2009 Emmy Awards Predictions
September 18th, 2009
We’ve been predicting the various acting awards throughout the week here at Cultural Learnings, but now it’s time for the biggest categories at all (and the smallest) with our complete, scientific, nondenominational, likely mostly wrong Emmy predictions. For categories I covered previously, click on the category to check out my complete rundown of the category and the justification for my decision, and then stick around for the rest of the awards (including Outstanding Drama and Comedy Series) after the jump.
The 61st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards air Sunday, September 20th, at 8pm Eastern. I’ll be doing some sort of live coverage (either a live blog or some sporadic live tweeting), and then will have a full recap/review of the proceedings once they come to an end.
- Glenn Close (Damages)
- Hugh Laurie (House)
- Steve Carell (The Office)
- Toni Colette (United States of Tara)
- Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad)
- Hope Davis (In Treatment)
- Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
- Kristen Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies)
Outstanding Comedy Series
- Family Guy
- Flight of the Conchords
- How I Met Your Mother
- The Office
- 30 Rock [WINNER]
Part of the reason I didn’t spend entire posts on the series awards is that both are pretty easy to predict. While I think Fey and Baldwin will both lose their respective acting races, there is nothing to indicate that the show will lose considering the sheer gluttony of great episodes for them to send to voters. While my heart is with How I Met Your Mother, and I think The Office had an amazing season, the 30 Rock juggernaut is unstoppable as a collective force.
Outstanding Drama Series
- Big Love
- Breaking Bad
- Mad Men [WINNER]
Like with the Comedy Series category, this one really comes down to whether anything has really changed from last year. There is certainly something to be said for the strength of Lost’s fifth season, and there’s no question that Breaking Bad really picked up in its second season, but is there really anything that can stop Mad Men’s momentum? The second season was even better than the first, and the episodes submitted range from the stylistically satisfying to the emotionally heartwrenching, the kind of diversity that any good show needs to win the award. I’d argue that Breaking Bad is the only show that could upset, but I just don’t think it’s got enough profile to contend with the glitz, glamour and catharsis of Mad Men’s sixties nostalgia.
Reality Competition Program
- The Amazing Race
I wish, for the sake of Top Chef and Project Runway, that this wasn’t such a foregone conclusion, but it just isn’t going to change. While I think there might one day be a year when The Amazing Race can lose this award, a year with contestants hilariously falling down a hill chasing giant cheese wheels, an emotional moment for the show’s first deaf contestant AND a race to the finish line is not going to be that year. Period.
- Phil Keoghan (The Amazing Race)
While Jeff Probst clearly has the most to do out of any of the hosts, and won the award last year, Keoghan (who wasn’t nominated last year) has the single most emotional moment: with deaf contestant Luke arriving to the mat in first place, Phil signs “You are Team Number One” as pretty much everyone involved is crying. He doesn’t do much in the episode, but that alone might be enough to sway the voters.
Writing for a Drama Series
- Mad Men – “Meditations in an Emergency” (Weiner/Gordon)
This isn’t an easy decision, but I feel safe going with the finale – it’s a powerhouse piece of writing from Weiner/Gordon, and perhaps more importantly it feels like the episode that benefits most from Weiner’s sure hand in sequences such as Peggy’s conversation with Pete.
Writing for a Comedy Series
- 30 Rock – “Apollo, Apollo” (Robert Carlock)
Robert Carlock has written some very prolific episodes of 30 Rock (Sandwich Day, Subway Hero, Jack-Tor) and I think he should get his due here with another fantastic episode that features muppets, the invention of two amazing new terms, and the absolute genius of “I was staring at his mouth!”
Directing for a Drama Series
- Battlestar Galactica – “Daybreak Part 2” (Michael Rymer)
While logic tells me that Phil Abraham’s amazing work on “The Jet Set” episode of Mad Men should see him walking away with this, there is a penchant in this category for there to be some oddball winners that depend slightly more on craft. Or, at least that’s what I’m telling myself as I predict for BSG’s visual maestro to get some well-deserved main show recognition for the series.
Directing for a Comedy Series
- The Office – “Stress Relief” (Jeff Blitz)
While the muppet elements of “Apollo, Apollo” have me leaning towards it as an option here, I think that the opening sequence of The Office’s Super Bowl episode (complete with a cat flying through the ceiling) is going to be enough to sway voters.
Outstanding Variety Program
- Saturday Night Live
This would have been a ballsy prediction a few years ago, but not this year: Sarah Palin brought Saturday Night Live its greatest cultural relevance in decades, demonstrating that one good impression truly can drive the show to great success.
Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series
- The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
With the long-term winner of the Variety Program category likely to lose that one, he’ll return to the winners’ circle for writing.
Original Music and Lyrics
- “Motherlover” (Saturday Night Live – Lonely Island/Timberlake)
I am personally rooting for “Carol Brown,” from Flight of the Conchords, but with Timberlake taking the Emmy for Guest Actor in a Comedy series for his performance of the song the chances of it losing out here are slim to none.
- Generation Kill
All logic would say that Little Dorrit, which dominated the craft categories, is going to take this award. However, Generation Kill is timely and purposeful, and I greatly desire for David Simon and Ed Burns to be able to give an Emmy acceptance speech.
Outstanding Made-for-TV Movie
- Grey Gardens
It lost more awards to Little Dorrit than I expected at the Creative Emmys, but there’s no way it’s losing this award.
Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Made-for-TV Movie
- Drew Barrymore (Grey Gardens)
A lot of people are predicting that when viewed independent of the hype, and taking into account the vote split between Grey Gardens stars Barrymore and Lange, Signourney Weaver will sneak in here for the emotional Prayers for Bobby. That could well happen, but I was really taken with Barrymore’s performance so I’m putting her out there.
Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Made-for-TV Movie
- Sir Ian McKellen (King Lear)
Counting PBS’ Great Performances for this category is really kind of unfair to the rest of the contenders in this category, but it’s frakking Ian McKellen doing frakking Shakespeare, so it’s hard to predict otherwise.
Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Made-for-TV Movie
- Sir Tom Courtenay (Little Dorrit)
This category was actually really easy to predict: combining knighthood and multiple Emmy-winning PBC miniseries is a pretty safe bet, even if I don’t actually know who Tom Courtenay is.
Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Made-for-TV Movie
- Jeanne Tripplehorn (Grey Gardens)
This is purely a hunch, but I think that residual love for Big Love (which managed to crack into Drama Series) and the allure of a Kennedy will give Tripplehorn this award by a hair, a deserving win for a brief but very effective turn in the telefilm.
Writing for a Miniseries or TV Movie
- Andrew Davies (Little Dorrit)
I think that the allure of a literary adaptation (Dickens, in case you didn’t know) will be enough to take the writing category.
Directing for a Miniseries or TV Movies
- Susanna White (Generation Kill)
This is a really tough call, but after Jay Roach won for Recount last year over the director from John Adams, I think that voters are willing to embrace strong technical contemporary work over period work.
Directing for a Variety Series
- Bruce Gowers (American Idol)
I have no freaking clue, people.