Next week, the nominees for the 2017 Primetime Emmy Awards will be announced and while I am preparing myself for my typical levels of resignation about the sameness of the nominees year-to-year, I wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate the shows, actors, and writing from the past year that I have loved. As usual, this is a list made from the shows I have seen at least half a season of over the past year and I am leaving out a lot of likely and worthy nominees that I don’t watch. If you’d like to play along, the official Emmy ballots are located here then head to the comment section to tell me about the things you’d like to see recognized!
Outstanding Comedy Series
- Brooklyn Nine-Nine
- Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
- The Good Place
- Jane the Virgin
- Master of None
- One Day at a Time
This category is all kinds of ridiculous. Even leaving out favorites like Veep and Atlanta, my original list had 14 potential options and narrowing them down was extremely difficult. This is an excellent time to be a comedy fan. Whether you prefer more traditional network sitcoms or inventive cable and streaming series, there are people doing a lot of very good work in their chosen areas.
Outstanding Drama Series
- The Americans
- The Crown
- Halt and Catch Fire
- Queen Sugar
- The Handmaid’s Tale
I’ll be honest, I don’t watch a lot of acclaimed drama series. Those I love, I love dearly, but as a whole, “prestige dramas” for lack of a better term are failing to catch my attention. I would love for Rectify to be recognized for an outstanding final season and I know that Sweet/Vicious is truly the longest of long-shots but while I don’t expect them to be nominated, I’d be remiss in not pointing out the excellent work being done by both.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
- Anthony Anderson as Andre Johnson (Black-ish)
- Ted Danson as Michael (The Good Place)
- Chris Geere as Jimmy Shive-Overly (You’re the Worst)
- Randall Park as Louis Huang (Fresh Off the Boat)
- Andy Samberg as Jake Peralta (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
- Jeffrey Tambor as Maura Pfefferman (Transparent)
This set of hopeful nominees is almost identical to last year’s list and I stand by the fact that these men are all doing excellent jobs. My heart would love for this race to be between Anthony Anderson and Ted Danson though any combination of these choices would make for strong nominees.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
- Kristen Bell as Eleanor Shellstrop (The Good Place)
- Rebecca Bloom as Rebecca Bunch (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)
- Minnie Driver as Maya DiMeo (Speechless)
- Justina Machado as Penelope Alvarez (One Day at a Time)
- Gina Rodriguez as Jane Villanueva (Jane the Virgin)
- Tracie Ellis Ross as Rainbow Johnson (Black-ish)
In what will be the first of several times I will say this throughout this post, I love how strong the female acting categories are. And how prominently network shows are featured in my particular set of hopeful nominees. This is the best time to love talented women playing full, nuanced characters and looking at this makes me happy with the shows I’ve invested my time and heart in.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
- Sterling K. Brown as Randall Pearson (This is Us)
- Josh Hartnett as Ethan Chandler (Penny Dreadful)
- Matthew Rhys as Philip Jennings (The Americans)
- Kofi Siriboe as Ralph Angel Bordelon (Queen Sugar)
- Matt Smith as Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (The Crown)
- Adan Young as Daniel Holden (Rectify)
This is one of the categories I am most interested in. Sterling K. Brown had an incredible year last year with People v. OJ Simpson and I want to see if that love continues for his deserving work on This is Us. For the final time, I would also love to see Adan Young recognized for being one of the best actors on TV for the run of Rectify. It was something special and I cannot praise him enough.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
- Mackenzie Davis as Cameron Howe (Halt and Catch Fire)
- Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II (The Crown)
- Eva Green as Vanessa Ives (Penny Dreadful)
- Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings (The Americans)
- Rutina Wesley as Nova Bordelon (Queen Sugar)
- Elizabeth Moss as Offred (The Handmaid’s Tale)
This is the second strongest category this year and that both thrills me and makes me grateful that I’m actually not voting. My undying love for Eva Green’s performance in Penny Dreadful is well documented, as are my feelings on Keri Russell. It is also ridiculous that Elizabeth Moss does not yet have an Emmy for either Mad Men or Top of the Lake, so I am hopeful that The Handmaid’s Tale will finally rectify that.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
- Desmin Borges as Edgar Quintero (You’re The Worst)
- Andre Braugher as Ray Holt (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
- Jaime Camil as Rogelio De La Vega (Jane the Virgin)
- Pete Gardner as Darryl Whitefeather (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)
- Todd Grinnell as Schneider (One Day at a Time)
- William Jackson Harper as Chidi Anagonye (The Good Place)
At least once an episode, I remark that Andre Braugher needs an Emmy for the work he’s doing on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. In a very strong cast, he continues to be a highlight and we are blessed to have him on our screens. The same can be said about Jaime Camil, who has been a fan favorite on from the beginning. It would be easy to make Rogelio comedic relief and nothing more, but Camil brings so much heart to his performance and it grounds this very over-the-top character.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
- D’Arcy Carden as Janet (The Good Place)
- Donna Lynne Champlin as Paula Proctor (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)
- Ivonne Coll as Alba Villanueva (Jane the Virgin)
- Melissa Fumero as Amy Santiago (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
- Judith Light as Shelly Pfefferman (Transparent)
- Rita Moreno as Lydia Riera (One Day at a Time)
These nominees turned out to be a celebration of older women in comedy and I’m here for it. Ivonne Coll, Judith Light, and Rita Moreno are all playing very different roles (which is exciting in itself) and each is outstanding.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
- Clayne Crawford as Ted Talbot, Jr. (Rectify)
- Toby Huss as John Bosworth (Halt and Catch Fire)
- Ron Cephas Jones as William Hill (This is Us)
- Rory Kinnear as The Creature (Penny Dreadful)
- Frank Langella as Gabriel (The Americans)
- John Lithgow as Winston Churchill (The Crown)
If the process of writing this were a Friends episode, it would be The One Where Heather Has to Convince Herself Not to Nominate the Entire Roster of Male Supporting Actors on The Americans. A bit of an unwieldy title but it was a stellar year for the whole group of them. So consider this spot an unofficial shoutout to Costa Ronin, who continues to make me love Oleg more with every episode. As good as they were, my two biggest hopes for this category are Clayne Crawford and Ron Cephas Jones. These extraordinary men made me feel more than anyone else in this category and they did so with a beautiful honesty that I would love to see rewarded.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
- J. Smith-Cameron as Jane Talbot (Rectify)
- Susan Kelechi Watson as Beth Pearson (This is Us)
- Bianca Lawson as Darla (Queen Sugar)
- Patti LuPone as Dr. Seward (Penny Dreadful)
- Holly Taylor as Paige Jennings (The Americans)
- Samira Wiley as Moira (The Handmaid’s Tale)
This is The Americans nominee that I want the most. Holly Taylor is doing such good things as Paige and will never be recognized for it enough for my tastes.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
- Lauren Graham as Lorelai Gilmore (Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life)
- Nicole Kidman as Celeste Wright (Big Little Lies)
- Jessica Lange as Joan Crawford (FEUD: Bette and Joan)
- Susan Sarandon as Bette Davis (FEUD: Bette and Joan)
- Reese Witherspoon as Madeline MacKenzie (Big Little Lies)
This is the strongest category this year. These women were all incredible and while I have my favorite, any one of these women could be nominated and win and I would be thrilled. It was a good year for women in limited series centered around women and that is a trend I would like to see continued.
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
- Black-ish – “Lemons”
- Brooklyn Nine-Nine – “Moo Moo”
- Master of None – “Thanksgiving”
- One Day at a Time – “Quinces”
- You’re the Worst – “Twenty Two”
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
- The Crown – “Assassins”
- Halt and Catch Fire – “NeXT”
- Penny Dreadful – “A Blade of Grass”
- Rectify – “A House Divided”
- This is Us – “Memphis”