Jeffrey Tambor had lost six Emmy nominations before he finally won on his seventh try last year for the debut season of “Transparent,” in which he plays Maura Pfefferman, who comes out as a transgender woman late in life. Now he’ll win his second in a row according to the predictions of Expert TV journalists we’ve polled.
Fifteen out of 18 experts are betting on Tambor, giving him leading 3/10 odds: Michael Ausiello (TV Line), Robert Bianco (USA Today), Debra Birnbaum (Variety), Lynn Elber (Associated Press), Joyce Eng (TV Guide), Pete Hammond (Deadline Hollywood), Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Robert Rorke (New York Post), Matt Roush (TV Guide Magazine), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), Anne Thompson (Indiewire), Ken Tucker (Yahoo), Adnan Virk (ESPN) and Jarett Wieselman (Buzzfeed).
This year Tambor submitted to Emmy judges the episode “Man on the Land,” in which Maura attends a women’s music festival with her daughters only to discover that the festival doesn’t allow transgender women.
Anthony Anderson (“Black-ish”) ranks second with 7/1 odds based on support from two experts: Eric Deggans (NPR) and Lynette Rice (Entertainment Weekly). This is Anderson’s second straight nomination for his role as ad exec Dre Johnson, and this time he has submitted the episode “Hope,” in which Dre struggles with how to teach his children about the realities of police brutality.
One expert, Kerr Lordygan (Rotten Tomatoes), is predicting Aziz Ansari (“Master of None”), giving him 12/1 odds. This is Ansari’s first nomination for acting, but this year he’s also nominated for writing, directing and producing the series. That indicates broad support from the TV academy, though unfortunately for him writers and directors don’t get to vote in the acting race. He submitted the episode “Parents,” in which his character, aspiring New York actor Dev, learns about his parents’ challenging immigrant experience.
None of our experts are predicting the other three nominees, all of whom get 80/1 odds. Will Forte (“The Last Man on Earth”) is nominated for the second year in a row (and for the fifth time in his career) for his role as Phil Miller, who survived a virus that wiped out most of the human race. He submitted the episode “30 Years of Science Down the Tubes” in which Phil bonds with his brother, who is showing symptoms of the deadly virus.
Thomas Middleditch is nominated for “Silicon Valley” for the first time even though the series has been nominated for Best Comedy Series for the last three years. He plays Richard Hendricks, the head of a tech startup, and in his episode submission, “The Empty Chair,” he fights to take back the CEO position of his own company.
Rounding out the category is William H. Macy (“Shameless”) as dysfunctional dad Frank Gallagher. This is his third straight nomination for this role, but Macy has been nominated 12 times over the course of his career, and he won twice as the writer and star of the TV movie “Door to Door” (2003). He submitted the episode “I Only Miss Her When I’m Breathing,” in which Frank mourns the loss of the woman he loved, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer and chose to take her own life.
Gold Derby’s Editors, who cover awards year-round, agree that this is Tambor’s race to lose. We predict him unanimously: O’Neil, Sheehan, Chris Beachum, Marcus James Dixon, Rob Licuria, Matt Noble and myself.
Our Top 24 Users, who got the highest scores predicting last year’s Emmys, also give Tambor a huge advantage, with 22 of them betting on a repeat victory. Ansari and Anderson both have support from one top user apiece.
Our All-Star Top 24, who got the highest scores when you combine predictions from the last two years, are slightly more divided but still strongly favor Tambor: 19 are predicting him, compared to two for Anderson and one apiece for Ansari and Macy.
Be sure to make your Emmy predictions right here. You’ll compete to win our contest prizes for best picks — $500 (first place), $300 (second place) and $200 (third place) in Amazon gift certificates — 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). Be sure to read our contest rules.