2014 Emmy Predictions and Proclamations

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This year the Emmy Awards will likely be a night filled with laughter and tears. Billy Crystal will lead the Robin Williams tribute, and Seth Meyers will host. This is also the first time in several decades that the show will air on a Monday night. We’re not sure what to do with that information, but we in the Paste TV section have been working tirelessly to make some predictions and proclamations for the big night. We’re rooting for True Detective, but we weep for Hannibal, The Good Wife and Tatiana Maslany. We’re thrilled for Uzo Aduba, but we also could have used more Laverne Cox. Below are our predictions, proclamations and exclamations of snubbery for the major categories of the awards show.

The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards air Monday, Aug. 25 at 8 p.m. EST on NBC. Be sure to check back in with us on the big night, as we’ll be live-blogging the show.

Outstanding Drama Series
Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, Mad Men, True Detective

Who Will Win: True Detective
Who Should Win: True Detective
I want to be sincere and tell you that I think True Detective is the best TV series ever made, and that I’ve basically held that opinion since the third episode. It asked the questions with a depth that satisfied me in an immediate, visceral way, and then again in a secondary, intellectual way. It’s a show that produced an automatic emotional response in each of its eight episodes, and one that I could spend the next week turning over endlessly with the other obsessives in our Internet habitat. And the way we interacted with this show was profound to me, because I see it clearly now in that inquisitive framework: Every show asks questions of its own characters. Most ask questions of the world. But there are very few that ask questions of the viewers. We were challenged, and we responded, and even if 98 percent of that interaction consisted of wild theories that never came true supported by a compulsive hunt for details that turned out to be irrelevant, it doesn’t matter. The results, in the final reckoning, emphatically do not matter. What matters is that our searching and our probing represented our urgent desire to connect. Both sides, art and audience, reached out to each other, and even if they sometimes failed to meet on common ground—even if the grasping was chaotic and slightly misguided—I still find it beautiful.—Shane Ryan

Who Got Snubbed: The Good Wife
Looking for a network television show among this year’s Emmy nominees? You won’t find one, which is a shame. I get that this golden age of television is mostly happening on cable, but The Good Wife wasn’t just the best network drama last season. It was easily one of the best dramas on TV. The series experienced a creative renaissance in its fifth season, where the political civil war found Alicia (Julianna Margulies) and Cary (Matt Czuchry) forming their own law firm. Also, “Hitting the Fan” will be remembered as one of TV’s finest hours. The shocking death of Will (Josh Charles) offered a gut-wrenching look at how people deal with the loss of a loved one. It was also TV’s best kept secret (given that we are living in the age of Twitter and spoilers, I still don’t know how the show kept that one under wraps). And every one of the 22 episodes (that’s right, 22 episodes—take that, True Detective!) deftly balanced an intriguing case of the week, Alicia’s personal and family life, the constant strategizing machinations at both firms, the Illinois political landscape, and the best guest stars on television. —Amy Amatangelo

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
  Lizzy Caplan, Masters of Sex; Claire Danes, Homeland; Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey; Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife; Kerry Washington, Scandal; Robin Wright, House of Cards

Who Will Win:   Robin Wright  
Claire Danes  and Michelle Dockery are both worthy critical favorites—unfortunately the consensus among most is that the most recent seasons of Homeland and Downton Abbey are the weakest of both series, likely ruling both women out this year. Lizzy Caplan of Masters of Sex is a welcome surprise, but unfortunately her breakthrough—and much deserved—nomination might have to serve as victory alone. Kerry Washington’s killer season on Scandal makes her the biggest dark horse in the race, but it will likely come down to Julianna Marguiles and Robin Wright. The Good Wife had a renaissance year this season, but its notable omission from the Outstanding Drama race hints in favor of Wright and House of Cards. In its second season, Wright retained her ice queen composure, but added even more layers of depth and mystery—whether it was through a heart-stopping television interview or a shocking three-way, her composure was consistently spine-tingling. Expect Claire Underwood to come out on top, once again.—John Riti

Who Should Win:   Kerry Washington  or Lizzy Caplan
Okay gladiators, it’s time for a moment of honesty. I love Scandal, but it’s a completely ridiculous show. I watch every week, and I could barely keep up with all the preposterous twists and turns last season. But Washington’s Olivia Pope keeps the show grounded. I’m still not sure what B613 is, but I know Olivia Pope thinks it’s bad, and that’s enough for me. And sure, she should really join Match.com and find someone new to date, but I also believe that her love for Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn) is so overwhelming and so powerful that even a smart, sophisticated woman like Olivia Pope would get caught up in a horrendously dysfunctional relationship. Washington is fantastic. She is the show, and she deserves to be recognized.

There’s also something so delicate, raw and honest about Caplan’s masterful performance as Virginia Johnson. Virginia was a woman ahead of her time—willing to have and talk about sex—when it was taboo, and married couples were still sleeping in separate beds. Virginia is strong yet vulnerable, smart yet often making foolish choices. Caplan brilliantly captures a woman pulled between her work, her burgeoning feelings for William Masters (Michael Sheen) and what society expects of her. She shines in a series full of terrific performances.—Amy Amatangelo

Who Got Snubbed:   Tatiana Maslany  and Keri Russell
This entire show was robbed of Emmy nominations. The Americans had a phenomenal second season as Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip (Matthew Rhys) were under attack. Russell perfectly conveys a mother devoted to her children, but even more devoted to the cause of Mother Russia. She can pull off Elizabeth’s cutthroat menacing side (she’ll kill anyone who comes in her way), and her vulnerability as her family’s life is in increasing danger. Elizabeth is often cold and calculating, yet I still feel an enormous amount of compassion for her. That’s a sign of a great performance.—Amy Amatangelo

There’s nothing more I can say here. Maslany has consistently given one of TV’s best performance(s), and her snub was so outrageous that it literally became a trending topic on Twitter seconds after the nominations were announced. Sure, sci-fi programming gets little love in the Academy, but anyone who has watched any segment of Orphan Black should realize how Maslany manages to breathe life into several vastly different characters. Shame on you, Emmys. Shame on you.—Mark Rozeman

Outstanding 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

Who Will Win: Matthew McConaughey
Who Should Win: Matthew McConaughey
We’re in the midst of the McConaissance, and nowhere is this more evident than in his stunning turn as Rust Cohle on True Detective. With Rust, McConaughey gave us one for the record books, a performance that will go down as one of TV’s finest. In any other year, we’d be screaming from the mountaintops that it’s time for the Emmys to finally give Jon Hamm his due (it’s legitimately insane that Hamm has never won for playing Don Draper), but we’ve got to give this one to McConaughey by the slimmest, Lone Star can man-sized of margins. Maybe next year, Jon.—Bonnie Stiernberg

Who Got Snubbed: Michael Sheen, Masters of Sex
If True Detective had submitted Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in the Miniseries category instead of Drama, Sheen would probably be celebrating an Emmy nod of his own this year. He’s consistently been the best thing about Masters of Sex, breaking hearts as the repressed Bill Masters. For over a season now, we’ve watched him slowly peel back the layers of Bill one by one, revealing childhood trauma and an undeniable attraction to his research partner, Virginia, as we go. Look for Sheen to be nominated in this category next year, especially considering his excellent performance in this year’s The Fight bottle episode.—Bonnie Stiernberg

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad; Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey; Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey; Lena Headey, Game of Thrones; Christina Hendricks, Mad Men; Christine Baranski, The Good Wife

Who Will Win: Anna Gunn
Walter White, to the end of days, could claim one thing all his: Breaking Bad. Jesse broke our hearts, Saul our guts, and Hank our unhealthy fantasies, but ultimately their place in the show, like everyone else’s, amounted to whatever Walter Hartwell White permitted them. The advantage most had: They didn’t live with the danger. Anna Gunn seemed to take almost as much heat from fans as Skyler did from her husband. People hated her character. There were times when her aptitude for emasculation was Heisenbergian. As she flexed her wrath, fans countered with their vitriol. Who knew the everyday-mom-slash-wife-to-suburbia’s-walking-midlife-crisis-nightmare wouldn’t appeal to the masses as much as a weasel-genius-meth-cook? ??Gunn had to do something different for the final eight episodes of the series: take fear and shameful bewilderment and elevate the combination into persona. But who buffers the buffer? Gunn flashed admirable poise in the wreckage that was the White household: She internalized in Skyler a paranoia and anxiety that the character in earlier seasons had had the luxury of voicing. Walt festered until cancer couldn’t help but lick its chops. On the other hand, what ate at Skyler were the echoes of a former self, a former life. And Gunn devoured her with it.—Kyle Burton

Who Should Win: Christina Hendricks
With Elisabeth Moss’s consistently strong performance as Peggy Olson, it can be easy to forget that Christina Hendricks as Joan Harris is a huge part of what makes the world of Mad Men go ‘round. This past half-season, especially, she became a force in that office and worked to create a balance against The Don Draper Show. When we heard Joan declare, “I’m tired of him costing me money,” we knew there was a new Joan at SCDP, and it was glorious. This character was never meant to be a mere 1960s bombshell, and we finally got to see all of the potential that had been building up since 2007 realized.—Shannon M. Houston

Who Got Snubbed: Michelle Monaghan, True Detective
One of True Detective’s biggest problems was the lack of female characters, and the awkward writing that plagued the few. Still, Michelle Monaghan as Maggie Hart made the most of what she was given, as she dealt with her cheating husband, manipulated Rust Cohle and deceived Detectives Gilbough and Papania. In a show mostly filled with men, Maggie as the sole, strong, female character proved Monaghan to be one of the most interesting and compelling actors of the series, even if she was often overshadowed.—Ross Bonaime

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
  Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad; Jim Carter, Downton Abbey; Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones; Mandy Patinkin, Homeland; Jon Voight, Ray Donovan; Josh Charles, The Good Wife

Who Will Win:   Aaron Paul  
Who Should Win:   Aaron Paul  
Breaking Bad was a show about Walter White’s rise to power and infamy, but what took even more acting prowess and restraint was Jesse Pinkman’s destruction throughout the show’s run. The final eight episodes of Breaking Bad turned White and Pinkman against each other, with Aaron Paul’s performance beautifully and deftly depicting a character when he’s had enough. In Jesse’s last moments on screen, we saw an unbridled joy that we’d never seen on TV before—a man who has just escaped from hell, and will never look back.—Ross Bonaime

Who Got Snubbed: Dean Norris, Breaking Bad
Over five seasons on Breaking Bad, Dean Norris’ Hank Schrader was an example of how the choices one person makes can affect other lives in an unexpected way. Schrader had his life irrevocably changed due to the selfishness of Walter White, and in those final few episodes, Schrader’s confrontations with White became some of the finest moments in the entire series. Watching Norris’ visage as he faced off with Walter White—his friend and family—was heartbreaking.—Ross Bonaime

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Dianna Rigg, Game of Thrones; Kate Mara, House of Cards; Allison Janney, Masters of Sex; Kate Burton, Scandal; Margo Martindale, The Americans; Jane Fonda, The Newsroom

Who Did Win: Allison Janney
Who Should’ve Won: Allison Janney
 Masters of Sex struggled to find its footing early on in its first season, but Allison Janney helped make things right with her heartbreaking performance as Margaret Scully, wife to Provost Barton Scully, a closeted gay man. Season One saw her coping with decades of being ignored sexually by her husband, starting up an affair with a younger man, and broadening her horizons before finally realizing her husband’s secret. Janney brought a 1950s innocence to the role and helped highlight why the sex research of the show’s title characters was so important.—Bonnie Stiernberg

Who Got Snubbed: Carrie Preston, The Good Wife
Carrie Preston’s Elsbeth Tascioni of The Good Wife is one of those beloved characters who does not fit well into any particular TV archetype yet—which is why we love her. You just know that if she is in that week’s episode, it is going to be one of your favorite episodes of the season. Her quirks, her genius, her unique sense of humor (and the way she works out on her treadmill whilst preparing for court) are all delivered with a special, inimitable tick that Preston has mastered. Elsbeth Tascioni reminds me of no other character on television, and Preston’s brilliant performance is another reason the snubbery towards The Good Wife is so painful.—Shannon M. Houston

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
  Paul Giamatti, Downton Abbey; Reg E. Cathey, House of Cards; Robert Morse, Mad Men; Beau Bridges, Masters of Sex; Joe Morton, Scandal;
Dylan Baker, The Good Wife

Who Did Win: Joe Morton
Considering what we know of Olivia Pope, any actor playing her father would seem to have near impossible expectations thrust upon them. As Papa Pope, Joe Morton really excels and his Emmy is well-earned. But…

Who Should’ve Won: Robert Morse
As good as Morton was, the fact that Morse didn’t finally get his due Emmy is nothing short of baffling. And while Morse’s Bertram Cooper may not have ever been given the depth afforded to Don or Peggy, he never failed to command a scene. He could be the stern authority figure as well as the kooky old man out of touch with reality. Also, let’s not forget that the show sent Morse off—in a nod to the actor’s celebrated past as a Broadway song-and-dance man—via an incredible musical number. If that doesn’t lock you down an Emmy, what will?—Shannon M. Houston

Who Got Snubbed: Ben Feldman, Mad Men, or Jeremy Davies,Hannibal
Papa Pope worked hard for this win, and, yet, I still have lingering feelings about Ben Feldman’s performance as Michael Ginsberg on Mad Men, from his first appearance in Season Five (where he somehow managed to stump and surprise Peggy Olson, by turning his crazy on and off), to that fateful goodbye this past May. As our critic Bonnie Stiernberg put it, his Van Gogh-esque goodbye—in which he handed Peggy a box of nipple—was especially shocking because he was always the “pure” one in the office. And the fact that, amidst all that crazy, we still identified with his fear of change via fancy, new technology is a testament to Feldman’s work.—Shannon M. Houston

Throughout its two-season run, one of Hannibal’s major strengths has been its phenomenal guest stars. Though the idea of Jeremy Davies (of Lost and Spanking the Monkey fame) playing a disturbed individual sounds like a no-brainer, the actor’s portrayal of a broken, mentally damaged man accused of sewing people into horses (yeah, Hannibal is weird) manages to be both creepy and heartbreaking. In a show that frequently plays with the line between intense drama and flat-out silly camp, it’s performances like these that help keep the series grounded.—Mark Rozeman

Outstanding Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory, Louie, Modern Family, Orange is the New Black,
Silicon Valley, Veep

Who Will Win: Orange is the New Black
Look, submitting in the Comedy category was a very smart move by Orange is the New Black. Although the show has strong dramatic elements, there’s no way it’d win out in an already-overcrowded Drama category that includes Breaking Bad, True Detective and Mad Men. Here, however, its blend of dark humor and important social commentary seems tough to beat.—Bonnie Stiernberg

Who Should Win: Louie or Silicon Valley
 Orange is the New Black is absolutely deserving of an Emmy. But if we’re going to split hairs here, it feels less like a true comedy than the rest of the nominees in this category. With that in mind, it’d be wonderful to Louie get some recognition here. The excellent “Elevator” six-part storyline as well as Pamela’s return certainly brought the element of darkness we’ve come to expect from Louie, but the show’s hilarious surrealism remained intact with gags like this. (“Ten people died in the Bronx last night, due to a fire that killed 10 people in the Bronx last night during a fire. Fire officials say all 10 people died due to the fire, which was too hot for their bodies.”)—Bonnie Stiernberg

The past half-decade has been a confusing one for the Emmy’s comedy categories. Yet while the distinction between drama and comedy has grown hazy (OITNB, Girls, Louie, Shameless, etc.) there remain a few nominees that unquestionably fall into the strictly “comedy” category. Considering its competition, Silicon Valley has little-to-no shot of winning. Nevertheless, one should shine on a light on a show that bursts forth as fully formed and as confident in its identity as this one. With its sharp writing and phenomenal cast (including a scene-stealing final performance by the late Christopher Evan Welch), Silicon Valley proved to be one of the funniest freshman shows to emerge in quite some time. Moreover, after spending much of his career developing projects that either died prematurely or flew under the radar, it’s nice that we can finally highlight the genius that is creator Mike Judge.—Mark Rozeman

Who Got Snubbed: Parks and Recreation
Featuring what is arguably the best comedy ensemble on television, the series hasn’t been nominated for an Emmy since 2011. The sixth season of Parks cleverly moved all the characters forward, while dealing with the departure of Chris (Rob Lowe) and Ann (Rashida Jones). From the always quotable Ron Swanson (“Dear frozen yogurt, you are the celery of desserts. Be ice cream or be nothing.”) to the constant pop-culture references of Tom Haverford (“Would you mind if I snapped a you-y? It’s what I call selfies of other people.”), the show was consistently hilarious. Now, I’ll admit I was very wary when Leslie (Amy Poehler) became pregnant with triplets. But the season finale time jump quickly put those fears to rest.—Amy Amatangelo

Outstanding 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

Who Will Win:   Julia Louis-Dreyfus  
Julia Louis-Dreyfus  has won the last two Emmys in this category for her work on Veep, and there is no reason to think that’s going to change now. JLD is a television icon, Selina Meyer is still her best role, and she did some of her best work this year as Meyer began her campaign for the Presidency. Her submission episode, “Crate,” was the highlight of the season. She’ll keep winning this award until Veep ends, or until the Emmy voters decide to give some other poor schlub a chance.—Chris Morgan

Who Should Win:   Amy Poehler  
While Louis-Dreyfus will be very deserving if she puts another Emmy on her mantel (or wherever one keeps their Emmys when one has so many of them), Poehler’s excellent work on Parks and Recreation deserves its own recognition. Poehler has helped turn Leslie Knope into one of the best characters on television in recent years, and while some may have quibbled with this season of Parks and Rec, it would take some real gumption to quibble with Poehler’s performance.—Chris Morgan

Who Got Snubbed: Ilana Glazer, Broad City
People may be outraged if Amy Poehler doesn’t win an Emmy come Monday night, but the real outrage of this category is that her protege Ilana Glazer of Broad City wasn’t nominated alongside her. Glazer—with excellent co-creator and co-star Abbi Jacobson—emerged as the funniest woman on the debut season of the Poehler-produced show, but also as one of the funniest women on television. Glazer’s Ilana Wexler, a strapped-for-cash slacker trying to make it in New York with her best friend, dishes zinger after zinger, making the show the perfect combination of weird and charming. The opening sequence of “Apartment Hunters” hilariously shows Glazer and Jacobson’s imaginations running wild when they cash an $8,000 check at the bank, set to the tune of Drake’s “Started From The Bottom.” Who wouldn’t want to see how they’d react to an Emmy?!—John Riti

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
  Louis C.K., Louie; Don Cheadle, House of Lies; Ricky Gervais, Derek; Matt LeBlanc, Episodes; William H. Macy, Shameless; Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

Who Will Win: Jim Parsons
Whether you like or detest The Big Bang Theory, it’s impossible to deny that the show is a behemoth. At its helm is Jim Parsons’ performance as Sheldon—a role that has won him three previous Emmys. As the Academy tends to repeat itself, a fourth win would not be out of the question.—Mark Rozeman

Who Should Win:   Louis C.K.  
As a writer/director, Louis C.K. has spent much of Louie re-defining how dark and depressing a show can get, while still being dubbed “a comedy.&#8221 Louie’s fourth season saw C.K. stretching that barrier even further, crafting installments that were rich in atmosphere and emotional nuance, but often lacking in laughs. Yet, with stories like the six-part “Elevator” saga, C.K. continues to demonstrate his underrated abilities as an actor. As good and natural as C.K. is in his stand-up segments, some of the show’s most effective moments often emerge from simple shots of his reactions. It may not be the funniest performance on TV, but it’s absolutely one of the best.—Mark Rozeman

Who Got Snubbed:   Andy Daly, Review
Review proved to be one of the year’s biggest surprises and the vast majority of its appeal stems from star/writer Andy Daly, the helplessly whitebread host of a bizarre TV show where he “reviews” life experiences. Needless to say, most of the challenges find Daly’s Forrest MacNeil woefully over-his-head, and Daly brilliantly captures this cringe-worthy awkwardness with his inappropriately cheery approach to situations. Alternating between buffoonish and sympathetic, Daly’s performance has become an unexpected highlight of this year’s comedy offerings.—Mark Rozeman

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Julie Bowen, Modern Family; Allison Janney, Mom; Kate Mulgrew, Orange is the New Black; Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live; Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory; Anna Chlumsky, Veep

Who Will Win: Julie Bowen
Thankfully, Modern Family wins at the Emmys aren’t as much of a sure thing as they once were. But with this list of actresses, Julie Bowen—a two-time winner in this category—seems to have a good shot. Although Allison Janney could be a new strong entry in this competition, Emmy voters love Modern Family so much, it’s likely Bowen will earn her third Emmy as Claire Dunphy.—Ross Bonaime

Who Should Win: Kate McKinnon
This past season of SNL was one of transition, with eight new cast members joining, and the loss of three of the show’s biggest stars—Fred Armisen, Bill Hader and Jason Sudeikis. With this huge change, Kate McKinnon became one of the most reliable comedians on the show, moving from featured player to main cast member. McKinnon has played everyone from Olya Povlatsky—a frustrated Russian woman—to Justin Bieber, and placed herself as the strongest actress on the cast.—Ross Bonaime

Who Got Snubbed: Danielle Brooks, Orange is the New Black
On a show filled with wonderful characters, Danielle Brooks’ Taystee became one of the most beloved and heartbreaking in the show’s first season. We see Taystee use her intelligence and charm to leave prison, yet once on the outside, she shows how getting out can be harder than staying in. Throw in the incredibly fascinating dynamic of her friendship with Poussey, and Brooks made Taystee an even more sympathetic character. It was impossible not to love her.—Ross Bonaime

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine; Adam Driver, Girls; Ty Burrell, Modern Family; Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family; Fred Armisen, Portlandia; Tony Hale, Veep

Who Will Win: Ty Burrell
While Modern Family isn’t the juggernaut it was a couple years ago, the show still racks up the nominations and is still the most successful of the network sitcoms. Burrell already has one Supporting Actor win for playing Phil Dunphy, and this year I expect he’ll earn his second.—Chris Morgan

Who Should Win: Andre Braugher or Tony Hale
Both of these guys have Emmys, and Hale won this award last year for playing overeager, sad sack Gary on Veep. This season wasn’t quite as good for Hale, but his submission episode was definitely a tremendous showcase for him, even if he wasn’t given many other attempts to steal the show. Braugher, meanwhile, has received Emmy love for his dramatic work, but his role on Brooklyn Nine-Nine takes that gravitas and gives it a comedic spin. Nobody is better at deadpan delivery, and Braugher is a standout performer on the standout new comedy of the year.—Chris Morgan

Who Got Snubbed: Nick Offerman, Parks and Recreation
Ron Swanson. What more needs to be said? Offerman has never been nominated for his near-perfect portrayal of the zeitgeist-capturing king of woodworking and meat consumption. Offerman was tremendous again this year. Yet, here he is, snubbed once more. Not that Ron Swanson would care about such things.—Chris Morgan

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black; Laverne Cox, Orange is the New Black; Natasha Lyonne, Orange is the New Black; Tina Fey, Saturday Night Live; Melissa McCarthy, Saturday Night Live; Joan Cusack, Shameless

Who Did Win: Uzo Aduba
Who Should’ve Won: Uzo Aduba or Laverne Cox
Let’s be real—Uzo Aduba deserved every inch of this award. Her performance as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren on Orange is the New Black was so strange and deliberate and nuanced, it was like nothing else we’d seen. (Season Two introduced us to an even more complex Suzanne—so let’s hope she’s nominated again next year).

Laverne Cox also brought a previously untold story to the screen, with her performance as transgender inmate Sophia Burset. Choosing between the two—Aduba and Cox—is impossible (the entire cast is really phenomenal), but since Cox has gone on to make history with a TIME cover for her activism in the trans community, we can’t help but champion her as well.—Shannon M. Houston

Who Got Snubbed:   Kerry Washington, Saturday Night Live
As the ninth black woman ever to host Saturday Night Live (wrap your brain around that for a second), Kerry Washington helped the sketch comedy show address race issues with their cast (without any women of color, she had to play First Lady Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Beyoncé all in one cold open). In addition to taking on these bigger issues, Washington was also damn funny. Her “What Does the Fox Say” parody, in which she took off her Scandal/Olivia Pope suit to sing at/go off on her boyfriend was something of legend. —Shannon M. Houston

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
Nathan Lane, Modern Family; Steve Buscemi, Portlandia; Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live; Louis C.K., Saturday Night Live; Bob Newhart, The Big Bang Theory; Gary Cole, Veep

Who Did Win:   Jimmy Fallon  
Who Should’ve Won:   Jimmy Fallon  
It’s always fun to watch a former cast member return to SNL as a host, and Jimmy Fallon’s most recent homecoming at Studio 8H certainly didn’t disappoint. On the show’s Christmas episode he was joined, of course, by musical guest/best bud Justin Timberlake for favorites like “The Barry Gibb Talk Show” and the Omeletteville-inspired “Wrappingville.” He performed this adorable twist on “Baby It’s Cold Outside” with Cecily Strong, and even duetted with Sir Paul McCartney on “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” in the monologue. It was the perfect mixture of goofy laughs and warm fuzzies you’d want from a holiday episode, and there’s no one who toes that line quite like Fallon.—Bonnie Stiernberg

Who Got Snubbed:   Vince Gilligan, Community
Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan had a memorable step in front of the camera this year on Community as the host of an old VCR game Annie and Abed played. It was funny enough seeing Gilligan in a cowboy hat shouting rapid-fire instructions into the void during the nonsensical game, but the real winning scene came after the credits, when Gina Gershon turned up as his pushy wife and convinced him to quit his job at Apple and move to LA because VCR games are the future.—Bonnie Stiernberg

Outstanding Miniseries
American Horror Story: Coven, Fargo, Luther, Bonnie & Clyde, Treme, The White Queen

Who Will Win: Fargo
Who Should Win: Fargo
Who Got Snubbed: N/A
Noah Hawley’s adaptation stood out all season due to the existence of one deputy Molly Solverson (played by Allison Tolman). Molly’s heroism, empowered largely by Tolman’s halting performance, is an antidote for the antiheroism Lester lusts after and Malvo sucks the lust from—the sort of antiheroism that’s dominating the Outstanding Drama category.

It couldn’t be more fitting for this show, in this Tony Soprano-Vic Mackey-Walter White-trickle down climate, to broach the antihero by way of cinema’s most male-centric genre: the western. Like the Coen brothers film, the land and townscapes of Fargo were expansive. Lou’s Coffee Shop might as well have been the Bemidji saloon.

The daring of the first season was that neither a minor character’s apparently grander triumph, nor the legitimacy of a villain’s worldview undercut the hero. Everything got to exist side by side. How utterly Yanagitan. Its visual repetitions (retrace the moments that Swedish Fish-looking poster pops up) and auditory grace (the cold open’s climax in “Who Shaves the Barber?”, the “Freeze, shitbird”s of the Fargo massacre) marked genuine innovation.

Breaking Bad proved one of the year’s best shows, Mad Men its most sophisticated, Hannibal its most audacious, and True Detective its most momentous. But for my time, which could wisp away by the hour-and-a-half, no season of TV fascinated me quite the way Fargo did. It wins this category, justly. No disrespect to David Simon’s Treme, or Phillippa Giles’s Luther, but it wins handily.—Kyle Burton

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