On Thursday, July 16, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences will announce this year's round of nominees for the Primetime Emmy Awards. As usual, we here at TV.com have prepared for the big day ... more 
On Thursday, July 16, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences will announce this year's round of nominees for the Primetime Emmy Awards. As usual, we here at TV.com have prepared for the big day with detailed observations from the official ballots and a collection of dream nominees, but now it's time for the main event: our nomination predictions. As I've done the last couple of years, I'm here to break down the five key categories—the four acting races and the series race—on both the comedy and drama side of things. The goal here is to try to get into the mind of Emmy voters, not simply to pick my favorites (though I'll certainly make note of some particularly worthy performances/shows along the way). I'll make note of some recent trends and likely repeat nominees that will help crystallize the 2015 field, and of course, sadly point out how all your favorites have no chance in being nominated (that's my favorite part!). And remember, all names, categories, and predictions come from the widely available ballots that actual voters were given. Let's kick things off with the comedy side of things, which could be very interesting given that Orange Is The Black is now duking it out with the dramas and a few streaming originals ( Transparent and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) could make a lot of noise. Or, more likely, Modern Family, Jim Parsons, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus will continue to roll. Isn't complacency grand? SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES The recent history: A lot of Modern Family. Since the first year the show was eligible in 2010, a Modern Family actor has won in this category four times (Eric Stonestreet and Ty Burrell both have two trophies). Burrell won last year, but it was the first year in five years that only two Modern Family actors were nominated, perhaps suggesting a little bit of fatigue from the voters. Veep's Tony Hale was the one man to break up the Family monopoly in 2013 and he scored a nomination last year as well. Despite the huge number of potential great nominees in this category, we've seen a lot of consistency and repetition here. Since 2000, only eight men have won for Supporting Actor in a Comedy series, while each of the last 15 groups of nominees have included at least two repeat nominees from the prior year—and more often than not, there have been three or more returnees. Don't expect crazy turnover. The probable repeats: Burrell and co-star Jesse Tyler Ferguson have been nominated for five straight years, so there's no reason to believe they'll get bumped out now. Hale's a former winner working on a show voters enjoy, so he'll be around as well. The other three nominees from last year—Andre Braugher, Adam Driver, and Fred Armisen—are all on the ballot again, and you'd bet that at least one or two of them make it to the nominations stage. I'll go with Braugher and Armisen (someone from a sketch show has made the race for three straight years, and there's no Saturday Night Live dude to take Armisen's spot). The other deserving candidates (in alphabetical order): Eric André ( Man Seeking Woman), Aziz Ansari ( Parks and Recreation), Justin Baldoni ( Jane the Virgin), Murray Bartlett ( Looking), Desmin Borges ( You're the Worst), Hannibal Buress ( Broad City), Tituss Burgess ( Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Jaime Camil ( Jane the Virgin), Raúl Castillo ( Looking), Ian Chen ( Fresh Off the Boat), Gary Cole ( Veep), Terry Crews ( Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Keith David ( Community), Charlie Day ( It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Chris Diamantopoulos ( Silicon Valley), Jay Duplass ( Transparent), Mark Duplass ( Togetherness), Laurence Fishburne ( black-ish), Noel Fisher ( Shameless), Troy Gentile ( The Goldbergs), Taran Killam ( Saturday Night Live), Keegan-Michael Key ( Key and Peele), Hugh Laurie ( Veep), Joe Lo Truglio ( Brooklyn Nine-Nine), T.J. Miller ( Silicon Valley), Cameron Monaghan ( Shameless), Lamorne Morris ( New Girl), Kumail Nanjiani ( Silicon Valley), Nick Offerman ( Parks and Recreation), Adam Pally ( The Mindy Project), Randall Park ( Fresh Off the Boat), Jordan Peele ( Key and Peele), Chris Pratt ( Parks and Recreation), Danny Pudi ( Community), Jim Rash ( Community), Paul Reiser ( Married), Martin Sheen ( Grace and Frankie), Timothy Simons ( Veep), Martin Starr ( Silicon Valley), Matt Walsh ( Veep), Jeremy Allen White ( Shameless), Zach Woods ( Silicon Valley), and Steve Zissis ( Togetherness). The possible breakthroughs: With at least three or four spots locked up by returnee nominees, there's not a lot of room for breakthroughs—which is unfortunate given the sea of humanity I just listed in the previous paragraph. As usual, there are a few potential avenues to move down. You might say that the love for Veep and Hugh Laurie's consistent presence at the Emmys when he was on House means he's a top candidate to join the top six. Maybe you think that the groundswell for Jane the Virgin builds just enough for Jaime Camil to grab a nomination. Maybe the apparent 30 Rock connections to Kimmy Schmidt make Tituss Burgess a major force in this category. Or maybe years of Emmy love for Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston and that extra Netflix push help those Grace & Frankie men into the race. Each of those scenarios is possible. My predictions: Burrell, Hale, Ferguson, Braugher, Armisen, and Burgess. Gina Rodriguez will be Jane's best shot, Sheen and Waterston might split the vote, and perhaps Laurie's performance isn't quite showy enough for voters. SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES The recent history: Last year, Allison Janney deservedly took home the hardware for her work on Mom, while the previous year's winner and multi-time nominee Merritt Wever of Nurse Jackie wasn't even nominated. This category has far less repetition and individual dominance than the male side of things, as no one has won more than twice since Everybody Loves Raymond's Doris Roberts' four wins in five years between 2001 and 2005. In general, last year saw some moderate change: Wever was out, Modern Family's Sofía Vergara was suddenly booted from the race last year after four straight nominations of her own, and Glee's Jane Lynch disappeared as well. Of course, it's not all upheaval each year. Julie Bowen ( Modern Family) has been here five years in a row (winning twice in 2011 and 2012), while Big Bang Theory's Mayim Bialik and Veep's Anna Chlumsky are looking for their fourth and third straight nominations, respectively. The probable repeats: Janney, Bowen, Bialik, and Chlumsky will be here unless something very odd occurs. SNL's Kate McKinnon and OITNB's Kate Mulgrew rounded out the category last year and of course only McKinnon has a chance to reappear; I assume she will. The other deserving candidates: Vanessa Bayer ( SNL), Stephanie Beatriz ( Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Alex Borstein ( Getting On), Sufe Bradshaw ( Veep), Paget Brewster ( Community), Carrie Brownstein ( Portlandia), Aidy Bryant ( SNL), Kaley Cuoco ( The Big Bang Theory), Kether Donohue ( You're the Worst), Melissa Fumero ( Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Yael Grobglas ( Jane the Virgin), Kathryn Hahn ( Transparent), Gaby Hoffmann ( Transparent), Gillian Jacobs ( Community), Dot-Marie Jones ( Glee), January Jones ( The Last Man on Earth), Leslie Jones ( SNL), Jane Krakowski ( Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Amy Landecker ( Transparent), Judith Light ( Transparent), Melanie Lynskey ( Togetherness), Zosia Mamet ( Girls), Wendi McLendon-Covey ( The Goldbergs), Andrea Navedo ( Jane the Virgin), Kaitlin Olson ( It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Amanda Peet ( Togetherness), Chelsea Peretti ( Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Aubrey Plaza ( Parks and Recreation), June Diane Raphael ( Grace and Frankie), Retta ( Parks and Recreation), Eden Sher ( The Middle), Hannah Simone ( New Girl), Cecily Strong ( SNL), and Allison Williams ( Girls). The possible breakthroughs: If we believe that there's truly only one open spot, there's not much room for new blood. In fact, our most likely nominees aren't really new at all: Jane Krakowski and Judith Light. Krakowski scored four nominations for her work on 30 Rock and is sure to be in the mix this year, and while Light has actually never been nominated for a Primetime Emmy (most notably for playing Angela in Who's the Boss?), she's a former Daytime Emmy and Tony Award winner in a great role on a show that's likely to grab a number of noms in key categories. After those two, you're probably in wishful-thinking territory, which is unfortunate. The predictions: Janney, Bowen, Bialik, Chlumsky, McKinnon, and Krakowski. You could talk me into Light jumping in there, but I think Krakowski's performance in Kimmy Schmidt is similar enough to her work on 30 Rock that voters won't be able to help themselves. Next: Lead Actor, Lead Actress, and Best Comedy Series (Continued from Page 1) LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES The recent history: Jim Parsons, of course. The Big Bang Theory star walked away with his second consecutive trophy for his work as Sheldon Cooper last year, and his fourth in five years. That's utter domination. Parsons has been nominated every year since 2009 and looking at the series of actors surrounding him over the past six years is kind of dizzying. Tony Shaloub was still garnering nominations for Monk when Parsons joined this category! Elsewhere, there's quite a bit of repetition. Louis C.K. ( Louie) has been nominated for four straight years, Matt LeBlanc has been for all three years in which he and Episodes were eligible (2011, 2013, and 2014), and somehow, Don Cheadle ( House of Lies) has also been in the mix for three years in a row. Not a lot of turnover here, folks. The probable returnees: Well, all four of those dudes I just mentioned—Parsons, C.K., LeBlanc, and Cheadle—are all back on the ballot this year, and I've learned to bet against major shifts from year-to-year. Shameless' William H. Macy was a bit of a surprise in the category last year, but now that he's here, it becomes increasingly challenging to boot him out of the top six. The best news, though, is that Ricky Gervais and Derek have been shuttled off to the Limited Series/Movie categories, so there's a spare spot for someone much more deserving to join the fight. The other deserving candidates: Anthony Anderson ( black-ish), Jay Baruchel ( Man Seeking Woman), Rob Corddry ( Childrens Hospital), Nathan Fielder ( Nathan For You), Will Forte ( The Last Man on Earth), Gael García Bernal ( Mozart in the Jungle), Jeff Garlin ( The Goldbergs), Chris Geere ( You're the Worst), John Goodman ( Alpha House), Jonathan Groff ( Looking), Nick Kroll ( Kroll Show), Joel McHale ( Community), Chris Messina ( The Mindy Project), Thomas Middleditch ( Silicon Valley), Andy Samberg ( Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Adam Scott ( Parks and Recreation), and Jeffrey Tambor ( Transparent). The possible breakthroughs: This is such a loaded category that it's seemingly inspiring other Emmy "experts" (don't worry, I'd refer to myself as such as well) to predict more turnover than I will here. Transparent is the buzzy show on the comedy side this year, Jeffrey Tambor is tremendous, an Emmy favorite, and a Golden Globe winner if you believe that provides any indication of Emmy success. Of course, you could have said similar things about Andy Samberg last year and he wasn't nominated for his work on B99, and that makes it very unlikely that he'll jump to the top six in 2015 either. Unfortunately, the same is true for Thomas Middleditch; voters nominated Silicon Valley in the series race last year, and maybe you could argue that they'll notice the performances a bit more this year, but it's unlikely. Will Forte should be in the mix here as well. Last Man on Earth was one of the bigger broadcast hits of the TV season and he's the singular force behind the scenes and on screen. If he can get in the top six and then spam the voters with his show's pilot episode—one of the best in recent memory—he might actually have a chance to win. Unfortunately, we can't ignore Billy Crystal of The Comedians. He feels like one of those classic nominees that makes the internet so mad, and rightfully so. BEWARE THE CRYSTAL. Finally, Anthony Anderson is a bit of a wild card because black-ish is a wonderful show and you never know if this is a year where the Academy decides to "embrace diversity" or whatever nonsense trend-baiting term you want to use. The predictions: Parsons, C.K., LeBlanc, Cheadle, Tambor, and Anderson. It'll probably be Crystal over Anderson, but I'd like to believe the world isn't a fully miserable place. You could also talk me into swapping Cheadle out for Macy at the back-end of the top six, but that's a real toss-up of Showtime actors who aren't going to win anyway. Pick your favorite. LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES The recent history: Like the bro side, this race has been dominated by one performer for a few years now: Veep's Julia Louis-Dreyfus. She's won three years straight for Veep and has been nominated here a total of eight times since 2006. Around JLD, we've seen an unsurprisingly large amount of consistency as well. Edie Falco and Amy Poehler are looking for their sixth straight nomination for Nurse Jackie and Parks and Recreation, respectively, Girls' Lena Dunham is going for her fourth in a row, and Mike and Molly's Melissa McCarthy is shooting for her fourth in five years. That fivesome has been surrounded by some great sixth or seventh nominees in recent years, including Tina Fey, Zooey Deschanel, Laura Dern, and last year Taylor Schilling, with at least one new nominee each year. The probable repeats: Louis-Dreyfus, Falco, Poehler, Dunham, and McCarthy are all very probable to return. JLD is likely to win her fourth straight trophy in the fall, while Falco and Poehler are up for nomination in these particular roles for the final time. It seems like voters aren't that charmed by Girls anymore, but even in that world, Dunham might get the show's single nomination. The other deserving candidates: Aya Cash ( You're the Worst), Courteney Cox ( Cougar Town), Zooey Deschanel ( New Girl), Anna Faris ( Mom), Jane Fonda ( Grace and Frankie), Sutton Foster ( Younger), Ilana Glazer ( Broad City), Abbi Jacobson ( Broad City), Mindy Kaling ( The Mindy Project), Ellie Kemper ( Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Lisa Kudrow ( The Comeback), Laurie Metcalf ( Getting On), Gina Rodriguez ( Jane the Virgin), Tracee Ellis Ross ( black-ish), Emmy Rossum ( Shameless), Kristen Schaal ( The Last Man on Earth), Amy Schumer ( Inside Amy Schumer), Lily Tomlin ( Grace and Frankie), Casey Wilson ( Marry Me), and Constance Wu ( Fresh Off the Boat). The possible breakthroughs: Man, this is brutal. With five theoretical locks to return, it's insane to try to determine which actress makes it into the top six. The way I see it, there are six potential choices for the final spot or two in this tough race. Gina Rodriguez is the most likely nominee if the media coverage and Golden Globe win are to be believed, and she's certainly worthy. But as I like to remind you, a CW actress winning a Globe is one thing; getting an Emmy nom is something else entirely. With that said, if voters really fall in love with Kimmy Schmidt, Ellie Kemper could snag that spot ahead of Rodriguez. Meanwhile, a pair of co-stars—Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin—have the star power and Netflix promotional power to bully their way into the race. I'm often wary of co-stars competing with one another in the lead categories, but if there are two performers that can pull it off, it might be these industry stalwarts. You figure they either both get in or split the vote and get stuck on the outside. Lisa Kudrow keeps popping up in pieces like these all over the web, and while she was indeed nominated for her work on the first season of The Comeback in 2006, she did not win. That doesn't mean she has no chance to return to the category nine years later, but I'm not certain that she's a stone-cold lock in the way others have suggested. Finally, there's Amy Schumer. It's a big deal that the Academy finally allowed sketch performers to enter into the lead categories and Schumer seems most primed of the Comedy Central folks to jump into their field. If you're looking for comparable moments, Melissa McCarthy's minorly surprisingly first nomination in 2011—coming off Bridesmaids—is the most recent example. Schumer's Trainwreck isn't out yet, but she's had a heck of a year already and the voters love to feel like they're part of some star-making process. The predictions: Louis-Dreyfus, Falco, Poehler, Rodriguez, Fonda, and Tomlin. This category went to seven nominees in 2011 and I could see that happening again here. I'm predicting that Dunham and McCarthy are simply pushed out due to flashier competition, and that the Grace and Frankie stars come as a packaged deal. If Fonda and Tomlin don't make it in, then it wouldn't be shocking to see Schumer and Kudrow round out the top six. What I'm saying is this category needs to run 10 deep, at least. OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES The recent history: Stop me if you've heard this one before, but Modern Family took home the trophy for Outstanding Comedy Series. The ABC juggernaut won for the god forsaken fifth year in a row. It was joined in the category by a few repeat nominees— Veep, Big Bang Theory, and Louie—and two newbies in Silicon Valley and OITNB. Again, there's quite a bit of repetition in this race, but we've seen at least one new entrant in the race every year for a decade. With the field expanding to seven nominees and OITNB switching races, we're almost guaranteed to keep that trend going in 2015. The probable repeats: By now you know that I'm hesitant to pick against repeat nominees and you figure that Modern Family, Veep, Big Bang, Louie, and Silicon Valley are strong contenders to return to the field. The other deserving candidates: black-ish, Broad City, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Comeback, Community, Fresh Off the Boat, Girls, The Goldbergs, Grace and Frankie, Jane the Virgin, The Last Man on Earth, Looking, Man Seeking Woman, The Mindy Project, Mom, Mozart in the Jungle, New Girl, Parks and Recreation, Shameless, Togetherness, Transparent, and You're the Worst. The possible breakthroughs: This could be a really fun category with the additional nominee in the mix. You figure that Transparent is an absolute lock to join the top seven, which leaves a few notable shows— black-ish, Grace and Frankie, Last Man on Earth, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and maybe Togetherness or Jane the Virgin—fighting for that last spot. There's a good chance that voters really do fall in love with Kimmy Schmidt and all its 30 Rock connections, and a slightly lesser but still possible chance that the star wattage of Grace and Frankie pulls in nominations for more than just its performances. Everything probably has to break right for black-ish, Last Man, and Togetherness, but it's not insane to imagine them jumping into a slightly bigger field. The predictions: Modern Family, Veep, Big Bang Theory, Louie, Silicon Valley, Transparent, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I can't quite get a read on Grace on Frankie's chances—it doesn't help that I didn't really enjoy what I've seen—but I wonder how much Netflix has to choose which show to put its promotional weight behind? I suspect that Kimmy will garner the series (and writing) noms while Grace and Frankie scores elsewhere. Either way, I like this top seven, all things considered. What say you? The 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards nominations will be announced Thursday, July 16. The winners will be announced on September 20 on Fox. less 
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Wed, Jul 15, 2015 2:04 PM EDT