Allison and Adam Predict the 2014 Primetime Emmy Winners

     August 23, 2014


It was another fantastic year for television, and the 2014 Emmy nominations mostly captured that (…more or less). But when it comes to winners, the Emmys can be a wily beast, as seen in last year’s bevy of baffling wins (Jeff Daniels for NewsroomBobby Cannavale for Boardwalk Empire, among others).  Expect the expected with the Emmys, usually — unless they go completely off the wall.

This year, I have requested the expertise of Collider’s own Adam Chitwood to assist me with picks, not only because he closely follows the awards circuit year-round, he also has a much better track record than I do for picking awards winners in general.  Hit the jump for our guesses about how the results will play out and why in our 2014 Emmy predictions.  The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by Seth Meyers, will air live on NBC Monday, August 25th at 8pm ET/5pm PT.

Drama Series

  • true-detective-woody-harrelson-matthew-mcconaugheyBreaking Bad
  • Downton Abbey
  • Game of Thrones
  • House of Cards
  • Mad Men
  • True Detective

Allison’s Picks

Should Win: True Detective

Will Win: True Detective

Dark Horse: Breaking Bad

It’s hard to imagine Breaking Bad as a dark horse, but True Detective’s inaugural season was such an unexpected gem in every arena (acting, writing, directing — heck, even T. Bone Burnett‘s soundtrack), that its impact will be impossible for Emmy voters to ignore (and they love a new contender).  If this was any other season of Breaking Bad than the final one, though, I’d say True Detective was a lock.  Though Breaking Bad’s excellent final run could easily win, ultimately, HBO owns the voting cards, and it’s almost a sure bet they play them here.

Adam’s Picks 


Should Win: True Detective

Will Win: True Detective

Dark Horse: Breaking Bad 

First off, thanks to Allison for asking me to join in on the Emmy fun.  Second, I have no idea what I’m doing re: predicting TV awards, so let’s get started! This here’s a two-way race between True Detective and Breaking Bad, and boy is it a hell of a Sophie’s Choice.  If you take the entirety of Breaking Bad’s final season I think it might run away with the lead here, but the fact that AMC split it into two halves slightly hinders its impact.  True Detective, on the other hand, was just a phenomenal piece of storytelling from beginning to end that came out of nowhere.  The buzz has died down a tad, and I could certainly see Breaking Bad pulling out the win, but I think True Detective takes this one home by a hair.

Lead Actress in a Drama

  • masters-of-sex-lizzy-caplanLizzy Caplan – Masters of Sex
  • Claire Danes – Homeland
  • Michelle Dockery – Downton Abbey
  • Julianna Margulies – The Good Wife
  • Kerry Washington – Scandal
  • Robin Wright – House of Cards

Allison’s Picks

Should Win: Julianna Marguiles

Will Win: Lizzy Caplan

Dark Horse: Kerry Washington

Last year’s Emmy awards showed a preference for new faces (something the Emmys don’t usually have much of), which is why I’m giving the edge to Lizzy Caplan for her fearless portrayal in Masters of Sex‘s first season.  On the flip side, perennial nominee and former winner Julianna Margulies, and her show The Good Wife, had an exceptional season, and Margulies could be rewarded for it after a few years away from the podium.  Kerry Washington is most certainly also in the mix, and a win would definitely not be an upset.

Adam’s Picks 

scandal-kerry-washingtonShould Win: Robin Wright

Will Win: Kerry Washington

Dark Horse: Lizzy Caplan 

The heat of Homeland’s first season is long gone by now, and even though the Emmys do like to stick to their old favorites, I have feeling Danes will be giving up this category this year.  Robin Wright was absolutely the MVP of House of Cards’ second season, but critical reaction to season two was a tad more mixed overall.  Lizzy Caplan has been generating some serious buzz, but I’m not sure enough Academy members have seen Masters of Sex for her to win.  Which leads me to think that Kerry Washington might take this trophy home for Scandal’s breakout season. 

Lead Actor in a Drama

  • true-detective-finale-matthew-mcconaugheyBryan Cranston – Breaking Bad
  • Jeff Daniels – The Newsroom
  • Jon Hamm – Mad Men
  • Woody Harrelson – True Detective
  • Matthew McConaughey – True Detective
  • Kevin Spacey – House of Cards 

Allison’s Picks

Should Win: Matthew McConaughey

Will Win: Mathew McConaughey

Dark Horse: Bryan Cranston

Once again, I have Breaking Bad and True Detective squaring off.  It’s also, again, almost inconceivable to think of Bryan Cranston as a dark horse.  But the McConaissance is strong, and this could still be his year, keeping his awards run going.  On the other hand, Emmy voters could be looking to reward Cranston for his many years of exceptional performances.  Tough call.  This category last year had one of the biggest surprises taking home the prize, but it was also an actor (like McConaughey) who was not a regular on the list.

Adam’s Picks 

breaking-bad-rabid-dog-bryan-cranstonShould Win: Matthew McConaughey

Will Win: Matthew McConaughey

Dark Horse: Bryan Cranston 

Talk about a stacked category.  I’ve resigned myself to the fact that the Academy will never reward Jon Hamm for his impeccable work on Mad Men, and in some ways Woody Harrelson’s work on True Detective was more integral to its overall success than McConaughey’s, but the latter got the more showy role–and boy did McConaughey make it sing.  It’s a shame that Cranston’s final season of Breaking Bad happened to coincide with both True Detective and the McConnaisance, but somewhat surprisingly the McConaughey backlash has yet to come.  His work on True Detective was transcendent, and I have a feeling Emmy voters won’t give up the chance to get him on the stage.  Or they could continue their WTF streak and give it to Jeff Daniels again, in which case all hell might genuinely break loose (and this is coming from someone who actually likes The Newsroom). 

Supporting Actress in a Drama

  • breaking-bad-granite-state-anna-gunnChristine Baranski – The Good Wife
  • Joanne Froggatt – Downton Abbey
  • Anna Gunn – Breaking Bad
  • Lena Headey – Game of Thrones
  • Christina Hendricks – Mad Men
  • Maggie Smith – Downton Abbey 

Allison’s Picks

Should Win: Anna Gunn

Will Win: Christine Baranski

Dark Horse: Maggie Smith

My hunch is that if The Good Wife is not recognized elsewhere in the acting categories, Christine Baranski could get a win here.  It’s definitely deserved, but again, it’s a strong category that, frankly, could go in many different directions.  Anna Gunn was excellent in Breaking Bad‘s final season, and of course Maggie Smith is always a favorite.  Dame Maggie had a little more to her role in this season of Downton, and that could make the difference, as she is a recurring Emmy favorite.

downton-abbey-season-4-episode-7-maggie-smithAdam’s Picks 

Should Win: Anna Gunn

Will Win: Anna Gunn

Dark Horse: Maggie Smith 

Gunn submitted the best episode in Breaking Bad’s entire run, “Ozymandias”, for consideration, in which she turns in a phenomenal performance.  The Emmys do love them some Maggie Smith, but I’d be surprised if Gunn doesn’t win a very deserved second trophy for her stellar work in the concluding episodes of Breaking Bad.

Supporting Actor in a Drama

  • breaking-bad-confessions-aaron-paulJim Carter – Downton Abbey
  • Josh Charles – The Good Wife
  • Peter Dinklage – Game of Thrones
  • Mandy Patinkin – Homeland
  • Aaron Paul – Breaking Bad
  • Jon Voight – Ray Donovan 

Allison’s Picks

Should Win: Aaron Paul

Will Win: Aaron Paul

Dark Horse: Jon Voight

This stacked category is a tough call every year, and is probably the biggest toss-up.  Aaron Paul was absolutely incredible in Breaking Bad, though, and (like every year) deserves the win (bitch!).  But Jon Voight’s magnetic presence in Ray Donovan could be an upset, since he was a big part of what made that show’s first season such a great watch, and (as I mention elsewhere), Emmy voters like rewarding older actors where they can.

game-of-thrones-laws-gods-men-peter-dinklageAdam’s Picks 

Should Win: Peter Dinklage

Will Win: Josh Charles

Dark Horse: Aaron Paul 

This is a tough category.  Dinklage did some of his best work to date in this season of Game of Thrones, Josh Charles had a buzzy sendoff in the underrated The Good Wife, and Aaron Paul was spectacular as always, but played a more minor role in these last few episodes of Breaking Bad.  Any one of the three could (and should) win, but I’m predicting a slight upset with Charles taking the trophy. 

Writing for a Drama Series

  • breaking-bad-ozymandias-anna-gunnBreaking Bad, “Felina” – Vince Gilligan
  • Breaking Bad, “Ozymandas” – Moira Walley-Beckett
  • Game of Thrones, “The Children” – David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
  • House of Cards, “Chapter 14” – Beau Willimon
  • True Detective, “The Secret Fate of All Life” – Nic Pizzolatto

Allison’s Picks

Should Win: “Ozymandias”

Will Win: “Felina”

Dark Horse: “The Secret Fate of All Life”

Though the recent Nic Pizzolatto-focused backlash (and the backlash to the backlash) might have lessened his new star-power somewhat, it’s unlikely to have affected Emmy voters.  Instead, their loyalties will likely be divided between two Breaking Bad episodes.  “Ozymandias” is not only one of the best hours of Breaking Bad, it’s one of the best on TV of all time.  But Emmy voters don’t necessarily think that way.  They will want to reward Vince Gilligan individually, which, if that doesn’t come in the directing category, is likely to come here.

true-detective-woody-harrelson-the-secret-fate-of-all-lifeAdam’s Picks 

Should Win: “Ozymandias”

Will Win: “Ozymandias”

Dark Horse: “The Secret Fate of All Life”

Another category in which it really comes down to Breaking Bad vs. True Detective.  The dual nods for Breaking Bad could work against the series, with some voting for the strongest episode “Ozymandias” and others wanting to reward showrunner Vince Gilligan for the solid series finale.  The True Detective finale was fantastic but wasn’t the show’s strongest episode and Pizzolatto has been in a bit of hot water as of late, so I’m giving the slight edge to Breaking Bad and hoping the Academy chooses wisely with the masterpiece “Ozymandias.” 

Directing for a Drama Series

  • cary-fukunaga-true-detectiveBoardwalk Empire, “Farewell Daddy Blues” – Tim Van Patten
  • Breaking Bad, “Felina” – Vince Gilligan
  • Downton Abbey, “Episode One” – David Evans
  • Game of Thrones, “The Watchers on the Wall” – Neil Marshall
  • House of Cards, “Chapter 14” – Carl Franklin
  • True Detective, “Who Goes There” – Cary Joji Fukunaga

Allison’s Picks

Should Win: “Who Goes There”

Will Win: “Felina”

Dark Horse: “The Watchers on the Wall”

Cary Joji Fukunaga was arguably the element that made True Detective so incredibly distinct.  Under his direction, the bayous came alive, the sky sparkled, and McConaughey’s facial shadows have never been deeper.  But his most notable contribution was the much-discussed six-minute, uncut, nightmarish tracking sequence at the end of “Who Goes There” that should have sealed the deal on his win.  However, Vince Gilligan could pull out a win for “Felina,” especially if Gilligan doesn’t get a win in another category (why Rian Johnson wasn’t nominated for “Ozymandias” is another of the great Emmy mysteries — he would have been a shoo-in).

breaking-bad-felina-vince-gilliganAdam’s Picks 

Should Win: “Who Goes There”

Will Win: “Who Goes There”

Dark Horse: “The Watchers on the Wall” 

Somewhat surprisingly, Breaking Bad has never won this category.  Though the Academy could feel like rewarding Gilligan simply for crafting one of the best shows in history, this category tends to veer towards more showy winners (Fincher for House of Cards, Scorsese for Boardwalk Empire), so I’m thinking Fukunaga rightfully takes the win for his phenomenal work on True Detective.  The directing on the show was as equally important as the writing and performances, and it helps that “Who Goes There” is the episode that ended with Fukunaga’s insane long take.

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