Our Really Early Emmy Predictions: Who Will Win in September?
When we gave our way-too-early Emmy predictions last May, we correctly predicted the winners in four out of seven races. (We're kind of proud we called Julia Louis-Dreyfus' and Claire Danes' wins two months before the nominees were even announced.)
This year's races, though, are much harder to call because of a huge wild card: Netflix, the streaming service that entered the game with the year's best new drama, "House of Cards," and the return of "Arrested Development."
Will TV industry professionals roll out the welcome mat for an online service that could cost them their jobs? We have no idea. So with that caveat in mind, here are our very early, for-entertainment-purposes-only guesses about who will take home gold statuettes four long months from now.
OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES
ABC's hit "Modern Family" has won for three consecutive years. No one would bat an eye if it won again. But Emmy voters, who typically are creatures of habit, may feel obliged to pick something else for the sake of variety.
Also read: Dark Horses in This Year's Emmy Races
"Girls" always kept viewers guessing in its second season, taking almost as many risks as FX's "Louie." It is a fiercely intelligent and challenging show, but it's only occasionally laugh-out-loud funny. "Veep," meanwhile, has just crackled. Not a word of dialog is wasted. "30 Rock" will probably score another nomination, but not a win, for its final season. The show as a whole was one of the best ever, but it refused to go soft with its goodbye season. The admirable lack of sentimentality will cost it. "The Office" may also get a nod, simply because its latest season was its last one.
"The Big Bang Theory" will probably get another nod for delivering inoffensive comedy and being the most popular sitcom on TV.
The big question, again, is whether the Academy might recognize Netflix's long-delayed fourth season of "Arrested Development," which was just released in one chunk, just before the Emmy deadline. Nominating "Arrested" would be a huge step: The TV industry would be essentially bringing its online competition into the fold, and Emmy voters could celebrate a great show that never quite got the audience or awards it deserved during its run on Fox.
Will win: "Modern Family." It ain't broke.
Should win: For now, I'm saying "Veep." But I'm writing this right before getting to see all those "Arrested" episodes.
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
This category is overfilled with deserving nominees, because -- historic moment alert -- most of the best comedies on television are led by women.
The race is between Julia Louis-Dreyfus, last year's winner for "Veep," and Lena Dunham for "Girls." But Louis-Dreyfus will probably get an easy repeat for two reasons: First, she's excellent as the unabashedly self-centered title character. And second, voters will ding Dunham for being naked a lot when she arguably doesn't need to be and for her character's carefully crafted annoyingness.
They may also capriciously and unfairly decide that at 26, the whip-smart writer-director-actress has plenty more time to win things.
Laura Dern, on HBO's brilliant and painful comedy/drama "Enlightened," gave perhaps the best performance by any actress in the past year. Personally, I'd vote for her in a heartbeat. But I don't think Emmy voters will even think to nominate her, given that she wasn't nominated last year, and her show has been canceled.
(By the way, yes, the three best women in the category are all on HBO. We didn't plan it this way, but HBO probably did.)
So who else will round out the category? Amy Poehler deserves another nod for her to-be-treasured turn on "Parks and Recreation." Past winner Tina Fey should be nominated again for the final season of "30 Rock." Zooey Deschanel may be back for being so "adorkable" on "New Girl," but I'd rather see Mindy Kaling score a nod for "The Mindy Project." And we wouldn't be at all surprised to see the return of past winners Melissa McCarthy for "Mike & Molly" or Edie Falco for "Nurse Jackie."
Will win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Should win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus or Laura Dern
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
The academy has a great opportunity here to look bold while being a little late. It's time to recognize Louis C.K. as an actor.