Like it or not, Oscar season kicks off next week, with the premiere of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “Birdman” at the Venice Film Festival. But we must first close off another awards season, and this coming Monday sees the curtains close on the 2013/2014 TV season, with statues handed out at the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards.
Old favorites like “Breaking Bad,” “Modern Family,” “American Horror Story” and “Game Of Thrones” are girding their loins in anticipation of respective challenges from a host of upstarts like “True Detective,” “Fargo” and “Orange Is The New Black.” To help you get a handle on who’s likely to be heading up to the podium, we’ve made our predictions for the major categories (excluding reality and variety series, which aren’t really our area) below. Weigh in with your own guesses in the comments, and check back on Monday night to find out who takes the prizes.
Outstanding Writing For A Miniseries, Movie Or Dramatic Special
“American Horror Story: Coven” - “Bitchcraft” - Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk (FX)
“Fargo” - “The Crocodile’s Dilemma” - Noah Hawley (FX)
“Luther” - Neil Cross (BBC America)
“The Normal Heart” - Larry Kramer (HBO)
“Sherlock” - His Last Vow” - Steven Moffat (PBS)
“Treme” - “...To Miss New Orleans” - David Simon & Eric Overmyer (HBO)
Should Win: Neither “Luther” or “Sherlock” did their best this time around, so we’d lean towards Noah Hawley’s fine work on “Fargo” here.
Will Win: Probably Hawley, to be honest, though he’ll have some tough competition from Larry Kramer and “The Normal Heart”
Outstanding Directing For A Miniseries, Movie Or Dramatic Special
“American Horror Story: Coven” - “Bitchcraft” - Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (FX)
“Fargo” - “Buridan’s Ass” - Colin Bucksey (FX)
“Fargo” - “The Crocodile’s Dilemma” - Adam Bernstein (FX)
“Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight” - Stephen Frears (HBO) “The Normal Heart” - Ryan Murphy (HBO)
“Sherlock” - “His Last Vow” - Nick Hurran (PBS)
Should Win: Either of those “Fargo” helmers are deserving, maybe Bucksey in a pinch.
Will Win: Ryan Murphy, by virtue of being the most recognizable face that didn’t make an incredibly boring movie about the Supreme Court. “Fargo” might have had a shot, but the vote split will hurt the show's chances.
Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Miniseries Or Movie
Matt Bomer as Felix Turner on “The Normal Heart” (HBO)
Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson on “Sherlock: His Last Vow” (PBS)
Colin Hanks as Officer Gus Grimly on “Fargo” (FX)
Joe Mantello as Mickey Marcus on “The Normal Heart” (HBO)
Alfred Molina as Ben Weeks on “The Normal Heart” (HBO)
Jim Parson as Tommy Boatwright on “The Normal Heart” (HBO)
Should Win: Not being the biggest fan of “The Normal Heart” limits our options here, though we will say that Alfred Molina was typically lovely in his small role.
Will Win: Matt Bomer, who lost a ton of weight for his role, about as speedy a way of ensuring an award as anything of which we are aware.
Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Miniseries Or Movie
Angela Bassett as Marie Laveau on “American Horror Story: Coven” (FX)
Kathy Bates as Delphine LaLaurie on “American Horror Story: Coven” (FX)
Ellen Burstyn as Olivia Foxworth on “Flowers In The Attic” (Lifetime)
Frances Conroy as Myrtle Snow on “American Horror Story: Coven” (FX)
Julia Roberts as Dr. Emma Brookner on “The Normal Heart” (HBO)
Alison Tolman as Deputy Molly Solverson on “Fargo” (FX)
Should Win: If you believe, like us, that “American Horror Story” is dumber than a box of rocks, and the idea of it winning any awards for anything makes you feel a bit sick, it narrows your possible picks (though all three actresses, in fairness, chew the scenery with aplomb). But regular readers will know we’re firmly on the Alison Tolman train here.
Will Win: Tolman actually has a good chance, but our gut says that Julia Roberts’ star power will win out.
Outstanding Lead Actor In A Miniseries Or Movie
Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes on “Sherlock: His Last Vow” (PBS)
Chiwetel Ejiofor as Louis Lester on “Dancing On The Edge” (Starz)
Idris Elba as John Luther on “Luther” (BBC America)
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard on “Fargo” (FX)
Mark Ruffalo as Ned Weeks on “The Normal Heart” (HBO)
Billy Bob Thornton as Lorne Malvo on “Fargo” (FX)
Should Win: I think we say this every year, but Idris Elba’s performance in “Luther” is a bruised thing of wonder: a bear with a thorn in his paw who somehow was given a tatty coat and made a police detective. The show’s done now, so it’d be great to see him recognized at last.
Will Win: Though Mark Ruffalo could surprise, this is almost certainly Billy Bob Thornton’s.
Outstanding Lead Actress In A Miniseries Or Movie
Helena Bonham Carter as Elizabeth Taylor on “Burton & Taylor” (BBC America)
Minnie Driver as Maggie Royal on “Return To Zero” (Lifetime)
Jessica Lange as Fiona Goode on “American Horror Story: Coven” (FX)
Sarah Paulson as Cordelia Foxx on”American Horror Story: Coven” (FX)
Cicely Tyson as Mrs. Carrie Watts on “The Trip To Bountiful” (Lifetime)
Kristen Wiig as Cynthia Morehouse on “The Spoils Of Babylon” (IFC)
Should Win: No one here who we’re totally behind, so we guess we’d like to see Kristen Wiig win, if only because her role is so different from the others nominated.
Will Win: Unless Jessica Lange surprises (and given she lost last year, she probably won’t), Cicely Tyson takes this in a walk.
Outstanding TV Movie
“Killing Kennedy” (National Geographic)
“Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight” (HBO)
“The Normal Heart” (HBO)
“Sherlock: HIs Last Vow” (PBS)
“The Trip To Bountiful” (Lifetime)
Should Win: Again, nothing that we adore here, but “Sherlock” is probably our pick of the five.
Will Win: “The Normal Heart,” easily.
“American Horror Story: Coven” (FX)
“Bonnie & Clyde” (A&E)
“Luther” (BBC America)
“The White Queen” (Starz)
Should Win: In theory, we’d like to say that we’d back “Treme” to win, but if we’re being totally honest, the show was always the TV equivalent of that heavy non-fiction hardback that sits on your bedside table for a year and that you feel guilty about never picking up. So we’re going for “Fargo.”
Will Win: Anything but “Fargo” would be a shocker.