I'm going to start off this preview of the most important TV awards show by listing the shows that I watch/have watched all of, just so you guys know where I'm coming from with my picks.
In the comedy department, I've seen all or most (or some) of the episodes (or at least all of the Netflix episodes) of:
- It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
- New Girl
- Arrested Development
- 30 Rock
- Parks and Recreation
- Modern Family
And in the drama department:
- Mad Men
- Game of Thrones
- Downton Abbey
- Breaking Bad
- American Horror Story
- Boardwalk Empire
That list really tailed off at the end there, because me saying I've watched Modern Family and Boardwalk Empire is a humongous stretch. I've seen a handful of each.
The only other show I watch with any regularity (not including sports, obviously) right now is The Challenge: Rivals 2 - which somehow was snubbed from the Outstanding Reality - Competition Program category.
So, without anymore excuses, here are my picks for the 2013 Emmys. Keep in mind, I normally have seen around half of the shows in each category. If I've only ever seen one, well then you can bet your ass that my vote is going to that show.
Lead Actor - Drama Series
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey
Damian Lewis, Homeland
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
*Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
Three for six ain't bad, but I'm taking Don Draper here. And it's not close. Here's where the bias comes into play: Cranston is awesome in the role of Walter White. Bonneville is convincing enough to make me think that he might actually be a rich old dude from the 1900s (or whatever). But Hamm as Draper is a role that everyone should idolize at least a little. He has so much confidence and so much passion in his work, and he started with nothing. At this point, Jon Hamm has reached Kiefer Sutherland status. Like how Kiefer and Jack Bauer are two interchangeable terms for the same person, Hamm and Draper are the same. To be fair, I guess you could say the same thing about Cranston and Walter White. But flip the actors' roles for a second - Hamm could play Walter, but I really don't see Bryan Cranston being able to pull off Don Draper.
Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program
Ryan Seacrest, American Idol
Betty White, Betty White's Off Their Rockers
Tom Bergeron, Dancing With The Stars
Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, Project Runway
Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance
Anthony Bourdain, The Taste
*TJ Lavin, The Challenge (write-in)
Seacrest wins this every year, right? Well not on my watch.. Teej turned a solid BMX career into a long-term gig simply by redefining the host game. He still dresses like he's an 18-year-old kid who does tailspins and shit like that, and he doesn't actually bring too much to the table now that I think about it. But let me ask you this: could Seacrest or Betty White host The Challenge? No chance.
Lead Actor - Comedy Series
Jason Bateman, Arrested Development
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Louis CK, Louie
*Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Sheldon gets the fastest boot in history because he just plays a mildly autistic person and the whole show revolves around making fun of him. We'll look back in ten or fifteen years and think, "Really?" like we do now with the crows in Dumbo who act like stereotypical black people (in the most negative sense of the term) and are cited as "Jim Crow" in the credits. Seriously. Look it up. Just never should have been okay. Matt LeBlanc is right behind Parsons, and I haven't watched enough of Louie or House of Lies to pick either of them. What this comes down to is I love Arrested Development, but I love Jack Donaghy even more. He kind of falls into the same mold as Don Draper: an awesome example of what you should do to succeed in the office (however, safe to say that Donaghy > Draper in terms of what you should do out of the office).
Lead Actress - Comedy Series
Laura Dern, Enlightened
Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Amy Poehler, Parks and Rec
*Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
This is the heavyweight battle of the night for me, and you know who's fighting for it. Never heard of Dern, wacking Mrs. Soprano next, and then bye to that chick from Seinfeld. I think I would probably like Lena Dunham if I ever watched Girls, but she can't stand up to the big girls. Poehler and Fey. The dynamic duo. It's really tough to make a decision, because they play such similar characters in their shows. I'm going outside the box here, and picking Fey over Poehler because Fey doesn't have an annoying Best Buy commercial that should have never been approved to run during the Super Bowl. But the fight really is that close - it's like Magic vs. Bird in their primes only nobody has AIDS. (Is that the most overused comment when that comparison is made? Sorry. I'll do better next time.)
Outstanding Variety Series
The Colbert Report
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Jimmy Kimmel Live
*Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
Real Time with Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live
It would be easy to just give this to SNL and wrap it up with a one sentence description. But I'm not going to do that. And here's why:
Boom. Stop the fight.
Outstanding Drama Series
*Game of Thrones
House of Cards
I'd love to have enough time to watch all of these in their entirety. But I don't, and I'm going with what I know. As someone who has watched all of the episodes - and read none of the books - Game of Thrones is perfect. I find myself so drawn to (almost) all of the plot lines (Sam Tarley is stupid). I cannot wait for it to come back, and I cannot wait for Arya Stark to take over the world.
Supporting Actor - Drama Series
Bobby Cannavale, Boardwalk Empire
Jonathan Banks, Breaking Bad
*Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Mandy Patinkin, Breaking Bad
This is the category where people are going to pretend they know so much about acting and TV shows and they'll say something about Peter Dinklage being the best actor in Game of Thrones. Well guess what? The actors are all great in that show and Tyrion gets special attention because he's a dwarf. To be honest, I'm fine with this award going to anybody - I wouldn't be surprised to hear any of the names called. But personally, I think Aaron Paul brings the most to the table. At times, I care more about him that I do about Walter. That doesn't happen for any of the other guys.
Supporting Actress - Drama Series
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
*Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Morena Baccarin, Homeland
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Huge triple threat match for me here: Grandma Downton, Daenerys Targaryen, and Joan Harris. Maggie Smith is a hysterical old woman and she brings some much-needed comic relief to a pretty stuffy show. I'm not even going to write anything about Daenerys. If you don't love her, go jump in a hold. And then Joan. I like her. But let's be real, Nobody is stopping the mother of dragons here. I don't know what happens in the story, but I wouldn't be surprised to see her move up to the Lead Actress category next year.
Supporting Actor - Comedy Series
Adam Driver, Girls
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Ed O'Neill, Modern Family
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
*Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live
Tony Hale, Veep
This might not seem like a sure thing for Hader, because the Modern Family guys are great and so is Buster Bluth. But he's retiring from SNL and this would basically be a lifetime achievement award for him. This is the smartest money of the night (I don't know of anywhere to gamble on the Emmys) and I'd bet the house.
And now, to wrap up the post: