The 2015 Emmy nominations are in, which means it’s now time to do two things. First, analyze the races in each category in an attempt to figure out the favorites, the snubs, and who won’t win but should. Second, fight like ornery cats and dogs about it, teeth and claws exposed, as we shout at each other in increasingly threatening tones about who is or isn’t underrated or overrated and why, until someone smashes a bottle of Wild Turkey on the table and brandishes the jagged neck of it as a weapon and all hell goes ahead and breaks loose. We have fun.
Below, please find a list of some of the bigger categories for this year’s festivities, along with a quick, gut-feeling analysis of who will probably take home the trophy, and who should. Feel free to chime in below.
Outstanding Drama Series
Better Call Saul
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
Orange Is the New Black
WHO WILL WIN: Mad Men. There is no way they are giving the award to another show. Not this year. Not after Mad Men closed out its highly-decorated seven season run. Nope. Thanks for playing, everybody else.
WHO SHOULD WIN: Ehhhhhhhhh I’ll listen to your arguments about Mad Men not hitting the creative highs this season that it hit earlier years, but then who else are you giving it to? Homeland and Downton Abbey both kinda had their moment a few years ago, and GoT — save some dragoning and White Walkering — dragged a little, too. I could see Better Call Saul, maybe, but it just feels like Mad Men‘s year, you know?
Outstanding Comedy Series
Parks and Recreation
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
WHO WILL WIN: Meet me in the WHO SHOULD WIN.
WHO SHOULD WIN: Anyone but Modern Family. Please God in heaven. Look at that list. Look at it. You could make a passionate argument for any of the other six, and you’d be right, because they’re all terrific. Personally, if the theme of the night is gonna be “So long, thanks for the memories,” then I would be perfectly happy to give it to Parks, which knocked it out of the park in its final season. You want something else? Fine! As long as it’s not Modern Family. Then we will fight.
Outstanding Variety Talk Series
The Colbert Report
The Daily Show
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Last Week Tonight
The Late Show with David Letterman
The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon
WHO WILL WIN: The Daily Show. Stewart gets one more on his way out the door.
WHO SHOULD WIN: Last Week Tonight. It’s hard to believe John Oliver has only been on the air a little over a year, especially when you consider the impact he’s had. He’s also the only one on the list who isn’t producing a nightly show, so hopefully he doesn’t get punished for that.
p.s. Poor Conan, who saw every 11 and 11:30 show but his get nominated.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Kyle Chandler, Bloodline
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
WHO WILL WIN: Jon Hamm
WHO SHOULD WIN: Hammbone. It’s time. Give the man his statue.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Claire Danes, Homeland
Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder
Taraji P. Henson, Empire
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Elizabeth Moss, Mad Men
Robin Wright, House of Cards
WHO WILL WIN: Hey! Holy crap! Tatiana Maslany got nominated! That’s awesome! They probably won’t let her win, but I don’t really know who will, so let’s just be excited for a second!
WHO SHOULD WIN: Taraji P. Henson. Empire was the biggest GD thing on television this year, by a lot (by A LOT), and the biggest part of that was Henson as Cookie Lyon. Good acting doesn’t always have to mean brooding and turmoil and devastating portrayals of personal loss. Sometimes it can also involve breathing flames on all your adversaries from inside luxurious fur coats. I feel like that should be acknowledged.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Louis C.K., Louie
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Will Forte, Last Man on Earth
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
William H. Macy, Shameless
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
WHO WILL WIN: Jeffrey Tambor.
WHO SHOULD WIN: Jeffrey Tambor. Enjoy your gift baskets, everyone else.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie
WHO WILL WIN: Amy Poehler.
WHO SHOULD WIN: AMY POEHLER. I SWEAR TO GOD IF THEY GIVE ANOTHER EMMY TO EDIE FALCO OR JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS — BOTH OF WHOM ARE LOVELY AND TALENTED, FOR THE RECORD, BUT THAT ISN’T THE POINT RIGHT NOW — AND SEND POEHLER HOME STATUELESS FOR HER ENTIRE PARKS RUN, THERE WILL BE BLOOD IN THE STREETS.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Alan Cumming, The Good Wife
Michael Kelly, House of Cards
WHO WILL WIN: Banks or Mendelsohn, but more importantly WHERE THE F*CK IS WALTON GOGGINS? Jesus Christ. I’m sure Michael Kelly is a nice man with friends and colleagues who adore him, but, uh… did you guys see this season of House of Cards? The idea that anyone from that show should get nominated over Boyd Crowder is offensive at best and a travesty of justice at worst.
WHO SHOULD WIN: Jonathan Banks. He didn’t have a lot to do for big chunks of the first season of Better Call Saul, but when they did give him a bone to chew on, he gnawed it into dust. His performance in the season’s sixth episode, “Five-0,” was probably the best performance by any actor all year.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black
WHO WILL WIN: Lena Headey. Two things: 1) Her shame walk at the end of the season was the kind of thing — a Moment — that burns into people’s brains, and I feel like that’s probably worth something in the eyes of the voters, and; 2) GoT got 24 nominations, so it’d be surprising if they walked away empty handed in all the major categories.
WHO SHOULD WIN: Lena Headey.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Adam Driver, Girls
Keegan-Michael Key, Key & Peele
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Tony Hale, Veep
WHO WILL WIN: Tony Hale or Andre Braugher.
WHO SHOULD WIN: Andre Braugher.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Niecy Nash, Getting On
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Allison Janney, Mom
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Gaby Hoffmann, Transparent
Jane Krakowski, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Anna Chlumsky, Veep
WHO WILL WIN: Julie Bowen. Modern Family won’t get shut out. There’s a law about it, I think.
WHO SHOULD WIN: Kate McKinnon.