65 years of the Emmy Awards: The Observer’s predictions

Lily Korte, Staff Reporter

It’s that time of the year again, television fans. Emmy season has suddenly crept upon us, and hard though it might be to think about last year’s episodes of shows while most of this year’s seasons are just starting, it’s time to take a look back on the front runners from television’s past several months. While most of the usual suspects received most of the nominations (“Game of Thrones,” “Breaking Bad,” “30 Rock,” etc.) the awards ceremony should be interesting if only for the fact that online-only series have been nominated for awards for the first time in history.


As always, this is the category where all the action is. In previous years, “Breaking Bad” could be relied upon to sweep all male acting categories, while “Mad Men” could be relied upon to win Best Series, but everything is up in the air now. The upsets by “Homeland” might be repeated this year, or it may have been a fluke. Despite its adoring fanbase, it’s also worth noting that “Game Of Thrones” generally walks away with nothing to show for its many nominations, outside of perhaps a technical award. “Downton Abbey” also seems to have been moved from the “miniseries” category back to the regular series category, but it will almost certainly have no awards to show for its many nominations either. The performance of “House of Cards” will be interesting to watch, but it seems guaranteed to be another long shot winner, though the star power of Kevin Spacey may tempt voters into giving him an acting award. The big shows to watch here are probably still “Breaking Bad” and “Homeland,” since the most recent season of “Mad Men” was meandering and disappointing—though that certainly wouldn’t stop it from receiving some undeserved awards anyway. My personal feeling is that “Breaking Bad” will sweep the drama categories in 2014 after its final season has aired, but that the awards will be a bit more evenly distributed in the meantime.

Best Series: “Breaking Bad”
Best Actor: Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”
Best Actress: Claire Danes, “Homeland”
Best Supporting Actor: Aaron Paul, “Breaking Bad”
Best Supporting Actress: Anna Gunn, “Breaking Bad”


The Emmys are a notoriously unreliable barometer of comedic quality, frequently handing out awards to popular shows, rather than those that are genuinely funny or innovative, as demonstrated by its frequent rewarding of “Modern Family” and “The Big Bang Theory.” Trying to predict winners is thus rather difficult, as reviewers are torn between who they think will win, and who they believe actually deserves it. “30 Rock” might pick up some sympathy awards as the show bows out after its final season, but then again it might not. Louis C.K also has a good shot at securing at least one award of some kind—I have him listed in my predictions as winning an acting category, but it’s more likely that he’ll pick up an Emmy for writing or directing or some other category instead. The long-awaited fourth season of “Arrested Development” will probably not win anything, but it was a nice gesture to at least see it nominated. “Girls” has risen in mainstream popularity, but it is likely still too controversial to be acknowledged with any awards this year. The key word to keep in mind when evaluating Emmy comedy nominations is “inertia.”

Best Series: “Modern Family”
Best Actor: Louis C.K., “Louis”
Best Actress: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”
Best Supporting Actor: Somebody from Modern Family
Best Supporting Actress: Somebody from Modern Family

At this point it’s more or less a given that “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” will continue winning in the same variety show category it’s already won for the previous nine years. Whether this is deserved is a matter of debate—I feel that Stephen Colbert’s program has been the superior one for the past several years. A lot of the awards in niche genres are inevitably handed to the same shows year after year, such as “The Amazing Race” in the Reality Show category. Similarly, while it would be nice to see “Bob’s Burgers” win for Outstanding Animated Program, the award is more likely to go to a long-running show like “The Simpsons” or “South Park.” Outstanding Short-Format Animated Program is another rather niche category, but one that it would be nice to see “Adventure Time” win in, as the show is quite unlike almost anything else on television. As for the miniseries/movie categories, based on the amount of press it received at the time, my (metaphorical) money is probably on “Behind the Candelabra” receiving most of the awards.