2015 Emmy Predictions According to Critics

Veep and Mad Men Look Like Front-runners for Sunday

by | September 17, 2015 | Comments

By opening this year’s Emmy voting process up to 19,000 Television Academy members — rather than leaving it up to select “blue-ribbon” panels of voters — the already-notoriously difficult to predict Primetime Emmy Awards are even more of a wild card than ever. (And if you haven’t already read Todd VanDerWerff’s informative article on this year’s Emmy voting on Vox, we suggest you do so.)

Still, at Rotten Tomatoes, we have a not-so-secret weapon — our Tomatometer-approved TV critics. After polling some of our top critics, tallying up Gold Derby picks, and poring over Emmy articles across the internet, we have predictions for this Sunday’s awards. Also, we’ve ranked the nominated shows by Tomatometer here.

Outstanding Drama Series

The Nominees:

Better Call Saul
Game of Thrones
Mad Men
Orange Is the New Black
Downton Abbey
House of Cards


The Favorite:

Mad Men

Game of Thrones is certainly a player, for one of its strongest seasons to date, but… it will no doubt have to sit this one out so Mad Men can enjoy one last, and well-deserved, victory lap.” — Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine


The Runner-Up:

Game of Thrones

“I think it deserves it this year because the show actually improved on where the books are at this stage in the game.” — Matt Roush, TV Insider


Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series

The Nominees:

Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyon, Empire
Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison, Homeland
Robin Wright as Claire Underwood, House of Cards
Viola Davis as Annalise Keating, How to Get Away With Murder
Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson, Mad Men
Tatiana Maslany as Sarah, Alison, Cosima, Helena, Rachel and Krystal, Orphan Black


The Favorite:

Viola Davis

“Viola Davis should win, and I think will win. It’s a remarkable performance in a fun but not remarkable show, and she just gives a performance that’s so real and grounding and powerful.” — Robert Bianco, USA Today


The Runner-Up:

Taraji P. Henson

“An exciting performance on the series that proved that, even in an age when cable and streaming video routinely steal the show, a broadcast network can still launch an empire.” — Frazier Moore, Associated Press


Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series

The Nominees:

Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill, Better Call Saul
Kyle Chandler as John Rayburn, Bloodline
Kevin Spacey as Francis Underwood, House of Cards
Jon Hamm as Don Draper, Mad Men
Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy, The Newsroom
Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan, Ray Donovan


The Favorite:

Jon Hamm

“It’s an iconic performance that deserves recognition not just historically, but for his work in the final season, which stripped Don (or Dick) down to his core and forced him to reckon with all the bad choices he had made in his life.” — Alan Sepinwall, HitFix


The Runner-Up:

Bob Odenkirk

“By process of elimination — and the Emmys’ past love for the Breaking Bad — I’m actually going to name Bob Odenkirk as winner here.” — Brittany Volk, Tampa Bay Times


Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

The Nominees:

Joanne Froggatt as Anna Bates, Downton Abbey
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister, Game of Thrones
Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen, Game of Thrones
Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart, The Good Wife
Christina Hendricks as Joan Harris, Mad Men
Uzo Aduba as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren, Orange Is the New Black


The Favorite:

Christina Hendricks

“Christina Hendricks’ Joan Holloway Harris had the most dramatic arc of anyone inside the Sterling Cooper clique aside from Don Draper himself in Mad Men‘s final season. She’ll help the show maintain its sweep.” — Sean T. Collins, RollingStone.com


The Runner-Up:

Lena Headey

“If Lena doesn’t win for walking the gauntlet of a bunch of rock-throwing village folk, then I may have to do it myself (but only on the way to kitchen, in front of my cats, and at night).” — Lynette Rice, Entertainment Weekly


Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

The Nominees:

Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut, Better Call Saul
Ben Mendelsohn as Danny Rayburn, Bloodline
Jim Carter as Mr. Carson, Downton Abbey
Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones
Alan Cumming as Eli Gold, The Good Wife
Michael Kelly as Doug Stamper, House of Cards


The Favorite:

Jonathan Banks

“Five-O” helps explain why Mike is so grizzled, so of course the highlights are Banks showing the exact map of his vulnerabilities.” — Margaret Lyons and Matt Zoller Setiz, Vulture


The Runner-Up:

Peter Dinklage

“He was terrific and deserves to win. I know “will” and “deserves to” don’t always conjoin, but I hope so in this case.” — Ken Tucker, Yahoo


Outstanding Limited Series

The Nominees:

American Crime
American Horror Story: Freak Show
The Honorable Woman
Olive Kitteridge
Wolf Hall


The Favorite:

Olive Kitteridge

“[It’s] a chance for voters to feel literary.” — David Hinckley, New York Daily News


The Runner-Up:

American Crime

American Crime with Felicity Huffman and Timothy Hutton, on a broadcast network, no less, was an amazing and relevant drama that deserves to win.” — Joanne Ostrow, Denver Post


Outstanding Comedy Series

The Nominees:

Modern Family
Parks And Recreation
Silicon Valley
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt


The Favorite:


“After honoring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tony Hale for Veep in years past, the TV Academy will extend its love to the series as a whole (in part because it’s creator Armando Iannucci’s last season on the show).” — Ben Travers, IndieWire


The Runner-Up:


“Amazon will be the first streaming service to have its own best series win. It will also be very deserved.” — Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter


Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series

The Nominees:

Anthony Anderson as Andre Johnson, black-ish
Matt LeBlanc as Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
Don Cheadle as Marty Kaan, House of Lies
Will Forte as Phil Miller, The Last Man on Earth
Louis C.K. as Louie, Louie
William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher, Shameless
Jeffrey Tambor as Maura Pfefferman, Transparent


The Favorite:

Jeffrey Tambor

“It was transformative for him and for viewers, and just one of the year’s most remarkable performances in any category by anyone.” — Robert Bianco, USA Today


The Runner-Up:

There is no clear runner-up in this category.


Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series

The Nominees:

Lisa Kudrow as Valerie Cherish, The Comeback
Lily Tomlin as Frankie, Grace and Frankie
Amy Schumer as Amy, Inside Amy Schumer
Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton, Nurse Jackie
Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreation
Julia Louis-Dreyfus as President Selina Meyer, Veep


The Favorite:

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

“This is a tough one. I hate to keep saying Julia Louis-Dreyfus but she keeps kicking ass.” — Eric Deggans, NPR


The Runner-Up:

Amy Schumer

“Schumer has to have such versatility and she plays such a huge role in the show as well. I think it’s just a lock for her.” — Lori Rackl, TV Trippin


Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

The Nominees:

Andre Braugher as Captain Ray Holt, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Adam Driver as Adam Sackler, Girls
Keegan-Michael Key as Various characters, Key & Peele
Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy, Modern Family
Tituss Burgess as Titus Andromedon, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Tony Hale as Gary Walsh, Veep


The Favorite:

Tony Hale

“This season, Gary finally found the courage to stand up to his boss, the inimitable Selina Meyer — at the very least, he deserves a trophy.” — Debra Birnbaum, Variety


The Runner-Up:

Tituss Burgess

“Burgess is the least known of the nominees, but the scene-stealer gives the biggest and silliest performance of them all. And two words: ‘Peeno Noir.'” — Joyce Eng, TV Guide


Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

The Nominees:

Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler, The Big Bang Theory
Niecy Nash as Denise “Didi” Ortley, Getting On
Julie Bowen as Claire Dunphy, Modern Family
Allison Janney as Bonnie, Mom 
Kate McKinnon as Various characters, Saturday Night Live
Gaby Hoffmann as Ali Pfefferman, Transparent 
Jane Krakowski as Jacqueline Voorhees, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Anna Chlumsky as Amy Brookheimer, Veep 


The Favorite:

Allison Janney

“Allison Janney is a six-time Emmy winner and will likely earn another gong for Mom.” — Eliana Dockterman, TIME Magazine


The Runner-Up:

Anna Chlumsky

“Janney is an Academy favorite… But this year, I’m expecting Chlumsky to leave with the statue, particularly since her episode submission, “Convention,” features her brilliant explosion at Selina.” — Matthew Gilbert, The Boston Globe


Outstanding Variety Sketch Series

The Nominees:

Drunk History
Inside Amy Schumer
Key & Peele
Saturday Night Live


The Favorite:

Inside Amy Schumer

“Schumer wins. Because she went with episode-long parody of a film that most of her audience hasn’t seen in its entirety since that drama sub came in for a month sophomore year of high school.” — Drew Grant, New York Observer


The Runner-Up:

Key & Peele

“As far as a sketch series, the industry standard, the highest level you can get to is Key and Peele. They are my will-win and should-win.” — Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter

  • Mike Smith

    “Schumer wins. Because she went with episode-long parody of a film that most of her audience hasn’t seen in its entirety since that drama sub came in for a month sophomore year of high school.” — Drew Grant, New York Observer

    I don’t get it. What was Drew Grant was drinking when he wrote that???

    • BMW

      He was probably drinking either milk, milk, or lemonade.

      • Nick Cristiano

        bc Amy did a parody of 12 angry men… a film that substitute teachers often showed instead of actually teaching

  • jeansmith

    christina hendricks needs to win….

  • ndale27

    I lost all respect for the Emmys when, year after year, they all but snubbed Treme, about diversity and courage in the aftermath of Katrina, choosing, instead, shows that are essentially about imaginary scumbags including Mad Men, but also Breaking Bad and House of Cards. And not giving an Emmy to Khandi Alexander for her role as LaDonna Batiste-William is close to being indictable.

  • HI

    This whole “let’s give tatiana a consolation nom but not the win she clearly deserves” is starting to truly piss me off.

  • DF

    Few of the best series ans actors nominated 🙁
    Only what the masses prefer not the best :-/

  • Tobin

    This is who should win (even though the Emmys will inevitably do their usual bullshit where they give the same awards to the same people/shows, even though others are just as deserving):
    Best Drama- Game of Thrones. The most widely discussed show with the biggest fan-base across the world should FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY get the Emmys’ deserved nod for their extraordinary series.
    Outstanding Actress: Viola Davis. She’s really good, and the Emmys will probably get this one right.
    Outstanding Actor: Jon Hamm. If you wanna throw Mad Men a goodbye-bone, this is where they should do it (although if it was my choice I’d give it to Bob Odenkirk).
    Outstanding Supporting Actress: Lena Headey. She took her character to another level in Season 5, and definitely deserves an award for that Walk of Shame she went through in the season finale.
    Outstanding Supporting Actor: Toss up between Jonathan Banks and Peter Dinklage. Both were fantastic on Better Call Saul and Game of Thrones.
    Outstanding Comedy Series: Silicon Valley. Veep will unfortunately probably win, but Silicon Valley is the funnier show.
    Outstanding Actor in Comedy Series: Toss up between Jeffrey Tambor and Louis C.K.
    Outstanding Actress in Comedy: Amy Poehler. If they wanna give Mad Men some goodbye-nods, throw one to Amy and Parks & Recreation. She gave us a unique/very funny character for 7 good seasons.
    Supporting Actor in Comedy: Keegan-Michael Key. He’s arguably the funniest sketch-comedy actor we’ve seen since Chappelle.
    Supporting Actress in Comedy: Kate McKinnon. She’s the best current-cast member on SNL.

  • Jim222001

    Just give Maslany the damn award already.

  • Al Holcomb

    I don’t understand TV. Can someone explain it?

  • wig

    You can count on your thumbs the number of television performances that rank with Tatiana Maslany’s work in Orphan Black. Ever. And the others only had to make one character convincing, not seven or eight. (I’ve lost track. Is she the cop guy? The six year old girl? The scorpion? Pretty sure she played the entire pee-wee soccer team last season.) Therefore…she’s a lock to not win. Nobody ever accused the Emmys of getting it right.

  • Israel de Oliveira

    “Game of Thrones is certainly a player, for one of its strongest seasons to date […].” Strongest? Season 5 was, by far, the weakest.

  • Adeline Evans

    I feel like Adam Driver deserves so credit, this is his 3rd nomination and arguably his best season. I would love to see him get the award

  • Charles Bernard

    Maslany is astonishing! Too much for an award I guess…

  • Mixxmaster Shawn

    How did American Horror: Freak Show get nominated? It was the worst season so far…completely all over the place.

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