Cue Steve Martin running clumsily in from the mail box.
"Emmy nominations are here! Emmy nominations are here!"
Or, if you're of a slightly younger demographic, let's go with Forrest Gump being wheeled in from having his buttocks bandaged.
"Lt. Dan! Ice cream!....and Emmy nominations!...."
The "experts" are already feverishly typing their predictions and/or betting lines on the winners.
Meanwhile, I'm neither an expert nor a particularly feverish typist.
And my predictions have nothing to do with anything other than a sense of how these things work, acquired and honed over the, say, fifty years, give or take, that I've been around to witness the process.
Starting out a long time ago, in a black and white TV featured living room, in a suburb far, far away.
So, don't bet the farm, or anything else for that matter, on any hairball of forecast I cough up here.
Simply enjoy, if you will.
Oh...and somewhere around midnight on August 25th, remember I told you so.
Outstanding Drama Series
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
Wow...look at all those quality shows nominated from one of the three "major" networks. NOT. Breaking Bad lingers in the hearts of voters but not in their actual voting cortexes. Downton Abbey is still cool but it's "what have you Masterpiece Theatered for me lately?" cool. House Of Cards is about politics and Congress and/or Obama have pretty much soured pretty much everybody on voting for anything remotely connected to politics. Mad Men's nod, frankly, is a little bit of a mystery because it's not only set in the sixties, it's really yesterday's news. Comes down to a neck and neck between True Detective and Game Of Thrones. And when it comes to these "big" awards, buzz is absolutely everything. While True D is, in my o, more "cutting edge", you can pretty much rest assured that the combination of blood, boobs and a faux, but very effective, coating of "literary" pretty much guarantees "Thrones" will be seated at the head of this particular award table.
Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Lizzy Caplan, Masters of Sex
Kerry Washington, Scandal
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Claire Danes, Homeland
Robin Wright, House of Cards
Not a lot of "name" value here. Claire Danes is a fan fave, but probably not buzzy enough to win. Julianna Margulies is classy, but when did that ever matter when it comes to any other Emmy voters besides the PBS posse? This award is a dice toss. I say Robin Wright because she showed Sean Penn the door. TV watchers love Jenny from Forrest Gump and hate Jeff Spuccoli for being mean to both Madonna and Robin.
Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Woody Harrelson, True Detective
Matthew McConaughey, True Detective
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
Bryan Cranston is superb but superb in a "wow that was a superb meatloaf last night but it's just leftovers now" way. Jeff Daniels has amazing range given his ability to give credibility to both Will McAvoy and the dumber than dumb Harry Dunne but Aaron Sorkin's work seems to have fallen out of favor post "West Wing". Voters who lean toward edgier, even weirder, are likely True Detective connoisseurs, but that likely means that Harrelson and McConaughey cancel each other out. Then there's Kevin Spacey who is excellent but not really "TV people" and Jon Hamm whose Mad Men is, as mentioned before, showing signs of fatigue. That pretty much rules everybody out. So, my money is on the Academy doing what it always seems to do....play it safe and give the award to someone that makes people say "uh, well, okay, I guess that's cool". And in this batch, that would be the already moved on to Broadway stardom Bryan Cranston.
Outstanding Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory
Orange Is the New Black
Big Bang is, according to recent information, the most popular comedy series globally which is a pretty heavy pedigree. But they've been around seven years now and that always turns off the voters who want to seem hip and groovy with their choices. Louis C.K. is a funny guy, but he's no Jim Parsons and his comedy chops hardly pull the weight needed to merit awarding an entire show. Sillicon Valley is one of those shows that everybody says they really like but don't really watch all that much. And Modern Family is, while still fun, sharply written and beautifully performed, another one of those "been around for a while and showing a little wearing out in the knees and cuffs" nominees. I like Veep. I think it's darkly funny and just far enough out of the box while keeping a toe or two in the box to deserve this Emmy. But Orange is not only the new Black, it's the show that gives every Academy member who votes for it the chance to say truthfully that they are hip, groovy and tuned to the buzz because they voted for....Orange Is the New Black.
Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Taylor Schilling, Orange Is the New Black
Melissa McCarthy has probably ruined any chance she has of ever picking up another Emmy by defecting over to the movie side of the street. And given the "plucky and/or obnoxious fat girl" label she and/or her peeps have decided to plaster on her career for now, the odds of her being awarded for the "awww, they're overweight, but really sweet and just like real people" role that first got her noticed fall into the category of....wait for it....fat chance. I think Amy Poehler is the comedy equivalent of John Lennon. She has done some reasonably interesting stuff, but she has never been as good as she was when she worked (works) with her Paul, Tina Fey. Also, Parks and Recreation is The Office in, well, a parks and recreation office. Lena Dunham? MTV and BET might give awards to attractive, but average, girls with real, albeit somewhat misshapen and moderately floppy breasts, who offer up courageous looks at said breasts, but Emmy doesn't. Schilling has the Big Mo that comes from being on the big O, but her actual name recognition doesn't translate into votes. Which leaves Edie and Julia, both veteran super novas of TV talent, one in a very darkly funny show about a caring nurse who loves people but hates herself, the other in a very darkly funny show about a self absorbed politician who loves herself but thinks anybody who cant do her some good should just fuck off. This one's a poser, cause I think it's one of them thar proverbial dead heats. Pushed to pick, I say Louis-Dreyfus. Although Falco is crafty and might use her drug acquisition skills to yank it out from under her..
Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Louis CK, Louie
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Ricky Gervais, Derek
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
William H Macy, Shameless
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Jim Parsons is gold, but old gold and the hip and groovy faction will want to move on this time. Macy is edgy but kind of left field as these things tend to go. Gervais has been a flavor of the week but I suspect this will be neither the favored flavor or the week. Matt LeBlanc cleverly lampoons Matt LeBlanc but that's not something the hip and groovy faction thinks qualifies him to win. Cheadle? A versatile and accomplished actor with a mega rich CV. But lead actor in a "comedy" series? Not so much. By default, Louis CK takes Emmy home because, gosh darn it, he's one funny dude. And Jim Parsons doesn't have any more room in the trophy case.
American Horror Story: Coven
Bonnie & Clyde
The White Queen
This is one of those awards that, in a pre-DVR world, caused people absolutely no concern whatsoever at having to leave the room for a pee before a commercial arrived to assist them. In a DVR and/or pause the play world, though, this is one of those awards that causes people absolutely no concern whatsoever at having to leave the room for a pee before a commercial arrives to assist them.
Oh. And, by the way, while you were peeing, American Horror Story won an Emmy.
Outstanding Television Movie
Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight
The Normal Heart
Sherlock: His Last Vow
The Trip to Bountiful
The Kennedy nostalgia momentum came to a screeching halt November 23, 2013, as the 50th anniversary of the assassination came to a screeching halt. And, not for nothin, I totally respected Rob Lowe as Sam Seaborn but as JFK, I kept thinking that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were going to walk on set any minute as Judith Campbell and Marilyn Monroe. All the others, except The Normal Heart, were fine, laudable presentations that lacked only one virtue that might have scored them a win. They weren't The Normal Heart. When it comes to winning Emmys, very few things are a much a lock as poignant shows and/or movies about the very human drama of homosexuality.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Series
The Colbert Report
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Real Time with Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
This category is so obviously apples and oranges that it comes down to which ever one is the hippest and grooviest at voting time in the eyes of the hip and groovy faction of the voters. I'm not really hip to what's hip in that circle, so I have to do a little close my eyes and stab my finger at the phone book kind of thing.
And the finger lands on...and the Emmy goes to...The Colbert Report.
Outstanding Reality-Competition Program
The Amazing Race
Dancing With the Stars
So You Think You Can Dance
Another chance to pee.
The Voice, if you really need to know.
Mostly because Blake Shelton looks good to the ladies in his tight ass jeans.
Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program
Betty White, Betty White’s Off Their Rockers
Tom Bergeron, Dancing With the Stars
Jane Lynch, Hollywood Game Night
Heidi Klum/Tim Gunn, Project Runway
Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance
Anthony Bourdain, The Taste
When they order the Emmys, they apparently have to buy in bulk. As a result, there are certain categories that exist, apparently, for no better reason than they have a certain number of them things to give away.
Lead Actress in a Television Movie/MiniseriesHelena Bonham Carter, Burton and Taylor
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Coven
Minnie Driver, Return to Zero
Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Coven
Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful
Kristen Wiig, The Spoils of Babylon
There are times when the list of nominees is so crammed tightly full of amazing, one of a kind performances in amazing, one of a kind productions that choosing a winner is, for all intents and purposes, a staggering task.
This list of nominees and productions is kind of the opposite of that.
Leading Actor in a Television Movie/Miniseries
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: His Last Vow
Idris Elba, Luther
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Dancing On the Edge
Martin Freeman, Fargo
Billy Bob Thornton, Fargo
Mark Ruffalo, The Normal Heart
Kinda the same thing here as with the previous category.
Bet the bank on Mark Ruffalo, though, cause, again, we're talking poignant movie about the very human drama of homosexuality.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Supporting actress and actor nominations are really of interest to only seriously devoted fans of the respective shows and/or respective actress and/or actor. Primarily because for every, say, Maggie Smith, whose name rings a bell with a lot of people because of her vast volume of work, there's a Joanne Froggatt who is an accomplished actress but often confused with the British rock band whose hit "Slow Ride" is a staple of classic rock radio. And of the six nominees listed here, you've got one from a show that is no more, two from a show from PBS which registers neither jack nor squat with the Keeping With the Kartrashians krowd, one from an HBO show that is absolutely the flavor of the week but the clock, as ever, is ticking, one who does a remarkable job but probably has some viewers wondering why Dr. Beverly Hofstetder is double dipping on The Good Wife and one buxom redhead on a show that was oh so trendy right up to the second that it was no longer oh so trendy.
This one is a total dice roll.
I say seven, eleven and Headley.
Because the main game in town these days is that game that involves thrones.
Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Josh Charles, The Good Wife
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
Jon Voight, Ray Donovan
Likewise as previously explained.
Dinklage is the throne game player here and a surer thing there could not-eth be.
Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Allison Janney, Mom
Kate Mulgrew, Orange Is the New Black
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Anna Chlumsky, Veep
Bowen is sharp and fun as Mama Dunphy but, again, the show is in "what have you done for me lately" mode, Janney is a world class actress who is breaking my heart by working in a sitcom that makes Cougar Town look like the finest work of Paddy Chayefsky, Orange is the New Black and Mulgrew might be able to ride the wave, but she's still got a little typecasting dust from Star Trek Voyager to overcome, McKinnon is a brilliantly gifted comic impersonator but calling Saturday Night Live a comedy series is like calling The Daily Show a news program and Anna Chlumsky brings enough sass, satire and potty mouth to Veep to more than make us forget My Girl, that big screen block of cheesy schmaltz that probably put MacCauley Culkin off the idea of ever again eating honey.
This leaves Mayim Bialik and her multi layered portrait of Amy Farrah Fowler.
I think this is a unique talent doing a five star job and every bit deserving of this award.
So I predict that Kate Mulgrew will get it because she happens to be on Orange is the New Black.
Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Adam Driver, Girls
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Fred Armisen, Portlandia
Tony Hale, Veep
The academy, every now and then, like to appear to be cutting edge in one category while, at the same time, attempting to atone for blowing it in another. Since Brooklyn Nine Nine was in almost all the articles about surprises and snubs for its failure to receive a series nomination, I go here with Andre Brauger, the evening's designated atonee.
Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Frances Conroy, American Horror Story: Coven
Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Coven
Angela Bassett, American Horror Story: Coven
Allison Tolman, Fargo
Ellen Burstyn, Flowers in the Attic
Julia Roberts, The Normal Heart
Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Colin Hanks, Fargo
Jim Parsons, The Normal Heart
Joe Mantello, The Normal Heart
Alfred Molina, The Normal Heart
Matt Bomer, The Normal Heart
Martin Freeman, Sherlock: His Last Vow
I lumped these two categories together because they both fit into my previous dissertation about the whole supporting actor, actress thing.
If pick I must, though, here's the pickees.
Roberts for The Normal Heart because, well, it's The Normal Heart, a poignant movie about the...yada yada.
Colin Hanks for Fargo because, at least one time all night long, the academy is going to want to show how objective they are by giving someone, anyone, some award, any award, in any category that has nominees from The Normal Heart in it to someone, anyone who was nominated for something besides The Normal Heart.
Besides, four of the six nominees are The Normal Heart and, I mean, come on, really?
And Colin Hanks is Tom Hanks son and Tom won an Oscar for Philadelphia, a poignant movie about the very human drama of homosexuality.
Not that there's anything....well, you know.
Outstanding Reality Program
Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
Alaska: The Last Frontier
Who Do You Think You Are?
Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series
COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey
Pioneers Of Television
The World Wars
Years of Living Dangerously
Outstanding Informational Series or Special
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
Inside The Actors Studio
Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman
The Writers' Room
Outstanding Variety Special
AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute To Mel Brooks
The Beatles: The Night That Changed America
Best Of Late Night With Jimmy Fallon Primetime Special
Billy Crystal: 700 Sundays
The Kennedy Center Honors
Sarah Silverman: We Are Miracles
Outstanding Animated Program
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Manhattan Project
Outstanding Children's Program
Dog With A Blog
Good Luck Charlie
Nick News With Linda Ellerbee - Family Secrets: When Violence Hits Home
One Last Hug: Three Days At Grief Camp
Wynton Marsalis – A YoungArts Masterclass
To paraphrase the classic pop band Chicago..."does anyone really know what any of these shows are?...does anyone really care?...."
Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Margo Martindale, The Americans
Diana Rigg, Game of Thrones
Kate Mara, House of Cards
Allison Janney, Masters of Sex
Jane Fonda, The Newsroom
Kate Burton, Scandal
Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Paul Giamatti, Downton Abbey
Dylan Baker, The Good Wife
Reg E Cathey, House of Cards
Robert Morse, Mad Men
Beau Bridges, Masters of Sex
Joe Morton, Scandal
Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
Natasha Lyonne, Orange Is the New Black
Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black
Laverne Cox, Orange Is the New Black
Tina Fey, Saturday Night Live
Melissa McCarthy, Saturday Night Live
Joan Cusack, Shameless
Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
Bob Newhart, The Big Bang Theory
Nathan Lane, Modern Family
Steve Buscemi, Portlandia
Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live
Louis C.K., Saturday Night Live
Gary Cole, Veep
Personally, I think the whole "guest actor/guest actress" category is a bit of a cheat to the hard working folk who toil day in/day out/season after, hopefully, season on their respective shows.
You drop by, get a script, do the table read, do the blocking, do a rehearsal, enjoy the fine culinary creations at the craft table, tape before a live audience, grab your check and hit the door.
Then, bang, you're nominated for an Emmy.
Reminds me of an old off color card my father used to carry in his wallet.
"I'm not as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was."
Just to say I did finish up the prediction list, let's do a quick run through.
Rigg for Game Of Thrones because it's, say it with me.....Game....of........
Robert Morse for Mad Men because the Emmy voters like to throw at least one bone to an old guy and Morse is older than Beau Bridges.
Uzo Aduba for Orange....not only because it's Orange, but likely because they'll take a shot at getting John Travolta to give out the award and then giggle gleefully as they await whatever mangling of her name takes place.
Bob Newhart for Big Bang. Old guy thing again. But in this case, a really, really talented and obviously sweet old guy who showed those already very talented youngsters who make up the Big Bang cast a thing or two about impeccable comic timing.
As I said at the long ago outset, I am not an "expert" nor am I a "professional" TV analyst.
I'm just a guy who has watched TV and award shows for fifty plus years and has a pretty good handle on how it, and they, work.
Watch August 25 and see.
The Emmys will consist in the largest measure of three ingredients.
The color orange.
Games played with thrones.
And the poignant and very human drama of homosexuality.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.