As I ranted and raged about the Emmy Nominations on Thursday, I tweeted “Maybe we should just do our own awards on Head Over Feels”. Less than an hour later Sage and I had compiled our nominees in Comedy and Drama and the “Feelies” were born. The Feelies have no bias against genre shows. The Feelies don’t vote for things just because they are on HBO. The Feelies don’t nominate movie stars just because they are movie stars deigning to do television. And the Feelies know the difference between a DRAMA and A MINI-SERIES (NONE FOR YOU TRUE DETECTIVE!!).
Side Note: We don’t watch enough Mini-Series to fill a category. Maybe next year.
But most of all the Feelies are about celebrating the shows and performances that gave us all the feels and flails over the television season. While we want to celebrate our favorites, we also wanted to remain objective and REALLY focus on the quality of the work over the course of the season. The Winners are going to be determined by YOU, dear reader. The polls will remain open for a week, after which we will do a post to announce the winners. Sage is gonna walk us through our comedy nominees, while I will make the case for our drama choices. It’s all in your hands, guys. Make us proud.
Disclaimer: Header Gifs in no way indicate our choices in each category.
Best Comedy Series
The Nominees Are…
Parks and Recreation
The Mindy Project
There are few greater feats than getting a new comedy off the ground, particularly a good one and particularly on network TV. So our dream list of nominated comedies includes a few sadly posthumous nods. Trophy Wife showed us how a modern family sitcom could be broad enough to be a living room staple and still have something to say. Losing the inspired Army comedy Enlisted was another heartbreak, as a 13-episode run with the Hill brothers and the rest of their bumbling yet well-meaning Rear D platoon was hardly enough. Veep remains the quickest and most verbally dense comedy on TV, with a cast that slays its material weekly. Brooklyn Nine-Nine put as much care and energy into creating relationships between its diverse cast of characters as it did setting up punchlines, a Mike Schur specialty. After struggling to find its voice and Mindy’s character in season one, The Mindy Project hit us with a squee-ful rom com homage and a practically perfect season two. And finally, Parks and Rec kept right on delivering Pawnee-style storytelling, pushing through cast shake-ups and, oh yeah, boldly rebooting the entire show in the final minutes of its season.
Best Actress in a Comedy
The Nominees Are…
Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreation
Mindy Kaling as Mindy Lahiri, The Mindy Project
Malin Akerman as Kate Harrison, Trophy Wife
Lena Dunham as Hannah Horvath, Girls
Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer, Veep
Ilana Glazer as Ilana Wexler, Broad City
Just saying that four of the six performances on this list come from series with one or more female showrunners. And even those that don’t have their leading ladies doubling as producers. Just putting that out there. Lena Dunham showed new levels of Hannah’s neuroses and self-absorption in Girls season three as she struggled with middle-class guilt and insecurity over her boyfriend’s budding success. Nobody can do what Julia Louis-Dreyfus can do with a look and a finely-crafted insult on Veep. Malin Akerman ended up as the emotional center of the Trophy Wife cast, essential, but in a particularly tricky part. What can we say about Amy Poehler that we haven’t already? Leslie Knope is, at this point, iconic. I fell in love with Comedy Central’s girl BFF comedy Broad City this year and with Ilana Glazer’s bonkers and unpredictably warm performance. And as Dr. Lahiri finally fell for Dr. Castellano, Mindy Kaling showed us what she can really do.
Best Actor in a Comedy
The Nominees Are…
Adam Scott as Ben Wyatt, Parks and Recreation
Chris Messina as Danny Castellano, The Mindy Project
Andy Samberg as Jake Peralta, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Geoff Stults as Sgt. Pete Hill, Enlisted
Joel McHale as Jeff Winger, Community
Louis C.K. as Louie, Louie
Adam Scott and Chris Messina put movie leading men to shame on Parks and Mindy, respectively. And they’d better, to stay on the level of their formidable ladies. Ben came into Pawnee as the straight man, but has proven himself to be just as goofy as the rest of the crew. And anytime he plays Mr. Wyatt drunk or sick or high, it’s is nothing short of poetry. Messina is so well cast that I want to scream. Danny Castellano is infuriating and dreamy and crotchety and truly the heart of that show. Andy Samberg has proven that he can carry a show and even be a romantic hero in his own right. (That Jake/Amy scene from the finale!) We love all the brothers on Enlisted, but Geoff Stults deserves the nod for playing Pete’s PTSD storyline with humor and grace. Community had another uneven season as Dan Harmon returned to the show, but Joel McHale can still churn out a sly and vulnerable performance as the Study Group’s leader. And Louis C.K. challenged us with another conversation-generating Louie season and himself with doomed love affair with his non-English speaking neighbor.
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy
The Nominees Are…
Aubrey Plaza as April Ludgate, Parks and Recreation
Marcia Gay Harden as Diane Buckley, Trophy Wife
Michaela Watkins as Jackie Fisher, Trophy Wife
Anna Chlumsky as Amy Brookheimer, Veep
Kate McKinnon as Everything, Saturday Night Live
Natasha Lyonne as Nicky Nichols, Orange is the New Black
Trophy Wife should be to this category what Modern Family has been to the actual Supporting Actor Emmy. Meaning that it should dominate. Marcia Gay Harden clearly delighted in playing hard-assed alpha mom Diane and even gave her a gooey, emotional center. Michaela Watkins channeled a little Phoebe Buffay as hippie-dippie yet ever-so-secretly wise Jackie. Anna Chlumsky had even more to do on Veep this year as Amy’s DC ambition and slowly withering spirit waged a war inside her. I think people assume that Aubrey Plaza is playing herself on Parks, but it’s just not true. April has come into her own this year without losing the edge that made us love her in the first place. Nicky is OITNB‘s most compelling character, and the show comes to life in Natasha Lyonne’s scenes. (We’re not just saying that because we still want to be Jessica in America Pie.) And Kate McKinnon is just destroying sketch after sketch on SNL. Dyke and Fats. Her Bieber. Her Billie Jean King. Her Ellen. Her life-giving Russian accent. She’s a superstar and one of the few nominations the actual Schm-Emmys got right.
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy
The Nominees Are…
Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson, Parks and Recreation
Chris Pratt as Andy Dwyer, Parks and Recreation
Danny Pudi as Abed Nadir, Community
Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Stinson, How I Met Your Mother
Albert Tsai as Bert Harrison, Trophy Wife
Timothy Simons as Jonah Ryan, Veep
WE FIXED IT. The snubs in the original list in this category inspired us to burn Utica to the ground and then rebuild. There’s simply no good excuse anymore as to why Nick Offerman isn’t constantly in his woodshop, building new shelves to hold all the awards he’s received for playing Ron Swanson. We’ve also been campaigning for years Chris Pratt to get some recognition as the straight up comic genius that he is. (Though maybe he’ll just have to settle for being a movie star.) We may still be smarting over the way the conclusion of How I Met Your Mother went down, but it just doesn’t seem right that NPH never took home a statue for creating Barney Stinson. Danny Pudi has the toughest job on Community and has consistently shown a deep understanding and love for his complex character. We’re still not over Troy and Abed’s goodbye (or his Nicolas Cage meltdown. –K). There’s throwing a cute kid into a cute situation and then there’s what Trophy Wife creators found in little Albert Tsai. We’ll miss everything about that show, but precious Bert we’ll miss most of all. And finally, though Tony Hale gets all the Supporting Actor attention for Veep (residual love for Buster Bluth plays a role here), we’re lobbying for Timothy Simons. Jonah Ryan is one of television’s truly great bastard-people and we’ll continue to love-to-hate him for as long as he slimes around Washington.
Best Drama Series
The Nominees Are…
The Walking Dead
The Good Wife
We will say this: there is a WEALTH of amazing dramas out there, and we don’t envy the Emmy Nominators. Okay…we do, as they tend to fixate on the same dramas, year in and year out (DOWNTON ABBEY) with little regard for quality year to year. They also like shiny new toys that if you were to REALLY look past the movie stars chewing scenery, you would see that the show is REALLY not all that (House of Cards, yeah I SAID IT, COME AT ME BRO). Thus we only have two carryovers from the Emmy Nominees in this category.
The final 8 episodes of Breaking Bad set the new standard for ending your series and contained perhaps the most thrilling hour of television in “Ozymandias” (which will SURELY be Anna Gunn’s Emmy submission, no?). The half season of Mad Men proved that when the show is at the top of its game, no other drama can touch it as far as compelling storytelling, acting, and style. You guys read my rant about this season of The Good Wife in the Nomination post, and I will repeat again that it is a TRAVESTY it is not nominated. The Walking Dead had its strongest season yet as it delved deeper in the lives of the characters in some unconventional episodes that focused on pairings of characters as opposed to the sprawling story (the EXQUISITE “Still”). I am ASTOUNDED that Hannibal is airing on network television and firmly assert that if it were airing on HBO, the awards would be raining down on it. And lastly, Sleepy Hollow was the biggest surprise of the television season. It delivered on its outlandish premise in spades and was also rooted in the fantastic performances of its leads. It may not be a conventional “drama” by Emmy standards, but that doesn’t make it any less worthy of acclaim.
Best Actress in a Drama Series
The Nominees Are…
Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olsen, Mad Men
Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick, The Good Wife
Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope, Scandal
Tatiana Maslany as The Clones, Orphan Black
Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings, The Americans
Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson, Masters of Sex
How Tatiana Maslany isn’t a part of the Emmy conversation is beyond me. She plays six different characters and ACTS OPPOSITE HERSELF. She’s definitely the hardest WORKING actress in this category and attention must be paid. Elisabeth Moss continues to dazzle as Peggy Olsen on Mad Men and did some of her most heartbreaking work yet in this season. Peggy is grappling with the choices she has made in her life and while she may not be likable all the time, she is ALWAYS relatable. While the character of Olivia Pope may have suffered and lost much of her agency this season, Kerry Washington continues to deliver a stellar performance on Scandal. Julianna Margulies is the queen of subtlety on The Good Wife and says more in a grimace than many do with a page long monologue. Lizzy Caplan brings warmth that is desperately needed on Masters of Sex. It would be very easy to play Virginia Johnson as a one note independent woman, but Caplan has deftly made her a fully rounded character and has delivered dramatic work that we didn’t know she was capable of, considering she was best known for her comic work before this. I JUST started watching The Americans, but in three episodes, Keri Russell has blown me away with her portrayal of a Russian Spy posing as a typical American Housewife. I love that Elizabeth is not the one conflicted about her role (so far anyway), and let’s be honest…I will always cheer for Felicity Porter.
Best Actor in a Drama Series
The Nominees Are…
James Spader as Red Reddington, The Blacklist
Hugh Dancy as Will Graham, Hannibal
Mads Mikkelson as Hannibal Lecter, Hannibal
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, Breaking Bad
Jon Hamm as Don Draper, Mad Men
Tom Mison as Ichabod Crane, Sleepy Hollow
Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelson are SO intertwined as Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter we ALMOST wanted to give them a co-nomination. How do you choose one and not the other? Hugh’s Will Graham spent much of the second season in a jail cell but his performance only grew in complexity. And Mads’ Hannibal? Freaking terrifying. Jon Hamm continues to deliver one of the most sublime performances on television as Don Draper and it will truly be a crime if he never wins an Emmy (which I fear he won’t). The Blacklist is purely popcorn but that doesn’t take away from the fantastic performance James Spader is giving as Red Reddington. He chews nearly as much scenery as Kevin Spacey does, and his performance is THE reason to watch the show. There is not much to say about Bryan Cranston that hasn’t been said before. His performance as Walter White will go down as one of the greatest in the history of television. And lastly, like the show itself, Tom Mison’s Ichabod Crane was one of the biggest surprises of the television season. All genre shows should cast classically trained actors as their leads. Tom brings gravitas and a sly sense of humor to Sleepy Hollow and the show wouldn’t work without him.
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
The Nominees Are…
Bellamy Young as Mellie Grant, Scandal
Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier, The Walking Dead
Anna Gunn as Skyler White, Breaking Bad
Christina Hendricks as Joan Harris, Mad Men
Hayden Panetierre as Juliette Barnes, Nashville
Erika Christensen as Julia Graham, Parenthood
Have fun picking a winner in this category guys!!! These women bring their A-Game every week. Bellamy Young came into her own this season on Scandal and became the character we root for the MOST on Scandal. From her drunken rants to her soul crushing rape revelation, I loved her so much this season my phone now auto-caps “MELLIE”. Much like Mellie Grant, Skyler White hasn’t always been the easiest character to love, but damn if Anna Gunn didn’t destroy us in the final 8 episodes of Breaking Bad. Her breakdown in “Ozymandias” as she ran down the street screaming after Walt and baby Holly was the stuff awards are made for. We’ve said it before but if the Emmy Voters could get past the soapiness that is Nashville, they would see that Hayden Panetierre is giving a performance as complex as ANY of the women actually nominated in this category. Juliette Barnes could have easily been a one note villain but in Hayden’s hands we have a deeply wounded woman who constantly makes mistakes but ALSO won’t roll over and be kicked around by the industry. She is the actual heroine of Nashville (sorry Tami Taylor, we love you!). Those of us who watch Parenthood know that the season was OWNED by Erika Christensen’s Julia, who destroyed us week in and week out as we watched her seemingly perfect marriage fall apart. It felt so real that it was PAINFUL to watch, and Christensen rose to the occasion every week. Christina Hendricks’ Joan was hard to like on Mad Men as she held a grudge against Don all season (rightfully so…he cost her a LOT of money) but it is never hard for us to long for Joanie to find happiness. Hendricks always makes the most of her screen time and her rejection of Bob Benson was one of my favorite scenes of the season. And lastly, we have Melissa McBride’s Carol. The arc she has had over the course of The Walking Dead has been extraordinary as she has gone from weakling to ultimate bad ass. Carol has learned that the greater good must come at any cost in their struggle to survive and her torment over doing the wise thing was never more evident than in the final scene of “The Grove”.
“Just look at the flowers…”
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
The Nominees Are…
Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman, Breaking Bad
Thomas Sadowski as Don Keefer, The Newsroom
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, The Walking Dead
Josh Charles as Will Gardner, The Good Wife
Jeff Perry as Cyrus Beene, Scandal
Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones
I am exceedingly proud of this category too. The field of dramatic supporting actors is SO deep and so many people are doing incredible work. Any one of these gentlemen could take the prize and I would be happy. Aaron Paul remained the tortured soul of Breaking Bad in its final episodes and the weekly prayer circle we had for Jesse Pinkman is a testament to just how beloved his performance is. While Jeff Daniels gets all the press for The Newsroom, the best performance on the show in season two actually belonged to Thomas Sadoski’s Don Keefer. We were set up to hate Don in season one but as season two progressed, he emerged as the hero (and dream boyfriend) of the show. As Daryl Dixon, Norman Reedus has been a man of few words and a lot of action, but his arc with Beth in Season Four probed into Daryl’s psyche and we really started to learn what made him tick. Daryl breaks us every week and we’re NOT just saying that because we ship the hell out of Bethyl. Much like his scene partner Julianna Margulies, Josh Charles is a master of non-verbal acting. Will’s rage is constantly bubbling beneath the surface and he’s just as exciting to watch as he’s lost in thought over how to cross-examine Alicia as he is when he’s exploding in her office. The Good Wife is not going to be the same without him. Speaking of explosive performances, Jeff Perry’s Cyrus Beene is one of THE reasons to tune into Scandal every week. Shonda Rhimes has often said her monologues are like Arias and Jeff Perry delivers them with the skill of Pavarotti. Cyrus is a MONSTER and it’s always a thrill to see just how low he stoops every week. Finally, we have Peter Dinklage, who is the reason I watch Game of Thrones every week. I feel his absence when Tyrion is not featured in an episode and his trial was the most compelling storyline on Thrones this year. I gave him a standing ovation in my living room after his final testimony. It will surely be his episode submission, and it will be a hard scene to beat.
Reminder that polls will close next monday. Let your voices be heard! And let us know in the comments if we left out YOUR favorite performances.