The nominations for the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards are announced July 10 and like a kid writing his Christmas list for Santa Claus, I have been thinking about who I most wish to see receive an Emmy nomination come Thursday morning. My list does not contain the sure-to-be-nominated brilliant actors, films or shows (here's looking at you, Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad, The Normal Heart, Modern Family). This list contains the equally talented actors, writers, series and episodes that due to the wealth of TV options this season ought not to be forgotten. This article contains spoilers, so here is the proverbial SPOILER ALERT.
Sandra Oh, Grey's Anatomy
Category: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
While the show may be named after its titular character Meredith Grey, there is no question that Sandra Oh's Cristina Yang consistently and boldly captured our hearts over the course of 10 seasons on Grey's Anatomy. Her performances: nuanced, heartbreaking and unapologetically authentic left audiences, critics and the industry alike in awe of her sheer talent. While Sandra Oh is a past Emmy nominee, she has never won for this role and she was not included on the shortlist for the past few seasons, despite her bravura performances. Season 10, billed by the show itself as the Farewell to Cristina Yang, boasts an array of episodes that showcase Oh at her finest. These episodes also provide a bevy of options from which she could choose, if nominated, including the Cristina-narrated, Sliding Doors-inspired offering ("Do You Know?"), the episode where Dr. Yang meets Dr. Burke for the first time since he left her at the altar back in Season 3 ("We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together") and the season finale ("Fear of the Unknown") if for nothing more than these beautifully delivered seven words to her person: "He is not the sun. You are." Sandra Oh, YOU are the sun.
Mindy Kaling, The Mindy Project
Category: Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
Episode: "Danny and Mindy"
The Season 2 finale of The Mindy Project entitled "Danny and Mindy" had everything: heart, humor, fantastic performances from the cast especially Chris Messina and Mindy Kaling and spectacular writing. Teeming with homages to the titular character's favorite romantic comedies filmed in New York City and filled with a range of incredible scenes, including: Chris Messina trying on his Bradley Cooper-American Hustle suit, the heartbreaking Danny and Mindy bathroom confrontation, the cast's whip-smart repartee in convincing Danny to go after Mindy and the Darth-Vader-esque sounds of Mindy's breathing on the roof of the Empire State Building after climbing the stairs to the top, this episode had it all.
The Good Wife
Category: Outstanding Drama Series
After being nominated for Best Drama Series for its debut and sophomore seasons, The Good Wife missed out in seasons three and four. To deny the series a nomination for this season would be a crime that even the lawyers of Lockhart Gardner / Florrick Agos could not defend. This season, the show has been nothing short of a revelation: fantastically constructed, powerfully written, beautifully directed and filled with such compelling character-driven drama. "Hitting The Fan," "Outside the Bubble," "The Decision Tree," "A Material World," "A Few Words," "Dramatics, Your Honor," "The Last Call," "A Weird Year" are the first episodes that came to mind when I think of this season of The Good Wife. Once nominated, a show needs to submit six episodes in pairs of two to the judging panels. The Good Wife could win with any combination of the above episodes. The show was simply that GOOD this season. From the brilliance of the Alicia ouster in "Hitting the Fan," to the gripping use of flashbacks in "The Decision Tree" and "A Few Words," to the haunting surprise of "Dramatics, Your Honor," and the heartbreaking anguish of "The Last Call," this season was a powerhouse. To keep the death of a central character top secret until its reveal sent shockwaves throughout the industry so accustomed to spoilers. Five seasons in, The Good Wife is one of the best dramas on television -- network, cable or otherwise and deserves a return to the top race.
Zosia Mamet, Girls
Category: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
As the fast-talking, blisteringly-analytical Shoshanna on the HBO series Girls, Zosia Mamet is absolutely unforgettable. Whether Shoshanna is the hilariously enthusiastic, yet oblivious third wheel on the road trip to get Tessa in "Truth or Dare" or the intoxicated truth-teller extraordinaire in the season best "Beach House," Zosia Mamet never misses a beat. In her hands, Shoshanna is a complex character on the precipice of a new chapter in life, struggling with the uncertainty before her while both rejecting and longing for the relationships of her past. For me, Mamet's season best work is found in the season finale "Two Plane Rides" where she is stung by Marnie's betrayal, misses out on graduation and makes one last, albeit unsuccessful attempt to convince Ray to give it another go. Throughout this season, the audience couldn't help but ache with Shoshanna and yearn for her success, because she resonates so deeply with us, thanks largely in part to Mamet's inspired performance.
Timothy Simons, Veep
Category: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Veep has one of the BEST ensembles on television today. Led by the Emmy-winning performance of Julia Louis Dreyfus, the HBO-show boasts Emmy-worthy performances from its entire cast including Tony Hale (2013's Emmy winner for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series), Matt Walsh, Reid Scott, Anna Chlumsky, Sufe Bradshaw and many others. For me, one of the highlights of this season was Timothy Simons' performance as Jonah, the hapless former West-winger ousted from his job with POTUS after it is revealed he is running an anonymous blog on DC politics. The remainder of the season shows Jonah seeking to find his voice as a self-annointed media mogul and erstwhile political advisor, with often hilarious results. Whether portraying Jonah's conflicts with the Vice President's office or Jonah brow-beating his mother to get his uncle to find him a job, Simons is nothing short of genius. Eschewing vanity and embracing Jonah's pathetic attempts for relevance, Simons is comedy gold worthy of Emmy consideration.
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Category: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
What can I saw about Tatiana Maslany that has not already been covered at length in the media? The winner of two consecutive Critics Choice Awards for her performance as several clones on BBC America's Orphan Black and a Golden Globe nominee this past year, Maslany has the unenviable task of playing several characters in each episode, imbuing each with a richness and depth that is unparalleled. While not yet Emmy-nominated, her work has been lauded by critics and industry professionals alike and her recent appearance on the cover of Emmy Magazine would indicate a growing awareness of her incredible talent and outstanding work on Orphan Black. The biggest challenge she faces is not the quality of her work but the perceived bias in Emmy history against programs in the science fiction genre. However, this hurdle is not insurmountable: Lindsay Wagner won an Emmy for playing dual roles in The Bionic Woman in 1977 and Gillian Anderson won an Emmy for her work on The X-Files in 1997. My hope is that the genius of Maslany's work overcomes any perceived bias, as she justifiably deserves a spot in TV history and amongst the nominees come Thursday morning.
What are your thoughts? Who would you most like to see nominated come Thursday morning? Share your thoughts in the comments below.