2015 Primetime Emmy Predictions: Drama

Outstanding Drama Series

Mad Men (photo from etonline.com)

Mad Men
(photo from etonline.com)

Will win: Mad Men (AMC)
Could win: Game of Thrones (HBO)
Dark horse: Orange Is the New Black (Netflix)

  1. Better Call Saul (AMC)
  2. House of Cards (Netflix)
  3. Homeland (Showtime)
  4. Downton Abbey (PBS)

For a show, Mad Men is bound to be a classic. It is significant for the history of the Emmys; it is the first basic cable series to win in this category. I know it has not won anything since 2011, but its final season was met with so much praise that ending the show with a final Emmy win can be a great conclusion for the history of the show.

Game of Thrones could win, despite the fact that Emmys hate genre shows. The last genre show to win here is Lost in 2005. But without Breaking Bad here and with Game of Thrones receiving the most number of wins last week in the Creative Emmys (with 8), maybe it’s time that another genre show follows the footsteps of Lost ten years later.

Orange is the New Black, I believe, is the dark horse in this category. In the context of award-giving bodies, this show is confused, whether it is supposed to make us cry or make us laugh. It was thought by predictors last year as the show that could end Modern Family’s winning streak, and now that it is in the drama category with no last year’s winner having an advantage, maybe OITNB can pull off a victory.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Will win: Jon Hamm as Don Draper on Mad Men (Episode: “Person to Person”) (AMC)
Could win: Kevin Spacey as President Frank Underwood on House of Cards (Episode: “Chapter 32”) (Netflix)
Dark horse: Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill on Better Call Saul (Episode: “Pimento”) (AMC)

  1. Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan on Ray Donovan (Episode: “Walk This Way”) (Showtime)
  2. Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy on The Newsroom (Episode: “What Kind of Day Has It Been”) (HBO)
  3. Kyle Chandler as John Rayburn on Bloodline (Episode: “Part 12”) (Netflix)

It would be a travesty for Jon Hamm to lose here. He is the Susan Lucci of Primetime Emmy, but the difference is if he loses tomorrow, it would be a bitter end to his Emmy narrative after 16 goddamn nominations (he lost earlier this week for his performance in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt despite being favored by Emmy predictors). Despite this, I believe that there is a public clamor for the guy to win in a series watched by many. And for all it’s worth, he deserves it.

Kevin Spacey could make an upset to Hamm’s Emmy arc, but it wouldn’t be surprising. He has been nominated twice before, and was thought by some to actually bring home the trophy. This could be his year to be one step away from his EGOT, and if that happens, the Emmys must have really hated Jon Hamm.

I would say that Bob Odenkirk is the dark horse here. He won the Critics’ Choice early this year, and the fact that his show is the spin-off of the beloved Breaking Bad can pull off some votes from the TV Academy.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Will win: Viola Davis as Professor Annalise Keating on How to Get Away with Murder (Episode: “Freakin’ Whack-a-Mole”) (ABC)
Could win: Robin Wright as First Lady Claire Underwood on House of Cards (Episode: “Chapter 32”) ( (Netflix)
Dark horse: Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson on Mad Men (Episode: “Person to Person”) (AMC)

  1. Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyon on Empire (Episode: “Pilot”) (Fox)
  2. Tatiana Maslany as Various Characters on Orphan Black (Episode: “Certain Agony of the Battlefield”) (BBC America)
  3. Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison on Homeland (Episode: “From A to B and Back Again”) (Showtime)

I am still predicting a Viola Davis win here, despite the fact that she’s a frontrunner like Cicely Tyson (who played her mom in HTGAWM) yet Tyson lost for the Guest Actress in a Drama category last week. Her performance in her submission tape is why award-giving bodies were created.

Robin Wright might win if the TV Academy decides that this is not yet Viola Davis’s year. Like Spacey, Wright is yet to win an Emmy for her performance in House of Cards. Without any past winner here, the Emmy might feel that it is her time.

Yet the real overdue contender here is Elizabeth Moss. She has been nominated six times for her role as Peggy Olson, every single year except in 2014. Again, this is Mad Men’s final year, and if the TV Academy knows what guilt means and how guilt feels, Moss can take that trophy home.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Will win: Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister on Game of Thrones (Episode: “Hardhome”) (HBO)
Could win: Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut on Better Call Saul (Episode: “Five-O”) (AMC)
Dark horse: Michael Kelly as Doug Stamper on House of Cards (Episode: “Chapter 27”) (Netflix)

  1. Ben Mendelsohn as Danny Rayburn on Bloodline (Episode: “Part 12”) (Netflix)
  2. Alan Cumming as Eli Gold on The Good Wife (Episode: “Undisclosed Recipients”) (CBS)
  3. Jim Carter as Charles Carson on Downton Abbey (Episode: “A Moorland Holiday”) (PBS)

I think Peter Dinklage will win his second Emmy. How upset he was for losing to Aaron Paul last year for his best performance yet in Game of Thrones. Getting his second Emmy this year would not be surprising, as this category has no clear frontrunner.

Jonathan Banks won the Critics’ Choice earlier this year, and he was nominated for a role where he already received a nod in 2013 (for Breaking Bad). With Better Call Saul’s promising first season, it feels that the show has to win an Emmy somewhere, and maybe it is in this category.

This is Michael Kelly’s first individual nomination of any kind. If he managed to get in the list over more heavy contenders, he might sneak in to the top, as House of Cards is popular to Emmy voters.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Will win: Uzo Aduba as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren on Orange Is the New Black (Episode: “Hugs Can Be Deceiving”) (Netflix)
Could win: Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones (Episode: “Mother’s Mercy”) (HBO)
Dark horse: Joanne Froggatt as Anna Bates on Downton Abbey (Episode: “Episode Eight”) (PBS)

  1. Christina Hendricks as Joan Harris on Mad Men (Episode: “Lost Horizon”) (AMC)
  2. Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen on Game of Thrones (Episode: “The Dance of Dragons”) (HBO)
  3. Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart on The Good Wife (Episode: “Loser Edit”) (CBS)

Uzo Aduba won last year in the Guest Actress in a Comedy, and she returns this year but here in this category. Her performance is acclaimed by critics, and other award-giving bodies also noticed (including the overcrowded Supporting Actress category of the Globes). The fact that she was able to make the transition from guest performance to support and from comedy to drama means that the voters know her and love her.

If we’re basing from Game of Thrones’s success in the Creative Emmys, this is indeed GOT’s year. Between Lena Heady and Emilia Clarke, Heady has the more Emmy-‘baity’ performance. It also helps that the tape she submitted created a lot of public buzz and was highly praised by critics.

The dark horse is the one who is not supposed to be here. Everyone was predicting Maggie Smith as Downton Abbey’s bet, but instead, Froggatt made it here. She has been nominated twice before and is just waiting for a victory in this usually crowded category (not this year though). Downton is up for its final season, and she might not get her chance next year. This could be the year, as she also won the much more crowded Supporting Actress category in the Globes earlier this year.

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series

Will win: Homeland (Episode: “From A to B and Back Again”), Directed by Lesli Linka Glatter (Showtime)
Could win: Game of Thrones (Episode: “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”), Directed by Jeremy Podeswa (HBO)
Dark horse: Boardwalk Empire (Episode: “Eldorado”), Directed by Tim Van Patten (HBO)

  1. The Knick (Episode: “Method and Madness”), Directed by Steven Soderbergh (Cinemax)
  2. Game of Thrones (Episode: “Mother’s Mercy”), Directed by David Nutter (HBO)

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

Will win: Mad Men (Episode: “Person to Person”), Written by Matthew Weiner (AMC)
Could win: Game of Thrones (Episode: “Mother’s Mercy”), Written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss (HBO)
Dark horse: Better Call Saul (Episode: “Five-O”), Written by Gordon Smith (AMC)

  1. The Americans (Episode: “Do Mail Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?”), Written by Joshua Brand (FX)
  2. Mad Men (Episode: “Lost Horizon”), Written by Matthew Weiner & Semi Chellas (AMC)
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