It's that time of year again, folks! That long slog of celebrity self-congratulations known as "awards season" kicks off with the Emmy Awards. Below are the Stream Queens' First Annual Emmy Predictions (est. 2016) based on what we watch, worship, stream, binge, or... just notice that lots of other people are talking about tbh.
Please note that we choose to view the Emmy telecast through our rose-colored glasses. In other words, we at SQ choose to see the Emmys not as they are, but as they should be, and our picks may or may not reflect that idealism.
OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
“Better Call Saul”
“Game of Thrones”
“House of Cards”
Stream Queens Pick: "Game of Thrones"
After a disappointing fifth season slump, Game of Thrones returned with a titanic offering in 2016. Shocking deaths and surprise (and not so surprise) resurrections, bastard battles, tying up the Mereneese knot – GOT, much like fellow champ LeBron, left it all out on the floor this season. Though after four seasons of under-the-radar excellence, The Americans is finally getting the recognition it so desperately deserves, and USA (I know, but for real, USA) newcomer Mr. Robot could be shake-up picks, Game of Thrones represents the last vestiges of event television – and this year actually lived up to its own hype.
LEAD ACTOR, DRAMA
Kyle Chandler, “Bloodline”
Rami Malek, “Mr. Robot”
Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”
Matthew Rhys, “The Americans”
Liev Schribner, “Ray Donovan”
Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”
Stream Queens Pick: Rami Malek, "Mr. Robot"
Showrunner Sam Esmail's Mr. Robot became an out-of-nowhere sleeper hit last summer, with much of its success coming thanks Rami Malek's manic portrayal of socially awkward hacker Elliot Alderson. His expressive, wide-eyed confusion as his careful existence devolves into chaos perfectly mirrors the audience's own sense that something is off with the mysterious Mr. Robot and his scheme to take down all-powerful conglomerate E-Corp. Even after the (SPOILER) Fight Club-esque gamechanger is revealed late in the first season, Malek portrays the depth of Elliot's loneliness and anxiety, channeling a lifetime of abuse and isolation. Though Season 2's reveal was not as widely tolerated (and even seen as gimmicky), Malek continues to impress as a man fighting against the dangers his own brilliant mind.
LEAD ACTRESS, DRAMA
Claire Danes, “Homeland”
Viola Davis, “How to Get Away with Murder”
Taraji P. Henson, “Empire”
Tatiana Maslany, “Orphan Black”
Keri Russell, “The Americans”
Robin Wright, “House of Cards”
Stream Queens Pick: Keri Russell, “The Americans”
This season, critical darling The Americans, FX’s Cold War spy drama, saw suburban Soviets-in-disguise Phillip and Elizabeth Jennings playing with bigger stakes and less certainty. The usually icy, good comrade Elizabeth, up to this point did not seem to share her husband's moral misgivings about their profession and the damage they inflict on the people and the world around them. This season Elizabeth was forced to deal with the depth of her husband’s emotional connection to another woman and what he has revealed to her. Her steel armor begins to chip further when she develops a genuine friendship with her mark, the charming Mary Kay saleswoman Young Hee, and must betray her. Russell has delivered her finest performance yet - maybe even enough to make us forget that infamous haircut once and for all.
SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA
Jonathan Banks, “Better Call Saul”
Ben Mendelsohn, “Bloodline”
Peter Dinklage, “Game Of Thrones”
Kit Harrington, “Game Of Thrones”
Jon Voight, “Ray Donovan”
Michael Kelly, “House Of Cards”
Stream Queens Pick: Michael Kelly, “House Of Cards”
Honestly, even with its main character hovering near death for half the season, House of Cards somehow managed to be even more lackluster than last year. However, Michael Kelly continued to impress as President Underwood's Chief of Staff (and Sociopathy) Doug Stamper. His tendency toward darkness constantly breaks through his steely, calm veneer, leading to brief, intense moments of violence - such as attempting to suffocate traitorous PR-man Seth, and continues to sacrifice all his humanity for the Underwood's greater good, hijacking a liver from a dying man to ensure Frank's survival. But it's his obsession with, and subsequent romantic manipulation of, the dead liver man's widow, that catapults his performance above the others.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS, DRAMA
Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey”
Lena Headey, “Game Of Thrones”
Emilia Clarke, “Game Of Thrones”
Maisie Williams, “Game Of Thrones”
Maura Tierney, “The Affair”
Constance Zimmer, “UnREAL”
Stream Queens Pick: Maura Tierney, “The Affair”
Tierney started off the year strong with a Golden Globe win for her portrayal of Helen Solloway, whose husband's affair with a Montauk waitress catalyzes the series. In Season 2, the showrunners incorporated Helen's first-person perspective for the first time, and our view of her as a shallow UES princess shifts as we see the aftermath of Noah's infidelity. Tierney's Helen is a lost woman making a series of poor (or non-) decisions that slowly unravel her: falling into a relationship with Wall Street asshole Max, ignoring her son’s chronic disease, deferring to her mother’s insistence that the problem is mental, picking up her children from school drunk and high, and finally her big mistake on the night Scotty Lockhart is mowed down.
OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES
“Master of None”
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Stream Queens Pick: “Master of None”
Though Veep didn’t falter through its showrunner shakeup, and in fact delivered the best episode of the season in documentary form, Master of None was this year's true standout. Aziz Ansari expanded upon the themes of his more mature stand-up of the last few years as the Netflix newcomer explored romance in the modern age, the female experience, and the struggle of committing to any choice in an era of endless possibilities. Despite the much-needed diversity of its cast (how have shows set in New York City, America's so-called melting pot, thus far been so white?!) What really struck us about Master of None was how it made the mundanity of modern life feel so engrossing and real - binge watching a show with your friends, the politics of texting, doing a virtual interview in a Starbucks, and the stark realities of cohabitating in a studio apartment. Simply no one else on television is doing what Master of None is.
LEAD ACTOR, COMEDY
Anthony Anderson, “black-ish”
Aziz Ansari, “Master of None”
Will Forte, “Last Man Standing”
Thomas Middleditch, “Silicon Valley”
William H. Macy, “Shameless”
Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent”
Stream Queens Pick: Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent”
Usually a stalwart category for the laugh-track network comedies of millenniums past, last year Transparent's Tambor upset the balance of power, and we don't see anyone dethroning him. Though black-ish is charming, Anderson overacts himself into oblivion, and Ansari's semi-autobiographical cipher Dev Shah isn't much of a departure from his presence as a stand-up, especially compared to his endlessly quotable Tom Haverford from Parks and Recreation.
LEAD ACTRESS, COMEDY
Ellie Kemper, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Laure Metcalf, “Getting On”
Tracy Ellis Ross, “black-ish”
Amy Schumer, “Inside Amy Schumer”
Lily Tomlin, “Grace and Frankie”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”
Stream Queens Pick: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”
Can any of our ladies dethrone Dreyfus? This would be her 5th consecutive Emmy win for this role, and 8th overall (somehow, Elaine Benes only won one in the Seinfeld era). She delivered some of her best material this season, as the desperate Selina Mayer finally reached the apex of her ambition - only to watch it come to a slow, sputtering conclusion as it slips through her grasp through several wacky Constitutional loopholes. The moment where Selena realizes she’s lost the presidency for real, with no moves left, and defaults to seeking approval one final time (with a redneck autograph-seeker, no less) is one of Dreyfus's most masterful. The odds are currently clocking at 2/13, so either Kemper's quirky Kimmy Schmidt or Traci Ellis Ross's charming Rainbow, both settling in in their sophomore seasons, could be the spoiler.
SUPPORTING ACTOR, COMEDY
Andre Braugher, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”
Louie Anderson, “Baskets”
Keegan-Michael Key, “Key & Peele”
Ty Burrell, “Modern Family”
Tituss Burgess, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Tony Hale, “Veep”
Matt Walsh, “Veep”
Stream Queens Pick: Louie Anderson, “Baskets”
As the Costco-loving mother of Galifianakis's dysfunctional twins Dale and Chip Baskets, Anderson expertly embodies Baskets combination of humor and pathos. Channeling his late mother, Anderson also drew on his many years of stand-up impressions to make Christine not only believable, but hilarious. We all know awards voters always love a good cis, able-bodied white man playing "against type" (see: basically every Oscar ever), and this is the role of Louis Anderson's life.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS, COMEDY
Niecy Nash, “Getting On”
Allison Janney, “Mom”
Kate McKinnon “Saturday Night Live”
Gaby Hoffmann, “Transparent”
Judith Light, “Transparent”
Anna Chlumsky, “Veep”
Stream Queens Pick: Judith Light, “Transparent”
This category is truly the enigma of the evening. Kate McKinnon shone on SNL with her take on HRC in the ramp-up to Election Year coverage, but overall the season was slump as the show continues to struggle with its post Wiig/Armisen/Samberg identity. Janney is always a solid selection, but honestly who among us under age 70 is still watching CBS? Light continued to impress as Transparent transitioned (we couldn't help it) to its second season and all of Pfefferman's figuring out what life is now. Light shines as her Shelly renegotiates her relationship with Maura, and attempts to regain control of her life through a feud with the "faccacta" condo board. Plus, any woman with an identical dog lookalike has got to be an odds-on favorite, right?
“The People vs. O.J. Simpson”
Stream Queens Pick: “The People vs. O.J. Simpson”
Besides the permanent emotional scars inflicted from hearing Ross Geller repeatedly cry "Juice," The People vs. OJ is a spectacular display of showrunner Ryan Murphy's singular talents in larger-than-life sensationalist television. And in tackling the most sensational case in a century, Murphy expertly revels in the glossy veneer while exposing the casual evil lurking underneath. Expertly cast with finely tuned performances throughout, The People vs. OJ also brings long-overdue justice for Marcia Clark and Chris Darden, providing an sensitive and whole perspective on their role as prosecutors (and we thought no one could top this portrayal). And a side-note to those not yet done with the OJ fever nostalgia: the ESPN doc Made in America is definitely worth the investment, as it provides the whole picture of OJ's story, his place in black (and white) culture, his relationship with Nicole, and the our collective cultural fascination with this uniquely American tragedy.
LEAD ACTOR, LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Brian Cranston, “All the Way”
Benedict Cummerbach, “Sherlock: The Abominable Bride”
Idris Elba, “Luther”
Cuba Gooding, Jr., “The People vs. O.J. Simpson”
Tom Hiddleston, “The Night Manager”
Courtney B. Vance, “The People vs. O.J. Simpson”
Stream Queens Pick: Courtney B. Vance, “The People vs. O.J. Simpson”
Flat-out: Vance is completely electric as the legendary legal eagle Johnny Cochran. He grounds the caricature of Cochran’s over-the-top, magnetizing media persona and reconciles it with a man whose racial identity and experience informed his entire life. His pitch perfect portrayal of Cochran's manipulative, competitive, and tension-filled relationship with Travolta's Robert Sharpiro is impossible to look away from. You in turn admire his cunning manipulation of the jury, truly question his moral center, and are blown away by his unique and vital performance in the trial of the century.
LEAD ACTRESS, LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Kirsten Dunst, “Fargo”
Felicity Huffman, “American Crime”
Audra McDonald, “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grille”
Sarah Paulson, “The People vs. O.J. Simpson”
Lily Taylor, “American Crime”
Keri Washington, “Confirmation”
Stream Queens Pick: Kirsten Dunst, “Fargo”
As manic small-town hairdresser Peggy, teetering on-the-edge of mental illness, Dunst is desperately trying to escape her quaint suburban life. In Fargo's inciting incident, she mows down a member of the prominent Gerhardt crime family with her car - and then calmly drives home with the man attached to her windshield, parks in the garage, and starts dinner. Slowly throughout the season, Peggy reveals her unwavering tenacity and instinct towards self-preservation, the depth of her delusions, and finally vulnerability once again as their saga comes to a desperate close.
SUPPORTING ACTOR, LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Sterling K. Brown, “The People vs. O.J. Simpson”
Jesse Plemmons, “Fargo”
Hugh Laurie, “The Night Manager”
John Travolta, “The People vs. O.J. Simpson”
David Schwimmer, “The People vs. O.J. Simpson”
Bokeem Woodbine, “Fargo”
Stream Queens Pick: Bokeem Woodbine, “Fargo”
It's hard to find two more well-cast shows with benches this deep, but Fargo and The People vs. OJ continue go head-to-head. And while both Sterling K. Brown and John Travolta gave mesmerizing performances, Bokeem Woodbine's ladder-climbing hitman Mike Milligan is unforgettable. A smirking wolf in a bolo tie, Woodbine is at once charming, enigmatic, and incredibly terrifying. The tension felt during his traffic stop with sheriff Ted Danson provided one of the most electrifying moments of the series - with almost no action at all. His unnerving calm as he faces the severed heads of friends and subtle threats on his girlfriend's life makes the performance truly electrifying. Try not to be jarred by his real-life hairline when he takes the stage.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS, LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Regina King, “American Crime”
Olivia Colman, “The Night Manager”
Sarah Paulson, “American Horror Story: Hotel”
Kathy Bates, “American Horror Story: Hotel”
Jean Smart, “Fargo”
Melissa Leo, “All the Way”
Stream Queens Pick: Jean Smart, “Fargo”
We’re won't lie: we didn’t watch American Crime. But we will say that it is an outrage that King wasn’t nominated for her role in The Leftovers season 2 reboot, and we'll pour one out for her in the Drama category. Back here in limited series land, Fargo's Jean Smart is icy perfection as the grieving Gerhardt matriarch struggling for control of her hemmoraging crime family, all in a pitch-perfect Narth Dakoda accent. Bitch is fierce. She contends with losing both a son and a husband, and deals with the misogynistic betrayal of her eldest, who feels his cruelty and stupidity entitle him to inherit the family business. At the same time calculated, ruthless and practical in her reluctance to escalate the war against the Kansas City mob, she’s composed in all the ways Dunst's Peggy is unhinged.
ABC will live stream the Emmy Awards telecast at 8 p.m. on Sunday, September 18th on their website at abc.go.com/watch-live or the ABC app.