Nothing says television’s most prestigious award show like a Monday night in August.
And yet that’s exactly what we’ve got this year with the 2014 Primetime Emmy Awards, which air August 25 and honour the best in the best in the TV industry. Seth Meyers of NBC’s Late Night will host the proceedings and try to spice up a three-hour show that generally remains pretty similar year after year.
But there could be some shake-ups, thanks to HBO’s fancy new mystery anthology, True Detective, going up against the last season of Breaking Bad for the best drama series crown. And Netflix’s critically beloved women’s prison show, Orange Is the New Black, might be just the series to take down Modern Family, which has won the comedy series trophy for the past four years. (If the ABC sitcom triumphs again, it will tie Frasier for the most wins in that category.)
Meanwhile, Orange Is the New Black star Taylor Schilling is running a close race with Veep lead Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who has landed the comedy actress prize two years running. Throw in movie stars such as Matthew McConaughey (True Detective) and Jon Voight (Ray Donovan) competing with steadfast TV favorites such as Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) and Josh Charles (The Good Wife) and you have one intriguing night.
Here are our predictions about who could take home the gold:
Nominees: Breaking Bad (AMC); Downton Abbey (PBS); Game of Thrones (HBO); Mad Men (AMC); True Detective (HBO); House of Cards (Netflix).
Will probably win: Breaking Bad.
This is the biggest question of the Emmys: Will the last season of Breaking Bad or the first season of True Detective dominate in the night’s most celebrated category True Detective made waves, but the Television Academy should award Breaking Bad for its stellar season.
Deserves to win: Breaking Bad.
Not only did it go out on top, but the excellent series has simply earned the recognition for its unprecedented run from cult favorite to actual hit.
Dark horse: Game of Thrones.
HBO’s fantasy epic gets buzzier and more intense every year – it has lots of fans, and many of them are likely in the TV academy.
LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA
Nominees: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad (AMC); Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom (HBO); Kevin Spacey, House of Cards (Netflix); Jon Hamm, Mad Men (AMC); Matthew McConaughey, True Detective (HBO); Woody Harrelson, True Detective (HBO).
Will probably win: Cranston.
Yeah, it feels like Breaking Bad ended a million years ago – but Cranston was unforgettable and should win, unless McConaughey stealthily steals the prize.
Deserves to win: Cranston.
Walter White is now too iconic despite the great performances in True Detective.
Dark horse: Harrelson.
McConaughey got all the attention for playing the damaged philosopher-detective Rust Cohle – but his partner, Harrelson’s self-destructive Marty Hart, frequently stole the show.
LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
Nominees: Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey (PBS); Claire Danes, Homeland (Showtime); Robin Wright, House of Cards (Netflix); Kerry Washington, Scandal (ABC); Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife (CBS); Lizzy Caplan, Masters of Sex (Showtime).
Will probably win: Margulies.
The Good Wife had an epic Season 5 – the absence of it in the best drama category is somewhat unforgivable – and Margulies led the charge.
Deserves to win: Margulies.
She pretty much landed the trophy the minute her character found out about Will Gardner’s demise.
Dark horse: Caplan.
The first-time nominee landed the lone major nod for the excellent Showtime drama, and the other veterans could split the vote.
SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA
Nominees: Jon Voight, Ray Donovan (Showtime); Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones (HBO); Mandy Patinkin, Homeland (Showtime); Josh Charles, The Good Wife (CBS); Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad (AMC); Jim Carter, Downton Abbey (PBS).
Will probably win: Paul.
Again, the final season of Jesse Pinkman and Breaking Bad should not be denied.
Deserves to win: Charles.
His Season 5 portrayal of vengeful, heartbroken Will Gardner deserves the trophy, especially in light of his character’s final episode.
Dark horse: Voight.
Even on a show without a ton of buzz, never count out an academy favorite. Voight won the Golden Globe for this role this year.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
Nominees: Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad (AMC); Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey (PBS); Lena Headey, Game of Thrones (HBO); Christine Baranski, The Good Wife (CBS); Christina Hendricks, Mad Men (AMC); Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey (PBS).
Will probably win: Gunn.
This category is always a bit of a toss-up, but this really seems like the year for Breaking Bad to take a victory lap in any way possible: Look for Gunn (2013 winner) to triumph over Smith (2012 winner).
Deserves to win: Hendricks.
Joan Holloway had a standout year in the Mad Men universe, but as usual, it’s likely that the academy will overlook it.
Dark horse: Headey.
You never know when Game of Thrones is going to break through, and Headey landed the nod over her previously nominated co-star Emilia Clarke.
Nominees: The Big Bang Theory (CBS); Louie (FX); Modern Family (ABC); Veep (HBO); Orange Is the New Black (Netflix); Silicon Valley (HBO).
Will probably win: Orange Is the New Black.
Will the Netflix favorite snap Modern Family’s four-year winning streak It has to end sometime, and even though the inmates at Litchfield aren’t exactly hilarious, it is a stellar show.
Deserves to win: Modern Family.
As much as Orange Is the New Black has excelled in the art of darkly twisted humor, the ABC sitcom delivers a genuinely funny, laugh-out-loud episode every week – even if it’s not cool to think so anymore.
Dark horse: Veep.
Never count out an HBO show, even if it’s a half-hour comedy.
LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY
Nominees: Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory (CBS); Matt LeBlanc, Episodes (Showtime); Don Cheadle, House of Lies (Showtime); Louis C.K., Louie (FX); William H. Macy, Shameless (Showtime); Ricky Gervais, Derek (Netflix).
Will probably win: Parsons.
With three trophies in this category, Emmy voters clearly have a favorite.
Deserves to win: C.K.
Enough with Jim Parsons already. C.K. is waiting right there with plenty of acclaim – even if this season of Louie was very controversial.
Dark horse: Macy.
Shameless lobbied hard to get into the comedy category this year, and Macy’s nomination is basically the only way it paid off.
LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY
Nominees: Lena Dunham, Girls (HBO); Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie (Showtime); Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation (NBC); Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep (HBO); Melissa McCarthy, Mike and Molly (CBS); Taylor Schilling, Orange Is the New Black (Netflix).
Will probably win: Schilling.
This is a tough one, but we’re going to give the slight edge to Schilling based purely on the solid buzz and the Netflix hip factor. If she loses to anyone, it’s going to be Louis-Dreyfus, but the Veep star has won two years in a row.
Deserves to win: Poehler.
Seriously, people. Let’s take a lesson from the Golden Globes and give Leslie Knope an overdue prize on the eve of the show’s final season.
Dark horse: Falco.
We can’t explain it, either.
SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY
Nominees: Adam Driver, Girls (HBO); Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family (ABC); Fred Armisen, Portlandia (IFC); Ty Burrell, Modern Family (ABC); Tony Hale, Veep (HBO); Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox).
Will probably win: Hale.
We’re calling a repeat winner for Hale, who picked up the award last year as the vice president’s wacky assistant.
Deserves to win: Braugher.
Looking dead serious at all times, Braugher goes one-on-one with the frenetic Andy Samberg every week. It’s impressive and delightful.
Dark horse: Burrell.
Always a solid choice (and previous winner) if none of the other nominees stands out.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY
Nominees: Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory (CBS); Julie Bowen, Modern Family (ABC); Anna Chlumsky, Veep (HBO); Allison Janney, Mom (CBS); Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live (NBC); Kate Mulgrew, Orange Is the New Black (Netflix).
Will probably win: Janney.
Voters love Janney (she already won for guest actress in a drama for Masters of Sex), and we wouldn’t put it past them to honor her again.
Deserves to win: Mulgrew.
Her character, the mischievous prison chef Red, always manages to get her way – and also lands the best one-liners.
Dark horse: McKinnon.
Because who even thought she would score a nomination
Stuff will be live blogging the 2014 Emmy Awards from 10am.
– The Washington Post