Best Drama Series
Better Call Saul (AMC), Downton Abbey (PBS), Game of Thrones (HBO), Homeland (Showtime), House of Cards (Netflix), Mad Men (AMC), Orange Is the New Black (Netflix)
Who Will Win: Mad Men will cement its status as an icon of quality television with a record five wins for best drama.
Who Should Win: Mad Men. Yes, this season of Game of Thrones reached new heights. But AMC’s flagship drama deserves to go out with a bang, especially considering its cast hasn’t received enough attention from the Emmys: the show hasn’t won a single acting award.
Who Got Snubbed: Fox’s breakout hit Empire and CBS’ mainstay The Good Wife were both locked out from nominations despite rave reviews. Perhaps most surprising of all, Clive Owen and director Steven Soderbergh couldn’t catch the Emmys’ attention with Cinemax’s The Knick.
Fun Fact: Orange Is the New Black was nominated for best comedy last year, but will compete in best drama in 2015 thanks to a change in Emmy rules.
Best Comedy Series
Louie (FX), Modern Family (ABC), Parks and Recreation (NBC), Silicon Valley (HBO), Transparent (Amazon), Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix), Veep (HBO)
Who Will Win: Modern Family will win its sixth Emmy for best comedy in a row, if history is any indication.
Who Should Win: Any show except Modern Family, if only for the sake of variety. Veep is the critical favorite, though Transparent has not only earned rave reviews but has also broken new ground on the small screen.
Who Got Snubbed: Either CW’s delightfully campy Jane the Virgin or Comedy Central’s bawdy Broad City should have taken Modern Family’s spot in the nominations.
Fun fact: If Modern Family wins it will set both the record for most consecutive wins for best comedy and most overall wins in the category.
Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Claire Danes (Homeland), Viola Davis (How to Get Away With Murder), Taraji P. Henson (Empire), Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black), Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men), Robin Wright (House of Cards)
Who Will Win: Viola Davis has the sort of Oscars cred that the Emmys love, and she went full-throttle in this year’s How to Get Away With Murder.
Who Should Win: Taraji P. Henson. Although Elisabeth Moss, the true hero of Mad Men, deserves to finally get her turn in the spotlight after being overlooked for years, Henson outshone every other actor and actress on TV this season as Cookie Lyon.
Who Got Snubbed: Yet again, Keri Russell was overlooked for her role on the critical darling The Americans. And Julianna Margulies, who won in 2011, 2012 and 2014, didn’t even make the nominees list this year.
Fun Fact: This is the first year that two African-American women, Viola Davis and Taraji P. Henson, have been nominated in this category. If one of them wins, she will make history again as the first black woman to win best actress in a drama.
Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Kyle Chandler (Bloodline), Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom), Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul), Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan), Kevin Spacey (House of Cards)
Who Will Win: Jon Hamm has been nominated for Mad Men eight times but never won, and this year is his last chance. Something about the Emmys voting system is seriously broken if he doesn’t snag a statue.
Who Should Win: Jon Hamm—give the man his Emmy, already!
Who Got Snubbed: Terrence Howard of Empire and Matthew Rhys of The Americans both should have made the cut.
Fun Fact: If Jon Hamm doesn’t win he will beat his own undesirable record for most snubs for a lead actor in a drama series.
Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie), Lisa Kudrow (The Comeback), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep), Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation), Amy Schumer (Inside Amy Schumer), Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie)
Who Will Win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus is unstoppable with four wins in this category. Not even Amy Schumer’s newfound superstardom can stand in her way.
Who Should Win: Amy Poehler astonishingly has yet to win an Emmy. Though this season of Veep was probably better than the last episodes of Parks and Rec, it would be wonderful to see Poehler finally get some recognition.
Who Got Snubbed: Ellie Kemper of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt made Tina Fey’s wacky concept for a TV show work, and deserved a nod for her efforts. It’s also criminal that Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson were not nominated for Broad City.
Fun Fact: Julia Louis-Dreyfus will tie Candice Bergen and Mary Tyler Moore for most wins in the lead actress category if she wins for a fifth time on Sept. 20.
Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Anthony Anderson (Black-ish), Louis C.K. (Louie), Don Cheadle (House of Lies), Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth), Matt LeBlanc (Episodes), William H. Macy (Shameless), Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent)
Who Will Win: Fueled by his Golden Globe win, Jeffrey Tambor is a shoo-in for his groundbreaking performance as a transgender woman.
Who Should Win: Jeffrey Tambor has never won an Emmy before, and he certainly deserves one for this role.
Who Got Snubbed: Andy Samberg is hosting the Emmys but still didn’t get a nod for Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Last year’s winner Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) was also snubbed.
Fun Fact: Louis C.K. has won four Emmys for outstanding writing for various shows, but he has never won for lead actor.
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Uzo Aduba (Orange Is the New Black), Christine Baranski (The Good Wife), Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones), Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey), Lena Headey (Game of Thrones), Christina Hendricks (Mad Men)
Who Will Win: Christina Hendricks’ Joan had arguably her biggest year ever on Mad Men. If there is a season that should win Hendricks accolades, this is it.
Who Should Win: Lena Headey had a spectacular season on Game of Thrones. Her character went from throwing shade at her new sister-in-law to raging over the kidnapping of her daughter to contorting her face during that walk of shame, and Headey executed perfectly all the plot twists the writers threw at her.
Who Got Snubbed: This category could have been made up entirely of actresses from Orange Is the New Black, like Laverne Cox.
Fun Fact: Christine Baranski has won one Emmy and been nominated a whopping 11 more times.
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Jonathan Banks (Better Call Saul), Jim Carter (Downton Abbey), Alan Cumming (The Good Wife),Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), Michael Kelly (House of Cards), Ben Mendelsohn (Bloodline)
Who Will Win: Jonathan Banks brought new depth to the Mike Ehrmantraut character on Better Call Saul. He’ll have to overcome the swelling fan support behind Peter Dinklage (who last won in 2011), but Breaking Bad nostalgia might just put Banks over the edge.
Who Should Win: Ben Mendelsohn was the standout in Bloodline’s first season, even stealing scenes from Kyle Chandler.
Who Got Snubbed: Jon Slattery didn’t make the cut for his last turn as Roger Sterling on Mad Men, and Walton Goggins was shut out of his final opportunity to get a win for Justified.
Fun Fact: The best supporting actor nominations for House of Cards and Bloodline were among Netflix’s 34 nods, a new high for the streaming service.
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Mayim Bialik (The Big Bang Theory), Julie Bowen (Modern Family), Anna Chlumsky (Veep), Gaby Hoffmann (Transparent), Allison Janney (Mom), Jane Krakowski (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live), Niecy Nash (Getting On)
Who Will Win: Allison Janney is a six-time Emmy winner and will likely earn another gong for Mom.
Who Should Win: Anna Chlumsky has kept up with Julia Louis-Dreyfus for four seasons on Veep and deserves her first statue this year.
Who Got Snubbed: Sitcom moms Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish) and Constance Wu (Fresh Off the Boat) both deserve nominations for best supporting actress—if not best actress—in a comedy.
Fun Fact: Thanks to a new Emmys rule, there are a record eight women nominated for best supporting actress in a comedy series this year.
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Andre Braugher (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Ty Burrell (Modern Family), Adam Driver (Girls), Tony Hale (Veep), Keegan-Michael Key (Key & Peele)
Who Will Win: Tony Hale has won one Emmy for Veep and is poised to win another.
Who Should Win: Tituss Burgess deserves an upset win just for getting “Peeno Noir” stuck in all our heads.
Who Got Snubbed: Jordan Peele deserved a nomination just as much as his comedy partner. Overlooking Nick Offerman throughout the entire run of Parks and Recreation also feels like an affront to comedy.
Fun Fact: Adam Driver’s nomination is among 126 nods for HBO, the most a single network has ever received in one year
Best Variety Talk Show
Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC), Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO), Late Show With David Letterman (CBS), The Colbert Report (Comedy Central), The Daily Show With Jon Stewart (Comedy Central), The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (NBC)
Who Will Win: The Colbert Report will likely steal the win for its final season, even though this is the last opportunity for Jon Stewart and David Letterman to add another Emmy to their shelves as well.
Who Should Win: Last Week Tonight With John Oliver outshone all other late night television shows this year with its astute political satire—sentimental attachments to old hosts be damned.
Who Got Snubbed: Conan missed out again.
Fun Fact: The Daily Show With Jon Stewart won the award ten consecutive times from 2003 to 2012, so don’t be too sad if he doesn’t win this year.
Best Variety Sketch Series
Drunk History (Comedy Central), Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central), Key & Peele (Comedy Central), Portlandia (IFC), Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Who Will Win: Inside Amy Schumer is on a roll.
Who Should Win: Inside Amy Schumer or Key & Peele both deserve wins for revitalizing sketch comedy.
Who Got Snubbed: Comedy Central’s The Kroll Show missed out again.
Fun Fact: Best Variety Sketch Series is a brand new category. Previously, these shows would have had to compete with the late night talk shows.
American Crime (ABC), American Horror Story: Freak Show (FX), Olive Kitteridge (HBO), The Honorable Woman (Sundance), Wolf Hall (PBS)
Who Will Win: Olive Kitteridge will take the Emmy thanks to great performances from an all-star cast including Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins and Bill Murray.
Who Should Win: Olive Kitteridge is most deserving, but hat tip to The Honorable Woman, a good British import that proved twisted spy dramas sometimes are best kept to just eight episodes (looking at you, Homeland).
Who Got Snubbed: Eerie mystery The Missing missed out on a nomination.
Fun Fact: With Luther finished and Fargo’s second season airing too late for consideration, the competition among miniseries is a little less fierce this year.
Best TV Movie
Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Poirot’s Last Case (Acorn TV), Bessie (HBO), Grace of Monaco (Lifetime), Hello Ladies: The Movie (HBO), Killing Jesus (National Geographic), Nightingale (HBO)
Who Will Win: Bessie will win because of Queen Latifah’s impressive performance.
Who Should Win: Bessie is by far the best movie in this somewhat lackluster category.
Who Got Snubbed: Nobody. The TV movie is slowly being displaced by increasingly cinematic TV series.
Fun Fact: The biopic about blues singer Bessie Smith was a Queen Latifah passion project.
Best Actress in a Mini-Series or TV Movie
Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Honorable Woman), Felicity Huffman (American Crime), Jessica Lange (American Horror Story: Freak Show), Queen Latifah (Bessie), Frances McDormand (Olive Kitteridge), Emma Thompson (Live from Lincoln Center — Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street)
Who Will Win: Frances McDormand wins for proving likability is overrated.
Who Should Win: Maggie Gyllenhaal proved herself deserving when she won the Golden Globe. She also pulled off a surprisingly flawless British accent.
Who Got Snubbed: Frances O’Connor could have easily taken a spot for The Missing.
Fun Fact: This category is stacked with talent. Frances McDormand has an Oscar, Gyllenhaal an Oscar nomination, Felicity Huffman an Emmy and an Oscar nomination, Queen Latifah Oscar and Grammys nominations, Emma Thompson two Oscars and one Emmy and Jessica Langue two Oscars and three Emmys. That tally doesn’t even include all those ladies’ Golden Globe nominations.
Best Actor in a Mini-Series or TV Movie
Adrien Brody (Houdini), Ricky Gervais (Derek: The Special), Timothy Hutton (American Crime), Richard Jenkins (Olive Kitteridge) David Oyelowo (Nightingale), Mark Rylance (Wolf Hall)
Who Will Win: David Oyelowo is the favorite for his jarring performance in Nightingale, but voters will also be eager to award the actor after he was snubbed by the Oscars earlier this year for his Selma performance.
Who Should Win: David Oyelowo deserves the Emmy for a one-man show that touted his incredible acting chops.
Who Got Snubbed: Kiefer Sutherland was eligible for the revival of 24.
Fun Fact: David Oyelowo is one of 18 black actors nominated for awards this year, a new record for the Emmys.