Because it's NBC's turn to air the Primetime Emmy Awards this year, and because the Peacock would understandably rather air its lucrative Sunday night NFL package in September, the ceremony will take place in late August again. And as an added wrinkle, this year's ceremony will actually happen on a Monday, August 25 at 8 p.m., with Seth Meyers hosting.
Between now and then, Dan and I will be making our picks for both who should and will win many of the major categories – if you're wagering, keep in mind that Dan tends to be much better at predicting the winners than I am, but also that he was just as flummoxed as I by last year's winners like Jeff Daniels, Merritt Wever and Bobby Cannavale – continuing with our look at the comedy and drama supporting actor categories.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Fred Armisen, “Portlandia”
Andre Braugher, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”
Ty Burrell, “Modern Family”
Adam Driver, “Girls”
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, “Modern Family”
Tony Hale, “Veep”
Alan's pick: In one corner, you have reigning winner Hale, who remains first among equals in that sterling “Veep” supporting cast, and who had that brilliant scene in his submission episode where Gary and Selina laugh about an unexpected piece of good news. In another, you have Braugher giving a performance remarkably similar to his dramatic work on “Homicide” and elsewhere, but shifted three degrees to the left so that everything he says comes out as deadpan comic genius. It got to the point where it felt like the “Brooklyn” writers were just having fun figuring out what words they most wanted to hear come from that silver tongue of his – the episode where Captain Holt gets hooked on an app called Kwazy Cupcakes was a particular delight in this regard – and he delivered every time. I figure Hale will win (more below), but I'm pulling for Braugher – and not just so he can have Emmys for acting in a drama, a miniseries and a comedy.
Dan's pick: For pure “funny,” I'm taking Tony Hale, because the scene with Selina and Gary in the bathroom with the nosebleed in “Crate” is some inspired madness. But for full-blooded characterization, Adam Driver submitted the finale, which was heavy on emotion and also featured him doing Shaw with a funny British accent. Oh and Andre Braugher is also great and “Christmas” is a very good showcase. I realize that's not an answer to the question. Fine. Driver.
Alan's pick: Never count out Burrell and the Academy's enduring love of “Modern Family,” but the Academy also has an enduring love of Braugher (who's only won twice but has been nominated for almost all of his TV roles), while Hale is the reigning winner, is starring on a show that's gaining Emmy momentum, and has the funniest scene in any of the six submitted episodes. I expect Hale to repeat, and deservedly so.
Dan's pick: With the “Star Wars” thing coming up, there may be a sense that Adam Driver's star is in ascent, but is this really his year? And is this really the year for “Girls”? I'm skeptical. Neither Burrell nor Ferguson chose what I would view as their best submission episodes and I don't think Emmy voters are ready to recognize the category cheating that Armisen was forced to do. So that leaves Hale and Braugher. I think Hale repeats if “Veep” has a huge night and pulls off an upset for Comedy Series, but Braugher wins otherwise. And I'm not *quite* ready to predict a Comedy Series win for “Veep,” so I'm guessing Emmy favorite Braugher takes the prize.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Jim Carter, “Downton Abbey”
Josh Charles, “The Good Wife”
Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones”
Mandy Patinkin, “Homeland”
Aaron Paul, “Breaking Bad”
Jon Voight, “Ray Donovan”
Alan's pick: I'd be just peachy with any of Charles, Dinklage, Patinkin or Paul winning, even though Patinkin probably had better material in season 2, while the “Breaking Bad” writers forgot Jesse at times during the final stretch of episodes. (In that way, though, he belongs in this category much more than he has in years where he's won for arguably being co-lead with Cranston.) Charles took a character who was primarily defined by my least favorite part of “The Good Wife” (the Will/Alicia sexual whatever) and made him into one of the best parts of the show's best overall season. Former winner Dinklage, though, took his performance to amazing new places as Tyrion was placed on trial for his life, which finally gave him the freedom to say what he really felt about his family, and all of the many people of Westeros who have laughed at him for his entire lifetime.
Dan's pick: It was an up-and-down (and invisible) season for Aaron Paul on “Breaking Bad” and I'm not going to disagree with the people who felt like Paul and Jesse Pinkman were a tiny bit short-changed in a final season that was All Walt, All The Time. In fact, if you'd asked me which “Breaking Bad” supporting actor was most deserving of a win in this category, I'd have said “Dean Norris,” but Emmy voters preferred whatever it was they thought Jim Carter did on “Downton Abbey” this past season. But no matter what you thought about what Jesse Pinkman and Aaron Paul got to do for four or five or six episodes out of the closing eight, “Confessions” is a marvelous showcase. Paul has scenes with Norris, with Bryan Cranston and with Bob Odenkirk that are among the best he ever got. He deserves to win. But I'm not gonna express any disappointment or ill-feelings if you wanna say that Dinklage, Patinkin or Josh Charles deserve to win.
Alan's pick: Bobby Cannavale's out-of-left-field win a year ago makes me less certain that Paul will win his third trophy for playing Jesse Pinkman, even though he has such a powerful submission episode in “Confessions,” which ends with Jesse in a furious, vengeful place. I still think the rising tide of “Breaking Bad” is going to lift most boats, but I could see Dinklage returning to the winner's circle or Charles making his first trip to the stage if the voters decide they've honored “Breaking Bad” enough already.
Dan's pick: Jim Carter is not going to win. Jon Voight, even with his Golden Globe win, isn't likely to add the Emmy. And, honestly, Mandy Patinkin isn't going to win. Because they keep not letting Saul sing. But I think Dinklage, Paul and Charles all have very viable chances. I can easily imagine “Breaking Bad” winning five or six major awards on Emmy Monday and Paul being part of that rout. And Dinklage is a former winner with a show that clearly has great Emmy support and a submission episode that doesn't lack for fireworks. But I'm picking Charles because it's hard to go from being nominated to out-of-the-field and then to back in again and he did it. Now Emmy voters will get to look at “Hitting the Fan” and they're going to remember Will's journey and I think it's possible they're going to wonder why they didn't show “The Good Wife” a little more love. This is a painless way to support “Good Wife,” because the other major frontrunners already have Emmys and won't cry if they miss out this time.
Alan Sepinwall may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org