At the end of last August, two categories seemed all but decided: Breaking Bad would take home the Emmy for best series (and I still believe this is what ultimately will happen) and Bryan Cranston would take home the Emmy for Best Actor. But somewhere between last August and now, something happened, and that something was Rust Cohle.
It seemed initially like a foregone conclusion that True Detective would submit itself into the Best Mini-Series category, and that it would completely dominate it. What’s it’s major competition? American Horror Story? Sherlock?
But the powers that be at HBO didn’t want the easy victories. They wanted to go against the best, so while Shameless announced yesterday that it would move to the comedy category to give itself a better chance (despite the fact that it’s often a fairly depressing drama), True Detective decided to submit itself to the Best Drama category and take on the best, to take on Breaking Bad (and Mad Men).
So it’s Bryan Cranston vs. Matthew McConaughey for the Emmy, right? Probably. But what about Jon Hamm, who is practically owed a goddamn Emmy, and he’s about to turn in a final season performance starting in three weeks (or at least, half a final season). What about Michael Sheen, he was stunning in the freshman season of Masters of Sex? And there’s still the co-lead of True Detective, Woody Harrelson, who may not deserve to win, but he probably deserves a nomination. There’s also Kevin Spacey, who is a favorite among the kind of people who make these nominations. Damien Lewis also gave a strong performance in his final season of Homeland. It’s not a big enough show to merit the attention it deserves, but Aiden Young in Rectify deserves some recognition, too. Steve Buscemi also turned in another fine season on Boardwalk Empire.
It’s almost a good thing that Timothy Olyphant is having a down season on Justified, so at least he can be taken out of the equation, and Josh Charles over on The Good Wife — thankfully — goes into the supporting actor category, so he should get some recognition. Jeff Daniels didn’t deserve the win last year, but it’s not unthinkable to think that he’ll be nominated again. Hugh Bonneville is also an inexplicably perennial nominee.
So while the final choice for who wins may come down to Bryan Cranston — in his final season of Breaking Bad — and Matthew McConaughey — in his only season of True Detective — and the dark horse, Jon Hamm, narrowing the list down to five nominees is going to be next to impossible. There are going to be a lot of so-called snubs, although losing out in this category is nothing with which to be ashamed.