Emmy Long-Shots: The ballot that will never happen


I wouldn’t argue that this year has been stronger than others for television, but it’s certainly offered up a large variety of interesting characters and shows. Performances were strong in both the likely and unlikely places and the fact that shows such as Modern Family are going to continue to dominate the nominations isn’t just annoying because it’s a sub-par show at the point, but because there is such a larger pool of talent to pull from.

If I could I would include a much longer list. I could talk about how Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams are turning into two of the strongest actors on Game of Thrones despite their young age. I could talk about how Lamorne Morris was often the saving grace of season three of New Girl as Winston. I could argue about how Eva Green is able to liven up even the most absurd show premise in Penny Dreadful or how Emily Bett Rickards charges the heart in the CW show Arrow  as Felicity, easily the best actor on the show. Dylan O’Brien had a fantastic year as Stiles on MTV’s Teen Wolf but due to the nature of the show and channel it’s on would never even be considered (despite shows like Glee dominating the acting categories in its early years). And then there are people like Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele in Key and Peele , Nick Offerman in Parks and Rec and Kaitlin Olsen in It’s Always Sunny…, who are consistently funny but will never see awards notice.

That long of a list would be obnoxious though;  so click through the slideshow to see  some of my favorites.

Tatiana Maslany- Orphan Black

After building a decent bit of momentum since season one, we’d like to think that she isn’t the long-shot that she is, but, sadly, that’s still the case. The show is a little far out of the Emmy’s usual taste, putting what would be a deserved win for Maslany practically out of the question (although I’d love to be proven wrong). She easily has given one of the best performances in television in the past year, turning in around five different, layered characters each week. No one on TV is doing what she’s doing right now which makes watching her all the more appealing.


Hugh Dancy- Hannibal

As much as I loathe admitting it, Bryan Fuller’s beautiful, grotesque, twisted fairytale of a show isn’t ever going to get any form of award recognition. In all honestly, it’s surprising it’s even still on air. However, if anyone deserved a surprise nod from the show, it would have to be Dancy who wrung us dry with his carefully plotted display of Will Graham. We watched as his psyche deteriorated, as he began to pull the wool over Hannibal’s eyes, and then finally we watched as he began to get lost in his own game. Dancy plays everything on his face, and it’s easily the best the actor has ever been. But, again, it’s never going to happen.


Emmy Rossum- Shameless

Okay so it’s a bit of a sham that this show and these actors are competing under the “comedy” label when season four was their bleakest yet with most of the characters hitting personal rock bottoms, but Rossum should have already been nominated for the past three seasons when they were competing under the drama label and she wasn’t. In a world that actually gave awards to the best, she would have already won. This isn’t a vanity role, and Fiona is a fantastic character who is strong, abrasive, vulnerable and frustrating, and Rossum plays her perfectly.


Noel Fisher- Shameless

To keep my love for this show going for a second, Noel Fisher has given me my favorite performance of the year so far as Mickey, Ian’s on and off again sex buddy until this season when they finally make their relationship something official and the growth it allowed the character was stunning. Fisher is maybe the one actor who could slip under the comedy side (since he was given some of the funniest bits of the season due to either the writing or his delivery), but his storyline with Ian is something we don’t often see on television, and he took this rough and tumble, dirty, tattooed knuckles character and made him so sympathetic and sweet that it’s hard to not see the progression that Fisher has taken him on.

Melissa Fumero- Brooklyn Nine-Nine

For anyone who follows me on Twitter, you’ll know that my love for Fox’s new comedy was over the top. I laughed a lot, and if the Emmys listened to me there would be a handful of nominations for the show. Fumero would be one of them as the feisty, awkward and Type A character Amy Santiago. She has fantastic chemistry with all of the actors on the show, and with a series as jam packed with acting talent as this one, she shines through.  The episode where she goes on a crazy fasting diet with Terry allowed for her to display her physical comedy chops, and if she’s already this good, I can’t wait to see what season two brings.

Charlie Day- It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Since the early seasons of the show, fans and critics have wanted for the series and its performers to receive the recognition it deserved as a lynchpin series for FX and one of the funniest comedies on air. Now after finishing its 9th season, some of that buzz has understandably died down, but if there’s a name that should still be pushing for a nom it’s Day who plays Charlie. His manic line delivery has never faltered and the energy he brings the show is electric. He’s immensely watchable even when his character is being an awful person, and the episode “The Gang Saves the Day” wasn’t just a highlight for the season but a highlight for the character that we were allowed a rare insight to. Despite playing the same character–with very little personal growth for so long–Day has never given a stale performance.

Allison Tolman- Fargo

The FX miniseries Fargo has been one of the most satisfying television runs in quite a while due to the cinematic quality and tight writing it has in its arsenal, but one of the standouts has been Tolman’s character, Molly. Molly is unlike many female characters on television: she’s three dimensional; she’s often the most level headed character as well as the most logical and the bravest. She’s someone who wants to do good because that’s her moral obligation and Tolman conveys all of this. She’s a very subtle actor, particularly compared to many on the list, but she does a lot with very little. She can be funny, she can be dramatic and she can spark romantic chemistry. She’s the whole deal.

Alfie Allen- Game of Thrones

If Emilia Clarke can get a nomination for speaking in an authoritative tone, Alfie Allen should be able to be recognized for the dynamic work he’s been doing as Theon for the past three seasons. As Reek in the most recent season, Allen plays Theon as a man broken beyond repair, tortured mentally and physically into loyalty to his tormentor. Where there was once a sliver of the character we once knew, there is now nothing. Theon is gone, and Allen played the transition beautifully.

Uzo Aduba – Orange is the New Black

Despite not having as much to do in season two, it’s the first one that’s being judge for Emmy contention, and Aduba just about ran away with season one. As Suzanne/Crazy Eyes, she had the opportunity to work with physical comedy, some excellent delivery and some truly, heartbreaking moments. She has the ability to completely disguise herself as an actress, and she evoked an enormous amount of sympathy for Suzanne. She may not be the biggest name of the show, but she certainly should become one.

Andre Braugher-Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Okay…so he may not be the biggest long shot, but he definitely isn’t an obvious choice for a Best Supporting Comedy Actor nom, and that’s criminal. Braugher’s ability to deliver deadpan lines while keeping a stone face and saying the most ridiculous lines is a gift. He took a typical character trope and with the help of the writers turned it on its head. He easily is the actor who had me laughing the most and for the longest amount of time this year.

Ilana Glazer – Broad City

Picking between writing about her or her partner in crime Abbi Jacobson was a tough decision, but in the end it’s down to personal preference, and Glazer is a presence that, to me, pops off the screen. She brings the big, broad laughs, embraces awkward physicality, and along with Max Greenfield (New Girl) has the best and weirdest enunciation of certain words ever. She’s relatable, she’s ridiculous, she’s effortlessly watchable, and she just makes me laugh. Glazer and Jacobson make a dynamic duo, and their show was one of the best comedies of the year.

Who are you pulling for this year? And do they stand a chance?


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