On Thursday, July 14, the Television Academy will announce the nominees for the 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, and we have all the faith in the world they’ll get every single choice just right.
OK, maybe they won’t, but only because the 19,000-plus voters literally can’t get every choice right. Unless all the categories squeeze out miraculous ties resulting in extra nominees — similar to last year’s Comedy Supporting Actress category — there are simply too many outstanding series and performers to fit on the overall ballot.
So our choices below not only represent IndieWire’s highest recommendations in the top-line comedy categories, but also some of the shows and performers overlooked thus far in the campaign season. On a related note, category placement is determined, aptly, by our own wishes and not the submission guidelines of the TV Academy. It would be grand to hear their names announced at all come nomination day, but we just hope they know how much their work has been appreciated this past TV season.
Now, without further adieu, IndieWire’s comedy dream ballots (all choices listed alphabetically):
Outstanding Comedy Series
- “Broad City”
- “Master of None”
- “You’re the Worst”
In Case of a Tie: “The Grinder”
Comedy is king on TV, but so many of this year’s best of the best are led by queens; starting with the supreme awards darling herself, Queen Louis-Dreyfus. Add in “Catastrophe” (from co-creator Sharon Horgan), “Broad City” (from Abbi Jacobson & Ilana Glazer) and “Transparent” (created by Jill Soloway), and you’ve got the makings of some divine television, in every form. Even the rest of the best who aren’t strictly from a feminine perspective are significantly feminist in most (if not every) way. “Master of None” prides itself on finding fresh viewpoints and giving them a voice. “Togetherness” is at least as invested in its two female leads as the two men, if not more toward the former. “You’re the Worst” delved deep into Gretchen’s psyche in Season 2 and has always been an equal-opportunity joke-teller. And “The Grinder,” well, he grinds. And he grinds for us all.
‘Catastrophe’: Rob Delaney & Sharon Horgan on Dark Truths in Comedy
Mark Duplass on Why ‘Togetherness’ Deserves Emmys After Being Canceled
‘Veep’ Showrunner Explains How the First Scene of Season 5 Set Up the Finale
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
- Rachel Bloom, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”
- Aya Cash, “You’re the Worst”
- Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”
- Rashida Jones, “Angie Tribeca”
- Ilana Glazer, “Broad City”
- Constance Wu, “Fresh Off the Boat”
In Case of a Tie: Sharon Horgan, “Catastrophe”
Yes, Julia Louis-Dreyfus has won four consecutive Emmys. Yes, all four are for playing the same character. And yes, she absolutely deserves to be on the list again this year. This isn’t a declining returns situation, a la “Modern Family.” She just keeps getting better and better. Of course, she’s still got company. Aya Cash comes to mind first and foremost, after a nuanced, honest and hysterical performance on “You’re the Worst.” Rashida Jones and Ilana Glazer, meanwhile, went full-on funny, daring the audience to join up and rewarding them immensely for respecting the performers’ courage. Rachel Bloom broke out in a big way — big like Broadway, big — and Constance Wu continued to redefine the sitcom mom on “Fresh Off the Boat.” All are worthy competitors for the crown (and Louis-Dreyfus is, too).
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
- Aziz Ansari, “Master of None”
- Tituss Burgess, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
- Will Forte, “The Last Man on Earth”
- Chris Geere, “You’re the Worst”
- Rob Lowe, “The Grinder”
- Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent”
In Case of a Tie: Andrew Daly, “Review”
Jeffrey Tambor walked away with all the trophies for his Season 1 performance in “Transparent” — the Golden Globe, SAG and Emmy. Now he’s looking to make it two years in a row, and damn if he didn’t set a high bar. Good thing there are fine comedic actors out there like Chris Geere on “You’re the Worst,” Will Forte in “The Last Man on Earth” and Aziz Ansari in “Master of None.” Rob Lowe did everything and then some to save “The Grinder,” and even though he came up short, his performance is a testament to that determination (not to mention why he was so determined). Finally, Tituss Burgess overcame a bit of controversy to wow audiences in Season 2 of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” recreating an instantly iconic character with just as much verve and appeal as last year.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
- Anna Chlumsky, “Veep
- Kether Donohue, “You’re the Worst”
- Kathryn Hahn, “Transparent”
- Melanie Lynskey, “Togetherness”
- Amanda Peet, “Togetherness”
- Michaela Watkins, “Casual”
In Case of a Tie: Elizabeth Banks, “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp”
“Togetherness” may be canceled, but that doesn’t mean it never happened. And only by erasing Melanie Lynskey and Amanda Peet’s performances could anyone justify not voting for them. So impressively human and comedically cordial are the pair playing sisters, I don’t envy the next round of voters should they have to pick one winner. But before we get there, let’s not forget or in any way diminish the champions that are Anna Chlumsky (“Veep”), Kether Donohue (“You’re the Worst”), Kathryn Hahn (“Transparent”) and Michaela Watkins (“Casual”). It’s a truly stellar group of contenders, and any one would be worthy of the gold.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
- Gary Cole, “Veep”
- Kevin Dunn, “Veep”
- Hugh Laurie, “Veep”
- Sam Richardson, “Veep”
- Reid Scott, “Veep”
- Timothy Simons, “Veep”
- Matt Walsh, “Veep”
In Case of a Tie: Tony Hale, “Veep”
Remember that tie we mentioned up top? The one that resulted in eight nominees last year for the supporting actress in a comedy category? Well, we’re really hoping something like that happens again this year, just so the TV Academy can properly honor the hard work of the entire cast of “Veep.” Don’t get me wrong. Queen Julia deserves all her trophies (and at least one more), as has Mr. Tony Hale. But let’s not kid around — they all do. #TeamVeep