Now that the 2016 Emmy nominations have been announced, who will win? More importantly, who should win? Gold Derby’s editors and contributors have already made their list of demands for the TV academy. Mark these names on your ballots, Emmy voters, and no one gets hurt.
DANIEL MONTGOMERY: “The Americans” for Best Drama Series
A long shot? Maybe, but this first-time nominee did just receive important bids for lead acting and writing in addition to Best Drama. And since the TV academy didn’t nominate “The Leftovers” or “Rectify” for the top award (or any awards), this is clearly the best show in contention. “Game of Thrones” was taken care of last year, and it will undoubtedly win another dozen or so categories as a consolation prize. “Americans” deserves this one.
RALPH GALVAN: Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black”) – Outstanding Drama Actress
How is she not a multiple Emmy winner already, TV academy? At least now you’ve made her a multiple Emmy nominee, so baby steps. Now, however, it’s time to take a big step and give her a much deserved Emmy for Best Drama Actress. What Maslany did this past season on “Orphan Black,” seamlessly transforming from clone to clone (now up to 10!), is more than any actor on TV can hope to do in 10 seasons. Her individual performances as Sarah, Cosima, Rachel, Helena, Alison and Krystal each deserve Emmys all on their own, but we can call it good this year if you just give her the one.
RILEY CHOW: Thomas Middleditch (“Silicon Valley”) for Best Comedy Actor
First of all, Jeffrey Tambor (“Transparent”) was more of a supporting actor this year. Meanwhile, Thomas Middleditch has been giving arguably the best comedic performance on television for the past two seasons, even as the writers increasingly portray his character Richard Hendricks as a jerk. Between his quirky mannerisms and slapstick clumsiness, he has great physicality, and as the lead of the ensemble the emotional weight of the story is on his shoulders. Over a third of all posts in our forums‘ “Silicon Valley” thread this year include praise for Middleditch’s acting — he is just that good week in and week out. (Yes, I counted and yes, I am obligated to cheer him on as a fellow British Columbian.)
ZACH LAWS: Matt Walsh (“Veep” for Best Comedy Supporting Actor
Be honest: how many people expected a nomination for Matt Walsh in “Veep”? Especially considering you could fill the entire category with supporting actors from his show. Yet Walsh beat out favorite Hugh Laurie to snag his first Emmy bid. As Mike McClintock, the president’s befuddled director of communications, the actor shined with an adoption/pregnancy storyline that allowed his character to blossom in unexpected ways. I know that two-time champ Tony Hale is the frontrunner, but Emmy voters, hear my plea: spread the “Veep” love to one of its most under-rewarded MVPs.
ROB LICURIA: Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan (“Catastrophe”) for Best Comedy Writing
Fresh off a surprise BAFTA win for writing, and in a year of so many wonderful comedy and drama nominees, this nomination in particular stood out for me as the highlight of the year. Again, thanks to the writers branch of the TV academy, a little show like “Catastrophe” is now an Emmy nominee. This is hands down the most engaging, honest, and most importantly, the funniest pilot I have ever seen. Hyperbolic? No! Watch this show and I dare you not to jump on the bandwagon. I want to see Delaney and Horgan up on that Emmy stage!
MARCUS DIXON: Sarah Paulson (“The People v. O.J. Simpson“) for Best Movie/Mini Actress
Have the stars finally aligned for this Emmy fave to win her first trophy? After Gold Derby predicted her to win for “American Horror Story: Asylum” in 2013 and “AHS: Freak Show” in 2015, I’m starting to wonder if there’s a curse against Paulson to ever walk up to that winner’s podium. Hopefully this year’s sympathetic performance as prosecutor Marcia Clark will convince voters that her time has finally come.
CHRIS BEACHUM: Courtney B. Vance (“The People v. O.J. Simpson”) for Best Movie/Mini Actor
Bryan Cranston was phenomenal as LBJ in “All the Way,” but he’s already got six Emmys. He will also win another this year as the producer of “All the Way.” Don’t just name-check him because of his TV legacy. Let’s give this trophy instead to the bombastic heart and soul of the “Simpson” team, first-time Emmy nominee Courtney B. Vance. That program looks to take home a bunch of trophies, and I sure hope he gets to have one of them.
AMANDA SPEARS: David Schwimmer (“The People vs O.J. Simpson”) for Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actor
A past nominee (Comedy Supporting Actor 1994, “Friends”), Schwimmer was given a potentially thankless task taking on the role of Robert Kardashian. It was almost a joke in the first few episodes having a meal with his children in public (Kim, Kourtney, & Khloe), foreshadowing their future reality-TV stardom. But he played the role to perfection and by the last few episodes a character that was once a joke was now the show’s moral compass, realizing his friend OJ might actually be guilty of murder. It seems only fitting that he take the trophy home.