One of the raps on the Emmys is that they offer up a lot of the same nominees every year. In a lot of cases it’s deserved — while it would make no sense to stop honoring shows and performers that can sustain their quality over multiple seasons, it often feels like worthy newer shows are shut out in favor of the same old stuff.
That will likely be the case at least in part when the nominations for this year’s Emmys are announced Thursday (July 18). Amid the very likely and totally expected repeat nominations for the likes of “Breaking Bad,” “Modern Family” and “Downton Abbey,” there will probably be a few surprises. Here are some of Zap2it‘s picks for performers and shows that could make a breakthrough at this year’s Emmys. (For more of what we hope to see, check out Zap2it’s Emmy Wishlist posts.)
Tatiana Maslany of “Orphan Black.” She’s a bit of a longshot, and the TV academy’s long-standing bias against genre shows make it extremely unlikely for the show to be nominated. But the Critics’ Choice TV Award winner and Television Critics Association nominee could snag a nomination for her portrayal of multiple characters in BBC America’s thriller.
Kerry Washington of “Scandal.” The last time an African-American actress was nominated for best actress in a drama? 1995 (Cicely Tyson for “Sweet Justice”). Washington has a real chance to break that ignominious streak.
“The Americans.” The academy doesn’t seem to like FX dramas very much, for reasons not immediately clear to anyone who enjoys quality television. But even if it doesn’t score a series nomination, and even if stars Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys and Noah Emmerich get shut out, the show’s expert re-creation of early-’80s Washington should get some Creative Arts noms.
“Parks and Recreation.” OK, so technically this wouldn’t be a breakthrough as the show was nominated for best comedy in 2011. But it had a sustained, great run this past season and richly deserves another nod.
Jake Johnson of “New Girl.” Johnson submitted himself for best lead actor in a comedy this year. It both fits the role he played (very well) on the show and could be a nice bit of strategy — with the “Modern Family” cast all again in the supporting category, the lead category might be easier to crack.
Who do you want to see nominated for Emmys on Thursday?