2016 Emmys Reactions and Predictions

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I should preface this article by stating that I am only one man, so it’s virtually impossible for me to have watched every entry on the list. I’m basing my reactions and predictions on first hand experience, plus hearsay regarding the quality of certain shows and who/what was nominated in the past. I don’t claim to be an expert but I would argue I am informed.

Let’s get started, shall we?

My Major Reactions and Predictions:

Outstanding Drama Series: The Americans, Better Call Saul, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, Homeland, House of Cards, Mr. Robot

The biggest surprise for me is that Homeland managed to stay on the list, whereas Orange Is the New Black, which previously jumped from Comedy to Drama, is conspicuously absent. Is Homeland even still relevant? My impression was that most of the buzz died for it around its third season. It’s nice to see The Americans recognized, as I hear it’s an excellent show.

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The rest is pretty standard. I would have been shocked if Mr. Robot, which I grossly underestimated when it won the Golden Globe, wasn’t here. It should be interesting to see if Game of Thrones can win two years in a row. It managed to win last year, despite season 5 being a controversial and, in some people’s eyes, lackluster, year. Season 6, on the other hand, garnered enormous praise, even if it felt noticeably different since it wasn’t directly based off a book. Episodes like “Battle of the Bastards” could put it on top the way The Return of the King did for The Lord of the Rings at the Oscars. Expect it or newcomer Mr. Robot to win.

Outstanding Comedy Series: black-ish, Master of None, Modern Family, Silicon Valley, Transparent, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Veep

I’m going to just go ahead and admit that comedy is not typical viewing material, at least when it comes to TV and movies. That being said, I’m aware of what’s popular. Veep won last year and Modern Family has been an Emmys darling in the past, but that doesn’t mean a new show couldn’t prevail. If that does come to pass, my money would be on Aziz Ansari’s Master of None. I do have to give credit to black-ish for making it to the list. I didn’t think the show could generate enough stories from its premise, but apparently it’s really struck a cord with people.

Notable absences are Orange Is the New Black and Louie, since it’s on hiatus. Orange Is the New Black not being nominated for Drama or Comedy is huge.

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Outstanding Limited Series: American Crime, Fargo, The Night Manager, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, Roots

The Limited Series categories are actually the one I’m most excited to talk about. People loved Season 2 of Fargo and it was probably the frontrunner to sweep everything until The People v. O.J. Simpson happened. The People v. O.J. Simpson was nothing short of a phenomenon. True, ESPN had O.J.: Made in America, but they aired that within a week. The FX series had people talking for 10 weeks. American Crime (not to be confused with American Crime Story) flew under a lot of viewers’ radars but it’s no surprise to me that it’s on here. It was a powerful miniseries, even if it did get fairly ridiculous after awhile, and even though I still have mixed feelings on the ending. Rounding out the list are Roots, which was also highly praised but nowhere as big as the ‘70s incarnations, and The Night Manager.

I’m going to be very upset if The People v. O.J. Simpson doesn’t win, but luckily the odds are it will. The only thing dragging it down is the aforementioned 30 for 30, which covered a lot of the same material but with real footage.

Outstanding TV Movie: All the Way, Confirmation, LutherSherlock: The Abominable Bride, A Very Murray Christmas

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If Cranston doesn’t win for LBJ, he still wins some sort of victory with All the Way. It’s my belief that the Emmys just loves him too much not to give him something. If not him, it will be Confirmation. I don’t think that anything can beat these two politically charged films, because really, they won’t appear serious enough in comparison. I mean, what to pick: Bill Murray goofing off or important dramas about civil rights and gender, respectively? We all need a little Bill Murray in our lives, but come on.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series: Kyle Chandler for Bloodline, Rami Malek for Mr. Robot, Bob Odenkirk for Better Call Saul, Matthew Rhys for The Americans, Liev Schreiber for Ray Donovan, Kevin Spacey for House of Cards

Last year’s winner, Jon Hamm, is out, as is Jeff Daniels, since both of their series have ended. There is a good chance that Bob Odenkirk could finally win an acting Emmy (having previously won a few for writing). He would certainly deserve it, considering he’s shown that he has the ability for both comedy and serious, emotional acting. Kyle Chandler’s place is peculiar, since the new Bloodline season hasn’t been as good as the first supposedly. But hey, this is based purely on acting, so you know I guess that doesn’t matter.

This might be the ceremony’s most unpredictable category. And, honestly, this award could go to anyone and I would cool with it.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series: Claire Danes for Homeland, Viola Davis for How to Get Away with Murder, Taraji P. Henson for Empire, Tatiana Maslany for Orphan Black, Keri Russell for The Americans, Robin Wright for House of Cards

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This is almost the exact same list of actresses as last year. The only difference is Keri Russell is in the running instead of Elisabeth Moss, and as I just said, Mad Men ended. How good must it feel to be Viola Davis right now, given her numerous award nominations over the years and the success of her work (Suicide Squad will make bank too). She’s the favorite in my book. She might have to look out for Taraji P. Henson and especially Keri Russell, given the momentum of the latter’s series. The Americans is one of those shows I’ve really wanted to watch but never had the time, but I’ve always been rooting for it. As for Claire Danes and Tatiana Maslany, I’m going to rule them out. Let’s hope I don’t regret it.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Anthony Anderson for black-ish, Aziz Ansari for Master of None, Will Forte for Last Man on Earth, William H. Macy for Shameless, Thomas Middleditch for Silicon Valley, Jeffrey Tambor for Transparent

Well, after being skipped for two years in a row, it’s safe to say that Jim Parsons’ reign as Emmys king is over. Even the Emmys has realized it’s time for The Big Bang Theory to end.

I’m going to go through this category by ranking the actors from least likely to most likely. At the bottom, put William H. Macy and Thomas Middleditch. Yes, even though I’ve been giving a lot of credit to newcomers, I don’t think Middleditch will win. Next Will Forte and Anthony Anderson; I could see either possibly winning, maybe.

But at the top are Jeffrey Tambor and Aziz Ansari. They both have a couple things going for them. First off, they’re both on streaming services, which are only getting more popular. Second, they’re both wins that would mean something. Tambor has already won before but it can still mean something. It’s a meaty role. Aziz winning would also be a big deal because of how few famous Asian Americans there in entertainment. It would be a step forward. If I’m going with my heart, I want Aziz to win, though on his merits, of course, not just because of his race.

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Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Julia Louis-Dreyfus for Veep, Ellie Kemper for The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Tracee Ellis Ross for black-ish, Laurie Metcalf for Getting On, Amy Schumer for Inside Amy Schumer, Lily Tomlin for Grace and Frankie

Please don’t tell me I’m the only one who’s never heard of Getting On until now. I am somewhat familiar with the actress, Laurie Metcalf. Given the obscurity of the show, if she were to win, it would be a major upset, especially since that would mean she beat Julia Louis-Dreyfus. I guess there’s some reason they nominated Metcalf though, and she has been a mainstay on TV. If not Julia Louis-Dreyfus, I can see Amy Schumer winning. She was never going to beat her BFF Jennifer Lawrence at the Golden Globes, but Schumer has a shot here.

On a side note, it goes to show that just because you win a Golden Globe, doesn’t mean you will get nominated for an Emmy. Rachel Bloom and Gina Rodriguez are nowhere to be found, though I do think that has a little to do with discrimination against the CW.

Oustanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Jonathan Banks for Better Call Saul, Peter Dinklage for Game of Thrones, Ben Mendelsohn for Bloodline, Christian Slater for Mr. Robot, Kit Harington for Game of Thrones, Michael Kelly for House of Cards, Jon Voight for Ray Donovan

Jon Snow got nominated for an Emmy. Let me say that again. Jon Snow got nominated! Seeing as we’re almost at the end of Game of Thrones, I was not expecting to see Kit Harington recognized. But I say good for him. I’m confused though how the academy chooses who’s leading and who’s supporting. Jon Snow is arguably the main character of Game of Thrones, now more than ever. I think they just see an ensemble cast and label everyone as supporting. I guess Sean Bean was really the only true lead actor, though for some reason they didn’t nominate him for season 1. I would also like Nikolaj Coster-Waldau to get nominated and win eventually.

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It’s nice to see Jonathan Banks again, though I would say he was more deserving for last year and probably should have beat Peter Dinklage, unless Ben Mendelsohn were to win, as he was universally praised for Bloodline. Strange to see Mendelsohn nominated for the second season, even though he’s hardly in it. I have a feeling the decision to nominate Jon Voight was difficult, given his political disagreements with most of the industry, but his performance and veteran actor status couldn’t be ignored. But don’t expect him to win. Expect Dinklage, or maybe even Christian Slater, if you believe in Cinderella stories.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Maura Tierney for The Affair, Maggie Smith for Downton Abbey, Lena Headey for Game of Thrones, Emilia Clarke for Game of Thrones, Maisie Williams for Game of Thrones, Constance Zimmer for UnREAL

Lots of new faces here, though only one of these shows is really new. With Orange Is the New Black out, so is Uzo Aduba. What happened? Did they just miss the deadline or something? According to my research, this is possible, as the deadline was May 31st. Game of Thrones appears to fall under the hanging episodes rule, which allows nominees to include episodes after the deadline if they air before the first ballot.

Speaking of Game of Thrones, it’s well represented in this category, but does Maisie Williams deserve the nomination? She’s a good actress, but her storyline was among the weakest of the season, even if it did have a payoff at the end. I guess it’s that acting-only merit again. Actors submit a certain episode for consideration anyway so she must have picked a good one. I would definitely contend that Emilia Clarke does not deserve a nomination for this season, considering she mostly just stared at people and gave one or two recycled speeches. Lena Headey, on the other hand, is quite deserving of her nomination, as always.

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I expect the winner with be either Headey or Zimmer, a newcomer from one of our favorite series here on Pop-Break, the groundbreaking Lifetime series (yes, really) UnREAL.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: Louie Anderson for Baskets, Andre Braugher for Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Keegan-Michael Key for Key & Peele, Ty Burrell for Modern Family, Tituss Burgess for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Tony Hale for Veep, Matt Walsh for Veep

Veep’s chances are very good for this category, given that Tony Hale won last year and the academy nominated it for two different actors. There’s always that risk of splitting the vote though. No Adam Driver this year, even though he had been nominated three consecutive times before. Hopefully the fact that he’s working on an upcoming sci-fi project called Star Wars: Episode VIII makes things better.

This is another difficult to call category, but Tony Hale has won twice. Ty Burrell has also, so keep an eye on him, though I think it’s only one more year before Modern Family goes the way of The Big Bang Theory.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Niece Nash for Getting On, Allison Janney for Mom, Kate McKinnon for Saturday Night Live, Judith Light for Transparent, Gaby Hoffmann for Transparent, Anna Chlumsky for Veep

Alison Janney is an Emmy magnet. She has seven, and in multiple categories. I don’t want to rag on the other nominees, but do you really think you have a shot against Allison Janney? Judith Light is the only one of these actresses that weren’t in the category last year. I suppose it’s possible, but back-to-back winners happen at the Emmys.

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Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie: Bryan Cranston for All the Way, Benedict Cumberbatch for Sherlock: The Abominable Bride, Idris Elba for Luther, Cuba Gooding Jr. for The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, Tom Hiddleston for The Night Manager, Courtney B. Vance for The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

Courtney B. Vance’s dramatic portrayal of Johnnie Cochran was a revelation, simultaneously villainous and heroic in his defense of O.J. Simpson. There may not be a more deserving person in this entire article. He stole the show. Cuba Gooding Jr., on the hand, while good as O.J., was not really a lead. He was the reason why everyone was there, but everyone else overshadowed him. That’s actually part of what made the FX series so good and sets it apart from the also great 30 for 30. Whereas the ESPN documentary focused on O.J., The People v. O.J. Simpson was more about everyone else involved in the legal process and how the case affected their lives. Timothy Hutton of American Crime deserves a nomination more than Gooding, without a doubt.

The only man who can beat Courtney B. Vance is Bryan Cranston. I like Cranston, but if takes home the statue I will never forgive him or the academy.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie: Kirsten Dunst for Fargo, Felicity Huffman for American Crime, Audra McDonald for Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grille, Sarah Paulson for The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, Lili Taylor for American Crime, Kerry Washington for Confirmation

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This is the part where I apologize for naively overreacting about Lady Gaga winning a Golden Globe. The Hollywood Foreign Press got caught up in here celebrity and I was fooled. Many also thought the award should have gone to Kirsten Dunst. Dunst is up again for Fargo but her main competition is Sarah Paulson for her portrayal of Marcia Clark. Sarah Paulson should be the favorite for her tremendous, humanizing performance of the ill-fated lawyer. What the media put Marcia Clark through during the O.J. trail was sexist and unjustified, even if she and Darden did botch the case, though they largely lost because the Dream Team played the race card and eviscerated the LAPD. Feliticy Huffman was a shoo-in to return to this category, but I’m happy that Lili Taylor also made it, considering she really drove American Crime’s narrative.

But, yeah, I’m saying Sarah Paulson all the way.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie: Jesse Plemons for Fargo, Bokeem Woodbine for Fargo, Hugh Laurie for The Night Manager, Sterling K. Brown for The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, David Schwimmer for The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, John Travolta for The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

It’s another round of Fargo versus American Crime Story. Due to the shear amount of nominees from The People v. O.J. Simpson, the odds are in its favor, though we can eliminate John Travolta right off the bat. His performance as Robert Shapiro was so bizarre, though at least he was consistent with how weird it was. It was also pretty entertaining. The award should go to Sterling K. Brown for his role as Chris Darden. Not only was he good in the courtroom, he had great chemistry with Paulson, though the real Chris Darden is less than thrilled with the show suggesting that he and Clark were romantically involved. Of course, whether or not it’s true, you don’t kiss and tell.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie: Melissa Leo for All The Way, Regina King for American Crime, Sarah Paulson for American Horror Story: Hotel, Kathy Bates for American Horror Story: Hotel, Jean Smart for Fargo, Olivia Colman for The Night Manager

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No, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. Sarah Paulson was nominated for two different categories in the same year, both under Limited Series. Can you imagine if she were to win both? Regina King won last year for American Crime and here she is again. I don’t think it would be that crazy if she won two years in a row. Jean Smart is a former winner too and loved by the academy.

I’m going with another multiple Emmy winner, Bates, but it really is anyone’s category.

Other Things of Note:

    • If the academy doesn’t give Game of Thrones the directing Emmy for “Battle of the Bastards,” everyone who voted against it should resign.
    • Adventure Time or Steven Universe will probably win, and the Internet will love it because they both have large followings from adult millenials (not that there’s anything wrong with that). If the new Powerpuff Girls win, they will riot. If Robot Chicken wins, and it could, they’ll be okay.
    • South Park will probably win an Emmy or two, though you can never count Seth McFarlane out for voice acting.
    • The Late Late Show with James Corden got nominated but The Late Show with Stephen Colbert didn’t. That’s not a good sign. I could seriously see CBS giving Colbert the boot and replacing him with Corden. This makes me sad.
    • The Amazing Race will win its umpteenth Emmy and further devalue the reality show award.
    • Inside Amy Schumer or Key & Peele will win for Variety Sketch Series.

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Aaron Sarnecky is Pop-Break’s television editor and covers Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., among other things. He is a graduate of Rowan University with a degree in television and film. He probably remembers that show you forgot existed. Follow him on Twitter: @AaronSarnecky