Emmys: Who Should Win? Brian Lowry Says ‘It’s Complicated’
By Sunday evening, we’ll know who has won at this year’s Emmys, putting a merciful end to all the guessing and prognostication. But here are some thoughts regarding who should win.
Choosing who deserves an Emmy is, of course, a tad more complicated than other award shows. Music and theater get to start with a clean slate every year, while only TV rolls out the same faces and shows again and again, which brings career-achievement and past-due-account considerations into the process.
Moreover, not all categories are created equal. Some overflow with worthy, can’t-go-wrong contenders; others have candidates all flawed in one way or another.
Practically speaking, it’s nice to see the voters spread the wealth, which has a way of encouraging networks to keep mounting prestigious shows, hoping the effort will pay off in a smidgeon of the glory so ostentatiously showered on HBO through the years.
So with those disclaimers — and the admission I think people who profess to have a strong rooting interest, unless they represent the talent, really need to get out more — how would I like to see this year’s ceremony play out? Here’s a rundown of key categories:
Comedy series: OK, enough with “Modern Family.” Great show, but it’s time to acknowledge someone else before little Lily gets replaced by an actress old enough to drive. That would seem to boil it down to “Louie,” FX’s moodily brilliant Louis C.K. vehicle; and “The Big Bang Theory,” an old-fashioned, rip-snorting hit.
Sorry, “Louie” fans, but it should be “Big Bang’s” year. The show has been consistently funny, improved with its development of a female trio to augment the male quartet and even proved strangely touching at times last season. Besides, series co-creator Chuck Lorre appears determined to single-handedly keep multi-camera comedy alive, and given his penchant for complaining on his show-ending vanity cards, it would be sort of fun to see how he deals with “You like me” validation.
Drama series: Scheduling “Breaking Bad’s” final run leading up to and overlapping the Emmy telecast has underscored what an astonishing program it’s been, even if those episodes aren’t the ones being considered for this year’s awards. Amid a very worthy field, it’s the show the industry collectively seems to love the most right now, and rightfully so.
Lead actor, drama: Although Kevin Spacey will likely win, Jon Hamm should — not just because Bryan Cranston has already had several moments in the sun, but because it would be a crime if Hamm’s career-launching portrayal of Don Draper was never feted, and the clock, as they say, is ticking.
Lead actress, drama: It’s always easy to mark “Claire Danes” on a ballot, because she’s terrific in everything she does. But “Homeland’s” second season was wildly uneven, and honoring Danes again would be a bit like choosing an MVP from a team with a mediocre win-loss record.
Using that criteria weeds out other contenders (a la “Bates Motel’s” Vera Farmiga), but there’s another problem: “Mad Men” and “Downton Abbey” are such sprawling ensembles that other than Hamm it’s hard to single anyone out. If push comes to shove, give it to “Downton’s” Michelle Dockery, although Kerry Washington would certainly look great at the podium, provide welcome diversity and give broadcasters something to crow about, even if it’s strange to think of “Scandal” and “Emmy” in the same sentence.