The Maxim Guide to Who Really Deserves an Emmy

Here’s who we think should bring home all the awards on TV’s biggest night.

Hey, have you guys heard we’re in the Golden Age of TV? Of course you’ve heard that. Google “Golden Age of TV” this second and you get 170,000 results. People fucking love TV, now more than ever! For Chrissake, my safe word is “prestige drama.”

All kidding aside, we’ve been blessed with a constant rotation of quality television, from The Sopranos to Breaking Bad to Mad Men, in the few years — and all of this excellence means that the Emmy Awards become a tougher race with more deserving competitors every year (and somehow the Academy still keeps giving awards to Modern Family!).

This Sunday’s show, hosted by Andy Samberg, (Fox, 8pm EST) is no different. With the bar raised, here’s who we think should bring home the Emmy in the top ten categories.


The nominees:

Better Call Saul

Downton Abbey

Game of Thrones


House of Cards

Mad Men

Orange Is the New Black

Who we want to win:

Mad Men is one of the greatest television dramas of all time, and it’s the show’s last chance to be rewarded. They’d be robbed otherwise. 


The nominees:


Modern Family

Parks and Recreation

Silicon Valley


Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt


Who we want to win:

Anything besides Modern Family. Just kidding! (No we’re not.) Of all the nominees, Transparent is brave and boundary-pushing, along with being deeply, deeply funny. One Emmy, please.


The nominees:

Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul

Kyle Chandler, Bloodline

Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

Jon Hamm, Mad Men

Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom

Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan

Who we want to win: Jon Hamm. Need we say more? (Fun fact: He’s never won an Emmy before. Just give it to the man, already.) Even if it doesn’t go to Hamm, let’s pray the Academy doesn’t reward Jeff Daniels for the pretentious bloviating that turned The Newsroom into a weekly sermon and outlet for Aaron Sorkin’s douchebaggery. 


The nominees:

Taraji P. Henson, Empire

Claire Danes, Homeland

Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder

Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black

Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men

Robin Wright, House of Cards

Who we want to win: This is a particularly strong group of contenders, but it was Taraji P. Henson’s impressively fierce portrayal of Cookie in Empire that made for the most memorable television character of the year. Sorry, Tatiana Maslany, but your star will shine another year.


The nominees:

Anthony Anderson, black-ish

Matt LeBlanc, Episodes

Don Cheadle, House of Lies

Will Forte, The Last Man on Earth

Louis C.K., Louie

William H. Macy, Shameless

Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

Who we want to win:Jeffrey Tambor’s Maura Pfefferman on Transparent, all the way. 


The nominees:

Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback

Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie

Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer

Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie

Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

Who we want to win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ portrayal of Selina Meyer proves why she’s a long-running comedy great (and a living rebuke of the “Seinfeld Curse.”)


The nominees:

Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul

Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline

Jim Carter, Downton Abbey

Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones

Alan Cumming, The Good Wife

Michael Kelly, House of Cards

Who we want to win: As the black sheep brother in Bloodline, Ben Mendelsohn stole the show from Kyle Chandler — not an easy feat. Something tells us we’ll be seeing a lot more of him.


The nominees:

Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey

Lena Headey, Game of Thrones

Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones

Christine Baranski, The Good Wife

Christina Hendricks, Mad Men

UzoAduba, Orange Is the New Black

Who we want to win: Everything went wrong for Cersei in this season of Game of Thrones — but Lena Headey tackled the challenges and managed to play out her downfall with the same ferocity she’s always brought to the role. 


The nominees:

Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Adam Driver, Girls

Keegan-Michael Key, Key & Peele

Ty Burrell, Modern Family

Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Tony Hale, Veep

Who we want to win: Keegan-Michael Key is downright acrobatic on Key & Peele, and especially deserves recognition for his spectacular work as the series comes to a close. 


The nominees:

MayimBialik, The Big Bang Theory

Niecy Nash, Getting On

Julie Bowen, Modern Family

Allison Janney, Mom

Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live

Gaby Hoffmann, Transparent

Jane Krakowski, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Anna Chlumsky, Veep

Who we want to win: Kate McKinnon isSNL’s MVP — the woman has single-handedly carried some episodes. Okay, most episodes.