On Saturday we tackled the Miniseries/TV movie races for the Emmys, so now we’ll go with the big five Comedy races (I’m not even going to begin to predict the Guest categories-if you have a pool going, inevitably pick Ellen Burstyn, Cloris Leachman, Bob Newhart, and critically-celebrated SNL hosts and you’ll be fine, as they are always nominated).
Best Comedy Series
1. Modern Family
2. The Big Bang Theory
5. Orange is the New Black
The Lowdown: Before you start to argue with me, this is for a nomination, not a win, so Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory, currently two of the biggest cash cows on network television thanks to syndication, are certainly going to at least compete here (for the record, the Emmys have a six-wide field for their big categories, so I’m not cheating by listing six). Veep, Louie, and Girls all have that critically-acclaimed angle, and while none of them feel quite like “winners” (and Girls in particular seems vulnerable), I doubt they miss their nomination. Finally, there’s the quintessential zeitgeist show Orange is the New Black which under normal circumstances would be too edgy for Emmy (she’s a traditional girl), but the critical acclaim and gigantic press (along with the blessing Netflix received last year for House of Cards) makes this the likely recipient of 30 Rock's slot. If it (or Girls) fall, expect Brooklyn Nine-Nine (which will be nominated in the acting races) to use its critical darling on a network station angle (a great rarity these days) to break into the club.
The Winner?: If it can make it to a nomination, I think Orange is the New Black has the momentum to finally oust Modern Family, which seems certain to miss after four years on the top. Also watch out for Big Bang, which the Emmys may want to acknowledge considering its perch as one of the biggest shows of the decade.
Best Actor in a Comedy
1. Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
2. Louis C.K., Louie
3. Don Cheadle, House of Lies
4. Andy Samberg, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
5. Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
6. William H. Macy, Shameless
The Lowdown: A lot of people seem to be predicting Robin Williams for The Crazy Ones, and in one way I get it-he’s a former TV star who made a splashy return to television after winning an Oscar and becoming a legend. However, Emmy doesn’t usually go for the cancelled shows unless they were cancelled of their own accord, and so I’m going with Macy, who has a long run on Shameless (and that show shifting to Comedy, which should help in a weaker field) and has long been an Emmy favorite. With the exception of Samberg, the other four men are frequent nominees at an awards show that loves frequent nominees, and Samberg’s nomination after his big Globe win seems inevitable.
The Winner?: If he manages to land a nomination for Best Series, Samberg could be the start of a run of wins. Otherwise, I’d guess this is between a fourth win for Parsons or CK finally cracking through in this field.
Best Actress in a Comedy
1. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
2. Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
3. Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
4. Lena Dunham, Girls
5. Taylor Schilling, Orange is the New Black
6. Anna Faris, Mom
The Lowdown: The first three are mortal locks, and I feel like Dunham is too famous to get snubbed for both Series and Actress (I’m currently predicting she doesn’t have to worry about either). Schilling benefits from a weak field (not to slam her, but it’s hard to get in with Emmy if you don’t have a previous nomination, so she’s not only setting herself up for success this year, but in future, more difficult years). The final slot is actually a crapshoot. Faris makes sense because Chuck Lorre stars tend to get Emmy nominations, but this could just as easily be Melissa McCarthy for Mike and Molly, Mindy Kaling for The Mindy Project, or even Wendi McLendon-Covey for The Goldbergs (which was a surprise hit).
The Winner?: Probably Louis-Dreyfus, who had an awesome season and is helped by a weak field. If anyone tops her, it could well be Poehler, who has ten Emmy nominations and no wins, and just picked up a Golden Globe. Then again, sentiment didn’t work for Jane Kaczmarek or Steve Carell, and it’s not even Poehler’s final season…so probably Louis-Dreyfus.
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy
1. Ty Burrell, Modern Family
2. Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
3. Tony Hale, Veep
4. Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
5. Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
6. Adam Driver, Girls
The Lowdown: Occasionally you have to defy all reason in a category and go with someone you love, which is what I’m doing with Adam Driver. Driver doesn’t make quite as much sense as Girls starts to wind down a bit in cultural significance, but he had such a good season that I’m picking him over more likely Ed O’Neill (who has missed with Emmy before and wasn’t really the focus this year). All of the other nominees seem pretty much entrenched, but Eric Stonestreet’s stunning miss last year does mean that anything could happen with so many contenders from the same show.
The Winner?: Probably Andre Braugher-Modern Family stars will split their awards, Hale just won, and Driver is too young to beat such a seasoned crew. Plus, the Emmys love Andre Braugher.
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy
1. Julie Bowen, Modern Family
2. Allison Janney, Mom
3. Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
4. Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
5. Kate Mulgrew, Orange is the New Black
6. Merritt Wever, Nurse Jackie
The Lowdown: After four pretty lackluster races, we finally arrive at a real competition for a nomination (perhaps it will be a repeat of last year and they’ll need seven again?). While Jane Lynch is surely out, the other women from last year are back as contenders, but are joined by two major competitors: Allison Janney as the scene-stealer of Mom and Kate Mulgrew in Orange is the New Black. Janney is an Emmy favorite (four trophies for The West Wing) so she’s in. However, I cannot quite get a hold on Mulgrew vs. Wever vs. Chlumsky vs. maybe Margo Martindale in The Millers. All four women have arguments in their corner, so I’m going with Mulgrew (who has gotten mad press for the season two rollout) and Wever (who just won, and gave a particularly memorable speech last year) over Chlumsky and Martindale, but any combination of these four women for the final two slots makes sense.
The Winner?: Emmy isn’t very sentimental, but you have to assume that the voters are aware that Sofia Vergara, the breakout star of Modern Family, should have won by now, right? However, if she couldn’t win last year with her pregnancy plotline, I find it difficult to believe she’ll pull it off now. I’m guessing that the Chuck Lorre machine will be able to win this one for Janney.