Television
    Next Score View the next score

    Matthew Gilbert’s Emmy predictions

    One critic’s view of Emmy snubs and sure things.

    You’ve heard it before: We’re smack in the middle of a golden age of TV. That means there are always episodes of great shows awaiting you on your viewing device of choice. And it means there is no shortage of strong material competing in this year’s Emmy Awards ceremony, which airs Monday night on NBC. The live event will be crammed with worthy contenders and — cough, “Killing Kennedy,” cough — a few not so worthy. Will “True Detective” spoil what could easily be a huge farewell party for the great “Breaking Bad”? Will “Orange Is the New Black” be the new “Modern Family”? There are a few mysteries heading into this year’s Emmy Awards. And that’s a good thing. No one wants to watch a competition that doesn’t contain a few tight races. (Winners highlighted)
    Drama
    Actor Drama
    Actress Drama
    Sup. Actor Drama
    Sup. Actress Drama
    Comedy
    Actor Comedy
    Actress Comedy
    Sup. Actor Comedy
    Sup. Actress Comedy
    Miniseries
    TV Movie
    Actor Minis.-TV Movie
    Actress Minis.-TV Movie
    Drama Series
    Breaking Bad
    AMC
    Downton Abbey
    PBS
    Game of Thrones
    HBO
    House of Cards
    Netflix
    Mad Men
    AMC
    True Detective
    HBO
    Will Win
    Breaking Bad
    “Breaking Bad” is considered one of the best series ever made, one of the rare dramas that didn’t let up in quality throughout its run. And it has only one drama-series win. The competition is fierce in this category, with “True Detective” and “Game of Thrones” coming up from behind, but “Breaking Bad” will have a second statue to bookmark the series.
    Should Win
    Breaking Bad
    I hope “Game of Thrones” wins one of these years. It’s quite a stunning achievement. The Television Academy isn’t fond of genre shows — see: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Battlestar Galactica,” and “Orphan Black” — even though many sci-fi and fantasy series are broader than their genre implies. But this year, “Breaking Bad” went out on top and deserves the prize.
    Was robbed
    Three of the best shows of the year were FX’s “The Americans,” CBS’s “The Good Wife,” and History’s “Vikings.” The “Downton Abbey” slot rightfully belongs to one of them.
    Lead Actor, Drama
    Bryan Cranston
    Breaking Bad
    Kevin Spacey
    House of Cards
    Jon Hamm
    Mad Men
    Jeff Daniels
    The Newsroom
    Woody Harrelson
    True Detective
    Matthew McConaughey
    True Detective
    Will Win
    Matthew McConaughey
    I’m afraid McConaughey fever is going to infect Emmy voters. Just as his work in “True Detective” helped McConaughey win an Oscar, his Oscar for “Dallas Buyers Club” will bring him an Emmy. I’m in the minority who think he overacted on the HBO series, delivering a stylized performance without much emotional impact. If it’s not McConaughey, it’ll be Cranston, although voters will recall that he has already won three times for his brilliant turn as Walter White.
    Should Win
    Woody Harrelson
    I was blown away by Harrelson, who was as naturalistic and believable as McConaughey wasn’t. He was the best reason to watch what ended up being a rather pretentious cop series.
    Was robbed
    Travis Fimmel is remarkable in “Vikings,” with his all-knowing smirk and Zen leadership style. Michael Sheen is the repressed center of “Masters of Sex,” Matthew Rhys brings an electric energy to “The Americans,” and Demian Bichir is a melancholy hero on “The Bridge.”
    Lead Actress, Drama
    Michelle Dockery
    Downton Abbey
    Claire Danes
    Homeland
    Robin Wright
    House of Cards
    Lizzy Caplan
    Masters of Sex
    Kerry Washington
    Scandal
    Julianna Margulies
    The Good Wife
    Will Win
    Julianna Margulies
    Wright stands a chance, because she is the best thing about “House of Cards.” But I think Margulies and her bottled-up character will take the day, after a juicy arc this season. Enthusiasm for “Homeland” has subsided, as the show’s careful plotting has grown absurd, which may taint Danes, who has won the past two years.
    Should Win
    Lizzy Caplan
    Caplan can be mannered and overly precise in her diction. But she has built a complex character, both sexually aware and intellectually aspirational, who is believably ahead of her time. I’d like to see her win.
    Was robbed
    Tatiana Maslany from “Orphan Black,” of course. And Elisabeth Moss of “Mad Men,” who has given Peggy one of TV’s most nuanced across-seasons journeys.
    Supporting Actor, Drama
    Aaron Paul
    Breaking Bad
    Jim Carter
    Downton Abbey
    Peter Dinklage
    Game of Thrones
    Mandy Patinkin
    Homeland
    Jon Voight
    Ray Donovan
    Josh Charles
    The Good Wife
    Will Win
    Jon Voight
    These were all strong performances, particularly Dinklage, Paul, and Charles, whose broken but unbowed Will Gardner was murdered. But Voight will win, and not just for his long Hollywood history. He is the Boston thug who keeps “Ray Donovan” interesting.
    Should Win
    Jon Voight
    Voight fits this role like a glove. There’s not a false note in his performance.
    Was robbed
    Jeffrey Wright was a potent addition to “Boardwalk Empire,” as the intellectual Harlem gangster. And Dean Norris deserved a final nod for his complex work on “Breaking Bad.”
    Supporting Actress, Drama
    Anna Gunn
    Breaking Bad
    Maggie Smith
    Downton Abbey
    Joanne Froggatt
    Downton Abbey
    Lena Headey
    Game of Thrones
    Christina Hendricks
    Mad Men
    Christine Baranski
    The Good Wife
    Will Win
    Anna Gunn
    Gunn will take this one, for her mind-blowingly good work in her submitted episode, “Ozymandias.” She was under-acknowledged until last year, when she won; there’s no denying her now.
    Should Win
    Anna Gunn
    Baranski was top-notch this season, as she lost her friend and partner Will and opened up her heart to Alicia. And Headey was chilling. But still, Gunn was the best.
    Was robbed
    Two “Americans” actresses stood out — Alison Wright as the deceived Martha and Annet Mahendru as the profoundly conflicted Nina.
    Comedy Series
    Louie
    FX
    Modern Family
    ABC
    Veep
    HBO
    Silicon Valley
    HBO
    Orange is the New Black
    Netflix
    The Big Bang Theory
    CBS
    Will Win
    Orange is the New Black
    “Orange Is the New Black” will break up the four-year winning streak of “Modern Family.” Some voters may think the Netflix show belongs in the drama categories, and they would be right. But it’s the best of the lot.
    Should Win
    Orange is the New Black
    I’m a huge fan of “Veep,” and the third season was pure dynamite. But “Orange” has an emotional grounding and a social consciousness that gives it an edge.
    Was robbed
    "Shameless” jumped into the comedy categories this year, which is ridiculous. But it’s one of TV’s best series — last season was arguably its best — and it deserves recognition no matter what slot it gets put into.
    Lead Actor, Comedy
    Ricky Gervais
    Derek
    Matt LeBlanc
    Episodes
    Don Cheadle
    House of Lies
    Louis C.K.
    Louie
    William H. Macy
    Shameless
    Jim Parsons
    The Big Bang Theory
    Will Win
    Jim Parsons
    I have a feeling Parsons is going to win his fourth Emmy for this role. And he has created an indelible and endearing character and reinvented geek clichés.
    Should Win
    William H. Macy
    But... none of the actors in this category comes close to Macy, who, like Voight in “Ray Donovan,” fully inhabits his character. He gives a performance for the ages as the childish, selfish, slippery alcoholic. C.K. was better than ever this season in an ongoing story line that showed his vulnerability. But: Macy.
    Was robbed
    Andy Samberg is winning in “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” both childlike and charming. His chemistry with Andre Braugher is impressive. I’d have given him the Cheadle slot.
    Lead Actress, Comedy
    Lena Dunham
    Girls
    Melissa McCarthy
    Mike and Molly
    Edie Falco
    Nurse Jackie
    Taylor Schilling
    Orange is the New Black
    Amy Poehler
    Parks and Recreation
    Julia Louis-Dreyfus
    Veep
    Will Win
    Julia Louis-Dreyfus
    If anyone but Louis-Dreyfus wins, it will be Schilling, who was the solid center of “OITNB.” But Louis-Dreyfus will take her third statue for this role.
    Should Win
    Julia Louis-Dreyfus
    And Louis-Dreyfus deserves every inch of that statue. She has gone from TV strength to TV strength in the years since “Seinfeld,” and her work on “Veep” is a culmination of all her experience and comic expertise. I love Poehler, and Falco is awesome. But no one makes me laugh like Louis-Dreyfus.
    Was robbed
    Laurie Metcalf was a laugh riot as a doctor on HBO’s small, twisted “Getting On.” And Emmy Rossum had her best season so far on “Shameless,” which is saying a lot.
    Supporting Actor, Comedy
    Andre Braugher
    Brooklyn Nine-Nine
    Adam Driver
    Girls
    Ty Burrell
    Modern Family
    Jesse Tyler Ferguson
    Modern Family
    Fred Armisen
    Portlandia
    Tony Hale
    Veep
    Will Win
    Andre Braugher
    Braugher is so enjoyable on this show, he will persuade voters. His seriousness is seriously funny.
    Should Win
    Andre Braugher
    Braugher has finally broken away from his history of heavy roles. His perfect comic timing is surprising, and delightful.
    Was robbed
    As the delinquent who came out of the closet this season on “Shameless,” Noel Fisher was pitch-perfect. And Timothy Simons, as the creepy Jonah on “Veep,” delivered zingers like nobody’s business.
    Supporting Actress, Comedy
    Julie Bowen
    Modern Family
    Allison Janney
    Mom
    Kate McKinnon
    Saturday Night Live
    Mayim Bialik
    The Big Bang Theory
    Ann Chlumsky
    Veep
    Kate Mulgrew
    Orange is the New Black
    Will Win
    Allison Janney
    Emmy voters love Janney, as they ought to. At last week’s creative arts Emmy ceremony, she won a guest actress prize for “Masters of Sex.” She’ll have a two-fer this year.
    Should Win
    Kate Mulgrew
    Mulgrew was one of the revelations of “OITNB” as a woman whose passions run high and whose memory is unforgiving.
    Was robbed
    Last year’s winner, Merritt Wever, had a great season on “Nurse Jackie,” as the empowered Zoey tried to save her mentor.
    Miniseries
    American Horror Story
    FX
    Bonnie & Clyde
    Lifetime
    Fargo
    FX
    Luther
    BBC America
    The White Queen
    Starz
    Treme
    HBO
    Will Win
    Fargo
    “Fargo” took the Coen brothers movie and broke it wide open. It will win.
    Should Win
    Fargo
    And it ought to win, for its expertly twisted comic tone, its gorgeous cinematography, and a set of performances strong enough to get us to forget the original.
    Television Movie
    Killing Kennedy
    National Geographic Channel
    Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight
    HBO
    Sherlock: His Last Vow
    PBS
    The Normal Heart
    HBO
    The Trip To Bountiful
    Lifetime
    Will Win
    The Normal Heart
    “The Normal Heart,” with its all-star cast and historically important AIDS theme, is inevitable.
    Should Win
    The Normal Heart
    And indeed, it was a powerful film that captured the complexities of AIDS activism in the 1980s.
    Lead Actor, Miniseries or TV Movie
    Chiwetel Ejiofor
    Dancing on the Edge
    Martin Freeman
    Fargo
    Billy Bob Thornton
    Fargo
    Idris Elba
    Luther
    Benedict Cumberbatch
    Sherlock: His Last Vow
    Mark Ruffalo
    The Normal Heart
    Will Win
    Mark Ruffalo
    Cumberbatch is beloved, but “The Normal Heart” is probably going to sweep. So I’m thinking Ruffalo’s the winner.
    Should Win
    Martin Freeman
    Ruffalo was excellent indeed, but I had so much fun watching Freeman get dragged into murder — or was he? He was truly extraordinary.
    Lead Actress, Miniseries or TV Movie
    Jessica Lange
    American Horror Story
    Sarah Paulson
    American Horror Story
    Helena Bonham Carter
    Burton and Taylor
    Minnie Driver
    Return to Zero
    Kristen Wiig
    The Spoils of Babylon
    Cicely Tyson
    The Trip to Bountiful
    Will Win
    Cicely Tyson
    How absurd to see Wiig’s spoofery up against Tyson’s acting. Tyson’s the one.
    Should Win
    Cicely Tyson
    And it’s hard to quibble with that, especially since Lange has already been honored for her work on “American Horror Story.”

    DATA: Television Academy

    Chiqui Esteban / Globe Staff