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Voting for this year's Emmys nominations ends tomorrow—Friday, June 28—but we still have one more round of picks and predictions to help ensure that you're the most well-informed person in the room when you and your friends get up early to watch the nominations announcements on Thursday, July 18. So far we've picked apart the biggest races in comedy and drama, and today it's on to the eternally confusing miniseries/TV movie category. We'll cover who's in the running for a nomination, who's the most deserving, and who we think will ultimately grab one. And remember, all the nominees and categories come directly from the publicly-available ballots. Yes, I also think it's weird that The Hour gets to count as a miniseries, but that's the way these things go.

This group of races is a little different than comedy and drama ones because there are so very few returning nominees year-to-year—even with the wonky rule that allows a show like American Horror Story to return for a second year in a row. Considering recent history and trends is difficult to begin with, and even more so once you consider the fact that miniseries and TV movies were judged in completely separate categories until 2011, when the Academy decided that having so many awards created unnecessary redundancies.

Nevertheless, there's still cool stuff to talk about. American Horror Story garnered an impressive 17 nominations last year, but only won two trophies in the end. Can the show grab more with what most consider an improved second season? Will other miniseries like Top of the LakePolitical Animals, or The Bible cut in? And are they all just lining up to get bulldozed by Behind the Candelabra?


Supporting Actor in a Miniseries/TV Movie

The recent trend: Not much to grab on to. Your last three winners are David Strathairn (Temple Grandin), Guy Pearce (Mildred Pierce), and Tom Berenger (Hatfields & McCoys).

The probable repeats: None. 

The most deserving candidates: Zachary Quinto (AHS: Asylum), Jeffrey Tambor (Phil Spector), Rob Lowe (Behind the Candelabra), Dan Aykroyd (Behind the Candelabra), Peter Capaldi (The Hour), James Cromwell (AHS: Asylum), Stephen Graham (Parade's End), John Benjamin Hickey (The Big C: Hereafter), Peter Mullan (Top of the Lake), Even Peters (AHS: Asylum), Sebastian Stan (Political Animals), James Woods (Mary and Martha), and James Wolk (Political Animals).

The possible breakthroughs: All the spots are open, so in theory, anyone. However, this is a category where there's a clear group of nominees (and there are only five spots in these categories, as opposed to the six in comedy/drama). James Cromwell and Zachary Quinto are well-known enough and did "crazy" enough work on AHS: Asylum to make the cut. They're likely to be joined by Jeffrey Tambor, Peter Mullan, and either Rob Lowe or James Woods. I'm pulling for Rob Lowe because he played a character who looked like this. If voters love Behind the Candelabra as much as I assume they will, it's possible that Dan Aykroyd sneaks into the top five as well, probably bumping Quinto.

The likely final picks: Cromwell, Mullan, Tambor, Quinto and Lowe.

Check all that apply.


Supporting Actress in a Miniseries/TV Movie

The recent trend: It's more likely that we'll see multiple nominees from the same mini or movie in this category than in the actor race. In the last three years, four projects have garnered at least two nominations (Temple GrandinYou Don't Know JackMildred Pierce, and American Horror Story), and two of those had the eventual winner (Julia Ormand for Temple Grandin in 2010, and Jessica Lange for American Horror Story in 2012). 

The probable repeats: In a random bit of coincidence, Sarah Paulson. She was nominated in this category last year for her work in Game Change, but has the chance to reappear for her performance on AHS: Asylum. Frances Conroy is also eligible for her work on AHS: Asylum, but it was such a short stint that I don't think the name recognition will be enough.

The most deserving candidates: Ellen Burstyn (Political Animals), Oona Chaplin (The Hour), Carla Gugino (Political Animals), Holly Hunter (Top of the Lake), Janet McTeer (Parade's End), Lily Rabe (AHS: Asylum), Miranda Richardson (Parade's End), Alfre Woodard (Steel Magnolias), and Phylicia Rashad (Steel Magnolias).

The possible breakthroughs: If we assume Paulson is in, there are four open spots. Paulson's AHS co-star Lily Rabe is a pretty solid lock to join her after turning in the most consistently entertaining performance of that show's second season. You also have to figure that Holly Hunter and Ellen Burstyn will make the cut based on name recognition and the high profiles of their respective projects. The last spot is a bit of a toss-up, but I'd bet that it's between the two Steel Magnolias co-stars, Alfre Woodard and Phylicia Rashad.

The likely final picks: Paulson, Rabe, Hunter, Burstyn and Woodard. 

Check all that apply.


Lead Actor in a Miniseries/TV Movie

The recent trend: Other than the random increase from five nominees to six in the last two years, there's nothing major to note. Idris Elba was nominated two years in a row for his great work on Luther, but lost both years. Your last three winners are Al Pacino (You Don't Know Jack), Barry Pepper (The Kennedys), and Kevin Costner (Hatfields & McCoys), so you could say that voters love A.) movie stars and B.) Barry Pepper. 

The probable repeats: Like in the supporting actress race, we have one likely returning nominee, but for a different role. The internet's favorite son, Benedict Cumberbatch, was nominated here for Sherlock last year, and will likely hold down that spot for Parade's End

The most deserving candidates: Kenneth Branagh (Wallander), Matt Damon (Behind the Candelabra), Michael Douglas (Behind the Candelabra), Toby Jones (The Girl), Dominic West (The Hour), Al Pacino (Phil Spector), Diogo Morgado (The Bible), and Ben Whishaw (The Hour).

The possible breakthroughs: This is a relatively easy category to pick for as well. Pacino, a former winner here, plus Douglas and Damon, are absolute, 100-percent locks. This is Douglas's award to lose. If we assume that there will be five nominees this year (as the ballots say) and not the random six that we've seen the last two years, the final spot is between Toby Jones and Kenneth Branagh, in that order. 

The likely final picks: Douglas, Pacino, Damon, Cumberbatch, and Jones. 

Check all that apply.


Lead Actress in a Miniseries/TV Movie

The recent trend: "Movie stars" = winners. I use quotes because although the last five victors in this category are Laura Linney (John Adams), Jessica Lange (Grey Gardens), Claire Danes (Temple Grandin), Kate Winslet (Mildred Pierce), and Julianne Moore (Game Change), I'm not sure how many of those women are actually quote-unquote stars in today's film system—especially considering that Linney, Lange, and Danes are all now regular TV performers and the former two are in this race again.

The probable repeats: None. 

The most deserving candidates: Romola Garai (The Hour), Rebecca Hall (Parade's End), Jessica Lange (AHS: Asylum), Laura Linney (The Big C: Hereafter), Helen Mirren (Al Spector), Sienna Miller (The Girl), Elisabeth Moss (Top of the Lake), Sigourney Weaver (Political Animals), and Hilary Swank (Mary and Martha). OH AND Lindsay Lohan for Liz and Dick, obviously. 

The possible breakthroughs: Lange won in the Supporting Actress category last year, did even better work in the second season of AHS, and is a former winner; she's in. Helen Mirren is a bigger star than ever and has won in this category four times, more than anyone else; she's in. Laura Linney has been nominated here twice before, and won both of those times. She was also previously nominated in the Lead Actress in a Comedy category for The Big C; she's in. The last two spots are a bit trickier. Elisabeth Moss is the most deserving, and she's a perennial nominee for her work on Mad Men, so you'd think she'd be in. But nipping at her heels are two more "movie stars," Sigourney Weaver and Hilary Swank. I'd prefer Weaver over Swank, but the latter seems to be adept at gaining awards traction. 

The likely final picks: Lange, Mirren, Linney, Moss, and Weaver. 

Check all that apply.


Outstanding Miniseries/TV Movie

The recent trend: Nil. This category is two years old. Your first two winners: Downton Abbey anGame Change from PBS and HBO, respectively—typical dominators of these categories.

The probable repeats: Just one, American Horror Story. The Asylum season was, in my mind, dramatically better than the first season. It actually deserves this nomination.

The most deserving candidates: The HourBehind the CandelabraThe GirlPolitical AnimalsParade's EndTop of the LakeThe BiblePhil Spector, and Steel Magnolias. ALSO: Liz and Dick, and Trapped in the Closet. Yep, Trapped in the Closet

The possible breakthroughs: This is a category of six, so there are five open spots alongside AHS: AsylumBehind the Candelabra and Phil Spector are guaranteed to take two of them, with a small group of four projects (Political AnimalsParade's EndTop of the Lake, and The Bible) tangling for the final three. Top of the Lake is the best among them, but also the one with the least amount of promotional support, so I'm a little fearful for its chances. And I'm honestly unsure of how voters will respond to The Bible

The likely final picks: Behind the CandelabraPhil SpectorAHS: AsylumPolitical AnimalsParade's End, and Top of the Lake. That last one is a hopeful pick; The Bible will probably be the one to take the nomination.

Check all that apply.

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 8/25/2014

Season 66 : Episode 1

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