TelevisionMade possible by

Our foolproof guide to who will definitely, maybe clean up at The Emmys

Our friendly TV sponsors at Lightbox have a whole bunch of shows nominated for the Emmy Awards this year, so we got our resident award shows obsessive Sam Brooks to pick which ones might take home the gold.

I love me an awards show. A bunch of people in pretty dresses saying long speeches and thanking people, or going off the rails entirely is my idea of a good time. I watch them every year, even the years when nothing I like is nominated and I hate everybody involved. We all have our own forms of masochism, and this is mine.

As such, I am entirely the right person to carry out this highly scientific* analysis of which Lightbox shows have been nominated for Emmys, and how likely it is that these nominations will transfer to actual gold for the people and/or shows nominated. Check it out below, place your bets** and disagree with me***!

*There is no science to this. The Emmys are essentially random, I’m so sorry.

**Do not place bets based on any information I have given you, on anything.

***Do not disagree with me, I am quite fragile and vulnerable to criticism.

THE JUGGERNAUT SHOWS

The Handmaid’s Tale

Nominations: Outstanding Drama, Lead Actress in a Drama (Elisabeth Moss), Supporting Actress in a Drama (Ann Dowd, Samira Wiley), Guest Actress in a Drama (Alexis Bledel)

Safe Bets: Drama, Elisabeth Moss

Unlikely, But Who Knows: Ann Dowd, Samira Wiley.

Already Happened: Alexis Bledel

The Handmaid’s Tale seems like the safe bet for Drama. It fills the three roles that an Emmy-winning drama should do: it got great reviews, people actually liked it, and it tapped into the zeitgeist of our terrifying post-2016 world.

For a similar reason, Elisabeth Moss is probably a safe bet for Lead Actress in a Drama. She’s never won before – despite being nominated six times for Mad Men and once for Top of the Lake – this is her eighth nomination, people are calling it the best work she’s ever done, and she’s back in the public eye for the second season of Top of the Lake. If you are a crazy person who likes to bet on award shows, I’d consider Elisabeth Moss a safe bet.

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series is notoriously spotty (remember when Blythe Danner kept winning for Huff? No? Don’t you keep obsessive track of who wins the Emmy for Outstanding Actress in a Supporting Actress in a Drama Series? How else do you fill the endless abyss of your spare time?) so either of these women could win. They could also split the vote and lead the way for the glacial pace of Uzo Aduba’s Emmy collection to keep building (she’s got like three now.)

Also, Alexis Bledel already won her Emmy this past weekend! Congratulations, Rory.

Transparent

Nominations: Lead Actor in a Comedy (Jeffrey Tambor), Supporting Actress in a Comedy (Kathryn Hahn, Judith Light)

Safe Bet: Jeffrey Tambor

Unlikely, But Who Knows: Kathryn Hahn, Judith Light

Firstly, it’s insane this wasn’t nominated for Best Comedy. It’s still one of the best, most quietly groundbreaking and progressive shows on televisionHowever, Tambor seems like a safe bet. The work he does as Maura Pfeifferman is gorgeous, layered and sensitive. It’s a career-best for him, and he’s already won here once, and Emmys like to reward people lots and lots for some reason.

However, Hahn and Light are less safe bets, especially in a season where Saturday Night Live has suddenly become a show we expect to have its finger on the pulse. Light is a goddamned treasure of an actress, and her work on this show is beautiful, and this is somehow Hahn’s first ever Emmy nomination despite being a gem in a smaller role on Parks and Recreation and the lead in the spikily weird I Love Dick. My money would be on Leslie Jones, because I quite like her and she had a great season on SNL.

Better Call Saul

Nominations: Outstanding Drama, Lead Actor in a Drama (Bob Odenkirk), Supporting Actor in a Drama (Jonathan Banks)

I Have No Idea, I’m So Sorry: Drama, Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks.

Better Call Saul is a bizarre blind spot for me. I know it’s great, I know that people with great opinions and taste like it. I would say that it’s probably not going to win Outstanding Drama, because it doesn’t feel like the juggernaut that The Handmaid’s Tale or potentially The Crown is.

It doesn’t feel like Bob Odenkirk’s year, but he’s as likely a bet as any of the other nominees, and probably more likely than Emmy winner Jess from Gilmore Girls. It’s not going to be Jonathan Banks’ year either, because John Lithgow has made some kind of deal with the devil to win awards for playing Winston Churchill.

THE OUTLIERS

Modern Family

Nominations: Outstanding Comedy Series, Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Ty Burrell)

Probably Not Going To Happen, But The Emmys Really Like Modern Family: Outstanding Comedy Series

Also Probably Not Going to Happen, But The Emmys Like Ty Burrell A Bit Less Than Modern Family On The Whole: Ty Burrell

Modern Family has won five Emmys for Outstanding Comedy Series. Ty Burrell has won two Emmys for Outstanding Supporting Actor. They have had their share and do not need any more.

The Emmys love to award the same thing over and over again, but this year has some especially buzzy nominees (Silicon Valley, Atlanta, Veep) especially, and the inertia of Modern Family is unlikely to triumph against that undefinable quality ‘buzz’.

Similarly, Ty Burrell is not going to win over Alec Baldwin playing Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live, because if you can think of Trump without thinking of Baldwin’s contorted face, you are a blessed human and I would like to know how you remain that way.

The Americans

Nominations: Lead Actor in a Drama (Matthew Rhys), Lead Actress in a Drama (Keri Russell), Guest Actress in a Drama (Allison Wright)

Could Happen: Matthew Rhys

Probably Can’t Happen: Keri Russell

Already Lost: Alison Wright

The Americans is called by your smartest friend ‘the best show on television’ and they are probably correct. (I’ve watched the first two seasons and they’re damn good, you guys. It’s the best show on television.) Rhys and Russell get tonnes of great reviews for their work on the show, but have yet to win awards.

It could be Rhys’ year, but who knows? It is probably not Russell’s year, but again who knows? It is definitely not Wright’s year, because she already lost and the past is a fact that we cannot change, no matter how much we hope and pray.

Better Things

Nominations: Lead Actress in a Comedy (Pamela Adlon)

Julia Louis-Dreyfus is nominated for Veep: Pamela Adlon

C’mon. Adlon is great, very great on this show, and the rest of the nominees are also bloody great, but Julia Louis-Dreyfus has won five Emmys for Veep and two before that. People love her on this show because she’s really, really good.

Homeland

Nominations: Supporting Actor in a Drama (Mandy Patinkin)

John Lithgow played Winston Churchill: Mandy Patinkin

Mandy does great work on Homeland; he’s a solid foil for Claire Danes’ highly entertaining antics. But he’s not playing Winston Churchill. No need to dust the shelf off this year, Mandy.


Click below to watch The Handmaid’s Tale, Better Things, Better Call Saul, The Americans, Transparent and Modern Family on Lightbox:

This content, like all television coverage we do at The Spinoff, is brought to you thanks to the excellent folk at Lightbox. Do us and yourself a favour by clicking here to start a FREE 30 day trial of this truly wonderful service.

The Spinoff Longform Fund is dedicated to facilitating investigative journalism. Our focus is on supporting in-depth reporting on important New Zealand stories. Your donation will help us sustain this most resource-intensive form of journalism, ensuring that the most complex and important stories still get told.