Emmy Awards 2016: Who Should (and Shouldn't) Be Nominated

After another extraordinary year in television, Lauren Graham and Anthony Anderson will announce the nominees for the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards on July 14. In anticipation of the Television Academy's annual celebration — and exercise in frustration — I've compiled a list of my dream nominees. Given how many praiseworthy performances there were on TV this year, I've also included the actors whose work I wouldn't mind being recognized. And because there's a touch of snark to everything I do, I've added some of the tiresome veterans and overly praised newcomers with whom I cannot even.

 

 

DRAMA
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

COMEDY
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

LIMITED SERIES/FILM
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

 

DRAMA

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

In a perfect world:
Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Justin Theroux, The Leftovers

OK, sure:
Steve Buscemi, Horace and Pete
Freddie Highmore, Bates Motel
Kyle Chandler, Bloodline
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Aaron Paul, The Path
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Damian Lewis, Billions
Louis C.K., Horace and Pete
Sam Heughan, Outlander

Just... no:
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
Bobby Cannavale, Vinyl
Clive Owen, The Knick
Wagner Moura, Narcos

The Americans is the best show on television right now, and the fact that neither of its leads has received an Emmy nomination is as insane as the idea of two KGB spies living across the street from an FBI agent and becoming best buds. On the flip side, enough with Kevin Spacey and all of House of Cards, basically.

 

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

In a perfect world:
Keri Russell, The Americans
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Krysten Ritter, Jessica Jones
Carrie Coon, The Leftovers
Caitriona Balfe, Outlander
Shiri Appleby, UnREAL

OK, sure:
Claire Danes, Homeland
Sarah Lancashire, Happy Valley
Eva Green, Penny Dreadful
Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder
Taraji P. Henson, Empire
Ellen Pompeo, Grey's Anatomy
Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel
Gillian Anderson, The X-Files

Just... no:
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Robin Wright, House of Cards
Taylor Schilling, Orange is the New Black

What Tatiana Maslany does on Orphan Black is truly other-worldly, so hopefully she'll earn her second consecutive nomination (after two brutal snubs) — and win. If Keri Russell doesn't finally get the Academy recognition she deserves… well, then, it will be like every other day, except I'll be extra eye-rolly. Julianna Margulies and Michelle Dockery did good work, but this year good is not enough.

 

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

In a perfect world:
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Christian Slater, Mr. Robot
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
Jordan Gavaris, Orphan Black
Rupert Friend, Homeland

OK, sure:
Christopher Eccleston, The Leftovers
Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
Michael McKean, Better Call Saul
Hugh Dancy, The Path
Andre Holland, The Knick
Tobias Menzies, Outlander
Alan Alda, Horace and Pete
Ray Romano, Vinyl

Just... no:
Alan Cumming, The Good Wife
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey

Tatiana Maslany understandably gets the lion's share of praise for Orphan Black's success, but Jordan Gavaris is, in many ways, the heart of the show. My down-with-Downton campaign continues here, of course. Just say no to mediocrity

 

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

In a perfect world:
Kate Mulgrew, Orange Is the New Black
Regina King, The Leftovers
Constance Zimmer, UnREAL
Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
Alison Wright, The Americans
Billie Piper, Penny Dreadful

OK, sure:
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Sophie Turner, Game of Thrones
Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black
Miranda Otto, Homeland
Malin Akerman, Billions
Holly Taylor, The Americans
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

Just... no:
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey

One of the best TV stories to come out of the past few years is the resurgence of Regina King. Feel free to give her another Emmy, this time for The Leftovers. Just don't let Joanne Froggatt take up a spot for another year of worried glances and knowing smiles.

 

COMEDY

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

In a perfect world:
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
Rob Delaney, Catastrophe
Fred Savage, The Grinder
Chris Geere, You’re the Worst
Will Forte, The Last Man on Earth

OK, sure:
Rob Lowe, The Grinder
Gael Garcia Bernal, Mozart in the Jungle
Thomas Middleditch, Silicon Valley
Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Andy Samberg, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
William H. Macy, Shameless
Fred Armisen, Portlandia
Billy Eichner, Difficult People

Just... no:
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Aziz Ansari, Master of None

Chris Geere does really fantastic work on the woefully underrated (in both senses of the word) You’re the Worst. And while Master of None is a very good show, Aziz Ansari is not a very good actor.

 

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

In a perfect world:
Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Aya Cash, You’re the Worst
Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish
Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin
Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Sharon Horgan, Catastrophe

OK, sure:
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie
Jane Fonda, Grace and Frankie
Laurie Metcalf, Getting On
Michaela Watkins, Casual
Martha Plimpton, The Real O’Neals
Abbi Jacobson, Broad City
Ilana Glazer, Broad City
Anna Faris, Mom
Maria Bamford, Lady Dynamite

This is where it's at. There is no one in the award conversation to whom I'd object being nominated, but I do sincerely hope Golden Globe winner Rachel Bloom is among the nominees. Few actress are tasked with doing as much as she does each week on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

 

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

In a perfect world:
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Tony Hale, Veep
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Jaime Camil, Jane the Virgin
Adam Driver, Girls
Santino Fontana, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

OK, sure:
Steve Zissis, Togetherness
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Louie Anderson, Baskets
T.J. Miller, Silicon Valley
Noah Galvin, The Real O'Neals

Just... no:
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Ed O'Neill, Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family

A little love for the CW, please? Feel free to skip Modern Family completely, however. This was not their year.

 

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

In a perfect world:
Kether Donohue, You’re the Worst
Melanie Lynskey, Togetherness
Jane Krakowski, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Donna Lynne Champlin, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Niecy Nash, Getting On
Gaby Hoffmann, Transparent

OK, sure:
Anna Chlumsky, Veep
Allison Williams, Girls
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Amanda Peet, Togetherness Eden Sher, The Middle
Judith Light, Transparent
Chelsea Peretti, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Noel Wells, Master of None

Just... no:
Allison Janney, Mom
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family

Another shout-out for You're the Worst, which is one of the best. Also among the best: Togetherness' Melanie Lynskey, who is typically the MVP of everything she's in.

 

LIMITED SERIES/FILM

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

In a perfect world:
Courtney B. Vance, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
Patrick Wilson, Fargo
Tom Hiddleston, The Night Manager
Ben Whishaw, London Spy
Malachi Kirby, Roots

OK, sure:
Oscar Isaac, Show Me a Hero
Bryan Cranston, All the Way
Timothy Hutton, American Crime
Anthony Hopkins, The Dresser
Richard Dreyfuss, Madoff
Idris Elba, Luther
Matt Bomer, American Horror Story: Hotel
Ian McKellen, The Dresser
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock

London Spy worked because of Ben Whishaw's haunting performance. All the awards!

 

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

In a perfect world:
Sarah Paulson, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
Kirsten Dunst, Fargo
Kerry Washington, Confirmation
Lili Taylor, American Crime
Felicity Huffman, American Crime

OK, sure:
Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill
Angela Lansbury, Driving Miss Daisy
Blythe Danner, Madoff

Just... no:
Lady Gaga, American Horror Story: Hotel

Look, Lady Gaga wasn't bad in AHS. In fact, she was surprisingly good. But not award-worthy, no matter what those maniacs at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association think.

 

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

In a perfect world:
Sterling K. Brown, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
Connor Jessup, American Crime
Denis O’Hare, American Horror Story: Hotel
Jesse Plemons, Fargo
Hugh Laurie, The Night Manager

OK, sure:
Alfred Molina, Show Me a Hero
Bokeem Woodbine, Fargo
Wendell Pierce, Confirmation
John Travolta, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
Chris Cooper, 11.22.63

In an incredibly dark and violent season of AHS, Denis O’Hare was a beacon of light. But Sterling K. Brown was superlative.

 

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie

In a perfect world:
Olivia Colman, The Night Manager
Regina King, American Crime
Jean Smart, Fargo
Melissa Leo, All the Way

OK, sure:
Catherine Keener, Show Me a Hero
Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Hotel
Anna Paquin, Roots
Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Hotel
Vera Farmiga, Special Correspondents

Just a few years ago, Regina King called out the Emmys' lack of diversity among nominees and resigned herself to the fact that ruffling Academy feathers could cost her future recognition. Now she has two acting nominations in one year. And she should win.

 

T.J. DeGroat is the editor of SideReel. He can't believe Lauren Graham has never been nominated for an Emmy. Follow him on Twitter for rants about snubs.

Comments

11 comments

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zazerhContributor
Jul 7, 2016 8:34PM EDT

What a fantastic breakdown!

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Jul 8, 2016 11:08AM EDT

Not that these awards mean anything, but it would be a real shame if Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) got snubbed AGAIN. So if anything, I'm rooting for her!
Nice article anyways!

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TelevisionFanboyContributor
Jul 8, 2016 1:05PM EDT

You're the Worst definitely deserves some Emmy recognition. So does the Leftovers. This list is spot on! Kenner Dononue, Aya Cash, and Chris Geere all killed it this year on YTW. I have seen few things on television more powerful than Regina King's performance in the Leftovers s2 finale.
As for Fargo, both Jean Smart and Kirsten Dunst totally deserve an Emmy nod. They both ruled this season of Fargo, owning every scene. Dunst as fragile Peggly was a force (both emotionally and comedically).

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Jul 8, 2016 6:57PM EDT

Great lists! Tatiana Maslany should get an Emmy nomination for EVERY clone she plays on the show, she truly deserves to have won at least 3 Emmys by now...

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Jul 8, 2016 7:57PM EDT

You're right TJ. There were SO MANY AMAZING PERFORMANCES this year and your dream list is spot on. Tatiana Maslany is the female to beat. And Rami Malek is the man. I agree about "The Americans" as a series, and love them both as actors. Yet, my heart sits with "Outlander"s couple also. And few comedians made me laugh from that truthful place as did Catastrophe's husband and wife. It's definitely been a couples' match from my viewing seat this year.

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Jul 9, 2016 2:32PM EDT

I agree with all of your nominations! All of them!
‘In a Perfect World’ every single actor/actress deserved mentioning. It was nice to see Theroux, Maslany, Dinklage, Forte and Burgess on those.
In the ‘Just… no’ lists, I agree! Just… no!
Great lists!! I guess I should be part of a ‘Perfect World’. ;-)

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Jul 9, 2016 7:43PM EDT

Everything about "Modern Family" this season was a "Just...no" yet the voters will probably give it a nod based on it's name alone and skip over some actually funny shows like "You're The Worst".

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Jul 11, 2016 1:41AM EDT

everything drama should go to GOT/Killjoy/Dark Matter...amateur lol

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Jul 11, 2016 7:04PM EDT

Why is Noah Galvin listed under supporting? He's the main character of the show.

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Jul 11, 2016 7:35PM EDT

He was put up as supporting, KetchG, while the parents were submitted as leads. Weird, eh?

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Jul 12, 2016 7:02AM EDT

Rachel Bloom for everything! But so many other great actresses in that category. Would also be happy with Gina or Aya.

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