The case that television is superior to movies is on the verge of getting stronger. Less than a year after the Oscars failed to nominate a single person of color for a leading performance, the Emmys are poised to take a giant leap forward in terms of diversity.
Viola Davis and Taraji P. Henson are considered front-runners in the category of lead actress in a dramatic series. If either takes the podium, it’ll mark the first time a black woman has ever received the honor.
Predictions for the ceremony, taking place Sunday in Los Angeles, suggest history will be made:
Lead Actress, Drama
Taraji P. Henson, “Empire”; Claire Danes, “Homeland”; Robin Wright, “House of Cards”; Viola Davis, “How to Get Away With Murder”; Elisabeth Moss, “Mad Men”; Tatiana Maslany, “Orphan Black”
Should win: Maslany’s challenge of taking on more than 10 distinctive roles deserves respect — and a group discount on therapy sessions.
Will win: Two-time Oscar nominee Davis has run a campaign that would make Donald Trump proud.
Lead Actor, Drama
Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”; Kyle Chandler, “Bloodline”; Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”; Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”; Jeff Daniels, “The Newsroom”; Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan”
Should and will win: The newly separated Hamm will finally land the mate he’s been courting for seven years.
“Better Call Saul”; “Downton Abbey”; “Game of Thrones”; “Homeland”; “House of Cards”; “Mad Men”; “Orange Is the New Black”
Should and will win: Don’t sic the dragons on us, but “Mad Men” gets one more stint on the throne.
Lead Actress, Comedy
Lisa Kudrow, “The Comeback”; Lily Tomlin, “Grace and Frankie”; Amy Schumer, “Inside Amy Schumer”; Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie”; Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation”; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”
Should win: Poehler pulled off the nearly impossible task of proving nice politicians don’t always finish last.
Will win: Betting against perennial nominee Louis-Dreyfus might trigger a visit from the Secret Service.
Lead Actor, Comedy
Anthony Anderson, “Black-ish,”; Matt LeBlanc, “Episodes”; Don Cheadle, “House of Lies”; Louis C.K., “Louie”; William H. Macy, “Shameless”; Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent”
Should win: Once again, Louis C.K. served up a spicy buffet of discomfort foods.
Will win: Tambor’s deeply sympathetic role as a transgender parent is getting so much love he might also win as best actress.
“Louie”; “Modern Family”; “Parks and Recreation”; “Silicon Valley”; “Transparent”; “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”; “Veep”
Should and will win: The night’s closest race. “Transparent” probably belongs in the drama category, but I’m not going to hold it against them. Neither will voters.
“The Colbert Report”; “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart”; “Jimmy Kimmel Live”; “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver”; “Late Show With David Letterman”; “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”
Should win: Lots of beloved veterans in this boys’ club — so we’ll go with newcomer Oliver, who has made his mark at an incredible rate.
Will win: Colbert’s truthiness is out there.
“Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Poirot’s Last Case”; “Bessie”; “Grace of Monaco”; “Hello Ladies: The Movie”; “Killing Jesus”; “Nightingale”
Should win: “Poirot,” although it’s hard to get too excited about any of the contenders in this notably weak field.
Will win: Blues legend Bessie Smith finally gets her due.
“American Crime”; “American Horror Story: Freak Show”; “The Honorable Woman”; “Olive Kitteridge”; “Wolf Hall”
Should win: Will the “Wolf” survive?
Will win: Prepare for an “Olive” garden party.