Heading into the final legs of the race as the odds-on favorite to win Best Comedy Series, "Veep" had one of its best seasons yet. It also provided Tony Hale a much-needed boost if he's to win his second Emmy as Gary Walsh in the race for Best Comedy Supporting Actor.
This year marks Hale's third nomination in a row for his work on "Veep," winning two years ago on his first bid. His work in the season's second episode, "East Wing," will determine if voters recognize Hale again in a very competitive field.
In the White House rather than the office of the V.P., the team prepares for Selina's (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) first state dinner hosting the Israeli Prime Minister and celebrating her first achievement as President. Gary is in charge of planning the dinner and, in his excitement and need to make his worth known, ends up going over-budget. He also unknowingly removes a painting that is the only Native American art in the White House — two acts that once learned by the press become the focus of the day rather than Selina's achievements.
After Selina yells at Gary and calls him "unimportant," he fires back by saying that she would crumble without him because he's her calendar, her Google and her Wilson the volleyball. They soon apologize to each other and bond over eating cake. Will "East Wing" win Hale Emmy #2? Let's weigh the pros and cons:
Hale once again is given the chance to go toe-to-toe with Louis-Dreyfus in a verbal sparring match serving as the climax of the episode, giving Hale some uncommon force and strength of character in this role.
Among a top-notch supporting cast, Hale is a stand-out. He works most often and closest with Louis-Dreyfus and their work together always provides memorable scenes.
This is perhaps "Veep's" best chance at an Emmy for the series, so love for the show runs thick this year including for its actors.
Although Gary was front and center in this episode, the character generally took a back seat this season so voters familiar with the series as a whole may find his work less memorable than in the past.
Aside from co-nominee Ty Burrell ("Modern Family"), the field is filled with actors waiting for their first Emmy recognition and voters may seize the opportunity to spread the wealth to fresh faces.
Hale's win two years ago came as a surprise to many, which begs the question whether support will come through for a second time.
Make your own Emmys picks now to the right or at the bottom of this post. You could win one of our three prizes ($500, $300 and $200 Amazon gift certificates) as well as a place of honor on our leaderboard and a starring role in next year's Top 24 Users (the two dozen folks who do the best predicting this year's Emmys line-up).
Last year, our Experts had an accuracy rate of 58.62% when it came to predicting the Emmy winners. That score tied them with both Gold Derby's Editors and the Top 24 Users (those two dozen folks who did the best at predicting last year's Emmys). Our Users scored 51.72% (Click on any of these groups to see what they got right and wrong last year.)
Which group will be victorious this year? Meet the guy who won our contest to predict the Emmys last year — and learn how he did it and how you can be our next Gold Derby superstar.
As some of our Users turn out to be our smartest prognosticators, it's important that you give us your predictions. Your picks influence our Users racetrack odds, which also factor into our official combined odds.
Photo Credit: Patrick Harbron/HBO