
"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Manhattan Project" (Nickelodeon)
Tough. I love Archer. And South Park. And Futurama coming back on Comedy Central was actually a smart move; they put in a really good season. For that, I'll go Futurama, since I believe this was their final season to cap off the series. And I really think that show is underrated; its really smart.