Emmys 2014 Editors' Picks: Who We Think Should Win in This Year's Miniseries/TV Movie Categories

By Cory Barker

Aug 21, 2014

Somehow, the Emmys are already upon us. The telecast is airing nearly a month earlier than usual this year, and on a Monday (August 25 at 8pm on NBC), to boot. Although many of the nominees didn't quite satisfy our dream choices, we here at TV.com are still committed to making sure the best possible people and shows take home the shiny trophies. Over the next couple days, we'll be making our selections in all the major categories, kicking things off with the somewhat confusing miniseries and TV movie races. Is it all about Fargo and The Normal Heart, will an underdog challenger surprise us all? Regardless of the outcome, here's who we believe deserves some new hardware.



Matthew Bomer (The Normal Heart), Martin Freeman (Sherlock: His Last Vow), Colin Hanks (Fargo), Joe Mantello (The Normal Heart), Alfred Molina (The Normal Heart), and Jim Parsons (The Normal Heart)


James Cromwell (2013), Tom Berenger (2012), and Guy Pearce (2011)


Andy: N/A | Cory: Jim Parsons | Jen: Martin Freeman | Kaitlin: Martin Freeman

Nick: Martin Freeman | Noel: Matthew Bomer | Tim: Alfred Molina

WHY JIM PARSONS SHOULD WIN: As the nominee roster for this category suggests, The Normal Heart was full of showy, good performances. But the quiet gem at the center of all the crying and the yelling was the more internal grief expressed by Jim Parsons' Tommy Boatright. You know that Parsons is going home with a trophy for his work on The Big Bang Theory, but frankly, he deserves one for this performance even more. —Cory Barker

WHY MARTIN FREEMAN SHOULD WIN: It's not easy to play second fiddle to Sherlock Holmes, and it's especially not easy to work opposite someone as charismatic as Benedict Cumberbatch, but Martin Freeman manages to do it with an impressively gentle ease. What's more, he's not merely reacting to Cumberbatch—he's an active participant in their dueling dialogue. "His Last Vow" was a grand showcase of the many different sides of John Watson, spanning a range emotion from dangerously frightening anger to understated sadness. Freeman nailed every scene, and it's time he earned his due. —Kaitlin Thomas



Kathy Bates (AHS: Coven), Angela Bassett (AHS: Coven), Ellen Burstyn (Flowers in the Attic), Frances Conroy (AHS: Coven), Julia Roberts (The Normal Heart), and Allison Tolman (Fargo)


Ellen Burstyn (2013), Jessica Lange (2012), and Maggie Smith (2011)


Andy: Allison Tolman | Cory: Allison Tolman | Jen: Allison Tolman 

Kaitlin: Allison Tolman | Noel: Allison Tolman | Nick: Ellen Burstyn | Tim: Allison Tolman 

WHY ALLISON TOLMAN SHOULD WIN: First off, let's all agree that it's ridiculous that Tolman nominated herself (or was pushed into nominating herself) in the Supporting Actress category. Molly Solverson was the heart and soul of the dark, snowy world of Fargo's first season; from the way Tolman's eyes lit up as the plucky detective made a connection in the tangled Marlo case to her polite Midwestern anger in the face of other characters' doubt, the actress exuded intellect and compassion bundled with frustration and insecurities, crafting a recognizable human being instead a collection of character-type tics. Noel Kirkpatrick

WHY ELLEN BURSTYN SHOULD WIN: Everything Burstyn does is gold and you're a liar if you say otherwise. A dang liar. —Nick Campbell



Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock: His Last Vow), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Dancing on the Edge), Idris Elba (Luther), Martin Freeman (Fargo), Mark Ruffalo (The Normal Heart), Billy Bob Thornton (Fargo)


Michael Douglas (2013), Kevin Costner (2012), and Barry Pepper (2011)


Andy: Billy Bob Thornton | Cory: Billy Bob Thornton | Jen: Martin Freeman

Kaitlin: Mark Ruffalo | Nick: Idris Elba | Noel: Billy Bob Thornton | Tim: Martin Freeman

WHY MARK RUFFALO SHOULD WIN: We knew he could play angry (Hulk FTW!), but we never knew Mark Ruffalo was so adept at portraying anger, desperation, determination, and defeat all at once. To be honest, this isn’t even a contest. —Kaitlin Thomas

WHY BILLY BOB THORNTON SHOULD WIN: It shouldn't seem so natural for an actor to play a devil-like figure who has his own weird character tics and humanity without entering the Pacino Zone. But Billy Bob Thornton is not just any actor; he's one of the world's best, a fact we tend to forget until he turns in otherworldly performances, like he did as Lorne Malvo on Fargo. In Thornton's hands, Malvo was the most terrifying entity on the planet who happened to look like a true dweeb. —Cory Barker



Helena Bonham Carter (Burton & Taylor), Minnie Driver (Return to Zero), Jessica Lange (AHS: Coven), Sarah Paulson (AHS: Coven), Cicely Tyson (The Trip to Bountiful), and Kristen Wiig (The Spoils of Babylon)


Laura Linney (2013), Julianne Moore (2012), and Kate Winslet (2011)


Andy: Kristen Wiig | Cory: Jessica Lange | Jen: Kristen Wiig | Kaitlin: Sarah Paulson

Nick: Helena Bonham Carter | Noel: Sarah Paulson | Tim: Kristen Wiig

WHY KRISTEN WIIG SHOULD WIN: The Emmys' flexible interpretation of "miniseries" has landed Wiig in the Lead Actress category alongside the likes of drama heavyweights Jessica Lange and Helena Bonham Carter, but her goofball performance in IFC's farce is every bit as award-worthy as her competition's. The experimental Babylon relied heavily on the gusto of its actors, and Wiig went full-on bananners as Cynthia Morehouse, handily upstaging all her costars. She won't win the trophy, but her perfect overacting and bellowing toward the heavens prove that she definitely belongs here. —Tim Surette

WHY JESSICA LANGE SHOULD WIN: Lange's material on AHS: Coven was probably a little more ostentatious than what she had to work with on Asylum, and we all know that the Emmy voters love ostentatious. Say what you want about Ryan Murphy's brand of glib genre alchemy, but few other performers could consistently turn in such strong and winking (but not overdone) work like Lange. Cory Barker



Killing Kennedy, Muhammad Ali's Greatest FightThe Normal HeartSherlock: His Last Vow, and The Trip to Bountiful


N/A; this category returns in 2014 after three years of being combined with Outstanding Miniseries


Andy: N/A | Cory: The Normal Heart Jen: Sherlock: His Last Vow

Kaitlin: The Normal Heart | Nick: The Normal Heart Noel: The Normal Heart 

Tim: Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight

WHY THE NORMAL HEART SHOULD WIN: Admit it: You were a little scared to see what Ryan Murphy, he of Glee and American Horror Story fame, would do with such an important and gravely serious story like The Normal Heart. Thankfully, Murphy's best tendencies—the ability to pull great performances out of his cast and truly key in on the raw emotions of any situation—defeated his more problematic ones and the result was this year's clear winner in an admittedly weak category. Noel Kirkpatrick

WHY SHERLOCK: HIS LAST VOW SHOULD WIN: Oh, great, I get to be the jerk who argues against an excellent movie full of excellent performances about AIDS that has virtually no chance of losing whatsoever. Here goes: Even though Sherlock's inclusion in this category is a stretch, its merit shouldn't be discounted just simply because it's weirdly positioned. The more I think about the whole of Season 3, the more I'm impressed with its various plot turns and all-around brilliant performances. This is a series that can still surprise its viewers, and its central bromance is one of TV's finest. Plus, that wedding episode was a masterpiece. —Jen Trolio



AHS: CovenBonnie & ClydeFargoLutherTreme, and The White Queen


N/A; this category returns in 2014 after three years of being combined with Outstanding TV Movie


Andy: Fargo | Cory: Fargo | Jen: Fargo Kaitlin: FargoNick: Treme Noel: Treme

Tim: Fargo 

WHY FARGO SHOULD WIN: Like Hannibal before it, Fargo proves that ideas that sound terrible on paper when they're first announced sometimes turn out to be the most successful. Putting aside some of the show's misguided meditations on masculinity near the end of the season, there's very little to dislike about Fargo. Noah Hawley and the show's directors (Adam Bernstein, Colin Bucksey, and a few others) did a masterful job of adapting and expanding the Coen Bros.' world for the small screen, and the cast turned in the best collective performance of the year. Cory Barker

WHY TREME SHOULD WIN: There are few shows on television that are able to capture the spirit of a city as a character like Treme does for New Orleans. The show's actual human characters are difficult and unlikeable sometimes, and there's a decent amount of moralizing, but it emotes the Crescent City in a way that will make you fall in love with the place while also mourning it and feeling indignant about it. Try to find another series that makes you feel so strongly about its setting. —Nick Campbell

Who do you think should win in this year's miniseries and TV movie races?

  • Comments (27)
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  • joe12345 Oct 22, 2014

    Why the hell are Sherlock, Luther, and Treme in miniseries? Also,the face that Martin Freeman beat Matt Bomer is unbelievable

  • itsmemadie01 Aug 23, 2014

    the battle between Helena Bonhan Carter vs jessica Lange vs Sarah Paulson broke my heart

  • No1Slayerette Aug 23, 2014

    It'll be interesting to see if True Detective's risk of submitting as a drama series rather than a mini-series will pay off. I think it would have had majority of these categories in the bag myself, even though I think Fargo was much better.

  • No1Slayerette Aug 23, 2014

    I agree with everyone else... Fargo for everything, give or take Colin Hanks for Best Supporting actor.

  • rreeve Aug 22, 2014

    Fargo should get a full sweep of awards. It was Genius, from episode one all the way through to the end. I loved it and I miss it now.

  • hockeyrick Aug 22, 2014

    With each passing year the Emmy's show their irrelevance with keeping up with the times on presentation. Its a circle jerk now!

  • ArkhamNative Aug 22, 2014

    One of the reasons it will be very difficult to change is that entertainment reporting media (TV Guide, TV.com and all the rest) are a large, supportive part of that circle.

  • CoryBarker1 Aug 22, 2014

    In what way? Not being combatitve, just curious what you mean.

  • ArkhamNative Aug 22, 2014

    In the wake of this year's nominations, most reports I saw were either silent about the fan outrage, or justifying the Emmy's system as legitimate, explaining how everyone is following all the rules, etc. A TV Guide article even seemed supportive of the gaming of the system: "How Emmy's Controversial Category Choices Paid Off" (link)

    I do kind of get it. The entertainment media's role is to report what the industry does, not to speak out against what it does or offer suggestions for improvement. And that's basically my point.

  • hockeyrick Aug 22, 2014

    Fargo is a mini-series, thought it was a normal series!
    And 4, count em 4 actors from 1 show for 1 award? This is all wrong!!!!!
    Same for Treme, it was a series, unfortunately that got cancelled!!!!

    Emmy's should change, too messed up!

  • kevbuffylost108 Aug 22, 2014

    Especially considering True Detective is the exact same format as the likes of Fargo and American Horror Story. So what makes TD so special to be placed in the 'Best Drama' category yet Fargo & AHS are placed in the Mini-Series category

    I hope Breaking Bad wins 'Best Drama' by a landslide cause TD definitely does not deserve it

  • thekaitling Aug 22, 2014

    The difference is HBO decided to submit True Detective as a drama and not a miniseries. It's as simple as that.

  • kevbuffylost108 Aug 22, 2014

    Well HBO is dumb then, thinking TD can go against some of those in the 'Best Drama' category. Fargo was much better than it

  • numberonecubsfa Aug 21, 2014

    They're counting Luther as a mini series? Well, neither it or Idris Elba will win (season 3 was kind of a huge mess, writing wise), but it's nice to see both get a little recognition stateside all the same.

  • greasy82 Aug 22, 2014

    Each season tells a contained story that centers on a few key characters. Think of them as a group of novels with each series portraying one book.

  • noelrk Aug 21, 2014

    Luther has submitted itself in the Miniseries category since it started, and so did Downton in its first year. Heck, Treme shouldn't even be in there, either.

  • thekaitling Aug 22, 2014

    I think Treme is only in the category because it didn't have enough episodes to be considered in the drama category. Which only adds to the madness.

  • noelrk Aug 22, 2014

    Eugh. I forgot about that nonsense. *eyeroll*

  • CoryBarker1 Aug 21, 2014

    Emmy rule #1: Don't pay attention to the categories because you'll lose your mind

  • paintcan Aug 21, 2014

    I watch TV daily and I've never seen 25% of these shows. Never heard of some of them.Sure glad I watched and loved Fargo.I hate over used classic but Fargo is classic to me.

  • RobinRyschlic Aug 21, 2014

    Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Ellen Burstyn, Frances Conroy, Julia Roberts, and Allison Tolman

    ... how can anyone possibly decide in this mega category? Can we call it a tie please? Can't we just give out an Emmy to all of them?

  • Gonzai Aug 22, 2014

    That's how I feel about the Actor category...

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