The official Emmy Nominations will be announced tomorrow, but waiting is for chumps. Myndi and EJ made their own list of major category nominations and then picked their ideal winners. And let’s be honest, the real life Emmys are never going to get around to Happy! and heck, they’ll probably keep on ignoring Halt and Catch Fire. Thus, our nominations are better.

Outstanding Actress in a Drama

Elisabeth Moss (Handmaid’s Tale)

Keri Russell (The Americans)

Jodie Comer (Killing Eve)

Sandra Oh (Killing Eve)

Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld)

Olivia Colman (Broadchurch)

Mandy Moore (This is Us)

 

EJ’s Pick – This is such a potentially strong category. And if we’re being honest, Elisabeth Moss is probably going to walk away with this and nobody’s going to have any complaints because she’s amazing and her furniture should be made of Emmys.  But I love an underdog, so I want to go with Keri Russell in the final season of The Americans.  Elizabeth Jennings’ relationship with her daughter, the burgeoning spy, was fascinating and heartbreaking and it’s a performance that’s still sitting with me.  The Americans deserved more attention that it got, and I’d like to see that
rectified.

Myndi’s Pick – I think EJ is correct.  After years of deserving the Supporting Actress award on Mad Men and getting passed by, I think Lizzy Moss has this on lockdown until Handmaid’s Tale ends.  She’s just incredible; a brave, smart, resourceful badass that you would like to believe you could be if you found yourself in such harrowing circumstances.  My sentimental favorite, then, is Mandy Moore.  She is a steady presence on This is Us, and deserves the award for the same reasons she did last year…with one big difference.  The sequence of events surrounding Jack’s (Milo Ventimiglia’s) sudden passing was extraordinary. Her reactions, her devastation and her need to hold it together for her kids were all heartbreaking and perfect.

 

Outstanding Actor in a Drama

Matthew Rhys (The Americans)

Jeffrey Wright (Westworld)

J.K. Simmons (Counterpart)

Dan Stevens (Legion)

Sterling K. Brown (This is Us)

Milo Ventimiglia (This is Us)

 

EJ’s Pick – This is a tough one.  Wright did some really interesting things all year in a role that maybe didn’t make complete sense until the end of the season, but that may be too subtle to win.  Stevens’ performance(s) in the multiverse episode of Legion was a standout for the year.  But when you get down to it, my actual favorite actor is J.K. Simmons and I’m a sucker for an actor playing two different versions of the same character and then having them try to pass as one another.  Counterpart asked a lot of its star and if Simmons didn’t deliver, it would have been a disaster.  And as he’s done for decades, Simmons delivered.

Myndi’s Pick – Again, it’s impossible to argue against or be disappointed by anyone on this list taking home a statue. But, I have to throw down for Milo Ventimiglia.  If you asked 2006 Myndi if she’d rather award an Emmy to Milo or a talking chimp, it would have been the chimp in a route.  I really couldn’t stand the guy on Gilmore Girls.  But, as time as gone on, Milo has developed into one of our finest actors, and Jack Pearson is a TV character that will stand the test of time as one of TV’s most beloved.  In the era of the anti-hero, Jack is proudly held up as the exact opposite…the husband and father we all dream of having.

 

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama

Thandie Newton (Westworld)

Janet McTeer (Jessica Jones)

Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)

Aubrey Plaza (Legion)

Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Deuce)

Vanessa Kirby (The Crown)

Ann Dowd (The Handmaid’s Tale)

 

EJ’s Pick – I truly believe that what Aubrey Plaza does in Legion is the most interesting and maybe most difficult performance on TV.  I’d be over the moon if she won. Ann Dowd is one of my favorite actresses and she’s wonderful and I want her to win so much.  But I keep thinking about Thandie Newton who went on such a journey this season, selling us on Maeve’s triumphs and her pain, even when we hadn’t worked out the timeline just yet.  I mean, there was that moment in the finale where she walks into the middle of a gunfight, flanked by robot bulls and the stampede goes all around her and Maeve strides through this chaos in complete control of everything.  It’s a gorgeous and crazy scene and if that doesn’t get you an Emmy, what does?

Myndi’s Pick – I’m still playing catch up on GoT, so I have to reserve judgment on Lena Headey’s Season 7 performance, and I’m sure everyone else on this list hits it out of the park every time.  For me, it really comes down to Ann Dowd; sadistic, yet oddly maternal as Aunt Lydia (that WHCD joke was not about her appearance, people!!) and Vanessa Kirby, stunningly brilliant as Princess Margaret on The Crown.  Kirby gets to chew the scenery at times, smoking cigarettes so intensely that viewers nearly get a nicotine buzz.  But then, she will break your heart when you see just how hard it can actually be to play second fiddle to the Queen of England. She’s also sexy, funny and smart as a whip.

 

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama

Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones)

Zahn McClernon (Westworld)

Robin Lord Taylor (Gotham)

Noah Emmerich (The Americans)

Scoot McNairy (Halt and Catch Fire)

Justin Hartley (This is Us)

Matt Smith (The Crown)

 

EJ’s Pick – I’m going to be honest with you – I don’t think Zahn McClernon qualifies in this category because he isn’t in the regular cast.  I’m not sure what the cutoff is, so this is a rules question that I can’t answer. But I put him on the list because his lead role in “Kitsuya” is breathtaking and he’d better win for either supporting or guest actor.  I’m always going to stump for Robin Lord Taylor and his take on the Penguin. He’s doing Emmy level work in a crazy-ass show and having fun doing it. And come on, Matt Smith? If you starred in Doctor Who, I’m always going to root for you.  But this year I have to go with the oft-overlooked Noah Emmerich.  His Stan Beeman has always been a strong performance, but the roller coaster as he uncovered the truth about the Jennings brought out his best.  It all comes down to the parking garage scene in the finale. Emmerich doesn’t even do most of the talking, but he makes every word count. But his pain and confusion and anger is palpable.  It’s a performance and a scene I can’t stop thinking about.

Myndi’s Pick – While Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister could win anytime and I’d be perfectly fine with it, and Matt Smith is even better in Season Two of The Crown than the first time around, I’m going to root for Justin Hartley here simply because his performance as Kevin in Season Two of This Is Us hit me like a ton of bricks.  While a wayward TV star dealing with a drug addiction could have come across as “been there done that”, Hartley made Kevin’s descent into despair more heartbreaking than it had any right to be.  It all culminated in a single moment for me: Kevin, on his knees on the front lawn of a woman he’d bedded in order to forge a prescription for painkillers. He didn’t get the pills,
but instead, here he was, begging her to let him in to retrieve a necklace his dad had given him years before.  It was raw and gut-wrenching and took my breath away from the shock of how beautifully it was done.

 

Outstanding Drama Series

Westworld

The Americans

Game of Thrones

This is Us

Killing Eve

Halt and Catch Fire

Stranger Things

 

EJ’s Pick – For me, as much as I like this lineup, it’s a three-way tie between Westworld and the outgoing Americans and Halt and Catch Fire.  All three delivered these amazing moments and performances, including the truest depiction of grief I’ve ever seen on TV (in the final episodes of Halt).  But if I have to pick, and I’ve decided that I do, The Americans kept me riveted and delivered with a perfect finale.  Tell me your heart wasn’t in your throat for the train scene!  You can’t!

Myndi’s Pick – Don’t we live in a magical time?  Each of these shows is so exceptional and unique, there’s not a bad option. I could very easily go with This Is Us once again, as I did last year, simply because of its relatability.  Instead, I’m going to place my vote for Stranger Things because it is a fantasy that is incredibly accessible, courtesy of 80s nostalgia, to a wider audience. It’s a multi-generational smash, and that’s a rare feat nowadays.

 

Outstanding Actor in a Comedy

Ted Danson (The Good Place)

Donald Glover (Atlanta)

Bill Hader (Barry)

Zach Galifiankis (Baskets)

Marc Maron (GLOW)

Griffin Newman (The Tick)

Christopher Meloni (Happy!)

 

Myndi’s Pick – I wish I could see Marc Maron getting a win here, because he really is better than anyone could have imagined he’d be on GLOW.  But there is some stiff competition here, much of which I’m way behind on watching.  Danson has the most industry cred and Glover is the hottest guy out there at the moment, but wouldn’t it be great for Bill Hader to pick up a statue for something as unique as Barry?

EJ’s Pick – This is basically just a lineup of my favorites here.  I’ve never been into Marc Maron: Serious Actor, but he’s perfect on GLOW.  Newman and Meloni were fantastic in shows that are probably too weird for the Emmys to ever acknowledge.  In my mind, Glover isn’t going to win and it’s only because he didn’t appear in several episodes of his show this season.  Though “Teddy Perkins” was a deranged delight and should win him something all by itself. Bill Hader surprised me with his range but straight up, nobody made me laugh as hard as Ted Danson.  With the true nature of his Michael out in the open, his performance took on new dimension and his character arc has been really
rewarding.  The man is good at every kind of TV. But him on an old-school mutlicam and he’s amazing. Put him in a drama and he’ll blow you away. Give him a weird single camera show and holy smokes, he’s a delight.

 

Outstanding Actress in a Comedy

Alison Brie (GLOW)

Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)

Kristen Bell (The Good Place)

Pamela Adlon (Better Things)

Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt)

Alia Shawkat (Search Party)

Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)

Justina Machado (One Day at a Time)

 

Myndi’s Pick – There’s nobody on this list that I don’t actively enjoy.  They’re all actresses who I’ve followed for years (well, with one notable exception) and they’re doing their best work to date. I could easily advocate for Rachel Bloom, who took a slightly more dramatic turn while exploring mental illness following a suicide attempt on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, or Justina Machado, who is often forced to play straight woman to the incomparable Rita Moreno on Netflix’s One Day at a Time reboot.  However, I cannot ignore the force of nature that is Rachel Brosnahan on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.  Her portrayal of Midge Maisel, a Jewish housewife whose life is turned upside down in the pilot, is fearless, engaging and endlessly charming.  You cannot take your eyes off her when she is onscreen and you want to be her best friend almost immediately. On top of that, she’s got incredible comic timing for someone who has never done actual stand up. This role is her breakout, and I expect to follow her for years to come.

EJ’s Pick – First off, I’m genuinely geeked about how many great choices there are in this category.  Not that long ago, it was tough to even fill out a list in this category because TV comedies were dominated by men and the first female role was three or four names down the cast list.  Sometimes the world is a garbage fire, but some things are getting better. All that said, of course I’m rooting for Alison Brie come Emmy Night.  She did Emmy-worthy work in Mad Men and
Community but this is her big chance to get noticed.  And her performance as Ruth Wilder is legitimately great – she’s a layered character who’s going to do things you don’t like in between those moments when she is utterly winning you over.  But more importantly, when we’re talking about a comedy award, she’s hilarious. Trying to pass as Russian as a fancy party, demonstrating her moves on herself when her partner doesn’t show up, she’s really funny.  I know I’m going on a bit, but we’ve been putting Alison on our Emmy lists for years now and she’s got a real shot this time. There’s a bit in the first or second episode of GLOW where, after she’s fired, she comes back after watching a lot of wrestling and tries to get her job back by cutting a promo in front of everybody.  At one point she picks up a chair and waves it around, and then realizes she doesn’t know what to do with it when she’s done. They way she puts down the chair and tries to look tough doing it is a two-second bit that makes me laugh so hard.  I have a strong opinion in this category!

 

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy

Manny Jacinto (The Good Place)

Louie Anderson (Baskets)

Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta)

Anthony Carrigan (Barry)

Andre Braugher (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)

Marc Evan Jackson (The Good Place)

Walton Goggins (Vice-Principals)

 

Myndi’s Pick – Another raft of career-making performances right here.  But there isn’t one that is more pitch perfect episode in, episode out than Andre Braugher on Brooklyn Nine-Nine.  His choices could have worn out their
welcome in lesser hands, but he imbues Captain Ray Holt with strong conviction and heart, even if he doesn’t appear to have any sense of humor.

EJ’s Pick – Every one of these people is a delight, and I’ve rooted for Andre Braugher in every awards show since the Homicide days.  Now, let me just say that if spunkbuddy Marc Evan Jackson is nominated (the show did submit him in this category, so he’s got a shot), I’m going to be hoping for a win so hard.  But barring that, I think the actual best
chance to win is Anthony Carrigan who made such an indelible impression as NoHo Hank.  It’s such a weird and funny performance and the man steals the show even when he’s in scenes with people like Bill Hader and Stephen Root.  Also, in my mind, it would partially be a win for his role on Gotham.

 

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy

Jessica Walter (Arrested Development)

Zazie Beetz (Atlanta)

Betty Gilpin (GLOW)

Martha Kelly (Baskets)

Stephanie Beatriz (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)

D’arcy Carden (The Good Place)

Rita Moreno (One Day at a Time)

 

Myndi’s Pick – There are just so many women kicking butt in comedy these days, oftentimes literally.  Betty Gilpin, who shines brighter in season 2 of GLOW than she did in season 1, would be a solid winner for me.  Her Debbie
Eagan gets more multi-faceted with each episode and there’s much more to mine with her, in both comedy and drama.  However, my heart here is with the living legend that is Rita Moreno.  She takes a character who could herself be
a joke (old school Latina with a thick accent) and imbues her with the sort of spirit and grace that just makes you love her even when she’s exasperating, as her Lydia Rivera often is to those in her orbit.  She’s a fierce mama bear, a sexy septugenarian (thought Moreno is about 10 years older than she’s playing) and a comic genius. The second season’s final episode saw Lydia facing her mortality and it was as gripping as any drama.

EJ’s Pick – This one is killing me.  Everybody here is just crazy talented and funny.  It comes down to two favorites for me, though. D’arcy Carden is awesome and comes up with some of the funniest line deliveries on TV.  But man, it’s time to recognize the quiet and amazing work that Martha Kelly is doing.  There’s this deep sadness to her character but also, almost every line read makes me laugh.  It’s this delicate work that adds so much to her show and it would make me so happy to see her win.

 

Outstanding Comedy

Atlanta

Baskets

GLOW

The Good Place

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Barry

Better Things

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

One Day at a Time

 

Myndi’s Pick – It’s not just its lead actress that makes The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel an absolute wonder.  The rest of the cast, the sets, the scripts, the story, and the costumes are all perfect.  If you were a fan of Gilmore Girls and felt it was a crime that it never got Emmy nominations, let alone awards, then this show is a shot at redemption for its creators.  But even if you never liked Gilmore, Mrs. Maisel stands on its own as a comic gem and amazing social commentary for women in the era of #MeToo.

EJ’s Pick – Damn, comedy was really good this year, huh?  The relentless creativity of Atlanta, the perfect emotional arc of Baskets, the ongoing brilliance and honesty of Better Things.  GLOW is so much smarter and funnier than anybody could have expected, Barry is a surprising delight with unexpected resonance, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a damn Swiss watch just ticking away perfectly after five years.  But my heart is with The Good Place, a show that makes me laugh with almost every line and keeps me reeling with the way the plot keeps moving in new directions.  It’s the kind of fearless storytelling I haven’t seen since Breaking Bad, and it’s a network show that gets me excited about TV in a world where I didn’t think the networks still had anything to offer me.

Let us know who has your vote and who we should have nominated! But nicely. Don’t get all aggro about it.

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