2016 Emmy Awards Predictions


The 68th Annual Emmy Awards will bestow shiny trophies upon the best in television from the 2015-2016 TV season on Sunday, September 18th. Oh, the Emmys. They either award the same shows and performers year after year or the winners list is full of several WTFs, though that's never consistent from year to year (or even within the same year), so they can be difficult to predict. This will likely be a year of sweeps: "Game of Thrones," "Veep," and especially "The People v O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story" are expected to clean up in their respective fields.

And victories for those programs would be more than fine with us! Our latest podcast detailed all our favorite things from the past year in TV, many of which are nominated. Below you'll find Matt's predictions in all televised categories, in the presumed order they will be announced. Jimmy Kimmel hosts this year's show, which will air on ABC beginning at 8pm ET. Be sure to mix some drinks and follow along with our commentary on Twitter @CineMunch.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Louie Anderson, "Baskets"
Andre Braugher, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"
√ Tituss Burgess, "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"
Ty Burrell, "Modern Family"
Tony Hale, "Veep"
Keegan-Michael Key, "Key & Peele"
Matt Walsh, "Veep"

     A category where I could see any of the nominees prevailing (except maybe Key, as I don't think voters will ever award a performer from a sketch comedy series). Hale could win a third, though might lose some votes to co-star Walsh. Louie Anderson is probably the dark horse, but I have a feeling the Emmys will finally catch up to the hilarity Burgess brings to his every moment on "Kimmy Schmidt."

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
"Catastrophe" -- "Episode 1" (Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan)
"Master of None" -- "Parents" (Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang)
"Silicon Valley" -- "Founder Friendly" (Dan O'Keefe)
"Silicon Valley" -- "The Uptick" (Alec Berg)
"Veep" -- "Morning After" (David Mandel)
√ "Veep" -- "Mother" (Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck)

     Voters sometimes like to reward creators and stars who write or direct their own material, which would benefit the "Catastrophe" duo or, more likely, Ansari and Yang, whose episode was much talked about, even if you weren't a viewer of their show. I'm fairly confident (which is always foolhardy when it comes to the Emmys) that "Mother" will be "Veep"'s second win in a row in this category for one of the best episodes of television from the past year.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Anna Chlumsky, "Veep"
Gaby Hoffmann, "Transparent"
Allison Janney, "Mom"
√ Judith Light, "Transparent"
Kate McKinnon, "Saturday Night Live"
Niecy Nash, "Getting On"

     Allison Janney is a living legend and she's won the past two years, though "Mom" is not a series the Emmys have warmed to outside of her performance. Should she win again, she'll tie Cloris Leachman for the most Emmy wins by any actor, with eight. Chlumsky could ride a wave of "Veep" love to her first win or McKinnon could benefit from her breakout Ghostbusters turn (though again, I don't think a sketch series will ever win an acting award), but I have a feeling industry veteran Judith Light will take this in a semi-surprise.

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series
"Master of None" -- "Parents" (Aziz Ansari)
"Silicon Valley" -- "Daily Active Users" (Alec Berg)
"Silicon Valley" -- "Founder Friendly" (Mike Judge)
"Transparent" -- "Man On The Land" (Jill Soloway)
"Veep" -- "Kissing Your Sister" (David Mandel)
"Veep" -- "Morning After" (Chris Addison)
√ "Veep" -- "Mother" (Dale Stern)

     Again, "Mother" was one of the best episodes on TV in any genre. "Veep" could split its own votes with three nominees in this category, which would likely lead to a "Transparent" victory for creator Jill Soloway (after winning last year in the same race). Watch out for Aziz Ansari, though.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Ellie Kemper, "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"
√ Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep"
Laurie Metcalf, "Getting On"
Tracee Ellis Ross, "black-ish"
Amy Schumer, "Inside Amy Schumer"
Lily Tomlin, "Grace & Frankie"

     This is an amazing category full of very strong actresses... but *somehow* Julia Louis-Dreyfus continues to give an almost undeniable performance that I bet nets her a record-breaking sixth statue in this category (and fifth in a row for this role).

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Anthony Anderson, "black-ish"
Aziz Ansari, "Master of None"
Will Forte, "The Last Man on Earth"
William H. Macy, "Shameless"
Thomas Middleditch, "Silicon Valley"
√ Jeffrey Tambor, "Transparent"

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program
"The Amazing Race" (CBS)
"American Ninja Warrior" (NBC)
"Dancing with the Stars" (ABC)
"Project Runway" (Lifetime)
"Top Chef" (Bravo)
√ "The Voice" (NBC)

Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special
"Fargo" -- "Loplop" (Bob DeLaurentis)
"Fargo" -- "Palindrome" (Noah Hawley)
"The Night Manager" (David Farr)
"The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story" -- "From the Ashes of Tragedy" (Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski)
√ "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story" -- "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia" (D.V. DeVincentis)
"The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story" -- "The Race Card" (Joe Robert Cole)

     "People v. O.J." will likely clean up in the limited series categories (with no complaints from me) with competition from the equally amazing "Fargo", though maybe "The Night Manager" benefits here from vote-splitting between the multiple nominees for each FX series. Most are predicting the "O.J." premiere ("From the Ashes of Tragedy") to win here and in directing, but these categories don't always go to the expected winners, so I'll stick up for my favorite "O.J." episode.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
Kathy Bates, "American Horror Story: Hotel"
Olivia Colman, "The Night Manager"
Regina King, "American Crime"
Melissa Leo, "All the Way"
Sarah Paulson, "American Horror Story: Hotel"
√ Jean Smart, "Fargo"

Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special
"All the Way" (Jay Roach)
"Fargo" -- "Before the Law" (Noah Hawley)
"The Night Manager" (Susanne Bier)
"The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story" -- "From the Ashes of Tragedy" (Ryan Murphy)
"The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story" -- "Manna from Heaven" (Anthony Hemingway)
√ "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story" -- "The Race Card" (John Singleton)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
√ Sterling K. Brown, "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story"
Hugh Laurie, "The Night Manager"
Jesse Plemons, "Fargo"
David Schwimmer, "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story"
John Travolta, "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story"
Bokeem Woodbine, "Fargo"

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
Kirsten Dunst, "Fargo"
Felicity Huffman, "American Crime"
Audra McDonald, "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill"
√ Sarah Paulson, "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story"
Lili Taylor, "American Crime"
Kerry Washington, "Confirmation"

     Paulson likely takes her first award after several nominations, for what many (including myself) consider THE performance of the year.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
Bryan Cranston, "All the Way"
Benedict Cumberbatch, "Sherlock: The Abominable Bride"
Idris Elba, "Luther"
Cuba Gooding, Jr., "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story"
Tom Hiddleston, "The Night Manager"
√ Courtney B. Vance, "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story"

     Obviously Emmy voters love Cranston (and he won the Tony Award for this same role), but this is Vance's to lose.

Outstanding Television Movie
√ "All the Way" (HBO)
"Confirmation" (HBO)
"Luther" (BBC America)
"Sherlock: The Abominable Bride" (PBS)
"A Very Murray Christmas" (Netflix)

Outstanding Limited Series
"American Crime" (ABC)
"Fargo" (FX)
"The Night Manager" (AMC)
√ "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story" (FX)
"Roots" (History)

Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special
√ "Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo" (Amy Schumer)
"John Mulaney: The Comeback Kid" (John Mulaney)
"Patton Oswalt: Talking for Clapping" (Patton Oswalt)
"Tig Notaro: Boyish Girl Interrupted" (Tig Notaro)
"Triumph's Election Special 2016" (Various Writers)

Outstanding Variety Talk Series
"Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" (Crackle)
"Jimmy Kimmel Live!" (ABC)
√ "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" (HBO)
"Late Late Show with James Corden" (CBS)
"Real Time with Bill Maher" (HBO)
"The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" (NBC)

     After 13 years of either Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert winning this category, John Oliver will bring this award home to a network other than Comedy Central for the first time since 2002.

Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special
"Adele Live in New York City" (Beth McCarthy-Miller)
"Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo" (Chris Rock)
"58th Grammy Awards" (Louis J. Horvitz)
√ "Grease: Live" (Thomas Kail and Alex Rudzinski)
"The Kennedy Center Honors" (Glenn Weiss)
"Lemonade" (Kahlil Joseph and Beyoncé Knowles Carter)

     Sorry, Beyoncé!

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series
"Documentary Now!" (IFC)
"Drunk History" (Comedy Central)
√ "Inside Amy Schumer" (Comedy Central)
"Key & Peele" (Comedy Central)
"Portlandia" (IFC)
"Saturday Night Live" (NBC)

     I could see "Key & Peele" winning in its final eligible year, but Amy Schumer is still someone the industry and the public can agree on.

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
"The Americans" -- "Persona Non Grata" (Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg)
"Downton Abbey" -- "Episode 8" (Julian Fellowes)
√ "Game of Thrones" -- "Battle of the Bastards" (David Benioff and D.B. Weiss)
"The Good Wife" -- "End" (Robert King and Michelle King)
"Mr. Robot" -- "eps1.0_hellofriend.mov" (Sam Esmail)
"UnREAL" -- "Return" (Marti Noxon and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro)

     I don't think this is as much a lock as others do, but "Battle of the Bastards" was hard to ignore even if you don't watch "Game of Thrones." Sentimentality might sway voters to "The Good Wife" or "Downton Abbey" for their final seasons, but I'd say "Mr. Robot" is the spoiler with "The Americans" the dark horse in this contest.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Emilia Clarke, "Game of Thrones"
√ Lena Headey, "Game of Thrones"
Maggie Smith, "Downton Abbey"
Maura Tierney, "The Affair"
Maisie Williams, "Game of Thrones"
Constance Zimmer, "UnREAL"

     Maggie Smith is the only previous winner here among these characters, and she could certainly win one last time for her iconic Dowager Countess, but at this point Headey is past due. Should she split votes with her co-stars (of which, Clarke could spoil), Tierney (who won the Golden Globe) or Zimmer (who won the Critics Choice Award) might sneak in.

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series
"Downton Abbey" -- "Episode 9" (Michael Engler)
√ "Game Of Thrones" -- "Battle of the Bastards" (Miguel Sapochnik)
"Game of Thrones" -- "The Door" (Jack Bender)
"Homeland" -- "The Tradition of Hospitality" (Lesli Linka Glatter)
"The Knick" -- "This is All We Are" (Steven Soderbergh)
"Ray Donovan" -- "Exsuscito" (David Hollander)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
√ Jonathan Banks, "Better Call Saul"
Peter Dinklage, "Game of Thrones"
Kit Harington, "Game of Thrones"
Michael Kelly, "House of Cards"
Ben Mendelsohn, "Bloodline"
Jon Voight, "Ray Donovan"

     Prognosticators think Harington is the one to beat here, and he absolutely had a meaty arc on the most recent season of "Thrones," but I'm not so sure. An Emmy for Jonathan Banks' work on "Better Call Saul" (and, by extension, "Breaking Bad") has seemed inevitable for years now - maybe this is his year? A third victory for Dinklage would be lazy voting (which, come to think of it, can often describe the Emmys), but any of these six could realistically win.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Kyle Chandler, "Bloodline"
Rami Malek, "Mr. Robot"
Bob Odenkirk, "Better Call Saul"
Matthew Rhys, "The Americans"
Liev Schreiber, "Ray Donovan"
√ Kevin Spacey, "House of Cards"

     I would be surprised if this goes to Chandler or Schreiber, though I wouldn't rule anyone out of contention from this lineup. Most are predicting Malek (who would be a very worthy winner in my book) as a consolation for "Mr. Robot" likely falling short in other categories, though he's both too young and too unknown to make sense as the winner of a popular vote, says me. I'm tempted to say Rhys gets the recognition he's long deserved for his incredible work on "The Americans," but the Emmys are no strangers to awarding the right actor but in the wrong year - hence my hunch that Spacey wins his first Emmy for a relatively weak season of "House of Cards." 

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
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"

     While Viola Davis won last year and is a truly formidable and respected actress, I don't think hers is a role or show that voters are itching to award a second time. Keri Russell is a definite possibility here (and I would love to see her prevail), but I have a feeling it'll be Robin Wright. Though when it comes to the Emmys, I'm usually wrong...

Outstanding Comedy Series
"black-ish" (ABC)
"Master of None" (Netflix)
"Modern Family" (ABC)
"Silicon Valley" (HBO)
"Transparent" (Amazon)
"Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" (Netflix)
√ "Veep" (HBO)

     "Veep" finally broke "Modern Family"'s streak last year and then improved on its nomination count this year, giving it hard-to-deny momentum that should easily push it to a second win for Best Comedy.

Outstanding Drama Series
"The Americans" (FX)
"Better Call Saul" (AMC)
"Downton Abbey" (PBS)
√ "Game of Thrones" (HBO)
"Homeland" (Showtime)
"House of Cards" (Netflix)
"Mr. Robot" (USA)

     I could make a case for perpetual underdog "The Americans," buzzy newcomer "Mr. Robot," or even sentimental favorite "Downton Abbey," but this is "Game of Thrones"' to lose.