I’ve done the pros and cons of the Comedy category contenders, now it’s time for the drama contenders. I don’t know these as well as the comedy categories, so this is mainly based on buzz and odds, rather than personal opinions. Let’s go:
Best Drama Series
Better Call Saul– Pro: It’s a new show that’s a spin-off of last year’s winner Breaking Bad. It’s received widespread critical acclaim and has easily slotted in to the vacancies left by Breaking Bad. Con: It’s a new show without the pedigree of other shows. You would think that it’s more likely to win as it goes into more seasons. 4th Place.
Downton Abbey– Pro: It keeps being nominated in this category even with incredibly strong contenders. Con: It doesn’t have a writing or directing nominations and it also missed out on nominations for it’s lead acting categories, with Michelle Dockery and Hugh Bonneville missing out, as well as former winner Maggie Smith in Supporting Actress. 6th Place.
Game of Thrones– Pro: It’s got more nominations than any other show. It’s also the only contender with both writing and directing nominations, with 2 episodes in directing, 1 in writing, and 4 acting nominations. Con: It is likely to win next season and the Academy don’t like fantasy shows. It’s never won in directing, writing or series. 2nd Place.
Homeland– Pro: It surprisingly made it into the category which has lots of great contenders that missed out. It also has a directing nomination and Claire Danes is in the Lead Actress category. Con: Mandy Patinkin missed out in Supporting Actor and it doesn’t have the hype that previous seasons have had. It also missed out last year in this category. 7th Place.
Mad Men– Pro: It’s the final season of the much beloved show. It’s already won 4 times in this category. It holds some prestige to it as well, plus they mentioned that it ‘changed television’ at the nomination announcement. Con: It’s missed out in directing and it only submitted 7 episodes as they split the final season in half. 1st Place.
House of Cards– Pro: It received 5 acting nominations, more than any other show and it’s already won for Guest Actor for Reg E. Cathey. It performed very well at the Creative Arts Emmys on Saturday. Con: No nomination in both writing and directing. The buzz has died down. 3rd Place.
Orange is the New Black– Pro: It managed to get in despite it’s change from drama, and it has a large fan base. Con: No directing or writing and only 2 acting nominations, one of which it has already lost, with Pablo Schreiber losing to Reg E. Cathey. 5th Place.
Best Drama Actor
Kyle Chandler (Bloodline)– Pro: He’s a previous winner for Friday Night Lights and he’s really excelled in Bloodline. Many have said that he has the best submission of any of the nominees. Con: Bloodline may not be on the radar of the Academy, picking up only 2 nominations. He’s probably in the lowest profile show of the nominees. 5th Place.
Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom)– Pro: In 2013, he beat Bryan Cranston, Jon Hamm and Kevin Spacey to win Best Actor for The Newsroom, showing that they love him on the show. It’s also the show’s final season. Con: He’s had his turn at the podium and it’s The Newsroom‘s only nomination. 6th Place.
Jon Hamm (Mad Men)– Pro: He’s never won in this category and he’s massively overdue. It’s the last time they can reward him for playing Don Draper. Con: He couldn’t win for ‘The Suitcase’ episode in a weak field in 2011. The fact that he hasn’t won yet shows they don’t love him that much. 1st Place.
Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul)– Pro: He slotted in easily to the gap left by Bryan Cranston, reprising his role from Breaking Bad, which won Best Drama Series last year. His character is beloved and Odenkirk has expertly made the change from comedy, where he won 2 writing Emmys, to drama. Con: It’s another new show and there are bigger names in this category that are more overdue. 3rd Place.
Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan)– Pro: He’s been nominated for 2 Golden Globes for the show and he managed to grab a nomination ahead of tough competition, such as Terrence Howard, Clive Owen and Dominic West. I have a sneaky suspicion that he could surprise, especially as he has a good episode. Con: There’s not much love for Ray Donovan this year, especially as Oscar-nominated veteran Jon Voight couldn’t even get back into Supporting Actor. 4th Place.
Kevin Spacey (House of Cards)– Pro: The Creative Arts Emmys showed that the Academy love the show and Spacey’s the highest profile actor in the category, especially as he is a 2-time Oscar winner. He’s overdue for this character. Con: The show didn’t get into writing or directing and he submitted an episode where he is overshadowed by Robin Wright. 2nd Place.
Best Drama Actress
Claire Danes (Homeland)– Pro: She’s won this category twice and is the only one of the contenders to have won. It helps her that Homeland is nominated in the Drama Series category. Con: People are fed up with her winning and there are new, stronger contenders in this category this year. 6th Place.
Viola Davis (How to Get Away with Murder)– Pro: She’s a well known and beloved film actress, who has received 2 Oscar nominations, and has really excelled in her move to television. Con: How to Get Away with Murder hasn’t performed very well at the Emmys, with only 2 nominations, including for Cicely Tyson, who surprisingly lost to Margo Martindale in the Guest Actress category.
Taraji P. Henson (Empire)– Pro: She’s incredibly popular and she’s a successful film actress (she was Oscar nominated for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) who has had a successful move to TV. Her character is instantly iconic and she managed to get in despite Empire’s lack of nominations. Con: The Emmys clearly don’t like Empire, with only 3 nominations, 2 of those lost to Transparent for Costume Design.
Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black)– Pro: She’s playing multiple characters and she’s a fan favourite. In the new voting system, the fact that she’s incredibly popular will help her a lot. Con: Orphan Black could seem too confusing for first time viewers. The show also did poorly in the nominations. 4th Place.
Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men)– Pro: The show’s in it’s final season and she’s overdue for this character. Con: Mad Men has never won an acting Emmy and, if there going to reward anyone from the show, it’s Jon Hamm. 5th Place.
Robin Wright (House of Cards)– Pro: She’s consistently good on the show and is always nominated. She’s got a good episode and she may be overdue. Con: She was up against a stronger set of nominees last year and couldn’t win. 2nd Place.
The Primetime Emmy Awards are on Sunday 20th September 2015. Keep checking back for Part 2, in which I look at the Drama Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Directing and Writing races.