Heading into the 2014 Primetime Emmys, most prognosticators believed in a few predominant theories: “Modern Family’s” four-year winning streak as Outstanding Comedy Series would be snapped, most likely by “Orange is the New Black,” which would make it the first-ever winner in the category from a streaming network. Matthew McConaughey and Billy Bob Thornton would be rewarded for their work on “True Detective” and “Fargo,” respectively, since one was nominated for Actor in a Drama Series and the other for Actor in a Miniseries or Movie. Louis C.K. or William H. Macy would take the stage as Outstanding Comedy Actor, and “The Normal Heart” would take home a bunch of trophies, including one for Matt Bomer.
It’s not that we here at Indiewire don’t like upsets. Unpredictability is an exciting element of award shows (and one becoming more and more rare at the Oscars with all the precursor awards leading up to the big dance). It’s that we don’t like seeing attention being paid to those either undeserving or overexposed. So this year, we thought we’d throw our hat in the ring. Below are Indiewire’s official endorsements for the 2015 Primetime Emmys. Much like prominent news organizations get behind select candidates during political campaigns, we’re throwing whatever weight we have behind these individuals and programs. Voters, please take heed. Our hearts can’t handle another 2014.
Outstanding Drama Series
– We’ve been behind Matthew Weiner’s series all along, and that it’s inexplicably fallen out of favor in recent years just gives more necessity to its win in 2015. It’s the best series among the nominees — period.
Outstanding Comedy Series
– In a sea of worthy options, Armando Ianucci’s oft-nominated series deserves its first win in this category after his final year on the show. Smart, sharp and impeccably crafted, “Veep” has proven it’s more than just the latest (hilarious) Julia Louis-Dreyfus series by improving with every season — and it started off great.
[Editor’s Note: We won’t be complaining if “Parks and Recreation” steals this, though, as all of the above can apply to Amy Poehler’s classic creation.]
Outstanding Limited Series
– Frances McDormand moved heaven and earth to get this project made correctly, and — with director Lisa Cholendenko‘s help — produced a vital tale for the past, present and future.
Outstanding TV Movie
– A weak year for the category, but a strong effort from director Dee Rees makes “Bessie” the clear choice.
Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series
Tatiana Maslany, “Orphan Black”
– Kept out of the race for too long, Maslany is more than deserving of her nomination; so much so, she should take home the trophy.
Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series
Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”
– More than enough has been said about the injustice done to one of television’s most iconic players, because nothing needed to be said in the first place. Hamm’s performance speaks for itself. Don’t mess this one up, Academy.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men”
– If Joan’s emotional, raw and all-too-real final season can’t push Hendricks over the finish line, nothing can. After six nominations and no wins, it’s time to get this incredible talent a trophy.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Ben Mendelsohn, “Bloodline”
– While we won’t be boycotting next year’s show if Jonathan Banks takes home the Emmy, Mendelsohn’s delicate portrayal of the family’s black sheep brother is a haunting and meticulous performance. He was the best actor in “Bloodline,” and that’s saying something.
Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series
Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation”
– “Parks and Recreation” may have been an ensemble effort, but Poehler’s complete transformation into Leslie Knope has not been properly recognized. Watching her on “SNL” or in films like “Baby Mama” did nothing to prepare us for what she was capable of as a beacon of human compassion. And it didn’t hurt she was up for anything, down to clown and funny as hell.
Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series
Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent”
– Tambor took a deep dive into his character and emerged with a beautifully nuanced, even-handed and heartfelt portrait. His skills cannot be denied.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Anna Chlumsky, “Veep”
– Holding your own against the formidable Julia Louis-Dreyfus for four seasons is far from a walk in the park. Then, in Season 4, Chlumsky’s Amy had to stand up to President Louis-Dreyfus. In doing so, her character went down an entirely new avenue, and Chlumsky carried her magnificently through every fresh step.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Keegan-Michael Key, “Key & Peele”
– The demands of a sketch performer are sometimes so obvious they’re taken for granted. Key was able to effectively inhabit a diverse array of characters all while exhibiting impeccable comedic timing and instincts. He’s a dark horse, but a worthy winner.
Outstanding Actress in a TV Movie or Limited Series
Frances McDormand, “Olive Kitteridge”
– Respect must be paid.
Outstanding Actor in a TV Movie or Limited Series
David Oyelowo, “Nightingale”
– “Nightingale” marks the rare instance of a performance far surpassing the film around it, even though Oyelowo is in every frame of the picture. Simply incredible.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a TV Movie or Limited Series
Sarah Paulson, “American Horror Story: Freak Show”
– Paulson pulled off an impossible acting challenge, playing two separate characters in one body created with VFX. Overcoming technical necessities can be not only daunting for actors, but damn near hopeless. This veteran figured it out and added depth to boot.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a TV Movie or Limited Series
Michael Kenneth Williams, “Bessie”
– Omar comin’ to the stage, y’all. (Okay, in all fairness, part of Williams’ triumph in “Bessie” was that he made you forget about his famous character from “The Wire,” even while embodying a brash, tough talking thug.)