2014 Emmy Winner Predictions: The Dramas

True Detective Drama

Ok, showbiz award time. If you are a regular of the blog, then you might know that I’m a sucker for award shows, and especially for trying to predict who is going to win (and being wrong all the time). This year, however, It’s been really hard for me to muster much enthusiasm for the Emmy Awards, which will be giving out awards for “excellence” in television in about two weeks time. My lack of enthusiasm might have something to do with the fact that many of my favorite shows got from very little to absolutely no nominations, or maybe it’s just the fact that I’m becoming a cynical adult that realizes that awards don’t really mean shit in our pointless existence. Anyway, I might be unexcited, but not enough as not to predict who’s gonna win some trophies!

Best Drama Series

Nominees: Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, Mad Men, True Detective
I guess the answer to why I’m not excited has been answered. Downton Abbey? House of Cards? These Emmy voters seem to be dumber than I thought. Or maybe they don’t really watch television, and the marketing of those shows as “stuffy English drama” and “look, Kevin Spacey” is enough to get them to nominate them. Either way, I take solace in the fact that neither of those shows is probably going to win. This category is going to be a deathmatch between Breaking Bad and True Detective, two shows I wasn’t a huge fan of this season. To be fair, I thought Breaking Bad was mostly great until that horrible last episode. True Detective, on the other hand, never really grabbed me. But it doesn’t which one I liked better, who are the Emmys going to vote for? My guess is they’ll go with Breaking Bad, since they took their sweet time to warm up to it (it won the Drama Series award for the first time last year), and it being their last chance to reward, they’ll see this is a way of giving it a trophy for its whole run, and not only this final season.
Will Win: Breaking Bad.
Should Win: Mad Men. Only seven episodes, every single one a masterpiece.
Update: I was expecting some tension between True Detective and Breaking Bad, but the ceremony ended up being a Breaking Bad love-fest, with True Detective barely registering.

Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Nominees: 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)
Like the Drama Series category, this is going to be another fight to the death between Breaking Bad and True Detective. Bryan Cranston is an Emmy favorite, having won three times for playing Walter White in the past, and this time he has the strength of “Ozymandias”, one of the best episodes the show ever produced, behind him. But you’d be a fool to underestimate Matthew McConaughey. The McConnaissance is at full force, with the actor just having won the Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club, and every television critic in America flipping over his performance in True Detective. He is also a huge movie star, which is still a great thing to be when trying to win Emmys. Despite all the talk about the “golden age of television”, the small screen still has an inferiority complex.
Will Win: Matthew McConaughey (Don’t worry, Cranston has three Emmys already, and will probably win another one next year)
Should Win: I will say this as many times as it is necessary: the fact that Jon Hamm hasn’t won a single Emmy for playing Don Draper is a crime against humanity.
Update: Maybe the most surprising thing that happened last night: Bryan Cranston won over Matthew McConnaughey. Cranston is amazing, so I’m ok with him winning, but it sure seemed like McConnaughey had this one in the bag.

Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Nominees: 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)
So, the way you win an Emmy if you are an actor is everybody who’s nominated picks an episode from their season of television. The, Emmy voters watch all the episodes and decide who is the best. This is kind of weird and unfair, since someone who had just one really good episode has a better chance of winning than someone who did consistently fascinating work throughout the season, but might not have one episode showy enough. The reason I’m telling you this chunk of exposition about Emmy voting is that, knowing what episodes these ladies have submitted to Emmy voters, I think Lizzy Caplan has a pretty decent chance of winning! Still, even if that would be just amazing, it is probably too good to be true. None of the other ladies have a typically “Emmy-winning” episode. Julianna Margulies cries a lot, but she is also very subdued most of the time. Kerry Washington gives speeches, but in the middle of a ridiculous espionage plot-line. Robin Wright might win for being a movie star, but she is barely in her episode.
Will Win: To hell with it, this category is so over the place I’ll just go ahead and say Lizzy Caplan.
Should Win: Caplan.
Update: Julianna Margulies! She is amazing, and was amazing this past season, so congrats!

Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Nominees: 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)
Despite some ridiculous nominations -I’m looking at you, Jon Voight!- we shouldn’t worry too much about this trophy ending up on the wrong hands. This is more than likely between two very deserving actors. The bad news is that they are both past winners, which is only bad news insofar as it would have been nice to see someone who hadn’t won before get an award, but whatever, they deserve it. I’m talking, of course, about Aaron Paul from Breaking Bad and Peter Dinklage from Game of Thrones. And here’s when the whole “submission” thing becomes important. Dinklage submitted “The Laws of Gods and Men”, which ends with him giving a very angry speech against his evil father. It’s a fantastic scene that might very well win him the Emmy, but Paul has submitted “Confessions”, an episode that showcases two of the most intense scenes he has ever done. We know Emmy voters love the acting in Breaking Bad, and with this episode, I think Aaron Paul will win his third Emmy.
Will Win: Aaron Paul
Should Win: It’s a toss-up really, but I guess I’d go with Dinklage, who was more essential to this season of Game of Thrones, than Paul, who spent a lot of time trapped in a stupid storyline in which he was kidnapped by neonazis.
Update: Aaron Paul won.

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Nominees: 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)
What a boring category. I mean, when you have to nominate two Downton ladies and Christina Hendricks (whom I adore) gets nominated for a season in which she didn’t have anything to do, you know the Emmys are looking in the wrong shows. What I would give for, say, Annet Mahendru from The Americans to have put some deserved new blood in this category. Anyway, on to who is actually going to win this thing. Maggie Smith is a favorite just because she’s Maggie Smith, and Christine Baranski had a fantastic season on The Good Wife, but you would be an idiot not to bet on Anna Gunn from Breaking Bad. Not only does the show have the momentum from being on its last season. Not only did Gunn just win this award last year (Emmy voters love to reward their favorites over and over). She also submitted “Ozymandias”, which in case you don’t remember, features the scene in which Skyler takes out a knife and points it at her husband. This thing is in the bag.
Will Win: Anna Gunn
Should Win: Anna Gunn
Update: Anna Gunn won.

Directing for a Drama Series

Nominees: Boardwalk Empire (“Farewell Daddy Blues”), Breaking Bad (“Felina”), Downton Abbey (“Episode One”), Game of Thrones (“Watchers on the Wall”), House of Cards (“Chapter 14”), True Detective (“Who Goes There”)
Oy, oy, oy. The fact that the finale of season two of Hannibal (directed by David Slade) wasn’t nominated should be enough to suspend this prize from being awarded. I really would rather not spend too much on time on these nominees. Not that I need to, everybody knows that tracking shot at the end of “Who Goes There” will win Cary Joji Fukunaga his first Emmy.
Will Win: True Detective
Should Win: I’ll go with Neil Marshall’s “The Watchers on the Wall”, which did something I thought was impossible: it made me care about Jon Snow.
Update: Cary Joji Fukunaga is the only winning member of the True Detective team.

Writing for a Drama Series

Nominees: Breaking Bad (“Ozymandias”), Breaking Bad (“Felina”), Game of Thrones (“The Children”), House of Cards (“Chapter 14”), True Detective (“The Secret Fate of All Life”)
*Deep sigh* It used to be the case that you could rely on the writing categories to bring some good taste by nominating the truly great shows that the Emmys often ignore, but this category is a freaking nightmare. I’m on the record as being hugely disappointed by the Breaking Bad finale. After a lot of hype, I was also very disappointed by “The Children”. And “Chapter 14”, from House of Cards, might very well be the worst episode of television I watched all year. Where are Hannibal and The Americans? Where is Masters of Sex? Where the hell is Mad Men, which produced some of the best episodes of its entire run this year?! I take solace in the fact that this will probably go to “Ozymandias”, the only nominee that I would describe as a truly great episode of television.
Will Win: Ozymandias
Should Win: Ozymandias
Update: Ozymandias can’t be denied. Moira-Walley Becket won for writing the episode.

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