Over the next few weeks, members of the Television Academy will be pondering who deserves an Emmy nomination this year.
As usual, they will come up with a list of many worthy names that will likely also include names that always seem to get nominated for the awards, whether or not they may be sleepwalking through their roles.
So, it’s around this time of year that critics begin lobbying for favorite actors and shows that are either new or have a history of being overlooked. In other words, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, nobody begrudges you your lock nom for “Veep,” but it sure would be nice to see some of these other folks garner some respect:
Maggie Siff, “Sons of Anarchy” (FX). This Shakespearean saga of a California motorcycle gang is entering its final season, and it has always been criminally overlooked in terms of awards. Last season’s mad showdown between matriarch Sagal and daughter-in-law Siff saw both actresses at the top of anybody’s game.
Walton Goggins, “Justified” (FX). Basically, FX doesn’t get nearly the respect it deserves. “Justified” has won guest star awards for Jeremy Davies and Margo Martindale, but the heart of this show has always been the fascinating frenemy relationship between Olyphant’s laid-back good guy and Goggins’ explosive bad guy.
Jeremy Allen White, “Shameless” (Showtime). It’s wonderful that the deserving Joan Cusack keeps landing guest actor nominations, and it’s a bit weird that the show opted to compete as a comedy this year when Rossum’s character hit rock bottom and William H. Macy’s was dying. Rossum carries this show, and Jeremy Allen White is one of the most natural actors on TV.
Tatiana Maslany, “Orphan Black” (BBC America). Emmy ended up with egg all over its face last year when it somehow overlooked one of the most talked-about performances in TV or movies. Maslany plays a number of clones, deftly hitting both dramatic and comedic notes. She’s just plain dazzling.
Laura Prepon, “Orange Is the New Black” (Netflix). Let’s just assume “OITNB” is going to garner a boatload of noms, especially since its new season drops June 6. But let’s also hope Prepon’s drug-dealing lesbian lover doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. Her cool holds the show together.
Amy Schumer, “Inside Amy Schumer” (Comedy Central). Schumer is flat-out the funniest woman on television, and she’s taking risks others wouldn’t even dream of. Yes, it’s a skit show, and it sometimes (but rarely) falls flat. But the woman cannot be denied.
Lizzy Caplan, “Masters of Sex” (Showtime). Again, the show will get plenty of nods, but don’t forget the sexy-but-sensible Caplan, whose character speaks for the future. Tender, fierce, persistent and sensual — she is woman, hear her roar.
Jon Voight, “Ray Donovan” (Showtime). The show isn’t near as good as Voight, playing a thoroughly hedonistic and bracingly frank con. There’s a reason this guy has four Oscar nominations and one win.
Allison Tolman, “Fargo” (FX). “Fargo” will clean up as a miniseries, and hopefully that clean-up will include the previously unknown Tolman, who breathes soul into every episode. Somebody get this woman a series.
Mads Mikkelsen, “Hannibal” (NBC). Nobody’s scarier. Nobody’s more controlled. Mikkelsen is literally a world-class actor. What he’s doing in a broadcast TV show is anybody’s guess. Somebody reward him before he goes away.