A week from tomorrow, we're going to be very, very mad. That's when the 2013 Primetime Emmys nominees will be made public, and if last year (and every year) is any indication, everything and everyone they pick is going to be wrong, except for when Louis C.K.'s involved, because everything and everyone we love is right. Circle of life.
So before our blood pressure rises for the most insignificant of reasons, I thought it'd be fun, or at least maddening, to pick who SHOULD be nominated in the acting (and only acting; will save writing and outstanding comedy/drama/animated programs for another time) categories for the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards, using the ballots that are online. This is a Modern Family and Two and a Half Men free zone, and the world's better off for it.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy (30 Rock)
Jason Bateman as Michael Bluth (Arrested Development)
Peter Capaldi as Malcolm Tucker (The Thick of It)
Louis C.K. as Louie (Louie)
Garret Dillahunt as Burt Chance (Raising Hope)
Jake Johnson as Nick Miller (New Girl)
Who Should Win: I'm tempted to go with Garret Dillahunt, who's been doing underappreciated lovably goofy work on Raising Hope for years now, or Alec Baldwin in his final go-around as Jack Donaghy, but the winner's gotta be Louis C.K. His nuanced, understated acting is nearly on par with his writing and directing abilities. Were he to sweep all three of those categories, I don't think anyone would complain. Except for maybe Jon Cryer, but f*ck that guy.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Zooey Deschanel as Jessica Day (New Girl)
Tina Fey as Liz Lemon (30 Rock)
Sutton Foster as Michelle Simms (Bunheads)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer (Veep)
Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope (Parks and Recreation)
Krysten Ritter as Chloe McGruff (Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23)
Who Should Win: Tempted to choose Julia Louis-Dreyfus, but she won it last year, so let's give the award to Tina Fey, who could use the trophy to scoop up her Night Cheese while she's creating her Next Great Sitcom.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Bryan Cranston as Walter White (Breaking Bad)
Jon Hamm as Don Draper (Mad Men)
Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens (Justified)
Matthew Rhys as Philip Jennings (The Americans)
Kevin Spacey as Francis Underwood (House of Cards)
Aden Young as Daniel Holden (Rectify)
Who Should Win: As long as Bryan Cranston's on TV, he deserves to win this award every year. IT'LL BE YOUR TURN IN TWO YEARS, RAYLAN.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison (Homeland)
Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick (The Good Wife)
Tatiana Maslany as Sarah, Beth, etc. (Orphan Black)
Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson (Mad Men)
Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings (The Americans)
Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope (Scandal)
Who Should Win: Not even a race: Tatiana Maslany, for all the reasons we listed here.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Will Arnett as Gob Bluth (Arrested Development)
David Cross as Tobias Fünke (Arrested Development)
Charlie Day as Charlie Kelly (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia)
Bill Hader as Various Characters (SNL)
Tracy Morgan as Tracy Jordan (30 Rock)
Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson (Parks and Recreation)
Who Should Win: Consider this the "People Who Should've Been Nominated Forever Ago, But Weren't Because the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Was Too Busy Only Watching Modern Family" category. It's a national tragedy that Nick Offerman hasn't received any Emmy love, and if he doesn't get nominated this year, well, Twitter's sure going to hear about it. (We have no power.) Alas, he'll have to wait until 2014 to give the greatest award speech of all-time, though, because Will Arnett, who jumped right back into his magician pants without missing a beat after years of playing Gob-esque characters, ought to win, if only for his stuttering prowess.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Eliza Coupe as Jane Kerkovich-Williams (Happy Endings)
Elisha Cuthbert as Alex Kerkovich (Happy Endings)
Jenna Fischer as Pam Halpert (The Office)
Allie Grant as Lisa Shay (Suburgatory)
Gillian Jacobs as Britta Perry (Community)
Eden Sher as Sue Heck (The Middle)
Who Should Win: Hey, look, Community! Sorry you guys got shafted elsewhere...and this category, too, because my vote ("vote") is for Jenna Fischer, The Office's secret MVP who's only been nominated once before, but has always been the one to keep the show's heart from flatlining. Even Brian couldn't keep her down.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister (Game of Thrones)
Walton Goggins as Boyd Crowder (Justified)
Jack Huston as Richard Harrow (Boardwalk Empire)
Pete Campbell as Vincent Kartheiser (Mad Men)
Mads Mikkelsen as Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Hannibal)
Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman (Breaking Bad)
Who Should Win: Now before you get stabby, let me explain: this is the single most competitive category, and I happen to think that Nikolaj Coster-Waldau had a better season than last year's Game of Thrones nominee, Peter Dinklage. That's not a knock on Tyrion so much as it's an acknowledgement that holy sh*t are there are a lot of great supporting actors. (Sorry to Norman Reedus and Jonathan Banks, too.) Who among the names above would you take out? Not the multiple guns-toting Richard Harrow, or human-eating Dr. Lecter, or magnet-loving Jesse Pinkman, or the man who deserves to win the award, Walton Goggins, who's turned Boyd Crowder into one of the most sympathetic, fascinating, complex "bad guys" in TV history. Plus, the hair. Always the hair.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen (Game of Thrones)
Michelle Fairley as Catelyn Stark (Game of Thrones)
Anna Gunn as Skyler White (Breaking Bad)
Danai Gurira as Michonne (The Walking Dead)
Monica Potter as Kristina Braverman (Parenthood)
Maggie Smith as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham (Downton Abbey)
Who Should Win: If an actress can win an award for ten minutes of screentime, then Michelle Fairley. Otherwise, eh, still Michelle Fairley (or possibly Monica Potter). Show some respect, you guys.