The Academy will announce the Emmy nominations on Thursday. It’s always a crapshoot in predicting what strikes voters’ fancy, but it’s usually whatever struck their fancy last year. I’m going a little more in depth this year, picking which six (or sometimes seven) nominees I think will make the cut, plus a list of potential spoilers, ranked from most to least likely, including their previous Emmy nomination history. As always, the header photo represents the frontrunner.
• House of Cards (Netflix) – new show
• The Americans (FX) – new show
• Boardwalk Empire (HBO) – 2
In my dreams: The Newsroom (HBO)
The skinny: Yikes. What a tough category. Though it’s always a bad idea to bet against HBO, it seems Boardwalk Empire is the most likely to fall. I think it hurts the show that it airs so early in the year. But it’s no shame to lose out to what’s arguably the most popular drama on TV (The Walking Dead). But there’s still the possibility that even that could lose out to a paradigm-shifting political drama on Netflix or a show that made the Cold War exciting.
• Matthew Rhys, The Americans (new show, never previously nominated)
• Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire (2)
• Andre Braugher, Last Resort (1 for Gideon’s Crossing, 2 including 1 win for Homicide)
• Timothy Olyphant, Justified (1)
• Jeremy Piven, Mr. Selfridge (never in this category)
In my dreams: Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
The skinny: Again Boardwalk Empire falls as a new show makes its way into the fray. Even if House of Cards doesn’t get broad support, it’s hard to imagine voters not singling out the impressive work of Kevin Spacey. If I had my way, Hugh Bonneville would be cast aside for Matthew Rhys or Jeff Daniels.
• Keri Russell, The Americans (new show, never previously nominated)
• Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (8 including 1 win)
• Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer (5 including 1 win)
• Kerry Washington, Scandal (new show, never previously nominated)
• Mireille Enos, The Killing (1)
• Robin Wright, House of Cards (new show, never previously nominated)
In my dreams: Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
The skinny: You can pretty much call this category right here. Kyra Sedgwick and Mariska Hargitay were once powerhouses, but they’ve both been out for at least a year, and it’s very hard to break back in.
• Corey Stoll, House of Cards (new show, never previously nominated)
• Noah Emmerich, The Americans (new show, never previously nominated)
• Brendan Coyle, Downton Abbey (1)
• Jim Carter, Downton Abbey (1)
• Alan Cumming, The Good Wife (1 in this category, 1 as Guest Actor)
• Peter Sarsgaard, The Killing (never previously nominated)
• Josh Charles, The Good Wife (1)
• Walton Goggins, Justified (1)
In my dreams: Mads Mikkelsen, Hannibal
The skinny: The only one in danger here is Dan Stevens, and his competition is only his Downton Abbey co-stars. But oh how I wish Mads Mikkelsen could get nominated. What he’s doing on Hannibal is so extraordinary, and miles away from what Anthony Hopkins or Brian Cox did with the role. But it will be a miracle if that show gets anything beyond technical awards.
• Elizabeth McGovern, Downton Abbey (1 as Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie)
• Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife (3 including 1 win)
• January Jones, Mad Men (1 as Lead Actress)
• Kelly Macdonald, Boardwalk Empire (1)
• Rose Byrne, Damages (1)
• Sandra Oh, Grey’s Anatomy (5)
• Chandra Wilson, Grey’s Anatomy (4)
In my dreams: Olivia Munn, The Newsroom
The skinny: Again, Joanne Froggatt is the only one in danger here. Her competition is Elizabeth McGovern and Elizabeth McGovern only.
• Derek Luke, The Americans (new show, never previously nominated)
• Dylan Baker, The Good Wife (2)
• Andre Braugher, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (never in this category; 2 as Supporting Actor for Men of a Certain Age; 1 as Lead Actor for Gideon’s Crossing, 2 including 1 win for Homicide; 1 win as Lead Actor in a Miniseries for Thief)
• Jason Ritter, Parenthood (1)
• Beau Bridges, Franklin & Bash (1 for Brothers & Sisters, 1 for The Closer, 1 for The Outer Limits)
• Ray Romano, Parenthood (never in this category)
In my dreams: Gerald McRaney, House of Cards
The skinny: As always, a crap shoot. The only lock is Michael J. Fox.
DRAMA GUEST ACTRESS
Patricia Arquette, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Joan Cusack, Shameless
Jane Fonda, The Newsroom
Shirley MacLaine, Downton Abbey
Margo Martindale, The Americans
Julia Ormond, Mad Men
Martha Plimpton, The Good Wife
• Alfre Woodard, True Blood (1 for this role, 1 win for The Practice, 1 for Homicide, 1 for St. Elsewhere, 1 win for L.A. Law; 11 other nominations including 2 wins)
• Alison Brie, Mad Men (never nominated)
• Debbie Allen, Grey’s Anatomy (never in this category; 4 as Lead Actress for Fame)
• Bernadette Peters, Smash (never in this category)
In my dreams: Gina Torres, Hannibal
The skinny: Who knows?!!!!!!!!!!!! My worst fear is that Margo Martindale is the only representative of that great FX show. Not that she’s undeserving, just that other actors need love too. Same goes for The Newsroom.