The 2016 Primetime Emmy awards are two months away, but the announcement of the nominations have already opened the door to speculation, predictions, and discussions about snubs, surprises, wild cards and sure wins. It’s no surprise that Game of Thrones dominates the Emmys with nominations in as many as 23 categories, followed closely by the dramatisation of a real-life trial in The People v OJ Simpson, which has received 22 nominations.
The predictable nods for shows like Veep and Modern Family are accompanied by quite a few surprises, such as the recognition of Netflix’s Master of None after its debut season and the eventual nod for The Americans after four seasons. There are many snubs, such as the dark and gritty Jessica Jones or the supremely talented women in Orange Is the New Black. Outlander and Narcos are also not in the race. There is no mentions of Rachel Bloom for Crazy Ex-girlfriend, Aya Cash after a glorious season of You’re the Worst, or Eva Green for Penny Dreadful. Meanwhile, Beyoncé’s first venture into filmmaking, Lemonade, has received four nominations. The awards will be announced only on September 4, but our honour roll is ready.
Outstanding Drama Series nominations: Mr Robot, The Americans, Better Call Saul, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, Homeland, House of Cards.
Our choice: Mr Robot The award may stay with HBO for Game of Thrones this year again. But an Emmy nomination for the critically acclaimed and Golden Globe winning Mr. Robot highlights an adventurous and bold choice made by the Emmy selectors, and one that might pay off for the show as early as its first season. The complex and captivating hacker drama continues to be a game-changer for television by being as popular as it is experimental and groundbreaking.
Outstanding Comedy Series nominations: Black-ish, Master of None, Modern Family, Silicon Valley, Transparent, Veep, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Our choice: Veep The competition is fierce: the magnificent Transparent, the fresh breakaway hit Master of None, the consistently endearing and funny Modern Family, and the newer comedic genius of Black-ish. But we place our bets again on HBO’s Veep (if not on the network’s brilliant comedy Silicon Valley, which is at a close second in our predictions). This year, the series hits closer home as Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s relentless Selena Meyer parallels a real-life female frontrunner in the US presidential elections, adding relevance to a formula that already works and very well.
Outstanding Limited Series nominations: American Crime, The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, Fargo, The Night Manager, Roots.
Our choice: The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story With as many as 22 nominations, the series is billed to win big, and it should. Based on the real-life OJ Simpson murder trial in the 1990s, the series has received Emmy nods for all members of the incredible cast, and this category is just one of the many in which it stands to take home the gong.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series nominations: Kyle Chandler, Bloodline; Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul; Rami Malek, Mr. Robot; Matthew Rhys, The Americans; Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan’ Kevin Spacey, House of Cards.
Our choice: Rami Malek, Mr. Robot Playing the role of Eliot has already won Rami Malek a Golden Globe right off the show’s first season. While the choice to give him an Emmy for the original performance as an emotionally fragile hacker would be one that is bold in the face of celebrated actors like Kevin Spacey and Bob Odenkirk, it would be a welcome one.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series nominations: Claire Danes, Homeland; Keri Russell, The Americans; Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder; Taraji P Henson, Empire; Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black; Robin Wright, House of Cards.
Our choice: Keri Russell, The Americans It’s very much possible for Keri Russell to take home her first Emmy with her first ever nomination for The Americans – a show that has been going strong, but has been snubbed by the jury for as many as four seasons.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series nominations: Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul; Kit Harington, Game of Thrones; Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones; Michael Kelly, House of Cards; Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline; Jon Voight, Ray Donovan.
Our choice: Kit Harington, Game of Thrones Every year, I hope and pray that the Emmy will go to Peter Dinklage again, but not this time. While Dinklage’s Tyrion Lannister is still one of the most interesting characters in the huge ensemble cast of HBO’s Game of Thrones, this season was all about Kit Harington’s Jon Snow. Since his resurrection, Jon Snow has reestablished himself at the centre of the epic drama series, depicting emotional intense moments, as well as long-drawn and painstakingly shot battle sequences. Jon Snow is finally the king of the north. Let’s just give him the Emmy already!
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series nomination: Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones; Maura Tierney, The Affair; Lena Headey, Game of Thrones; Dame Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey; Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones; Constance Zimmer, UnReal.
Our choice: Maura Tierney, The Affair Even with the flawless Dame Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess and the powerful cast of Game of Thrones, Maura Tierney’s Helen in The Affair is a shining character striving to piece her life together after a messy divorce while dealing with a hit-and-run trial. The role won Tierney a Golden Globe, and it won’t be bad if she could take away the Emmy too.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series nominations: Aziz Ansari, Master of None; Anthony Anderson, Black-ish; Will Forte, Last Man on Earth; William H Macy, Shameless; Thomas Middleditch, Silicon Valley; Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent.
Our choice: Aziz Ansari, Master of None Agreed, Ansari faces competition from the incredible Jeffrey Tambor. But his fresh and alternative comedy on the subject of diversity in Hollywood has seen him in shades all too different from his role in the highly acclaimed Parks and Recreation. The nomination is well deserved, and a probable win would be too.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series nominations: Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep; Laurie Metcalf, Getting On; Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish; Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer; Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie.
Our choice: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep No matter how the presidential elections may be going for Hillary Clinton, the many hilarious parallels with HBO’s Selena Meyer may just help Julia Louis-Dreyfus steamroll into another Emmy win. And if we’re being completely honest, when is she not absolutely brilliant?
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie nominations: Bryan Cranston, All the Way; Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: The Abominable Bride; Idris Elba, Luther; Cuba Gooding Jr., The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story; Tom Hiddleston, The Night Manager; Courtney B Vance, The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.
Our choice: Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: The Abominable Bride Look at this list! How unfair is it to ask a jury to choose between Idris Elba, Tom Hiddleston, and Benedict Cumberbatch? Each of these characters and performances has been excellent this past year, and Cuba Gooding Jr and Courtney B Vance have also played integral parts in the powerful and remarkable ensemble cast of The People Vs. OJ Simpson. But after much deliberation, we’re giving our vote to Cumberbatch for Sherlock: The Abominable Bride. The new year special saw Cumberbatch play the eponymous Sherlock Holmes, both in the 1800s and in a parallel-present day track.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie nominations: Kirsten Dunst, Fargo, Felicity Huffman, American Crime, Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, Lili Taylor, American Crime, Kerry Washington, Confirmation, Sarah Paulson, The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.
Our choice: Sarah Paulson, The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story Paulson deserves a statue for her awe-inspiring portrayal of prosecutor Marcia Clark in FX’s anthology series. The odds are tremendously in Paulson’s favour – that is, if the win doesn’t go to Kirsten Dunst for Fargo.
Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series nominations: Downton Abbey, Episode 9, Michael Engler; Game of Thrones, The Door, Jack Bender; Homeland, The Tradition of Hospitality, Lesli Linka Glatter; ; Game of Thrones, "Battle of the Bastards, Miguel Sapochnik Ray Donovan, Exsuscito, David Hollander; The Knick, This Is All We Are, Steven Soderbergh.
Our choice: Game of Thrones, Battle of the Bastards, Miguel Sapochnik While The Door was the most heart-wrenching episodes in the latest season of Game of Thrones, our vote still goes to the faultless episode that was the Battle of the Bastards. The episode was pure brilliance, featuring a stunning battle sequence and the invincible Jon Snow.
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series nominations: Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang, Master of None (Parents); Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan, Catastrophe (Episode 1); Alec Berg, Silicon Valley (The Uptick); Dan O’Keefe, Silicon Valley (Founder Friendly); David Mandel, Veep (Morning After); Alex Gregory and Peter Hyuck, Veep (Mother).
Our choice: Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan, Catastrophe (Episode 1) Can we please just acknowledge how well deserved this would be? Catastrophe is a wonderfully written and hilarious series about a woman and a man who get married when a week of random hooking up leads to pregnancy. Delaney and Horgan, the writers, creators and stars of the show, are nominated fresh off their win at the BAFTA awards in the best comedy writing category, and have entered the very effective pilot episode for the Emmys.
Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series nominations: Mike Judge, Silicon Valley (Founder Friendly); Aziz Ansari, Master of None (Parents); Alec Berg, Silicon Valley (Daily Active Users); Jill Soloway, Transparent (Man on the Land); Dale Stern, Veep (Mother); Chris Addison, Veep (Morning After).
Our choice: Aziz Ansari, Master of None (Parents) The nominated episode was aimed at bridging the generational divide by juxtaposing the immigrant experience of parents and their adult children. Shot over a range of locations depicting Indian marketplaces, Taiwanese villages, American hospitals, restaurants and their childhood and current homes, the episode was an absolute triumph for the show’s first season.