The 2014 Emmys: Who Should Be Nominated?

by     Posted 162 days ago

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Before Thursday, when the real 2014 Emmy nominations will become known (and spark, probably, both outrage and boredom), there’s a chance to suggest who should be nominated in each major category.  This isn’t about winners and losers, but about recognizing some of the best talent on TV this past year (or the Emmy year: from June 1, 2013 to May 31, 2014).  There are sure to be some omissions and snubs even within my own list, so hit the jump to check out my choices (and occasional Emmy-rules-bending inclusions).

BEST DRAMA SERIES 

breaking-bad-season-5-episode-16True Detective (HBO)

Game of Thrones (HBO)

Mad Men (AMC)

Breaking Bad (AMC)

In The Flesh (BBC America)

The Good Wife (CBS)

Honorable Mention: The Americans (FX), Banshee (Cinemax), Penny Dreadful (Showtime), Hannibal (NBC), Downton Abbey (PBS), Orphan Black (BBC America), Treme (HBO)

The bottom line is that this was yet another exceptional year for TV dramas. And for once, Mad Men and The Good Wife aren’t included just by default — they had truly great seasons that rank among the best in the series.  The cup overfloweth.  This list was absolutely the most difficult of all to parse down to six, as is plain from my long list of Honorables.  Whoever is actually nominated will surely deserve it, and whoever is left out on Thursday’s list will be a huge snub.  Too much greatness.  We are not worthy.  (And I am not caught up with The Walking Dead or Justified, so yes, those probably also deserve a mention, among others).  Like the comedy category, consider this list (especially the Honorable Mentions, which you may have overlooked) as essential viewing.

BEST ACTRESS – DRAMA SERIES 

mad-men-the-strategy-elisabeth-mossJulianna Margulies (The Good Wife)

Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black)

Keri Russell (The Americans)

Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel)

Elizabeth Moss (Mad Men)

Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey)

The criteria for my best actors and actress nominees in either the Comedy or Drama categories is both about magnetism, and “would the show be lost without them?”  The answer is yes, 100%, for each of these incredible actresses, all of whom define the series in which they star. Soulful performances this year came from Julianna Margulies, Elizabeth Moss and Keri Russell, and as always, there was a can’t-look-away quality to Vera Farmiga and Michelle Dockery’s performances that helped elevate their series even when the series themselves falter.  Strong women, strong characters, and a strong chance that each one is as deserving as the others.  Except maybe for Tatiana Maslany — she deserves it just a little more.

BEST ACTOR – DRAMA SERIES 

true-detective-woody-harrelson-matthew-mcconaugheyMatthew McConaughey (True Detective)

Woody Harrelson (True Detective)

Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)

Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal)

Matthew Rhys (The Americans)

Luke Newberry (In The Flesh)

HBO made a bold move by including True Detective among the Drama nominees instead of miniseries, but that boldness is not without good reason.  Matthew McConaughey continued his McConnaissance with an incredibly hypnotic and engrossing turn as Rust Cohle in True Detective, a character who captured the zeitgeist attention of the nation in the biggest way since … well, probably Bryan Cranston for Breaking Bad (though without Woody Harrelson as a foil, he would not have resonated as much).  Matthew Rhys was exceptional once again in The Americans, growing even deeper as a character, and Mads Mikkelsen continued to make cannibalism look as debonair as, say, Don Draper at Downton Abbey.  One of the most nuanced and emotional portrayals on TV this year though was Luke Newberry in the British zombie series In The Flesh.  No chance of a real nomination Thursday, but he was incredible.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – DRAMA SERIES  

treme-season-4-khandi-alexanderChristina Hendricks (Mad Men)

Hayden Panettiere (Nashville)

Khandi Alexander (Treme)

Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad)

Allison Janney (Masters of Sex)

Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones)

This was probably my favorite category to populate this year, because it’s easier to break out of the expected and make mention of some who are sure to be overlooked on Thursday (except for Christina Hendricks, who does usually get deserved recognition).  Everyone in Treme should be nominated for something, but it was Khandi Alexander who best embodied the spirit of the show and the story it wanted to tell, through her character’s resilience, attitude, and love of New Orleans.  There seems to be a lot of attention predicted for Allison Janney in Mom, but she was one of the most compelling (and most heartbreaking) pieces of Masters of Sex, creating an emotional depth to the show that it very much needed.  Hayden Panettiere makes Nashville worth watching, and gives her troubled starlet character everything she has.  As for Maisie Williams, well, she may be the best child actress employed today.  Her turn on Game of Thrones this year was incredible, and her character closing out the season was perfect.  Shut it down, girl.  Valar Morghulis.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – DRAMA SERIES 

breaking-bad-confessions-aaron-paulAaron Paul (Breaking Bad)

Dean Norris (Breaking Bad)

Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones)

Jon Voight (Ray Donovan)

John Slattery (Mad Men)

Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire)

Like in some of the other categories this year, an expected inclusion — this time, Peter Dinklage — is not a default, but wholly earned.  He helped define this season of Game of Thrones, and personally shouldered at least three of its most memorable scenes.  Jon Voigt was a strange presence on Ray Donovan, but he energized that show in the ways it needed it most (much like John Slattery, who brings some much needed humor and pathos to Mad Men).  And Jack Huston, whose character rose up from the fringes of Boardwalk Empire to become its most beloved, had an incredible swan song this past season — and all done with half a face.  Still, the heavyweights of this stacked category are Aaron Paul and Dean Norris.  Exceptional work from both, which is par for the course.

BEST COMEDY SERIES 

veep-julia-louis-dreyfusLooking (HBO)

Review (Comedy Central)

Silicon Valley (HBO)

Louie (FX)

Veep (HBO)

Orange Is The New Black (Netflix)

Honorable Mention: Cougar Town (TBS), Moone Boy (Hulu), Derek (Netflix)

There were a lot of great, subversive and under-the-radar series this year (LookingReviewSilicon Valley) in addition to some of the powerhouses from years past (like Louie, which manages to top itself quality-wise every year).  I’m not 100% certain that Moone Boy is allowed to be included, but it should be. Consider this a list of series that, if you haven’t caught up on them, I highly recommend that you do.

BEST ACTRESS – COMEDY SERIES 

inside-amy-schumerJulia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep)

Amy Schumer (Inside Amy Schumer)

Amy Poehler (Parks and Rec)

Taylor Schilling (Orange is the New Black)

In some of the Comedy acting categories, I’ve limited myself to less than the allotted six choices, because the reality is I just personally don’t watch a lot of comedies, and I don’t want to toss out names whose work I haven’t experienced first-hand.  As for the best Comedy Actresses, the break-out star is definitely Amy Schumer, whose quirky, patchwork series (it includes sketches, on-the-street interviews, and other segments) was something TV comedies, especially those which focuses on women, have been waiting on for a long time (I hear the same about Broad City, although I haven’t gotten around to it, yet).  The rest are veterans of this category whose inclusions should speak for itself — all very funny, very talented women.

BEST ACTOR – COMEDY SERIES 

louie-louis-ckAndy Daly (Review)

Louis CK (Louie)

Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley)

Jonathan Groff (Looking)

Each of these performers absolutely killed it this year on their series.  Andy Daly’s Review was one of the funniest and most bizarre comedies to air this past year, and his happy-go-lucky character completely sold it.  Thomas Middleditch was the master of understatement (and occasional facial ticks), while Jonathan Groff was so incredibly natural and annoyingly realistic, you wanted to both hug him and slap him.  And of course, Louis CK is Louis CK, and will definitely get an Emmy nomination and probably a win (at least, in a perfect world, which …).

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – COMEDY SERIES 

orange-is-the-new-black-kate-mulgrew-lorraine-toussaintSamira Wiley (Orange Is The New Black)

Kate Mulgrew (Orange Is The New Black)

Busy Phillips (Cougar Town)

Kerry Godliman (Derek)

Jemima Kirk (Girls)

Like the Supporting Actress category for Drama, these comedy actresses all added so definitively to their series.  Both Kate Mulgrew and Samira Wiley’s characters on Orange Is The New Black went through extremes emotionally and physically, but the lasting impressions for both were the close-ups of their faces, and the flood of thoughts and feelings they were able to convey with the smallest of flickers and movements.  Both Jemima Kirk and Kerry Godliman were bright spots in series that otherwise could feel too heavy (Derek) or too scattered (Girls), and Busy Philips is and always has been the funniest part of Cougar Town.  All are fantastic.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – COMEDY SERIES 

silicon-valley-christopher-evan-welchT.J. Miller (Silicon Valley)

Christopher Evan Welch (Silicon Valley)

Tony Hale (Veep)

Peter McDonald (Moone Boy)

Adam Driver (Girls)

Again, I’m not completely certain Moone Boy qualifies, but damnit, Peter McDonald as its bewildered and extremely amiable Irish patriarch is what Ty Burrell once was to Modern Family (and still is to some degree, but the material just hasn’t been there in the last few seasons).  Adam Driver makes Girls worth watching (which is kind of a sad statement given it should be y’know, a girl, but it’s absolutely true), while no one this year could possibly touch the extreme weirdness and comedic perfection of T.J. Miller and the late Christopher Evan Welch in Silicon Valley.  Except maybe Tony Hale on Veep.

BEST MINISERIES 

sherlock-martin-freeman-benedict-cumberbatchLuther (BBC America)

Dancing on the Edge (Starz)

The White Queen (Starz)

Sherlock (PBS)

Fargo (FX) 

Basically: the British are coming!  And Fargo, which I didn’t like, but admit its cinematography and acting were truly great.  Kudos needs to be given specifically though to Starz, who has come out as a challenger to PBS and BBC America regarding British productions: The White Queen and Dancing on the Edge were definitely two of the year’s best.




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  • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Dedpool

    WHAT? No love for Eva Green in Penny Dreadful?

    • Matt Noel

      Penny Dreadful isn’t eligible until next year

    • Matt Noel

      Penny Dreadful isn’t eligible until next year

      • Bob

        Wait, are you serious? Cause, I was ready to flip lol. Eva Green honestly might deserve to win honestly, imho she should. She was, like for real, a tour de force.

        That scene were she goes into an episode in the room with everyone watching was crazy. Just one of the best performances in a episode I have ever seen in my life.

      • Matt Noel

        Only 3 episodes aired before the deadline cutoff. You need a minimum of 6 (or maybe 5, can’t remember) episodes to be eligible

      • Matt Noel

        Only 3 episodes aired before the deadline cutoff. You need a minimum of 6 (or maybe 5, can’t remember) episodes to be eligible

      • Bob

        Wait, are you serious? Cause, I was ready to flip lol. Eva Green honestly might deserve to win honestly, imho she should. She was, like for real, a tour de force.

        That scene were she goes into an episode in the room with everyone watching was crazy. Just one of the best performances in a episode I have ever seen in my life.

  • Person

    Season 3 of “Sherlock” was disappointing, I really don’t think the show needs any more recognition than it already has. I’m torn between True Detective and Breaking Bad in Drama, but McConaughey deserves to win for Actor, hands down.

    • Ben

      I wouldn’t say hands down for best actor. It’s a two man race for sure and it’s the most exciting category in my mind this year because of it.

  • Catstronaut

    So glad to see In the Flesh on here. Admittedly, I went into the show with low expectations, but it blew me away. Great acting and poignant storytelling, and an interesting take on what is becoming a pretty worn-down genre.

  • Ceaser

    Surprised that you left off House of Cards, I think it would be a shoe in for Best Drama, Actor, and Actress. I also saw in TV Guide that HBO submitted Treme in the mini-series category for this season, as it only had five episodes.

    • Person

      Another ridiculously overrated show, I don’t know why it seems to pride itself on realism when it’s not very realistic…

      • Ceaser

        I agree with you on that, but it is incredibly addictive and Kevin Spacy is delightful.
        And if you haven’t seen Treme yet, you really should. It is the best show no one watched. I only discovered it on accident one night, i was flipping through the channels and landed on HBO and Kermit Ruffins (an amazing Jazz musician) was on, and I thought it was some Jazz documentary, but it turned out to be a drama on it’s third season, and I had never heard about it. I was engaged by the episode, so I bought the first season and fell in love with it.

      • Person

        I have not seen Treme yet, will give it a look. Thanks.

  • Aquartertoseven

    Can we all please stop throwing undue praise at Tatiana Maslany and Orphan Black? Her accents are caricatures, her English one sounds Australian, and the show itself is incredibly flawed, even fans that were delusional enough to think that S1 was amazing said that Season 2 was very disappointing.

    Sherlock doesn’t deserve to win anything, S3 was one of the weakest seasons of a show I like that I’ve seen in years, ‘okay’ is not emmy worthy.

    Best Actor is the only particularly interesting category, that will be fun to see play out. Cranston’s last year as Walter White versus MccConnaughhey’s powerhouse Rust Cohle. My vote goes for Cohle.

    • Hey…HEY!

      “Can we all please stop throwing undue praise at Tatiana Maslany?” — We will as soon as she gets undue praise. All the praise she gets is due.
      How you can be so right in your second and third paragraphs and so wrong in your first… I don’t know. Well, two out of three ain’t bad!

    • Hey…HEY!

      “Can we all please stop throwing undue praise at Tatiana Maslany?” — We will as soon as she gets undue praise. All the praise she gets is due.
      How you can be so right in your second and third paragraphs and so wrong in your first… I don’t know. Well, two out of three ain’t bad!

      • Aquartertoseven

        I feel the same way about you. I’ve only seen season one of Orphan Black, it was pretty good, but Emmy worthy? No way imo. Nor Maslany.

    • Broobs

      She is amazing. And an Aussie I can say that she doesn’t sound remotely Ausralian (in either of her two English Accents) and even if it did, acting i more than about an accent….

      • Aquartertoseven

        How long have you been in Australia, because judging from your comment, not long enough to get a strong grip of the English language. Perhaps she got better at it in Season 2, but in S1 she didn’t sound English, I’ll say that much.

  • Jan

    Best Breasts – Drama Series

    Alexandra Daddario (True Detective)
    Christina Hendricks (Mad Men)
    Eva Green (Penny Dreadful)
    Lizzy Caplan (Masters of Sex)
    Alexandra Daddario (True Detective)

    Yes, I included Daddario twice ’cause they’re just that magnificent.
    And yes, every woman on Collider should downvote me.

    • Matt1

      There are women on Collider???

  • Kyle Chandler

    Love the “Moone Boy” shout outs! Just finished the first season and really enjoyed it. The chemistry between the main kid and O’dowd is fantastic, and the supporting cast is surprisingly strong. My favorite line so far:

    Boy (to his imaginary friend): Sean, are you seeing what i’m seeing!?
    Sean: That’s kind of how this works.

  • Matt1

    I kinda hate that HBO went for Drama Series instead of Mini-Series with True Detective. It could’ve swept the Mini-Series categories while Breaking Bad swept in the Drama Series categories. Both would be well deserved. Now one of them is gonna lose out on some well deserved awards.

    • http://collider.com Matt Goldberg

      Breaking Bad is going to lose out. HBO has more voters.

      • Aquartertoseven

        That’s a tough one really because both were so damn good. Breaking Bad was about 0.5/10 better imo but either one winning is fine by me.

        Although, didn’t BB get 10m viewers in its last season?

      • http://collider.com Matt Goldberg

        It’s not based on viewership. Networks can basically stuff the Academy with voters who just happen to work for said networks. HBO has the most voters, ergo their shows win more awards. It’s how Jeff Daniels picked up Best Actor in a Drama even though his competitors in the category received far more acclaim for more widely-watched shows.

      • Aquartertoseven

        That’s a tough one really because both were so damn good. Breaking Bad was about 0.5/10 better imo but either one winning is fine by me.

        Although, didn’t BB get 10m viewers in its last season?

  • Stan

    No Shameless love? I think it’s one of the best shows on television but never seems to get any attention. Especially this last season I think Emmy Rossum deserves to be nominated. She was fantastic in season 4.

  • http://collider.com Matt Goldberg

    I would add Andre Braugher for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy for being a deadpan genius in Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

  • http://collider.com Matt Goldberg

    I would add Andre Braugher for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy for being a deadpan genius in Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

  • BigJimSlade

    Didn’t like Fargo?!

    Holy cow. I can’t think of many shows I’ve enjoyed as much. I have yet to make it through all of True Detective but have already watched Fargo several times.

    Episode 7 with the duct taped guy and the snow shootout was masterfully done.
    Also really love BB Thornton’s performance. He steals every scene he’s been in. And Freeman’s performance is so wonderful. God, so many great performances!

    I’ll be sad if it doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. Really a true work of art.

    • Guest

      Did at least 6 episodes of Fargo air before the cut-off date for nominations? (I don’t know.)

    • Guest

      Did at least 6 episodes of Fargo air before the cut-off date for nominations? (I don’t know.)

  • Dustin Mason

    TJ miller! Also my #

  • slimpunk

    If Peter Dinklage is supporting in GOT, who is considered the lead actor? I can’t think of anyone who carries the show more than he does now.

    I’m also confused why you snubbed House of Cards. I’m pretty sure if nothing else, Robin Wright is getting a nomination.

  • Broobs

    I like your nominations but you’ve got a few catgories wrong. Amy Schumer is up for best Supporting actress (weird I know but true) While Samira Wiley and alison Janney (for MoS) will be in Guest Actress catagories

  • Ingrid Almeida

    It always surprises me when someone says that maisie williams is the best CHILD actress today when she’s only 1 year younger than sophie turner and i never see people saying the same about the latter.. In terms of acting I thought sophie turner , especially in the episode where she helps littlefinger, was the best acting by a TEEN actress.

  • Vin

    Shameless had an amazing season, perhaps its best one yet. It’s odd they campaigned to the comedy category this year when this has been their most dramatic season. But either way, Emmy Rossum and Jeremy Allen White both deserve a nomination.

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  • theseeker7

    I can’t comprehend how you (or the actual nominations, for that matter) bother to include Silicon Valley for Best Comedy (which I did enjoy overall, despite its very mediocre start) but leave out Community when it has an amazing return to form once Dan Harmon came back.

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