A guide to the 2014 Emmy Awards

Maia Zewert

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences 66th Primetime Emmy Awards will be taking place Aug. 25 on NBC with Seth Meyers taking over hosting duties. Here is a guide to the main categories, as well as my personal picks of who should win, and who will probably end up taking home the trophy.

Outstanding Comedy Series


“The Big Bang Theory”


“Modern Family”

“Orange is the New Black” 

“Silicon Valley” 


Who I’d love to win: Anybody but “Modern Family” 

Who is probably going to win: “Modern Family”

“Modern Family” hasn’t been considered groundbreaking since its second season. The show has resorted to lazy punch lines and recycled story lines, but it has managed to take home the trophy every year it has been on the air. I think it is about time that the recognition gets passed around.

“The Big Bang Theory” is still going strong with its seventh year on air. “Louie” and “Veep” have deserved the award for quite some time. While I am not completely caught up with “Silicon Valley,” the episodes I have seen made me laugh harder than “Modern Family” has in the past couple of years. Even “Orange is the New Black,” a show I could argue is more of a drama, has a shot. I wouldn’t be surprised if “Modern Family” takes home the trophy, but I would be thrilled if literally anyone else did.

Outstanding Drama Series


“Breaking Bad”

“Downton Abbey”

“Game of Thrones”

“House of Cards”

“Mad Men”

“True Detective”

Who I’d love to win: “Breaking Bad”

Who is probably going to win: “True Detective”

I would love nothing more than for “Breaking Bad” to get one last go around of award show love before the show’s eligibility is up, so I am a little torn about this category. To be honest, I don’t really think the other shows have much of a shot. “Downton Abbey” isn’t quite as buzzy as the other contenders. “Mad Men” isn’t doing anything that can compare to what “Breaking Bad” did in its final season. While both “Game of Thrones” and “House of Cards” are both more than deserving of the win, I think this year’s race is between the outgoing champion “Breaking Bad” and the flashy rookie “True Detective.”

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series


Louis CK, “Louie”

Don Cheadle, “House of Lies”

Ricky Gervais, “Derek”

Matt LeBlanc, “Episodes”

William H. Macy, “Shameless”

Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory”

Who I’d love to win: Louis CK

Who is probably going to win: Jim Parsons

This category is a bit harder for me to write about, as Andy Samberg, the one person I wanted to see nominated, was not. This further proves the disconnect between the Golden Globe and the Emmys, but I digress.

That said, I really want to see Louis CK take home the trophy this year. I have only seen a few episodes of the new season, but I still think he deserves to be the one to end Jim Parsons’s reign over the category. Switching to the comedy category may do William H. Macy and Shameless some good. Matt LeBlanc will always still be Joey to me, so I wouldn’t mind seeing him win. I don’t really watch “House of Lies” or “Derek,” so I can’t make educated comments on Don Cheadle or Ricky Gervais. Something to work on for next year, I suppose.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series


Lena Dunham, “Girls”

Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie”

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”

Melissa McCarthy, “Mike & Molly”

Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation”

Taylor Schilling, “Orange is the New Black”

Who I’d love to win: Amy Poehler

Who is probably going to win: Anyone but Amy Poehler

I wrote the same predictions last year, but they remain the same. Amy Poehler has continued to do great work year after year on “Parks and Recreation” and while she was recently awarded a Golden Globe for her efforts, I think it’s time the Emmys recognize her as well. “Parks and Recreation” is going into its final season, so time to honor Poehler is running out.

If not Poehler, look for Julia Louis-Dreyfus, an Emmy favorite, or Lena Dunham, the creative force behind “Girls,” to take home the prize. Edie Falco has continually been nominated in place of some better choices. Melissa McCarthy is one one of the funniest women of our time and deserves better than “Mike & Molly.” Taylor Schilling, while great, isn’t even close to be the most comical person on “Orange is the New Black.”

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series


Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad”

Jeff Daniels, “The Newsroom”

Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”

Woody Harrelson, “True Detective”

Matthew McConaughey, “True Detective”

Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”           

Who I’d love to win: Bryan Cranston

Who is probably going to win: Matthew McConaughey

Last year, I had predicted the trophy was Bryan Cranston’s and his alone. Instead, I watched in disbelief as Jeff Daniels took home the award. This year, as much as I would love to see Cranston giving an acceptance speech, I think Matthew McConaughey will be the one on stage. He was phenomenal in “True Detective,” he’s coming off an Oscar win and the odds are in his favor.

I wouldn’t rule out the other nominees, however. Jon Hamm does seem like a long shot — I’m halfway convinced his name is permanently in the category list — but there’s still a lot of love for “House of Cards” and Kevin Spacey. McConaughey’s costar Woody Harrelson is no slouch, and, after last year’s debacle, I can’t even rule out Daniels. It’s this stacked category that proves two points. We are in the golden age of television, and maybe “True Detective” should have submitted itself into the Outstanding Mini-Series category instead. It would have been guaranteed to clean up.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series


Lizzy Caplan, “Masters of Sex”

Kerry Washington, “Scandal”

Michelle Dockery, “Downton Abbey”

Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife”

Claire Danes, “Homeland”

Robin Wright, “House of Cards”

Who I’d love to win: Julianna Margulies

Who is probably going to win: Julianna Margulies

“The Good Wife” produced its best season by far this year, and this is one of four nominations the show received. Margulies had an amazing year and rose to the occasion when it came to dealing with the more emotional scenes. She’s won once before in 2011, and I think this is the year she earned another.

Furthermore, as thrilled as I am to see Robin Wright and Lizzy Caplan in the category this year, I don’t think they will get it, no matter how buzzy their shows are. The Emmys have a tendency to play favorites, like awarding “Modern Family” the award for Outstanding Comedy Series four years in a row when the show ran out of creative juice in its second season. Give them both a few more years and I think Wright and Caplan have a chance.

Now, if only the academy knew Tatiana Maslany and “Orphan Black” existed.