What do below-the-line Emmy nominations tell us about Best Drama Series contenders?

The drama writing and directing categories are among the first that Emmy pundits look to when measuring TV academy support because the last 15 Best Drama Series all have been nominated for at least one of these two awards. This year three of the seven Best Drama Series nominees — “House of Cards”, “Orange is the New Black” and “Downton Abbey” — were snubbed in both categories. “Homeland” earned a directing nomination, while “Better Call Saul” and “Mad Men” got writing bids. “Game of Thrones” is the only nominee up for both; however, this does not mean that the race is over.

When “Mad Men” won Best Drama Series for the fourth time in 2011 it did so without a directing nomination. That was the only time that happened this century. Likewise, “24” was the only winner in that fime frame to do so without a writing nomination.

Homeland” is absent from Best Editing. This century, the only drama series to take the top prize without at least contending for cutting was “Mad Men” in 2008.

Better Call Saul” and “Homeland” were snubbed for their casting. Only three Drama Series champs —  “24” (2006), “The Sopranos” (2007) and “Breaking Bad” (2013) — prevailed without this nomination. By then, they were in their fifth seasons or later — long after those shows had formulated their casts. That “Mad Men” returns to the category for the first time in four years — and for its eighth season — speaks to its renewed competitiveness for the top prize.

But while “Mad Men” has more of the essential nominations than most of the other Best Drama contenders, it is missing a few categories. While each individual snub might be surmountable together they might not be, especially when “Game of Thrones” contends in 17 of the 18 categories in which it entered. In addition to Best Directing, “Mad Men” was snubbed in Cinematography (three of fifteen exceptions) and Sound Mixing (four).

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.

Make your own Emmys picks now starting with Best Drama Series 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).

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. 

Register/log in to your Gold Derby account so you can also compete to predict the TCA Awards, reality TV shows and more.

More News from GoldDerby