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Emmys Dream Ballot: The Wild Card Nominees Who Might Actually Make the Cut

The dark horses, the long shots, the hopeless who can't help but hope: These are the Emmy contenders on the bubble whose dreams we're praying aren't popped.

Justin Theroux Fresh Off the Boat Rachel Bloom



You can’t always get what you want. That’s how the song goes, but it hasn’t stopped us from hoping – not when it comes to the second “X-Files” revival and not when it comes to the 2017 Emmy Awards.

Nominations will be announced Thursday morning from the Television Academy’s Saban Media Center in North Hollywood. Anna Chlumsky and Shemar Moore will read the chosen nominees, but until that moment arrives — when dreams are dashed and the cold light of day sets in — the dark horse contenders can still believe.

And we can still believe in them. This year’s Emmy race has been incredibly competitive. With Netflix and Amazon measuring appendages and a packed FYC calendar from April 1 through early June, there are clearly more deserving vote getters than there will be nominees.

So let’s talk about the long shots one more time — the shows and people who could comprise a ballot on their own, if it weren’t for those pesky frontrunners. Below, we’ve filled out ballots with nothing but the outsiders and singled out a few who have a real shot at Emmy gold. Come tomorrow, some of these buzzy rabble-rousers will likely be on the list. But no matter what, they all deserve one more round of praise.

The Leftovers - S3E7 Kevin and Patti end gif

Drama Series

  1. “The Get Down” (Netflix)
  2. “Kingdom” (Audience Network)
  3. The Leftovers” (HBO)
  4. “Legion” (FX)
  5. “The Path” (Hulu)
  6. “Rectify” (SundanceTV)
  7. “Sneaky Pete” (Amazon)

Who’s Got a Shot? “The Leftovers.” There are a few old favorites who might bump it out of the way, but HBO’s acclaimed, if low-rated, drama series is probably sitting near eighth place out of seven available slots. It could move up a couple or down a couple in the final tally, while series like “Sneaky Pete” and “Legion” likely got strong support from a small contingent of voters. They’re the real long-shots — a lot like Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta’s show was in years past.

Best Actress in a Drama Series

  1. Kerry Bishe, “Halt and Catch Fire”
  2. Kylie Bunbury, “Pitch”
  3. Eva Green, “Penny Dreadful”
  4. Rachel Keller, “Legion”
  5. Michelle Monaghan, “The Path”
  6. Ruth Negga, “Preacher”

Who’s Got a Shot? We’d like to say Rachel Keller, Eva Green, Michelle Monaghan — heck, we’d like to say all of these incredible performers stood a strong chance of hearing their name called Thursday morning, but the actress race is overcrowded with frontrunners. Depending on who you talk to, Carrie Coon (“The Leftovers”) and Evan Rachel Wood (“Westworld”) are locks or long shots, while past nominees like Taraji P. Henson (“Empire”) and Robin Wright (“House of Cards”) are safe bets or old news. To say any of these true wild cards had a shot, well, that would be wild. (Though Green, in her final year of eligibility for “Penny,” is most deserving.)

Homeland Season 6 Quinn Rupert Friend Episode 3

Best Actor in a Drama Series

  1. Clayne Crawford, “Lethal Weapon”
  2. Rupert Friend, “Homeland”
  3. Justice Smith, “The Get Down”
  4. Dan Stevens, “Legion”
  5. Justin Theroux, “The Leftovers”
  6. Aden Young, “Rectify”

Who’s Got a Shot? Theroux, Friend, and Young all are true will they/won’t they debates. Each actor is in the last year of their tenure, with “The Leftovers” and “Rectify” ending while Friend signed off of “Homeland.” Theroux has the buzziest show, Young the longest-running snub streak, and Friend the past nomination. Heck, even Dan Stevens stands a shot given how much the TV Academy loved “Downton Abbey.”


Comedy Series

  1. “Better Things” (FX)
  2. “Casual” (Hulu)
  3. “Catastrophe” (Amazon)
  4. Dear White People” (Netflix)
  5. Fleabag” (Amazon)
  6. “Red Oaks” (Amazon)
  7. “You’re the Worst” (FX)

Who’s Got a Shot? “Fleabag”! “Better Things” stands a shot, too, though Pamela Adlon’s excellent FX comedy hasn’t stirred quite the fervor of its executive producer Louis C.K.’s old show, “Louie.” But Phoebe Waller-Bridge has become a bit of a Hollywood hot ticket: She’s landed a part in the “Han Solo” prequel and clearly caught the eye of the industry with her Amazon comedy. If the voter base loved it as much as critics, the wild ride could continue a bit longer.

Dear White People Netflix Logan Browning

Best Actress in a Comedy Series

  1. Pamela Adlon, “Better Things”
  2. Rachel Bloom, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”
  3. Logan Browning, “Dear White People”
  4. Kathryn Hahn, “I Love Dick”
  5. Michaela Watkins, “Casual”
  6. Constance Wu, “Fresh Off the Boat”

Who’s Got a Shot? Let’s be honest: No one knows who’s been watching what on Netflix, or how much they love it. But we know this: “Dear White People” earned rave reviews. It’s been picked up for a second season during a time when the streaming giant seems eager to cancel shows. And Logan Browning is so, so, so good in the lead role. She could play legitimate spoiler, along with Constance Wu, an actress who earned good buzz for the first two seasons before going zero for two. She had a great season, and maybe voters finally caught up with the underrated ABC sitcom.

A Series Of Unfortunate Events

Best Actor in a Comedy Series

  1. Jay Baruchel, “Man Seeking Woman”
  2. Andy Daly, “Review”
  3. Zach Galifianakis, “Baskets”
  4. Chris Geere, “You’re the Worst”
  5. Neil Patrick Harris, “A Series of Unfortunate Events”
  6. Glenn Howerton, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”

Who’s Got a Shot? We’d love to see Glenn Howerton and Jay Baruchel sneak in come Thursday, given both performers have bid adieu to their largely unacknowledged comedies, but Neil Patrick Harris has the best shot of the lot. It’s a performance performers should love: one with obvious challenges, multiple parts, and accents — oh, the accents. If voters don’t see the series as a kids show, the Tony winner could snag his sixth acting nod.

And the Remaining Very Real Contenders in Other Categories

Limited Series: “The Young Pope”

Actress in a Limited Series: Bryce Dallas Howard, “Black Mirror”

Animated Program: “Samurai Jack”

Variety Talk Series: “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” and “Late Night with Seth Meyers”

Variety Sketch Series: “Tracey Ullman’s Show”

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