The Ultimate Emmy Underdogs: Can Any One-Nomination Wonders Actually Win?

So many fantastic TV shows only landed one nomination at the Emmys. With the odds stacked against them, can any of these dark horses actually win?
Samantha Bee, Hannibal, True Detective, Archer

“Adventure Time”

Nomination: Outstanding Short-Form Animated Program

Can It Win? Yes!

Why? A perennial nominee in the category, “Adventure Time” finally broke through and won just last year. As the defending champ, it’s definitely got a shot.

In an Ideal World: As much respect as we have for “Robot Chicken,” “Adventure Time” definitely deserves to win again — especially for the submitted episode, “The Hall of Egress.”

“The Affair”

Nomination: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, Maura Tierney

Can It Win? Not likely.

Why? Tierney was a surprise inclusion, even with a sterling season under her belt. Her best bet relies on the three nominated “Game of Thrones” actors knocking each other out, and we’re guessing HBO won’t let that happen.

In an Ideal World: Tierney would already have an Emmy — either for Season 1 of “The Affair” or “E.R.”

READ MORE: Maura Tierney is a Thoughtful Mess in ‘The Affair’ — And Deserves an Emmy For It (Exclusive Video)

“Angie Tribeca”

Nomination: Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Comedy Series or Variety Program

Can It Win? Yes!

Why? By sheer quantity of stunts, “Angie” should have an edge. But it being a cop show doesn’t hurt either.

In an Ideal World: Rashida Jones would be up for actress, and “Angie” for writing.


Nomination: Outstanding Animated Program

Can It Win? Yes!

Why? It’s only its second year nominated for the honor, but FX will make a helluva push and Adam Reed’s spy spoof has become so much more in Season 7.

In an Ideal World:Archer” would be nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series.

BASKETS "Sugar Pie" Episode 108 (Airs Thursday, March 10, 10:00 pm/ep) -- Pictured: Louie Anderson as Christine Baskets. CR: Ben Cohen/FX


Nomination: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, Louie Anderson

Can It Win? Yes!

Why? “Baskets” may not have clicked with voters overall, but Anderson has been the talk of the town since the series debuted in January. Voters haven’t forgotten him, and the category is a tight one. It’s anyone’s game.

In an Ideal World: The comedy and drama series categories would have 10 nominees, not seven.

“Bob’s Burgers”

Nomination: Outstanding Animated Program

Can It Win? Yes!

Why? “Bob’s Burgers” won this category two years ago, meaning it’s got the respect and attention of the voters.

In an Ideal World: “Bob’s Burgers” would be up for its impressive vocal performances, as well — at least Dan Mintz, who’s created an iconic character in Tina Belcher.


Nomination: Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series

Can It Win? It seems…unlikely.

Why? Historically, this category goes to a strong contender sporting multiple nominations — minimum. The winner for Outstanding Comedy Program has won five of the last eight years.

In an Ideal World: “Catastrophe” would be a “stronger” contender with nods for Program, Actor, Actress and more.

READ MORE: ‘Catastrophe’: Rob Delaney & Sharon Horgan on Finding Dark Truths in Comedy

“Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”

Nomination: Outstanding Variety Talk Series

Can It Win? Nope.

Why? One of the biggest surprises on nomination day was Jerry Seinfeld’s Crackle series cracking into the Variety Talk category. The only shock that could match it at the winners’ ceremony would be if it actually won.

In an Ideal World: Samantha Bee would have beat out Jerry.

Full Frontal With Samantha Bee

“Full Frontal With Samantha Bee”

Nomination: Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series

Can It Win? Not likely.

Why? Typically, the variety series winner takes this prize, too. And “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee” did not earn a nomination for its overall series.

In an Ideal World: “Samantha Bee” would be taking up Jon Stewart’s mantle as the Emmys’ talk darling.


Nomination: Outstanding Special Visual Effects in a Supporting Role

Can It Win? Yes!

Why? Winners in the supporting VFX category aren’t traditionally linked to the “lead,” nor do winners here have to be widely popular.

In an Ideal World: “Hannibal” won’t end its incredible run without an Emmy win. This is its last chance.

“How To Get Away With Murder”

Nomination: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, Viola Davis

Can It Win? Yes!

Why? Viola Davis is the only “outstanding” aspect of “How to Get Away With Murder.” The Academy recognized it last year and very well could again.

In an Ideal World: Viola Davis would be on a better show.

“The Last Man on Earth”

Nomination: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Can It Win? Maybe.

Why? Topping Jeffrey Tambor could be tough, but Will Forte has earned nods two years running. He’s on the radar, and the show improved over Season 1.

In an Ideal World: Jason Sudeikis would be nominated and singing a duet of “Falling Slowly” at the ceremony.

READ MORE: Will Forte Wants to Be Sure That ‘The Last Man on Earth’ Will Always Keep You Guessing

“Mozart in the Jungle”

Nomination: Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (Half-Hour) and Animation

Can It Win? Probably not.

Why? “Mozart” is up against some heavy hitters with “Veep,” “Silicon Valley” and “Modern Family,” though its musical roots could work to its advantage.

In an Ideal World: Gael Garcia Bernal would have added to the diverse mix of acting nominees.

Danielle Brooks, Samira Wiley, Uzo Aduba and Selenis Leyva in "Orange is the New Black."

“Orange is the New Black”

Nomination: Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series

Can It Win? 50/50

Why? “Orange” could benefit from its disappointing overall outing, earning sympathy votes for its sole nomination. But can a show win Outstanding Casting when none of its cast members were nominated?

In an Ideal World: “Orange” wouldn’t have to answer the above question.

“Orphan Black”

Nomination: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, Tatiana Maslany

Can It Win? Yes!

Why? Tatiana Maslany is simply that good. (And she earned a nod last year, so she’s clearly well-respected.)

In an Ideal World: Each of her performances (for all her characters) would be individually recognized.


Nomination: Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music

Can It Win? Sure.

Why? “Da Vinci’s Demons” won this three years ago, so anything can happen.

In an Ideal World: The Emmys would’ve invented a special “Outstanding Orgy” category, and “Sense8” would own it.

“True Detective”

Nomination: Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Limited Series or Movie

Can It Win? Yes!

Why? This category isn’t always tied to an overall favorite, and “True Detective” sported the most intense and consistent action scenes — always a challenging mix, to be sure — of any nominee (“Fargo,” “Night Manager,” “Sherlock,” “People v. O.J.”).

In an Ideal World: Rachel McAdams would be trying to make up for Matthew McConaughey’s loss.

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