Can anyone take down Modern Family? And will Jon Hamm finally get his due?
So much is riding on this year's Emmy winners, thanks to a final year for Mad Men (and the last chance to rectify an 8-year losing streak for Hamm), and what could possibly shake up to be an epic Game of Thrones victory.
Read on for all our predictions!
Better Call Saul (AMC), Downton Abbey (PBS), Game of Thrones (HBO), Homeland (Showtime), House of Cards (Netflix), Mad Men (AMC), Orange Is the New Black (Netflix)
Who Should Win and Who Will Win: Game. Of. Mother. Effing. Thrones. Yes, Mad Men had a powerful final season and shall be remembered as one of the greatest TV series of our time. But it just feel like Emmy voters are already over it—Mad Men hasn't won anything in three years, and if anything is given as a lovely (and long overdue) parting gift, it will be some acting wins for Jon Hamm, and possibly Christina Hendricks, since Mad Men has never won a single acting Emmy in the show's history (34 snubs overall!).
Meanwhile, Game of Thrones, with its whopping 24 nominations clearly has a lot of love among voters this year. That's Sopranos or West Wing-level. Plus, GoT has never once won, and just finished airing its fifth season when the voting period began. Yes, it's got dragons and zombies, and fantasy shows typically don't get Emmy love, but it did what Lost did several years ago: Took a "fanboy" series and made it appreciated and adored by the masses. Game of Thrones just feels unstoppable.
Louie (FX), Modern Family (ABC), Parks and Recreation (NBC), Silicon Valley(HBO), Transparent (Amazon), Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix), Veep(HBO)
Who Will Win: These words are quite honestly painful to write, but Modern Family probably will win its sixth Emmy for best comedy in a row. It's undefeated, and this year, the Academy changed the voting process so that far more people can vote—meaning popularity matters more than ever. With a good 10 million-plus more viewers than any other comedy on the list, and consistently solid writing and a loveable cast, it just feels Modern Family can't be taken down. It's the boring and uninspired choice, but…it's the reality.
Who Should Win: Veep or Transparent. Emmy voters kind of have a slight little appreciation (understatement) for Julia Louis-Dreyfus--she's won five times and been nominated 19 times--but Veep itself has never gotten any love in this category (side-eye to you, you evil genius Dunphys), and it is wholly deserving. Transparent is not only extremely well-done, it feels fresher and more culturally relevant than any other comedy, with all the Caitlyn Jenner headlines in recent months—not to mention its Golden Globes surprise victory in January. But Transparent is just not…funny. Not in sort of overy, easily accessible way. And serious comedies don't do well at the Emmys—it's the reason Netflix moved Orange Is the New Black to drama this year.
Lead Actress in a Drama
Claire Danes (Homeland), Viola Davis (How to Get Away With Murder), Taraji P. Henson (Empire), Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black), Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men), Robin Wright (House of Cards)
Who Should Win: Tatiana Maslany The episode she submitted features six (six!) of her characters, all flawlessly portrayed. Orphan Black fans have waited a long time for her to get her props. But a nomination is probably all we'll get—The episode is sadly, just too confusing to anyone who hasn't seen the show before. And Orphan's audience is nowhere near the size of Viola Davis' How to Get Away With Murder or Taraji P. Henson's Empire.
Who Will Win: Viola Davis just feels completely undeniable. As a former two-time Oscar nominee who stunned audiences with her fierceness (cue Annalise Keating's glorious stomp walk!) and her vulnerability and willingness to GO THERE (who can ever forget the wig-lash-off scene with the dead girl's phone?), it just seems hard to imagine anyone else winning. The only thing Viola has going against her, is that How to Get Away With Murder aired so long ago, and also, no leads of any Shonda Rhimes shows have ever won an Emmy. But Viola likely will be the first.
Potential Surprise: Taraji P. Henson. A few months ago, she seemed a lock, but the long list of shocking snubs seem to indicate that for whatever reason (too soapy?), Emmy voters aren't feeling too much love for Empire. Here's hoping Taraji pulls a Cookie and storms the stage—preferably in her signature mink and garters!
Lead Actor in a Drama
Kyle Chandler (Bloodline), Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom), Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul), Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan), Kevin Spacey (House of Cards)
Who Will and Who Should Win: Not only has Jon Hamm been nominated for Mad Men eight times but never won, Mad Men has never won a single acting Emmy and it just does not seem plausible for this iconic show to close out with one for Don Draper! The change in the Emmys voting system should help Hamm finally snag a statue. (Sidenote: But what would become of his and Amy Poehler's annual "losers party?")
Possible Dark Horse: Kyle Chandler has taken it from Jon Hamm before, when he was on (take a knee) Friday Night Lights—and given the strength of Chandler's submitted episode, he could possibly do it again. But I'd like to think Coach Taylor would just bow out gracefully and invite Don Draper to the stage—after an epic speech about fairness. Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can't (let Jon Hamm) Lose.
Lead Actress in a Comedy
Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie), Lisa Kudrow (The Comeback), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep), Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation), Amy Schumer (Inside Amy Schumer), Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie)
Who Should Win: KNOPE WE CAN! Or, we should be able to, dangit. Amy Poehler has yet to win a single Emmy, despite 12 prior nominations for Parks and Recreation and SNL. It's the final year for Leslie Knope to finally get her due—and the world needs that. But of course the world also needs Lisa Kudrow to win for her jaw-droppingly amazing performance in The Comeback's long-awaited second season. We waited 10 years for this, and her turn in the finale, in which her character Valerie won an Emmy would be such perfect foreshadowing—in our dreamy dream world.
Who Will Win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Can she ever lose? Probably not, but if anyone can it would be the A-List comedian of the hour: Amy Schumer Having a big summer movie worked for Melissa McCarthy, and Schumer is certainly deserving!
Lead Actor in a Comedy
Anthony Anderson (Black-ish), Louis C.K. (Louie), Don Cheadle (House of Lies), Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth), Matt LeBlanc (Episodes), William H. Macy (Shameless), Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent)
Who Will and Who Should Win: George Freaking Bluth! Or, sorry, make that Jeffrey Tambor, star of Amazon's incredible and groundbreaking series Transparent. The series itself might be too dark to win—but Tambor himself gives an unparalleled performance, and it is long overdue for Tambor to have a trophy in his hands. Poor George got snubbed year after year. They Blue it! Time to rectify here.
Potential Surprise: Will Forte. The Last Man on Earth might be too new to garner enough recognition, but Forte's work on this show is nothing less than stunning, having created, written and of course starred in it (initially, as the only cast member around). If season two holds up to season one, he's got a really good shot at taking home a trophy to his sports-ball friends.
Check back later this week for the rest of my predictions—and a chance to show how much smarter you are than me at predictions and win swag from your favorite shows!
You can also catch me talking more predictions/Jon Hamm justice on E!'s Countdown to the Emmys and Live From the Red Carpet this Sunday on E!