Emmy Awards predictions: who will win (drama series)?

The Emmy Awards will air on ABC/CTV on Sunday, Sept. 23, at 8 p.m. Jimmy Kimmel will host. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

As if television shows need awards to make them feel like they’re making a difference. Isn’t knowing that people will spend hours on end watching them, foregoing their social life and other responsibilities, enough to make them know T.V. is great?

Still, the Emmys happen every year, and while I have problems with some nominees in almost every category, I feel like the best of the best will be given their due Sunday night (ABC /CTV, 8 p.m.).

I’m joined today by Radina Papukchieva, who will be giving her two cents on the nominees in the comedy categories (Radina is one of the happiest, cheeriest people I know: she is not wasting her time being sad or anxious, watching dramas — but actually, she just hasn’t had time to catch up on all the shows she has heard great things about.)

Radina is a contributor at The Cafe Phenomenon, a movie critic for Cult MTL, and Concordia journalism and film studies student.

Will you be tuning in tonight? Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@Chris_Hanna and @papukchieva) and weigh in on who your favourite nominees are.

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men

Christina Hendricks had her best year to date on Mad Men: her performance in one episode in particular (spoiler-free for those who still haven’t caught up) had people Twitter talking for days after it aired.

Maggie Smith won the Emmy for her performance in Downton Abbey last year, but the show was considered a miniseries in 2011.

Archie Panjabi won this category in 2010. The phenomenon that is Breaking Bad can tip the award in Anna Gunn’s favour, but the AMC show is likely to sweep next year, when BB is slated to end.

My pick: Christina Hendricks as Joan Holloway Harris on Mad Men, though I would not count out Maggie Smith.

Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Giancarlo Esposito, Breaking Bad
Brendan Coyle, Downton Abbey
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Jared Harris, Mad Men

This is one of the strongest categories at this year’s Emmys, with some of the best television characters of the last few years honoured. I’d be interested to see if any supporting character has ever had such a huge impact on a main character’s life than Giancarlo Esposito’s Gus Fring. There was something about his slimy and calm delivery that gave me goosebumps almost every time he was on screen. You knew he had to be all kinds of messed-up to have accomplished what he had, and Esposito, a veteran television actor with more than 100 credits to his name, gave a career-defining turn on Breaking Bad. His co-star, Aaron Paul, gives consistently solid performances and has won an Emmy for Jesse Pinkman in 2010. He won’t win this year, but his Tweets should be honoured somehow.

It’s hard to really say why Jared Harris on Mad Men is such a great choice for a nominee without spoiling the show’s fifth season for those who haven’t caught up yet, but trust me when I say Harris is deserving to be on this list.

My pick: There’s something about an underdog who’s, all at once, funny and scared and self-conscious and crass. Peter Dinklage’s turn as loveable “gimp” Tyrion Lannister will net the actor yet another Emmy. Dinklage took home the award for the same role last year, and also won a Golden Globe for his work on Game of Thrones at the Golden Globes.

Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Glenn Close, Damages
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Kathy Bates, Harry’s Law
Claire Danes, Homeland
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men

There are some truly bad-ass women in this category (the actresses and the characters), but this is a two-person race between Claire Danes, nominated for her performance in the inaugural season of the amazing Homeland, and Elisabeth Moss, nominated for her fourth Emmy for her turn as Peggy Olson in Mad Men. Peggy has been an audience favourite since the AMC show’s first season, but Danes delivers a tour-de-force performance as Carrie Mathison. The second season of Homeland, premiering on Sept. 30, a week after the Emmys have aired, is sure to be just as explosive and amazing as the first.

My pick: Even though Claire Danes took home the Golden Globe for this role last January, I think Elisabeth Moss is overdue for some hardware and Peggy Olson’s evolution really resonated with viewers — plus the uncertainty surrounding Peggy could tip votes in her favour. This is Glenn Close’s fourth Emmy nod for her role as Patty Hewes on Damages. She won in 2008 and 2009 — the show’s strongest years. Julianna Margulies took home this award last year.

Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey
Damian Lewis, Homeland
Jon Hamm, Mad Men

Another really strong category. Bryan Cranston has won every time he was nominated. It’s undeniable that his Walter White is amazing — and the character has entered pop culture in unprecedented ways. Cranston, Jon Hamm and Michael C. Hall can benefit from being on shows with large following and their characters are some of the most recognizable in television today.

Kyle Chandler took home this award last year for his work on the final season of the great Friday Night Lights. Breaking Bad wasn’t eligible for the Emmys last year because of  the fourth season’s scheduling. With Boardwalk Empire gaining momentum, Steve Buscemi has a chance to win; Homeland is a phenomenal show, but the best performance is given by Claire Danes and Mindy Patinkin, not Damian Lewis, though he is quite good on the show.

My pick: Bryan Cranston. He’s untouchable.

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey, “Episode Seven”
Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, Gideon Raff, Homeland, “Pilot”
Andre Jacquemetton, Marie Jacquemetton, Mad Men, “Commissions and Fees”
Semi Chellas, Matthew Weiner, Mad Men, “Far Away Places”
Semi Chellas, Matthew Weiner, Mad Men, “The Other Woman”

That Homeland pilot was something else, but “The Other Woman” was one of the most controversial episodes of Mad Men to date and its repercussions are sure to be long-lasting in the series. Mad Men is the best written drama on television, it’s a matter of picking which episode was the best.

My pick: Semi Chellas, Matthew Weiner, Mad Men, “The Other Woman”

Outstanding Drama Series

Boardwalk Empire
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Mad Men

With quality drama being produced by cable networks, this crop of nominees isn’t surprising. What would be surprising if anyone would be able to dethrone Mad Men. The show has won the Emmy in this category since 2008. This is the show’s fifth consecutive nomination and is likely to be its fifth win.

Radina’s take: Mad Men is the show that keeps getting better with every season, and it deserves to win all the categories in which it is nominated.


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