Who will win Emmys on Sunday? Our critics discuss – part two

Can Game of Thrones edge out Mr Robot for outstanding drama, and can Master of None overcome the all-conquering Veep? Our critics chew over the categories

Outstanding drama series

The Americans
Better Call Saul
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
Mr Robot

Schilling: Game of Thrones finally won the Emmy for outstanding drama series last year for arguably its weakest season. Regardless, this was a long time coming and well deserved. So, now what? The list of nominees is remarkably strong and a case could be made for any of these shows, save for the scatterbrained Homeland and soggy old Downton Abbey. The zeitgeisty favorite from last year is Mr Robot. It has my vote, despite struggling in its sophomore season. There’s enough goodwill left over from season one, plus something tells me the Emmy voters are looking to pick something fresh this year.

Moylan: I don’t disagree with you, but I think that something fresh is going to be The Americans. I think it has a much steadier track record than Mr Robot, great name recognition, and just the fact that it managed to get its first nomination after four seasons means there is a groundswell of support. That should be enough for it to say: “Domo arrigato, Mr Roboto.” But don’t count out Game of Thrones. It’s a phenomenon, and if it won for season five, it could certainly win again for season six, especially after its sublime season finale.

Outstanding comedy series

Aziz Ansari in Master of None: time for something different?
Aziz Ansari in Master of None: time for something different? Photograph: KC Bailey/Netflix

Master of None
Modern family
Silicon Valley
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Schilling: Like Game of Thrones in the drama category last year, Amazon’s Transparent still hasn’t won the big prize. So, I’m picking Jill Soloway’s perfectly observed dramedy to break through. Maybe I have too much faith in the average Emmy voter. After all, this is the group that routinely honored the Big Bang Theory in lieu of actual comedies. Still, I must believe that they will recognize the show for both its undeniable artistry and the window it provides into so many corners of the LGBT community.

Moylan: The problem with Transparent in this category is that enough Emmy voters don’t think it’s actually a comedy. Sure, there are some funny bits, but lots of the characters are grating and it’s almost more of a drama than anything. That’s what makes it outstanding television, but I think it’s a detriment in this category, especially when Veep is still firing on all cylinders and is already a proven winner. I think if the Emmys do want to award something different, they’re going to go with Master of None, which is fresh and different, but a much safer choice.

Outstanding lead actor in a drama

Rami Malek as Elliot Alderson in Mr Robot: does he have the right profile to win?
Rami Malek as Elliot Alderson in Mr Robot: does he have the right profile to win? Photograph: USA Network/Getty Images

Kyle Chandler, Bloodline
Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
Rami Malek, Mr Robot
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Liev Schrieber, Ray Donovan

Schilling: I didn’t finish season two of Bloodline. The only upgrade from season one is that fewer people sweat through their shirts. If you aren’t a dad in your 50s, you don’t watch Ray Donovan. The most deserving nominee here is Bob Odenkirk. Better Call Saul is a gut-wrenching tragedy that mines gallows humor out of the inevitable downfall of a fast-talking schlub. Assuming Mr Robot takes outstanding drama series, this goes to the former Mr Show star. If it doesn’t, I think Rami Malek goes home with this trophy as a make-up. Live Schrieber should probably skip the show and go straight to the party.

Moylan: You’re totally wrong about Rami Malek not getting the make-up trophy here. I think even if Mr Robot does win (which I don’t think it will) I think he stands a good chance here. It’s a showy performance, and those voting really seem to like that. But he’s hardly a lock. Matthew Rhys could whip off one of his character’s many wigs and be up on that platform himself. I love Better Call Saul and Odenkirk, but if he hasn’t gotten a trophy by now for playing Saul Goodman, it’s not going to happen this year.

Outstanding lead actress in a drama

Taraji P Henson: time for a celebration?
Taraji P Henson: time for a celebration? Photograph: Walker/Variety/Rex/Shutterstock

Claire Danes, Homeland
Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder
Taraji P Henson, Empire
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Keri Russell, The Americans
Robin Wright, House of Cards

Schilling: This is pure wish fulfillment on my part. Cookie Lyon is a singular performance and Taraji P Henson deserves a ton of credit for bringing that character to life. Season two of Empire was justifiably maligned for shoddy plotting and empty-calorie cliffhangers, but it’s still better than 80% of what’s on TV and Henson is a major reason why that’s the case. I can also see this going to Keri Russell, since The Americans is winding down its run and is such a critical favorite.

Moylan: I think that you are absolutely right with everything you have to say about Cookie, but I think the show’s sophomore slump is going to be pretty damaging. The same goes for How to Get Away with Murder and last year’s winner Viola Davis. Not enough people watch Orphan Black and Claire Danes has had her day. I’d say it’s an even toss up between Keri Russell and Robin Wright as two of the best badasses of any gender on television. Personally I’d give it to Russell.

Outstanding reality competition series

The Amazing Race
American Ninja Warrior
Dancing With The Stars
Project Runway
The Voice
Top Chef

Schilling: I actually learn something when I watch Top Chef and the rest of these shows make me want to hollow out my TV and perform puppet shows through the frame to amuse myself.

Moylan: The Academy likes to pretend it doesn’t watch reality shows, but I bet all of their grandkids force them to watch American Ninja Warrior. Who doesn’t want to make their grandkids happy?

Outstanding television movie

A Very Murray Christmas
All The Way
Sherlock: the Abominable Bride

Schilling: Give it to Luther, because maybe that will mean we’ll get more Luther.

Moylan: Anita Hill got a raw deal. Maybe an outstanding television movie Emmy for Conviction after two decades will make her feel better. Or it will go to Sherlock. Whichever.

Outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series

Louie Anderson, Baskets
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Keegan-Michael Key, Key & Peele
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Tony Hale, Veep
Matt Walsh, Veep

Schilling: There’s no better straight man in sitcoms today than Andre Braugher. Putting him next to Andy Samberg was a stroke of genius.

Moylan: Just pick one of the guys from Veep and give it to him, though Louie Anderson playing a woman is the only good thing about Baskets.

Outstanding supporting actor in a drama series

Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline
Peter Dinklage, Game Of Thrones
Kit Harington, Game Of Thrones
Michael Kelly, House Of Cards
Jon Voight, Ray Donovan

Schilling: I vote for Kit Harington, because it’s time someone recognized how good he is at frowning.

Moylan: If we give Kit Harington an Emmy will he take his shirt off on stage? He will? I vote Kit Harington!


Dave Schilling and Brian Moylan

The GuardianTramp

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