Zach Woods is the hardest-working man on TV.

In 2014, he appeared on Veep, USA’s Playing House, The Good Wife, FXX’s The League, and finally, his most notable role as Jared (or Donald) on Silicon Valley. And in each role he plays, Woods subtly steals scenes away from his leads with his quirky characters.

For example, there’s Zach on Playing House, Maggie’s (Lennon Parham) brother, also known as “the male Joan [from Mad Men]”:

His delivery is so quiet and unique, and yet it garners big laughs.

But while his collective work as a character actor is solid, he especially stands out on Silicon Valley, as either the brunt of everyone’s joke (“Retarded Frankenstein, AIDS Lady, Effeminate K.D. Lang”) or as the one delivering the best lines with dead-pan inflection (“Are we to understand you did not ‘crush it’ in 2012?”). While creator Mike Judge has clearly been trying to pitch Richard as the heart of the show this season, especially with the Pied Piper CEO’s pension for making wrong decisions at the expense of doing what is “right,” Jared has sacrificed more in the name of Pied Piper, specifically his name (he goes by “Jared,” but his real name is Donald) and having a place to live (he resided in the Pied Piper garage for a while). Plus, he cares just as much as Richard, if not more, about the company’s success, which comes across in his positivity and even his purposeful use of the SWOT board (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats).

Of course, I’m talking a lot about the character like he’s real, which is a testament to Woods’ work. T.J. Miller is the show’s best bet for a Best Supporting Actor Comedy Emmy nomination, but Jared may be the best supporting character on the show.

You can put him in the Strengths bucket.

There have recently been alterations to the voting process in the Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy races. In the past when casting ballots for the winner of these categories, Emmy voters would view two episodes from each of the shows nominated and were asked to judge based on what they saw. The Television Academy members who were voting in these races were divided into three groups and watched episodes exclusive to each group.

For instance, the episode submissions for Drama Series winner Breaking Bad last year were:

Tape A – “Confessions” & “Rabid Dog”
Tape B – “To’hajiilee” & “Ozymandias”
Tape C – “Granite State” & “Felina”

But now, that method of voting is over in the big races. The previous process will continue to be used for the acting races where each nominated actor submits a single episode to the judges for the win. Instead, the tape system will be abolished, and voters will have the option to watch all six of a show’s submitted episodes. The six episodes will be posted online, rather than having two episodes being sent to voters via DVDs. So, if the race last year would have been conducted using these rules, voters would have the opportunity to view all of the Breaking Bad submissions on the voting web site, listed as such:

  • “Confessions”
  • “Rabid Dog”
  • “To’hajiilee”
  • “Ozymandias”
  • “Granite State”
  • “Felina”

While this could benefit shows that take time to develop impact if voters take the time to watch all six episodes, there are a several different ways the adjustment to the Emmy’s informed, democratic process could be problematic.

The Emmys, especially in the acting races where the old method is used, hold a certain degree of fairness because voters were required to watch all of the best work selected by the nominees themselves prior to making their final voting decision. But under the amended rules, the Emmys may be strolling down an avenue where popularity and momentary buzz is taken more into account and will have similar types of winners as the Screen Actors Guild or the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. This could be the first step in the quality of episodes becoming irrelevant.

Because there is no clear frontrunner in the drama category, the new method could be of advantage to some shows while others could find themselves victims of the loss of a suffocating buzz even if they manage to break into the nominee circle and have winning episodes to submit. Arguably, the following are the top ten shows competing for the 2015 Drama Series honor, and the dynamic of each of these shows will now shift under the rule modification:

  • The Affair
  • Better Call Saul
  • Downton Abbey
  • Game of Thrones
  • The Good Wife
  • Empire
  • Homeland
  • House of Cards
  • Mad Men
  • Orange is the New Black

The Good Wife and Homeland are the two contenders most damaged by the switch from a controlled two-episodes per tape consideration screening to a more casual online presentation. These shows were once at the top of Emmy favorite’s list and fell out of the race around their third year. But they both had critical resurgences, The Good Wife in its fifth season last year, acclaim and enthusiasm by fans that carried over to this year’s sixth season, and Homeland’s fourth season this year after a dismal third season. If they manage to pull themselves back into serious contention, both have a plethora of episodes from the 2014-2015 season that would have compelled voters to be swayed their way for the win. And these are not just individual episodes of sterling quality, but ones that fit perfectly together as a combo-pack for the tape system—such as sharing similar themes/storylines, a variety of emotional and thrilling drama, accessibility to voters who do not watch the shows regularly.

For example:

The Good Wife

  • Tape A: The Line and Oppo Research
  • Tape B: Sticky Content and The Trial
  • Tape C: Hail Mary and Mind’s Eye
  • Alternates: Loser Edit and Undisclosed Recipients


  • Tape A: From A to B and Back Again and Redux
  • Tape B: Halfway to a Donut and There’s Something Else Going On
  • Tape C: 13 Hours to Islamabad and Krieg Nicht Lieb
  • Alternates: Drone Queen and Long Time Coming

But the problem with both shows being competitive in the Drama Series category under the new system is the Emmy’s tendency to forget about a show after said show misses the cut for a nomination once. The Golden Globes are much better at detecting the shows that really accomplish something in their current seasons, whereas it seems the Emmys rely on the previous year’s nominees to guide them through the initial voting process. The Good Wife, for example, had its greatest season last year and was handsomely rewarded by critics and the HFPA, but the Emmys snubbed it in the non-acting major categories and most credit that to the fact that it dropped out of the Drama Series race after its second season. Like The Good Wife, Homeland enjoyed a vacation period as one of the most rewarded shows its first two years (it won Drama Series in 2012), but fell from grace in Season Three.

These shows are not considered novel anymore (at least when compared to the likes of Empire and The Affair), so if they did manage to get voted back into the race, then voters would probably disregard their worth just based off a “been there, done that attitude.” If Academy members were required to watch the shows under the tape system before voting, then they could see killer strengths in their storytelling and maybe feel prompted to rank the shows higher in their final tally. Without the standard of the tape system and the assurance that voters undoubtedly watch the contenders, some of the best quality could go unnoticed.

While some shows will ultimately expire in this race because of the new rule, others have the opportunity to prosper. When the final seven Drama Series nominees are selected, I cannot imagine even the most scrupulous voter reserving 42 hours to watch each of the six episodes from all seven shows before turning in their ballot. Having voters watch 14 hours (two episodes per seven shows) seems more feasible. But the freedom from the tape system could unleash a harnessed show like Game of Thrones. I challenge even the most stalwart fans of the epic saga to affirm that the older members of the Academy would enjoy sitting through hours of watching Game of Thrones, trying to invest in an alienating genre-based series, staying awake amidst the slower pace, and following the muddled storylines if one hasn’t read the books. But voters could exhibit a single episode (or simply skip the episodes and vote based on what they know about the show), appreciate something like the much heralded zombie fight in “Hardhome” and rank it higher on the ballot due to the spectacular visuals and sheer ambition of the HBO project.

Other contenders that could positively be affected by the changes in the voting process are Empire, The Affair, and Orange is the New Black because of their freshness and cultural impact. Emmy judges not being required to delve too deeply into Empire’s slightly off-putting soap opera tone could be its biggest boost for the win. The show is a smash-hit with viewers and has taken off like so few have in recent years with the mainstream viewers, and that buzz could open up a door for it to sneak up behind the more prestigious shows. Voters could also view the pilot for The Affair, be impressed with its structural creativity, and vote for it as a cool, new contraption. Orange is the New Black is required by the Academy to transition from the comedy race to the drama category this year. Many thought it could have given Modern Family a run for its money last year. It didn’t, but that buzz is still floating in the air, especially with its status as a “must-see” show among new-age television buffs.

If there were any show that was the topic of conversation amongst people in the industry over the past year, it was Mad Men and its final seven episodes, and in particular, the finale, “Person-to-Person.” Who wasn’t trading thoughts with a friend about the final revelations the following morning? An idea that has been considered for the Emmys this year is the notion that voters will want to embrace the show one last time and say goodbye by showering it with Emmy-love. Initially, I rejected the idea because of the beginning episodes feeling so dry, thinking they would not hold up if judged on the tape-system. But Mad Men is now free for voters to pick and choose whichever episodes they desire to watch, and it can be assumed that most will bid for the satisfying, clever finale. I would guess that most of the industry probably has already seen the final Mad Men episodes, which is a huge plus for a show Emmy voters have already demonstrated their respect for (remember when it won four consecutive the Drama Series titles?). Chances are, they probably were moved by events and resolutions that transpired in the final chapters, which also helps its case. Having the old rules discontinued could allow the good will from the past eight years of Mad Men to reach a rewarding zenith.

Better Call Saul and Downton Abbey are two options whose support remains stationary regardless of the voting process. Better Call Saul is the spinoff to the incumbent drama series winner, so being associated with Breaking Bad should be enough for voters to recognize with a nomination. The chances of another Vince Gilligan-flavored drama (in its first season no less) winning feels less favorable. Downton Abbey is to an older Academy member what Game of Thrones is to fantasy-genre devotees. It’s what want they watch. It’s where they want to place their vote. The show has served well as an easy ballot-filler show (though never triumphed in the Drama Series category) and just completed one of its most acclaimed seasons. If voters want to show their love for Downton Abbey in a big way, then this may be the time.

House of Cards is a possibility that could win Outstanding Drama Series under the retired tapes system and newly ratified online episode process. It was put on the backburner for its first two seasons because Breaking Bad was such an unbeatable force. With Breaking Bad complete and the star-studded True Detective not in competition, House of Cards is positioned as the default frontrunner. It’s the type of the show that is more appealing to voters than we tend to give it credit for. The production values are rich, it’s led by two highly regarded movie stars, the political subject matter is a sexy topic for the Emmys, and most importantly, the narrative is very much in-tune for what voters will want to watch (strong story, comprehensible, entertaining, snob appeal, ect.)

Many fans have been skeptical of its chances since the third season focuses less on the diabolical, sinfully funny rise to power for the Underwoods and more of a more character-driven investigation of their marriage. Internet buzz seems to consider Season Three of House of Cards weaker than the first two, but I can see the Emmys being enticed by it in a different way. There’s more of a human element to Frank and Claire this round. They aren’t portrayed as evil cartoon characters but as two people being engulfed in a complicated marriage while trying to maintain professional power. It’s easier to root for the Underwoods this time and empathize with the story more as we see most of it through the perspective of Robin Wright’s Claire who was mostly an untapped resource in the first two seasons. House of Cards also represents a new milestone in television exhibition, Netflix’s growing streaming services, which is something more important to industry-based Academy members voting than to the fans watching at home.

The beleagured television press on the West Coast is collectively breathing a sigh of relief as the Television Academy announced today a delay in the timing of the official Emmy announcements. The new time is Thursday, July 16, at 8:30am PST, an adjustment of three hours. 

The announcements will be made by Uzo Aduba (Orange Is the New Black) and John Stamos (Full House). They will be telecast live on networks and applicable cable outlets and will be live streamed on Emmys.com. 

My fellow Awards Daily TV contributor Clarence Moye recently wrote about how much influence the Critics’ Choice Awards have over Emmy nominations and who stands to benefit from a win. Orange is the New Black’s Lorraine Toussaint took home the Critics’ Choice Best Supporting Actress – Drama trophy, which is a huge boost to her presence in the Emmy race since it’s mostly been dominated by Kate Mulgrew and Uzo Aduba.

But here’s a sad fact: Last year, Scandal’s Bellamy Young took home a win in the same category at the Critics’ Choice and failed to get an Emmy nomination. So it’s questionable whether Emmy voters will vote the same way as critics.

So who’s in contention? This is an interesting category this year since some of the contenders were in the Best Supporting Actress Comedy category last year, now that OITNB is a “drama.” Could some of the Downton Abbey mainstays get bumped for convicts?

Here’s a look at who could be nominated: Sissy Spacek for Bloodline, Maggie Smith for Downton Abbey, Lena Headey for Game of Thrones, Kate Mulgrew for Orange is the New Black, Uzo Aduba for Orange is the New Black, Christine Baranski for The Good Wife, Christina Hendricks for Mad Men, and Lorraine Toussaint for Orange is the New Black.

First, let’s talk about Mad Men. This is the show’s last season, which means this is the last opportunity to nominate Hendricks. And will they do it? Yes. Hendricks has been nominated in this category for the last five years, and Joan received a great send-off with some Emmy-baity scenes (her sexual harassment speech being a key one). She’s in.

Emmy voters will also vote for Downton Abbey, which also appears to be winding down toward a finale soon. Look for nominations for Maggie Smith and Joanne Froggatt since they are category mainstays (and Froggatt won the Golden Globe earlier this year).

As for Orange is the New Black, this is where it gets murky. Anyone on the show could win for Best Supporting Actress – Drama since there is a wealth of amazing supporting work from Natasha Lyonne to Taryn Manning to Yael Stone to Samira Wiley to (the list goes on). However, the actresses that people are talking about include Uzo Aduba, Kate Mulgrew, and Lorraine Toussaint. Without spoiling anything (although you’ve had a year to watch Season Two by now), Toussaint could get nominated since her work would be marginal in subsequent seasons; however, Uzo Aduba’s Crazy Eyes had a bigger story arc last season, so look for her to get nominated over Toussaint (plus, she won a SAG and was nominated for an Emmy as a guest actress last year).

Sorry, GoT fanboys. I don’t think Lena Headey is getting in. This has by far been Game of Thrones’ most divisive season, and while Cersei is certainly in a bit of a predicament as of late, there hasn’t been anything that memorable this Emmy season.

The Good Wife is an Emmy favorite, as is Christine Baranski, so look for her to get a nomination, probably the only one from a network show.

That leaves Sissy Spacek, and while Bloodline has received mixed reviews, it’s Sissy Spacek. She’s getting an invite.

Here’s the breakdown of predictions:

  • Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black
  • Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
  • Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
  • Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
  • Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
  • Sissy Spacek, Bloodline

Finally, I would be remiss in forgetting to mention Clarence’s passionate plea for past Emmy nominee Maura Tierney in Showtime’s The Affair, not a show that I’ve had the chance to catch up with yet. Still, even though it started the season strongly with the Golden Globes, the series overall has been completely ignored by three groups now – the Screen Actors Guild, the Critics’ Choice TV Awards, and the Television Critics Association.

I’m afraid it ain’t happening this year.

The Emmys can sometimes be a little slow to welcome new blood into their acting circles. Since shows are on for years, it seems the nominees for certain categories are the same year after year. Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series has some much-loved standbys, but should these ladies be prepared for a surge of newcomers to enter the race? This is such a crowded category of absolutely wonderful actresses.

When Julia Louis-Dreyfus is nominated for the fourth consecutive time for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for Veep, it will be her ninth nomination in total. She will join the company of the late Bea Arthur, and she could eventually wind up being nominated as often as Mary Tyler Moore (who has 10 career nominations in the category). Fans of Veep will agree that Season 4 was a pinnacle for the series, so Louis-Dreyfus getting in will surprise absolutely no one. One slot is locked up for sure.

Parks & Recreations’ Amy Poehler is at the top of the list of actresses who are overdue in this category this year. Devotees of the beloved series are begging for her to finally win a statue for her lovable Leslie Knope, but is nostalgial for the show enough to grab her final nomination? The final episode aired in late February, so let’s hope that she can pull out one last nom. I think she’s in.

Of the main nominees over the last few years, Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie) and Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly—yes, it’s still on) seem like the two that will drop out if new blood emerges. People seem to always think Girls’ Lena Dunham will fall every year, but she’s managed a nominated for the past 3 years. Taylor Schilling is now competing in the Drama Actress category, so the Orange is the New Black actress only had a mild flirtation with Comedy Actress last year (cut to nomination morning, and all 3 of these ladies are nominated and my face is a deep shade of scarlet).

Threatening to take not one but two spaces are the stars of the newly binged comedy, Grace & Frankie —Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. Two actresses haven’t shared this category since Teri Hatcher, Marcia Cross and Felicity Huffman all duked it out for the freshman season of Desperate Housewives. There’s always talk of whether one actress will get in while the other doesn’t (or is that just for movies?). Both Fonda and Tomlin are great on Grace & Frankie, but they aren’t the problem. The show around them isn’t as strong as they are even though it finds its feet halfway through the season. Will viewers finish their binge and make it that far?

While both are great (especially together), Tomlin’s Frankie is the more immediately likable of the two. Fonda is a strong presence (as always), but she reacts to her husband’s coming initially in anger. Tomlin displays more heartbreak from the beginning of the series, but they are equal in screen time and story. No one could argue that one is lead and one is supporting. At this point in the race, both could definitely get in. The show was recently renewed for a second season, and there is mad respect for both of these awesome women.

Speaking of Netflix comedies, Ellie Kemper could land a nomination for playing the title character in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I have a feeling that the love for Schmidt will wane by the time voting is in full swing (we all went to bat for it during our podcast a few weeks back). The show debuted to acclaim in early March, and the reception was very overwhelming. It is the definition of a bingeable comedy—fast, fun, and zany, and Kemper is lovable but not cloying. It would have been easy for the characters around Kimmy to steal the spotlight from her, but she holds her own. Tituss Burgess was the only actor in the ensemble to snag a nomination at the Critics’ Choice Television Awards. I suspect that she will be on the fringe in terms of getting in. It’s definitely possible, but I think she’ll just miss out despite how deserving she is. Will the 30 Rock connection surge her into this category?

Gina Rodriguez seems like the newcomer with a nomination heading her way. Jane the Virgin’s premiere season was a surprise smash, and it landed on several critics’ end-of-the-year best lists last year. It’s the definition of a star-making turn, and Rodriguez has been nominated for a Critics’ Choice Television Award and won a Golden Globe. Her only detractor? The CW has never produced a nominee in this category in the network’s history. But does that even matter? I doubt it. Rodriguez is likable, charming and smart, so I doubt people will even think about that when they cast their ballot.

We come to a point where we must consider four different, but very worthy, actresses. If it were up to me, Tracee Ellis Ross would get a spot in this race, because her work on black-ish is fantastic. As Bow, she balances a delicate act with her onscreen husband, Anthony Anderson. Whenever one of them is acting crazy, the other grounds them and tries to keep perspective. This role could be played wildly big, but Ross deftly manages to ground everything she does opposite Anderson. Don’t get me wrong—she can be fantastically over-the-top, and it’s a joy to watch. I could honestly watch her spar with Anderson nonstop.

Is Lisa Kudrow going to get in for The Comeback? It feels like a long shot, but fans of the show are adamant that she will make into this very tough year. Getting the show back feels like a victory enough and the award itself. You can’t stop watching her, though. Kudrow is one of those actresses that you love in everything she does, and you applaud whenever she, you know, comes back.

Constance Wu also received a Critics’ Choice Television Award nomination this year for Fresh Off the Boat, but, like Kudrow, it feels like it won’t happen. Wu is the best thing in the 90’s-set sitcom about a Taiwanese family starting over in Orlando. When you tire of something on this show, Wu swoops in and saves the day with dry one-liner. Her Jessica can deliver a joke, and you crave her presence whenever she’s off screen.

People may consider this final prediction a gamble, but it feels obvious to me. Amy Schumer will get nominated for Inside Amy Schumer. She’s everywhere right now, and she’s killing every time she pops up. Every week, people are talking about sketches from her Comedy Central series, and just when you are introducing it to someone new, a new sketch comes out. Trainwreck, her first major film role, will debut later this summer. Like I said—she’s taking over the world. Sarah Silverman was nominated in this category back in 2009, so people can shut their mouths when they begin to argue that her show is “too small” to get nominated for anything. If she somehow doesn’t make it in here, she will get nominated for writing. I mean, she has to, right?

Jane Fonda, Grace & Frankie
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Amy Poehler, Parks & Recreation
Lily Tomlin, Grace & Frankie
Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin
Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer

Looking at my predictions, it’s almost entirely new blood. Be kind on nomination morning when I am totally wrong.

Right on their heels:
Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly

Dark Horses:
Tracee Ellis Ross, black-ish (sweet baby Jesus, let this happen)
Constance Wu, Fresh Off the Boat
Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback

Television critics continue to come out in full-force for FX’s The Americans, their “cause du jour.” In today’s Television Critics Association awards nominations, the series received three major nominations for Program of the Year, Outstanding Achievement in Drama, and Individual Achievement in Drama for Matthew Rhys (a nomination they’ve bestowed upon him for three years in a row). It remains to be seen what kind of impact this attention and love will have on its Emmy fortunes.

It’s going to have a tough uphill fight, particularly since the newest drama entry, Fox’s Empire, continues to burn up the awards circuit. Today, the TCA’s surprisingly nominated it for a leading four nominations including Program of the Year, Outstanding Achievement in Drama, Individual Achievement in Drama for Taraji P. Henson, and Outstanding New Program. Also leading with four nominations is Amazon’s Transparent in the same categories with the exception of Outstanding Achievement in Comedy.

A few other notable awards mentions include Bob Odenkirk showing up for Better Call Saul, pretty much solidifying the general sense that he will factor into the Emmys later this summer, and Mad Men‘s critical resurgence after years of near-neglect. Jon Hamm showed up in the Individual Achievement in Drama category for the first time since 2012 after winning in 2011. Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt appeared in the Outstanding Achievement in Comedy category, the first time critics have really stood up for the series itself. Finally, it’s kind of amazing how Constance Wu continues to show up in critic’s awards considering the relatively muted critical reaction to the series (she is the best thing about it by far).

Here are the nominees for the 2015 Television Critics Association Awards.

Program of the Year
The Americans
Game of Thrones
Mad Men

Outstanding Achievement in Drama
The Americans
Game of Thrones
Mad Men

Outstanding Achievement in Comedy
The Big Bang Theory
Inside Amy Schumer
Jane the Virgin
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Individual Achievement in Comedy
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Gina Rodriguez, Jane The Virgin
Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
Constance Wu, Fresh Off the Boat

Individual Achievement in Drama
Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Taraji P. Henson, Empire
Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul

Outstanding Achievement in News and Information
CBS Sunday Morning
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
60 Minutes

Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming
The Amazing Race
The Chair
Dancing with the Stars
RuPaul’s Drag Race
Shark Tank

Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
The Fosters
The Legend of Korra
Sesame Street
Switched at Birth

Outstanding New Program
Better Call Saul
The Flash
Jane the Virgin

Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials
The Honorable Woman
The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst
Olive Kitteridge
Wolf Hall

Heritage Award
Late Show/Late Night with David Letterman
The Shield
Star Trek
Twin Peaks

Here is a look at some of the new art for the 67th annual Emmy Awards. Andy Samberg will host the event on September 20.   


T.J. Miller crashed the Emmy race at the Critics’ Choice TV Awards Sunday night, earning his first nomination and win for his work on HBO’s Silicon Valley. But does this make him a frontrunner for an Emmy nomination in the Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series category? Possibly. Last year, Andre Braugher won the same award for his work on Fox’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine and went on to earn an Emmy nomination in the same category.

But Miller has some competition. Only six men will be nominated, and these appear to be the contenders: Tituss Burgess of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Ty Burrell of Modern Family, Eric Stonestreet of Modern Family, Jesse Tyler Ferguson of Modern Family, Ed O’Neill of Modern Family, Adam Driver of Girls, Hugh Laurie of Veep, Tony Hale of Veep, Sam Waterston of Grace & Frankie, Fred Armisen of Portlandia, Josh Gad of The Comedians, and Andre Braugher for Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

So let’s whittle this list down. Silicon Valley appears to be the “it” comedy of the moment, since not only did it take home Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy but also Best Comedy Series at the Critics’ Choice. So I would say Miller gets in.

While Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is an ADTV Water Cooler podcast favorite, it doesn’t appear to have secured as big of a fan base as Silicon Valley or any of the other contenders. Sadly, Burgess appears to be out. Looks like he’ll have to drown his sorrows in some pinot noir.

Of the Modern Family crew, Joey Moser advocates for Ed O’Neill getting a nomination since he’s never in contention, but it looks like son-in-laws rule this category as Ty Burrell and Eric Stonestreet will secure these spots over the Pritchard patriarch and son.

Veep’s cast has become about as crowded as the Republican race for a presidential nomination with Hugh Laurie joining the cast this season. However, despite House’s welcome residency as Selina’s running mate, I think the supporting character that people remember from this show is Gary, played by Tony Hale. He’s a mainstay and I think Emmy voters will be reluctant to exclude him from this list in favor of Laurie. I also think they’ll be reluctant to vote for two from the same show. As beloved as Veep is, it’s no Modern Family in terms of Emmy support.

But what about new shows? FX’s The Comedians and Netflix’s Grace & Frankie premiered this year, and while the former is a satire on the industry (something the industry loves), Sam Waterston’s performance is more interesting than Josh Gad’s fictional take on himself (plus, The Comedians just isn’t as enjoyable as seeing President Bartlet shack up with Jack McCoy). I think Waterston gets in.

So who does that leave?

Adam Driver appeared to be phoning it in on this season’s Girls (although it was mostly just the character of Adam who was phoning it in), so I don’t think he’ll get in. Fred Armisen’s work in Portlandia could secure him a nomination, but are Emmy voters still watching? If I had to bet, I’d say Andre Braugher, last year’s Critics Choice winner. He’s an Emmy veteran.

Here’s the final breakdown:

  • ​Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • ​Ty Burrell, Modern Family
  • ​Tony Hale, Veep
  • TJ Miller, Silicon Valley
  • ​Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
  • ​Sam Waterston, Grace & Frankie

Last night, the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA) awarded their fifth annual Critics’ Choice Television Awards in a ceremony that aired live on A&E. The winners offered up many surprises, re-affirming their declared intent to shine a spotlight on candidates they deemed deserving of Emmy attention here in the weeks leading up to the Emmy voting period (June 15 through June 26). In fact, they moved their awards ceremony a full three weeks earlier than last year (2014 awards were handed out June 19). Clearly, they’re moving their mentions into a position of influence. But how far will that influence extend?

You can’t really call many of the recipients “surprises,” per se, given the early surprises of the original set of nominees. This was clearly an awards-granting body with an agenda. Gone were perennial Emmy nominees Modern Family, House of Cards, and Mad Men (which hasn’t really factored, oddly enough, into the Critics’ Choice Awards in years). Instead, a wild array of brilliant left-field choices took their places, some even winning. There were some expected mentions that only helped solidify the recipients’ path forward to the Emmys. Transparent‘s Jeffrey Tambor and Bradley Whitford will likely repeat in their categories. So will Olive Kitteridge and its three wins. David Oyelowo’s win in Nightingale against the more subtle (re: critic friendly) work of Richard Jenkins (Olive Kitteridge) also feels like a repeatable win at the Emmys.

But who gained the most from the recognition last night? There were a lot of stars in the room who generated a lot of publicity and, like it or not, this is the kind of publicity that pushes your screener to the top of the pile. Publicity is what these contenders sorely need, especially considering the wealth of options for Emmy voters. Best Drama winner The Americans won’t factor on my list because, even though it won, it had a history with Critics’ Choice – each of its three seasons was nominated, winning for the third. It has yet to receive any major Emmy nominations outside of guest performances, and I’m still suspect that winning a Critics’ Choice TV Award will push it into the highly competitive top seven dramas given the Television Academy’s history of ignoring it.

But here are five candidates that I feel did benefit from their wins.

Silicon Valley‘s first season was unexpectedly rewarded with a Best Comedy nomination despite having received no acting nominations for the ensemble piece (it did pick up mentions for direction and writing, however). Their second season, in my opinion, is even stronger by relying less on story momentum and more on old school, character-driven situation comedy. Their win in the Best Comedy category wasn’t fully a surprise – only Veep or Transparent could have beaten it realistically – but T.J. Miller’s win in the supporting category gives the show a now award-winning performance to anchor their campaigns around. It gives the show’s cast the attention they need to illustrate that the show isn’t just a showcase for Mike Judge’s comic sensibilities.

Amy Schumer‘s win in the Best Actress in a Comedy Series category for Inside Amy Schumer is another feather in the cap of this meteorically rising comic actress. Aside from the buzzy skits that are highly consumable in various Internet outlets. Aside from the high-profile Entertainment Weekly cover. Aside from the upcoming heavily buzzed, Schumer-penned Trainwreck. The win seemed to solidify what my Awards Daily TV cohorts called out months ago, and there is definitely a precedent for her inclusion. Remember when Melissa McCarthy shocked everyone by winning Best Actress in a Comedy Series at the Emmys? She was riding a similar tidal wave of publicity thanks to a little film called Bridesmaids. Schumer, in my opinion, will similarly benefit. The Critics’ Choice Award is just the start.

Better Call Saul has always been a question mark for Emmy consideration. There was little doubt that Jonathan Banks would receive recognition thanks to his fantastic performance in the Mike-centric episode of the series. But would the Emmys recognize the series in the shadow of its more-compelling predecessor Breaking Bad? The Critics’ Choice seemed to consider that question too and awarded not only Banks but also star Bob Odenkirk. These wins help the Saul case in two ways. First, it legitimizes Odenkirk as a dramatic actor, something he even questioned in early interviews for the series. Second, it helps the overall series stand on its own for Emmy voters, even if it notably failed to receive a series nomination. The Emmy push this year may be more for the acting than for the series itself, which the Critics’ Choice TV Awards clearly reflected.

Taraji P. Henson‘s win in the Best Actress in a Drama Series category over some incredibly stiff competition (ahem, Vera Farmiga) represents what we were all feeling about her status in the Emmy race. She will factor in the final six slots alongside Viola Davis and maybe Kerry Washington (but that’s not likely). Still, the Critics’ Choice couldn’t get behind Empire in any other category, not even in the dubious Most Bingeworthy Show category for which it seemed a shoe-in (that “honor” went to AMC’s The Walking Dead). Clearly, the soapy nature of the show prevented it from winning against much more serious-minded competition. I still believe the Television Academy will recognize the overall series at least in its first year, but Henson’s win ensures her placement in the same Emmy category.

Sadly, through all of Orange is the New Black‘s multiple nominations for its second season, Lorraine Toussaint‘s terrifying performance as “Vee” was mostly ignored by voting bodies. Audience favorite Uzo Aduba seemed to take center stage, picking up an award at the SAG Awards. The Critics’ Choice was having none of that, failing to nominate Aduba in any category. Instead, they put their weight behind Toussaint, awarding her Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series and putting her name back in the awards conversation where it truly belongs. Placement of the series in the Drama Emmy category will only help as category placement confusion could have impacted her given her extraordinarily dramatic character arc. That coupled with the win last night pushes her name forward in her Emmy category.

In my opinion, those award recipients will likely see their Emmy fortunes greatly increased by attention at Critics’ Choice. Again, the Critics’ Choice TV Awards aren’t high profile enough to guarantee any of these five slots come nomination morning, but, again, what matters most is being a part of the conversation. Events like this for the Emmys, unlike the Oscars, are fewer and far between, so any awards attention will only help. If these things can insert any new blood into the Emmys, then more power to them.

The Best Reality Show Host is an Emmy category that seems on the brink of extinction. Its debut in the late-2000s during the boom of reality television essentially demanded awards recognition for a medium that was in the early throes of drowning us all. The category has been dominated by competition series on major networks, and Ryan Seacrest has been nominated almost every year. While cooking shows and singing competitions dominate the category, I plead and implore voters to nominate someone who has created one of the most successful and talked about reality shows of all time: RuPaul of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

It should be no surprise that I am going to baton for RuPaul. I’ve been a devoted fan since the show literally put LOGO TV on the map back in 2009. In its first season, there were only nine contestants, and the camera had such a gauzy haze to it that people (Ru herself) joked that there was two inches of Vaseline applied to the lens to hide everyone’s flaws. By the time the show returned for a second season, the show was a hit and on its way to becoming one of the biggest social media sensations in recent reality show history.

With every passing season, the ratings for this sequined train have risen, and that’s mainly because of the star at the helm: Mama Ru. Sure, the vibrant contestants and their antics make audiences tune in week to week, but RuPaul herself is the genius behind all the tuckery and insanity that happens on the show. She handpicks every single drag performer that appears on her show, and that’s because she sees something special in every one of the designated queens she brings on to her program. There are performers who audition every single season (this season’s Mrs. Kasha Davis submitted a tape every year), but she won’t select someone until they show who they truly are in the audition process.

When it comes right down to it, RuPaul is two hosts in one beautiful, doesn’t-need-to-be-airbrushed package. She’s father and mother. Teacher and guidance counselor. She serves up comfort and tough love simultaneously, and I think she goes out of her way for these performers with legitimate love and support. When she hands you the opportunity to be on Drag Race, she expects you to go out of your way to make the best of your own time. RuPaul won’t simply hand you a golden ticket, because she knows you won’t learn from that. You need to work your ass off in these ridiculous challenges, and that light at the end of the tunnel is a better performer and, ultimately, a better person.

Every time RuPaul walks around the Werk Room at the beginning of each episode (dressed as himself, RuPaul Charles), he is trying to get the gears turning in your head. Hell, he sometimes just wants to mess with your head. He knows you’re standing on the edge of the cliff, and he’s going to give you a slight nudge just to see if your toenails are dug far enough into the sand. You better be holding onto dear life, because he wants to see how much you want it. RuPaul isn’t going to hand over a check for $100,000 and the title of America’s Next Drag Superstar without knowing you will work tooth and painted nail to know that you deserve it.

Shouldn’t every host push the contestants like that? I may not have seen American Idol very much in the last 15 years, but I highly doubt that a host like Ryan Seacrest has been able to effectively touch the lives of a potential superstar singer. The judges, maybe, but not Mr. Seacrest. In the fifth season, contestant Roxxxy Andrews had a breakdown on the runway after an emotional lip synch battle. She revealed her mother abandoned her at a bus stop at a young age, and Ru assured her that “As gay people, we get to choose our family—we get to choose the people we are around.” While her methods of pushing you to that limit may sound tough, she loves everyone that comes down that runway. When her final three have “lunch” with her (that consists of one hilariously single orange Tic-Tac), she is listening to her favorite yearly trio as they describe why they deserve to win and why they deserve to symbolize her brand. She genuinely wants to hear what keeps them going as a performer and a person in the community, and she did the same thing on her self-help spin off, Drag U.

The gay community can be unstable, depressing, and fraught with unfortunate circumstances. RuPaul wants nothing more than to bring acceptance, light, and lot of laughter. RuPaul’s Drag Race is the most self-aware reality competition out there. Where else can you hear references to Raquel Welch, Nicki Minaj, and The Pointer Sisters all in one episode? It’s silly, over-the-top, loud, and, yes, touching and addictive.

So if the Best Reality Show Host category eventually goes away, so be it. Does RuPaul need an Emmy? Not necessarily. But she deserves one. And it would look fantastic with whatever she’s wearing.

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