The great Ron Swanson said that awards are stupid, but they are less stupid when they go to the right people. No disrespect yet ALL the disrespect to the Emmys, but when it comes to television there are WAY shows more shows and performances than the principle awards bodies can possibly recognize. (Plus the Emmys are fucking lazy and repeatedly nominate the same people based on history and celebrity, whatever it’s fine.) The thing we love about the Feelies is that they are completely determined by YOU. We may choose the nominees but the outcome is in the hands of whatever fandom chooses to mobillize. Any of these nominees would be worthy winners. We wouldn’t pick them if we didn’t think so? So who deserves to be the Feelie champions for 2016? Read on to see who we think deserves a shot at the mantle.The rest is up to you. –Kim
Jane the Virgin
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Sage: The urban adventures of Abbi and Ilana raged on in the third uproarious season of Broad City. The girls grappled with period emergencies, apartment shares websites, snooty co-ops, and clever cameos by Vanessa Williams and Tony Danza. But as ever, the best lady friendship on TV was at the heart of it all. Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s skilled and diverse (YAY) ensemble has relaxed into each other, and the continued viability of the Jake and Amy relationship proved that Mike Schur still knows how to make a ship canon without killing our buzz. The cop comedy keeps on quietly slaying with sharp, character-based humor and unexpectedly poignant moments. Veep went into this year with a new showrunner, but the best (and at this point, most true) political comedy on TV didn’t lose its momentum or its foul-mouthed edge. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is still beyond-excellent; the scripts are still sharp enough to draw blood; and the season ended with a stroke of genius game-changer.
Kim: Last year’s champ Jane the Virgin delivered another stellar season filled with heart, ridiculous melodrama, meta commentary, and telenovela antics as Jane and Petra tackled the challenges of learning to be a new mom without completely losing their sense of self. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt took its quirky humor to new heights as Kimmy continued to take ownership over her new life while coming to terms with her traumatic past. And lastly, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend took all the things we love in life (musical numbers, searing feminist commentary, cute boys, body positivity) and blended them into one delicious confection of a television show that EVERYONE needs to be watching.
Kim: Never one to rest on its laurels, series nine of Doctor Who took all sorts of creative risks, from structuring the entire series into two-parters to having one episode be a 45 minute soliloquy for Peter Capaldi to having an entire episode constructed out of “found” footage. (Well, like all risks in life, you can’t win them all.) It also punched us right in the feels as we bid a devastating goodbye (or is it a see you soon?) to Clara Oswald. After a lackluster fourth season, Scandal was revitalized by both Olivia kicking Fitz to the curb and the political intrigue of the Presidential Campaign. (Grant/Ballard 2016, y’all!) In what turned out to be its swan song, Penny Dreadful deftly balanced the terror of the supernatural (DRACULA) with the terror of a more human nature (misogyny, daddy issues) all while Eva Green stood in the center of the storm, giving the bravest performance on television.
Sage: A superhero show that tackles rape culture, toxic masculinity, and survivor recovery? I devoured Jessica Jones in a two-day binge, dazzled by its bravery and neo-noir style. Anyone who tells you that Outlander is a mere bodice ripper has been misinformed. Bodices were ripped in Season 2, thank god, but the superbly-acted genre-defying series also moved effortlessly from the salons of Paris to the battlefields of Scotland to the 1960s and took its characters to the brink yet again. UnREAL had a bit of a stumble in its sophomore outing but technically the Feelies season falls such that Season 1 can also be considered. And Season 1 of UnREAL was a doozy. Anchored by two female anti-heroes (TWO. In one show. And they’re FRIENDS.), the Lifetime drama exposed the seedy underbelly of reality TV and thus, became just as addictive.
Best Actress in a Comedy
Rachel Bloom as Rebecca Bunch, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Ilana Glazer as Ilana Wexler, Broad City
Abbi Jacobson as Abbi Abrams, Broad City
Ellie Kemper as Kimmy Schmidt, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer, Veep
Gina Rodriguez as Jane Villanueva, Jane the Virgin
Sage: I know. It feels impossible to separate the performances of our Broad City leading ladies, so much do they rely on and compliment each other. There’s trust and fun emanating from every scene, which is probably why they can collectively take it so far. But both women deserve a personal shout-out. As the more grounded of the two, no one does crushing embarrassment and millennial self-questioning like Abbi Jacobsen. And her Ilana impression in the co-op episode was a true thing of beauty. Kooky Ilana Glazer shined in a different way this season when faced for the first time with her very best kween keeping a secret from her. It was effectively disconcerting to see the worst employee Deals! Deals! Deals! ever had to take something seriously for once. And really, what is there even left to talk about when it comes to Julia Louis-Dreyfus‘s performance on Veep? She can kill a scene with a single reaction and yet she’s the ultimate team player in a devastatingly funny ensemble. JLD may have another iconic character in her past, but petty, under-qualified Selina Meyer is the role she was born to play.
Kim: Look, I know we give the Golden Globes a lot of shit when it comes to their celebrity thirst, but they know where it’s AT when it comes to recognizing new talent in television. Last year, the award went to Gina Rodriguez (who was the Feelie winner as well), who continues to deliver a LUMINOUS performance on Jane the Virgin. There’s no other word to describe Gina’s work, really. She glows and emanates pure warmth on screen and she can flip between comedy and drama in the blink of an eye. This year the Golden Globe went to Rachel Bloom, whose work on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a masterclass in comedic shamelessness. There is no length Rachel won’t go to in order to land a gag, from throwing her heavy (and glorious) boobs into a musical number to fearlessly showing the ugly sides of Rebecca’s personality. She is a GIFT and we should all treasure her. Finally, in a lesser actress’ hands, Kimmy Schmidt would be grating and overly saccharine but Ellie Kemper brings the perfect amount of salt to the role. She may be sweet and sunny but she’s also tough as nails when it comes to getting what she wants. Females are strong as hell, y’all.
Best Actress in a Drama
Caitriona Balfe as Claire Fraser, Outlander
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald, Doctor Who
Eva Green as Vanessa Ives, Penny Dreadful
Tatiana Maslany as the Leda Clones, Orphan Black
Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark, The People vs. OJ Simpson
Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, Jessica Jones
Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope, Scandal
Kim: I’ve said it once in this post already but Eva Green‘s Vanessa Ives is one of the bravest and boldest performances I’ve EVER seen on television, this year or any other year. Vanessa is broken and beaten down by the world around her, yet she stands tall in her strength and defiance and HOPE. Eva brings a raw, almost feral quality to Vanessa, with her scratchy smoker’s rasp and her giant alien eyes that have seen horrors we can’t even imagine. I don’t understand why she hasn’t been showered with awards for the past three years, it’s a travesty. There not much that can be said about Tatiana Maslany that hasn’t been said before. She infuses each of the Leda Clones with such a distinct personality, posture, and voice that you forget that it’s ONE actress. She makes it look easy, y’all, and I would hate her if I didn’t respect her so goddamn much. After several seasons of being rendered spineless by her father and Fitzgerald Grant, Olivia Pope found her backbone again, doing what she does best (being a Political Bad Ass) and Kerry Washington flourished. Anyone who was surprised by Olivia FINALLY snapping was watching the show wrong, even if the way she snapped was shocking.
Sage: Look, I don’t understand how the Emmys can sleep at night knowing that Caitrona Balfe‘s work on Outlander is going unrecognized. I won’t say she worked the hardest of any actress this year, because this list is so stacked with BEASTS. But the show asks so much of the woman playing Claire Fraser, especially this season. We saw Jamie’s bride scheme and connive among the elite in Paris; get some practice-mothering in by nurturing Mary Hawkins and Gavroche 2 (I know that’s not his name); and say goodbye to the one, true love of her life. Once to his face and once at his grave. (Or IS it?) But Cait’s shining moment came when tragedy befell the growing Fraser family. Her baby stillborn, Claire loses herself completely in grief and shock. It was primal, her clinging to the body of her child, eyes unfocused and posture tense. These aren’t just pretty faces, you guys. Life is change and change is Doctor Who. Still, it wasn’t easy to say goodbye to Jenna Coleman, who so consistently BROUGHT it as the most polarizing, headstrong, MAGNIFICENTLY messy companion the show has ever seen. I’ve said it before, and absolutely no disrespect to Matt Smith, but Peter and Jenna are magic together. Twelve and Clara’s tragic co-dependency defined this series and the petite, wide-eyed companion got to be the strong one. If any companion deserved and needed that ending, it was Clara Oswald. Sarah effing PAULSON. I wish she wasn’t shackled to American Horror Story because she’s one of our most interesting actresses. Against all odds, the OJ show worked and Sarah turned in a desperately human performance as bullied DA Marcia Clark. I’ll never be over how she played Clark’s bafflement at the relevancy of her haircut to a double murder case or her sweet and sexy chemistry with Chris Darden. (What HAPPENED there, you guys? I need to know.) And Jessica Jones succeeded on the back of the flawless casting and compelling performance of Krysten Ritter. Who else would you get to play a whiskey-swilling, leather-jacket-wearing defender of women? Jessica may wear her damage on her sleeve, but she also allows it to motivate her. Krysten nailed the show’s moments of dark comedy (“I can’t get her to wear a dress for the life of me.” “I’ll wear one to your funeral.”), but also beautifully expressed Jessica’s sarcastic and tender friendship with Trish and her determination to move through her fear to bring Kilgrave down. And if we had some kind of stunt Feelie, rest assured she’d get it for those headboard-breaking sex scenes with Mike Colter’s Luke Cage.
Best Actor in a Comedy
Tituss Burgess as Titus Andromedon, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Billy Eichner as Billy Epstein, Difficult People
Santino Fontana as Greg Serrano, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Vincent Rodriguez III as Josh Chan, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Andy Samberg as Jake Peralta, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Sage: I feel a kinship with actors who’ve made their name in part by being LOUD, and that thought includes the delightfully shrill Billy Eichner. The comedian finally gets to scale it back and be a true lead in Hulu’s Difficult People aka the life of every struggling, cynical New York artist that I know. We’re coming out hard as Team Greg on Head Over Feels, because we do love an emotionally constipated boy with a nice singing voice. But really, actual Disney prince Santino Fontana deserves the credit for selling Greg’s crippling fear of inadequacy and his good, good heart. The dude is a mess, but name me one other guy who could sweep you off your feet while bragging (in song) about giving you a UTI? Andy Samberg‘s Jake Peralta is still THE unproblematic fave. Professionally, Jake is actually one of Brooklyn’s finest, but Andy makes sure the audience knows that deep down, Jake is playing one career-long game of Cops and Robbers.
Kim: While Tituss Burgess is Emmy nominated as a Supporting Actor for his work in Kimmy Schmidt, we at Head Over Feels feel that he merits a leading actor nomination. Titus Andromedon remained a hurricane of ego and melodrama in season two but he ALSO fell in love in the sweetest and most unexpected way and it was delightful to see how it threw him for a loop. It’s no easy task to play the dream guy that the heroine is willing to overhaul her life for (just ask Felicity‘s Scott Speedman) but Vincent Rodriguez III brings such a sweetness to Josh Chan that you completely buy Rebecca being the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend who gave everything up for him. I may hold my own shipping beliefs but you can’t deny Josh’s simple goodness (and cluelessness) as he fights the undeniable pull he has towards Rebecca. The fact that Vincent looks like the lost member of the Backstreet Boys is just a bonus.
Best Actor in a Drama
Peter Capaldi as The Doctor, Doctor Who
Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock, Daredevil
Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser, Outlander
Rami Malek as Elliot Alderson, Mr. Robot
Aaron Paul as Eddie Lane, The Path
David Tennant as Kilgrave, Jessica Jones
Kim: I could write countless pages on Peter Capaldi in series 9 of Doctor Who, so I am going to TRY and reign it in. Peter’s take on the Doctor was always confident and fully formed but falling in love with Clara Oswald (yeah, I said it) softened him and took him to new emotional heights in series 9. His magnificent speech in “The Zygon Inversion” will surely go down as one of the greatest scenes in Doctor Who history and THEN he had to go and top himself by carrying the entirety of “Heaven Sent” on his shoulders. WE ARE SO BLESSED. He may not have had that much screentime but David Tennant‘s mere presence as Kilgrave in Jessica Jones permeated every single episode. He was truly terrifying, from every whispered “Jessica” to the horrific confrontation with his parents in “Sin Bin”. It was all restrained malice that threatened to break forth at ANY moment. His Kilgrave was such a stark contrast with his previous work on Doctor Who and Broadchurch and it solidified him as one of the best of his generation. Sam Heughan‘s work in season two of Outlander was much more subtle than the emotional wallop of season one’s “Wentworth Prison” and “To Ransom a Man’s Soul”. But subtle does not mean any less powerful. I love how Sam chose to have Jamie collapse in on himself as he processed his rape and thirst for revenge all while trying to stop the Jacobite rebellion. It was a LOT and Sam kept it ALL in those beautiful blue eyes. He’s so good that it’s not FAIR that he’s that gorgeous as well. Surely THAT is why all major awards bodies have ignored him thus far.
Sage: Matt Murdock was a shitty friend in the second season of Daredevil, but let’s not hold his failings against Charlie Cox. The logistics of his performance alone are astounding; Charlie probably gives the most actor-ly fight scenes on TV, keeping the abilities and disability of the Devil Of Hell’s Kitchen in mind. The brooding hero thing has been done, but Charlie made it fresh as Matt was beckoned back to his criminal past by a very seductive old friend. It took about a minute of staring into the beautiful bug eyes of Rami Malek for me to become completely enraptured by Mr. Robot and the strange and noble Elliot Alderson. The troubled hacker is the kind of character that requires an actor who knows the value of stillness and reaction. It’s more about what Rami is doing when Elliot isn’t doing anything. Elliot is so unsettlingly insular that when Rami gets to erupt in a moment of fear or rage, it’ll just about blow you out of your chair. I’m fascinated by cults, so imagine my glee at hearing that a new cult drama was coming to Hulu and that it would star Aaron Paul. TV has missed him, but I’m so glad he waited for this role. Eddie Lane isn’t a Central Casting crazy and he’s not some suggestible schmuck. Aaron’s work is so important on this show, because we see how a man who wants to do good in the world, loves his family, and has a head on his shoulders can find himself in over it.
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy
Donna Lynne Champlin as Paula Proctor, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Anna Chlumsky as Amy Brookheimer, Veep
Tina Fey as Andrea, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Yael Grobglas as Petra Solano, Jane the Virgin
Jane Krakowski as Jacqueline Voorhes, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Sage: I know Donna Lynne Champlin as a Broadway baby, so I was ecstatic when she finally opened her mouth and belted to her baby duckling Rebecca about facing her fears. Paula is the best and worst kind of friend. She’ll help you bury a body but she won’t advise you not to kill that guy in the first place. She eggs Rebecca on, reality be damned, and I love Donna Lynne’s fierce commitment to Paula’s nurturing tendencies, both healthy and not. Amy Brookheimer lives her life in a steady state of barely contained rage, and that speaks to me. Anna Chlumsky is such a pro at Veep‘s R-rated poetry, and I had so much fun watching Amy develop feelings for Dan and then hate herself for it. Every story is NOT a love story, thank god.
Kim: I don’t know what it is that Tina Fey is doing with her life but I think she’s a better actress NOW than she was on 30 Rock. She just exudes a confidence and an ease in her acting that wasn’t there before. I love how she continues to cast herself on Kimmy Schmidt and her performance as Kimmy’s alcoholic shrink completely invigorated the season. Jane Krakowski continues to be a gift on Kimmy Schmidt as Jacqueline is so DELIGHTFULLY shallow and self-centered. No one plays a complete egomaniac like Jane Krakowski does. She’s lovable and infuriating all at the same time. Petra has often been a polarizing character on Jane the Virgin but Yael Grobglas plays her with such commitment you can’t help but root for her. Petra’s apprehension about becoming a mother (THINK BEFORE YOU TURKEY BASTE) and subsequent post-partum depression completely humanized her and if you didn’t cheer when she told Rafael that she refused to be his second choice, you’re watching the show wrong. And THEN she had to go and knock it out of the park by playing Petra’s twin Anezka as well! Who does she think she is? Tatiana Maslany? (That’s a high compliment you know.)
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama
Olivia Colman as Angela Burr, The Night Manager
Maria Doyle Kennedy as Siobhan Sadler, Orphan Black
Billie Piper as Lily Frankenstein, Penny Dreadful
Rachael Taylor as Trish Walker, Jessica Jones
Bellamy Young as Mellie Grant, Scandal
Constance Zimmer as Quinn King, UnReal
Kim: Billie Piper has ALWAYS been fantastic but her work on Penny Dreadful this season was nothing short of a revelation. I cheered every week as Lily singlehandedly gathered an army of downtrodden women and inspired them to fight (nay DESTROY) the patriarchy. Lily was driven by a thirst for justice and the rage emanated from every single pore. And you know you’re on to something special when the show’s creator hands an actress a 5 minute long monologue and just allows her to stand in one place and act her face off. I think I screamed “SLAY QUEEN” through the entire thing. Rachael Taylor brought such a steady presence to Jessica Jones. She was Jessica’s ROCK throughout the entire thing and Rachael exuded a strength and a light that was the perfect counterbalance to Jessica’s darkness. No WONDER this is the person Jessica loves the most in the whole world (the only person she loves, really). Let’s talk about Constance Zimmer in UnReal, shall we? I LOVE when the perfect role comes along for a career character actress. No one else could pull off the hard ass bitch uber-producer Quinn King like Constance does. Her tiny but POWERFUL stature reduces the biggest men to quivering weaklings and that strident raspy voice inspires fear (and LBR, respect) in all her underlings. Her utter glee in manipulating the wifeys and the villains of Everlasting is a joy to watch.
Sage: Listen, Olivia Colman can do no wrong. Beleaguered and under-resourced intelligence officer Burr was a man in the Night Manager novel; the miniseries proactively secured my approval by not only casting a woman but making her pregnant. In spite of his, ahem, RECENT actions, I can only applaud Tom Hiddleston’s performance, but he was at his best sitting across from Olivia as she forced him to raise his game. She does that with everyone she works with, btw. Mrs. S is the Mama Bear of the Leda clones and GOD HELP YOU if you try and come for them. In the capable hands of Maria Doyle Kennedy, S is tough as nails but still has compassion. But only for people who deserve it, chicken. One of the Shondaland style choices I really appreciate is that she invites her actors to go big. And big can be as skilled and polished as small. Just look at Bellamy Young. This was Mellie Grant’s YEAR on Scandal as she joined forces with Olivia, secured the Republican nomination, and never missed a chance to read Fitz FOR FILTH. Plus, she looks phenomenal in red.
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy
Andre Braugher as Ray Holt, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Jaime Camil as Rogelio de la Vega, Jane the Virgin
Brett Dier as Michael Cordero, Jane the Virgin
Pete Gardner as Darryl Whitefeather, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Reid Scott as Dan Egan, Veep
Sage: Andre Braugher‘s masterclass in How To Be The Straight Man has become even more nuanced since Captain Holt stopped resisting his fatherly feelings for unruly child Jake Peralta. There were moments of sheer genius this season, and many of them occurred when Andre was paired BRILLIANTLY with Dennis Haysbert as the equally stoic Bob Annderson for a deadpan-off. If any Crazy Ex-Girlfriend character was in danger of becoming a cartoon (that’s only for the opening credits!), it was Darryl Whitefeather. But Pete Gardner is so disarmingly square as Rebecca’s boss that all you can do is root for him in his desperate quest to make friends. Darryl’s unexpected and requited interest in White Josh gave the show its sweetest ship, and his joyful and informative coming out song (“I’m get-get-get-gettin bi!”) was a sax-soaked musical highlight. Reid Scott and his sly smile make despicable political frat boy Dan Egan almost likable. Almost. Dan is a self-serving wannabe shark whose selfish machinations rarely pay off. (Amy’s sister works for CVS, not CBS, brah.) But since Veep‘s humor feeds on misery, every one of Dan’s losses is our and Reid’s gain.
Kim: When we posted last year’s Feelies, Brett Dier tweeted us of his own volition, saying that he wanted a “feeling award”. We lovingly teased him saying that he would have to bring it in season 2 and MAYBE we would nominate him. Well, congrats to Brett because BOY did he deliver in season 2. It was a YEAR for Michael, from losing his job and losing Jane to falling in love with her all over again and ultimately marrying her. It was always an uphill climb for Michael with fans, as he was poised as the good and safe choice for Jane, versus Rafael as the sexy and unexpected one. But Brett’s performance has always been infused with a pure sincerity and goodness that has shone through those baby blues. He certainly converted THIS former Jafael shipper! It almost seems unfair to pit Brett against his costar (and last year’s champion) Jaime Camil because there is no one Rogelio de la Vega loves more than Michael (other than himself, natch). Camil continued to deliver the wackiest and funniest performance on TV as the delightfully self-absorbed Rogelio. He brings SUCH an earnestness to Rogelio to where you believe that no matter how shallow he is, you KNOW there is not a mean bone in his body. Jaime also showed an unexpected depth and vulnerability to his performance as Ro and Xo grappled with being at an impasse when it came to more children. CAN’T THOSE CRAZY KIDS WORK IT OUT?
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama
Jon Bernthal as The Punisher, Daredevil
Hugh Dancy as Cal Roberts, The Path
Jordan Gavaris as Felix Dawkins, Orphan Black
Rory Kinnear as The Creature, Penny Dreadful
Christian Slater as Mr. Robot, Mr. Robot
Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot, Gotham
TJ Thyne as Jack Hodgins, Bones
Kim: TJ Thyne has long been the MVP of Bones (anyone who doesn’t think so can FIGHT ME) and he was served up a WHOPPER of a storyline this season as Jack faced paralysis following a shooting. Jack Hodgins has always been a source of light and levity in the Bones-verse, so it caused me physical pain to see him in such a dark and bitter place following his accident. TJ played Jack’s path to acceptance perfectly, as we saw him go through all the stages of grief. John Clare/The Creature hasn’t always been the easiest character to like on Penny Dreadful, but Rory Kinnear hit a home run in season three when he got to go mano-a-mano with Eva Green as her caretaker in the insane asylum. He showed a gentleness and a pure kindness as he cared for a broken Vanessa and he ultimately became the most human character on the show as he refused to let his son suffer the same fate as him. It was an interesting season for Jordan Gavaris as Felix often found himself at odds with Sarah and the rest of the Leda clones. It was fasincating to see a new side of Fe as he explored his relationship with his biological sister but he also proved to be loyal as fuck, always showing up when the Clone Club needed him (even if it was reluctantly at times). I have long rooted for Christian Slater to find the television role that was right for him and he’s certainly found it in Mr. Robot. Mr. Robot allows Christian to fully revel in his Jack Nicholson-esque quirks, snapping from manic energy to a menacing stillness all within the span of a single scene. Welcome to the Slateaissance, people.
Sage: After Daredevil Season 2 premiered on Netflix, my Twitter feed looked for a while like I’m exclusively friends with the kind of women who send serial killers letters in prison. Frank Castle COULD GET IT, vigilante murderer or not. Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin was a tough act to follow, but Jon Bernthal gave The Punisher a resignation to his purpose that was both shocking and admirable. And let’s be real, Karen/Frank > Karen/Matt ANY day. Hugh Dancy has become the go-to guy for high-strung characters who break everything when they break from reality. I completely buy him as a charismatic cult leader, though there were shades of Will Graham in Cal’s season-long breakdown. And Gotham still hasn’t given us a better villain than early break-out Oswald Cobblepot. You can’t really take your eyes off of Robin Lord Taylor‘s shifty performance. And he really got to have some fun this year, first with the legendary Paul Reubens as Oswald’s long-lost dad, then with Oswald’s deadly revenge against the family that took him away again.
Who are your choices for the Feelies? You have until Friday August 26th to cast your votes and you can vote once an hour. May the odds be ever in your favor.