One of the reasons we tune into award ceremonies is because we want to see our favorite talented TV personalities rewarded for the good work they do for our entertainment. As fans, the only thing we really stand to gain out of their victory is the satisfaction of knowing that we're not the only one who appreciates how awesome they are. With that in mind, here are our personal picks for who want to see take home an award at the Emmy's this Sunday night.
Eric's pick: George Mastras (Breaking Bad)
Nominated for: Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
As one of the main writers on Breaking Bad, George Mastras has been responsible for some of the series’ most incredible moments, from the Gus Fring backstory in “Hermanos” to the terrifying end of “Crawl Space.” But without question, one of Mastras’ greatest contributions to the show came in scripting the fifth season’s “Dead Freight.” Featuring one of Walt and Jesse’s craziest schemes, the episode is nearly 40 full minutes of pure tension as the duo works to try and rob a train without anyone else in the world being the wiser, and the writer truly deserves to be rewarded for his incredible work with the Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series Emmy.
Not only is the episode easily one of the most thrilling we’ve seen in the show’s five year run, it features one of the best endings in the history of Breaking Bad. After keeping the audience in raw suspense for the entire length of the train robbery, everything beautifully comes crashing down when the events of the episode are finally tied back to the seemingly non sequitur cold open that featured a little boy with a motorbike collecting spiders in the desert. The final moments are some of the most shocking we’ve seen on television in a long time, and Mastras deserves the credit for a masterful job well done.
Jessica's pick: Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live)
Nominated for: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Saturday Night Live has been an institution on NBC for numerous years, and when a TV program has been on the air since 1975, it shouldn’t be a surprise to hear that the show has been nominated for a slew of awards. I say nominated rather than won, however, because while SNL has picked up some awards for direction and lighting, the awards for its talented cast have come fewer and farther between, and have mostly been picked up in recent years by Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon for guest stints. This year, Bill Hader has been nominated for the second time in the prestigious “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series” and it’s high time an SNL cast member is able to take home the award.
For eight seasons, Hader became one of the guys who popped up in nearly every sketch and was known for making bug-eyed faces and creating world characters. Then, he created Stefon, a character which became a household name an is at least partially responsible for why Hader is on this list. He has been SNL’s biggest asset over the last several years, and he deserves the chance to take an Emmy home—especially since it’s his last shot. Hader has some stiff competition, competing against three of the Modern Family guys, as well as on-trend Girls supporting actor Adam Driver, and Tony Hale from Veep, but it would be the icing on the cake for a great man and a great career to let SNL take this one home, this once.
Kristy's pick: Tony Hale (Veep)
Nominated for: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
After four seasons on Arrested Development, it’s a crime that Tony Hale had not scored a single Emmy nomination for playing the bumbling, juice-swillin’ brother Buster Bluth. Emmy showed love to the show’s writers, editors, directors, and other cast members, including Jessica Walters, Jeffrey Tambor, Will Arnett, and Jason Bateman. And yet nothing for brother Buster? I mean, come on!
Maybe it’s that the Emmy’s undervalue the skill it takes to be so perfectly silly while stone-faced onscreen. The Season 4 teaser where Buster inhales smoke from Mother Lucille’s lips to get around the apartment’s no smoking policy is not only hilarious, but mind-boggling when you think he had to do this without ever cracking even the faintest smile.
But you know what, it’s okay. Because Hale has finally earned Emmy attention with Season 2 of Veep. The whip-smart political satire series from Armando Iannucci makes excellent use of Hale’s dual weapons of earnest affability and heartbreaking dopiness as the Vice President’s “bag man” Gary. Through the trivial travails of this thankless lackey, Hale manages to bring heartfelt laughs and wicked pangs of anxiety that make watching Veep absolutely electrifying. This guy has given us some of the most fantastic lovable losers television has ever seen, it’s about damn time he gets a win!
Jesse's pick: Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation)
Nominated for: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
If all goes well on Sunday, Amy Poehler should have the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Emmy statue in hand when Parks and Recreation returns next week for its special one-hour sixth season premiere. This marks the fourth straight nomination in the category for the former Saturday Night Live cast member and she deserves to win not only for her pitch perfect performance as Pawnee councilwoman Leslie Knope, a role that takes great comedic and dramatic chops (see ”Halloween Surprise” and “Leslie and Ben”), but because she’s a top contender for funniest person on the small screen period.
The Emmy Poehler already lost for the fantastic job she did hosting the Golden Globes (with former Weekend Update co-anchor and fellow nominee-likely winner Tina Fey) also makes her zero for eight at the awards show (ten if you count the Daytime ceremony) so it’s past time they called her name before we end up with another Steve Carell situation. Carell never winning for his incredibly funny, awkward and often touching turn as Michael Scott is a shame and Poehler is inching closer and closer to his mark of six losses in a row. And giving the actress her long overdue Emmy would go a long way in helping us forget how they nominated The Big Bang Theory over Parks and Recreation for Outstanding Comedy Series. That is literally the worst.
Katey's pick: Jonathan Banks (Breaking Bad)
Nominated for: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Breaking Bad boasts two nominees for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series this year, but given that Aaron Paul has won twice and will be eligible to win one more time, the clear pick is Jonathan Banks. A TV veteran-- he was on The Waltons!--Banks stealthily emerged as the righteous heart of Breaking Bad as smoothly as his character, Mike Ehrmantraut, might sneak up on a target. Introduced to us in Season 2 as a fixer and hit man, Mike was a heartless tough guy who initially represented the ruthlessness of Gus Fring's criminal empire. At the end of Season 3 he is poised to kill both Walt and Jesse, but when Walt outsmarts him-- not for the last time-- he grows into a much more interesting character, serving as a mentor to Jesse and a worthy foil for Walt, who is growing more and more dangerous under Gus's employ. Banks is nominated for an Emmy for Season 5, in which he reluctantly teamed up with Walt and Jesse, executed a series of tricky schemes and complex lies, and both doted on and said goodbye to his beloved granddaughter when he realized Walt was too unpredictable to stand by. His final episode, "Say My Name," is a masterclass of restraint and quiet, old-fashioned toughness, proof that even a show this inventive needs a stoic rock at its center. No more half-measures; give Banks the Emmy he deserves.
Kelly's pick: Netflix
Nominated for: Multiple series.
Netflix proved itself a contender this year with a whopping 14 Emmy nominations, putting itself in line with the likes of AMC (15) and FX (11). Most of the nominations were for House of Cards, but it was also nominated twice for Hemlock Grove and once for Arrested Development, which is a strong indication that not only has the Academy taken notice of Netflix, but that the streaming video service's original programming is being seen as quality material and worthy of big awards.
I liked House of Cards, and I think it's one of Netflix's more promising original programs, but I'm less invested in that particular series winning as I am in seeing Netflix receive the credit it deserves, not only for the quality and originality of their programming, but for the way they've approached their selection process, giving straight-to-series orders for their shows and then unveiling them a season at a time. Netflix is a game changer for the industry and as a satisfied subscriber who appreciates the way they're handling their programming, I'd love to see the service receive a pile of Emmys for their efforts. They've won two so far from the Creative Arts Emmy Awards (both for House of Cards). And there are a handful of nominations that could turn to wins this Sunday night, including Outstanding Drama Series for House of Cards, and Lead Actor in a Comedy for Arrested Development's Jason Bateman.
Mack's pick: Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel)
Nominated for: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Norma Bates is a terrible mother. She’s impulsive. She’s selfish. She’s moody. She’s possessive. In short, she’s the type of woman who raises a serial killer, but rather than being as showy about her inadequacies as possible, actress Vera Farmiga keeps her decidedly grounded. She might not be mentally stable, per say, but she is the type of woman we all know. She’s not so detached from reality she’s a raving lunatic, and that key difference allows viewers to watch Bates Motel with a bit of real empathy for her.
Norman Bates is the character from the world of Psycho we’re all most familiar with, but it’s Norma who really holds this project together. Her personality dominates everyone she comes into contact with, and her fears and eccentricities really set the entire tone. Actor Freddie Highmore is wonderful, but without Farmiga’s erratic and brilliant hand, none of it would work nearly as well as it does. Through Norma, the show’s restrained, relatable, yet batshit crazy voice is created.
?With all due respect to the other ladies nominated in her category, Farmiga deserves to win the Emmy this weekend. She deserves it not for her best moments on screen but for the ones she stayed away from. She deserves it for not going full mental and detaching her character from reality. She deserves it for not drawing attention to herself, and I truly hope voters reward her for it.