Predicting the 2016 Emmy Nominees (Part II) – Comedy

The comedy landscape for television has changed immensely in the last year. While longtime running favorites like The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family are still on-air, there was a void left by the NBC triumvirate of Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock and The Office. 

Consider that void filled by HBO and streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Netflix has produced binge-worthy hit-after-hit with original programming like Master of None, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Grace & Frankie while Amazon has made their mark with their award winning shows, Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle. Meanwhile, ABC has stuck to the “comedy about a family” formula with some success, churning out shows like Black-ish, Fresh Off the Boat, and The Goldbergs. 

Predicting comedy categories is tough because comedy is so subjective, but there shouldn’t be too many supporting actor/actress categories filled with players from the same show. There’s plenty of talent out there deserving recognition, and I hope my guesses pan out to show it.

<< Part I – Drama

Outstanding Comedy Series

 

Veep (HBO)

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Coming off 5 big Emmy wins a year ago, Veep is in full stride. It’s a show, while best watched episode by episode, that you can tune in and and enjoy at any point. In a year where politics and the presidential election is topping our headlines, Veep‘s excellent writing and acting has provided much needed relief and satire for it.

Silicon Valley (HBO)

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I personally feel this is the best comedy on television right now. Every episode exudes the genius of Mike Judge (and I’m not one for hyperbole), and every character offers killer punchline after punchline. As good and popular as Veep is, Silicon Valley is as deserving, if not more worthy of a “Best Comedy” win.

Transparent (Amazon)

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Amazon has proved recently to be an excellent source for original comedy. Their tentpole, or at least the starting flag, is definitely Transparent. Where Veep hits the topical political satire, Transparent is at the forefront of representing the LGBT+ community and does so better than anyone else.

Mozart in the Jungle (Amazon)

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I’ll admit, I hadn’t checked out Mozart in the Jungle until after its Golden Globe success this past season. I’m so glad I did though…One of the easiest binge-watches ever with such charming characters and great music. I actually accidentally watched the 2nd season first, because I was new to the Amazon Prime platform, and it was the best mistake I ever made.

Master of None (Netflix)

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Netflix has been producing excellent programming for years now, but Aziz Ansari’s Master of None may have been it’s best true comedy. As funny and well-written as Orange is the New Black is, it’s really a drama. Master of None used an episodic formula that was similar to Louie, but eliminated the standup and awkwardness. Ansari’s storytelling and delivery was very natural and felt real, as were his relationships with characters on the show.

Broad City (Comedy Central)

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Broad City has made waves on Comedy Central for a few years now and the creator/star combo of Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson deserve their recognition now. The Writers Guild gave it a “Best Comedy Series” nomination this year which leads me to believe the Emmys aren’t far from doing the same.

Modern Family (ABC)

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Before last year, this category BELONGED to Modern Family. They won “Best Comedy Series” 5 years in a row and the only show to ever pull that off was Frasier, from 1994-98. I believe new programming and other powerhouses have certainly caught up, in terms of content and creativity, but Modern Family is still good for the multiple belly-laughs each episode.

Also Consider:

 

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 

It’s a favorite for many and definitely picks up from the middle to end, but I don’t believe the 2nd season grabbed you like the first. 

Black-ish

Black-ish became more than a half-hour family comedy this year, unafraid to tackle difficult issues in “special” episodes that haven’t been pulled off in years. 

Grace and Frankie

Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterson’s second season of relationship breaking and building was even better than the first. Sam Elliott as a love interest doesn’t hurt either. 

Outstanding Lead Actress

 

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, ‘Veep’ (HBO)

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There’s not much you can say when JLD has won this category four years in a row.

Gina Rodriguez, ‘Jane the Virgin’ (CW)

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Gina Rodriguez wasn’t nominated last year, after winning the Golden Globe for her role in the same same season. Her work on Jane The Virgin brought some serious legitimacy to the CW, and a nomination would right the wrong that was made a year ago for not recognizing it.

Rachel Bloom, ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ (CW)

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Also giving the CW more credibility is Rachel Bloom, who won the Golden Globe this in the same category. The comedy/musical-hybrid series is much more of a delight than the title suggests and it’s carried by Bloom, whose character is as dynamic as any in the field.

Amy Schumer, ‘Inside Amy Schumer’ (Comedy Central)

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If have no problem saying that Amy Schumer’s brand of sketch comedy is doing laps around Saturday Night Live, and her show continues to do so its 4th season.

Ellie Kemper, ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ (Netflix)

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All you need:

Constance Wu, ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ (ABC)

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While I’m still not very keen on the title of this show, Constance Wu is the anchor of this 90’s based comedy from ABC. The sooner she gets the recognition for it, the better.

Also Consider:

 

Lily Tomlin, ‘Grace and Frankie’

It’s very likely Lily Tomlin will taking a spot from anyone above. 

 

Ilana Glazer, ‘Broad City’

Yas…

Abbi Jacobson, ‘Broad City’

…Queen.

Outstanding Lead Actor

 

Jeffery Tambor, ‘Transparent’ (Amazon)

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After winning a year ago, it’s easy to assume Jeffrey Tambor will be nominated again for his lead role in one of the most brilliantly titled programs on Television.

Gael Garcia Bernal, ‘Mozart in the Jungle’ (Amazon)

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Gael Garcia Bernal’s character, Rodrigo, is one of the most fascinating and lovable ones on television. He oozes with a passion and love for his craft and orchestra that almost inspires the viewer…or at least makes you continue binge-watching his show.

Will Forte, ‘The Last Man on Earth’ (FOX)

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Will Forte took a concept that nobody knew could make it past the first pilot, and turned it into an a creative world that nobody expected. Post SNL/MacGruber life has been very good to him.

Aziz Ansari, ‘Master of None’ (Netflix)

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As mentioned before, Aziz’s delivery in Masters of None is incredibly natural and previous Parks and Recreation fans a much chiller side than Tom Haverford ever had.

Thomas Middleditch, ‘Silicon Valley’ (HBO)

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What Rami Malek does for Mr. Robot, Thomas Middleditch sort of does for Silicon Valley. While not needing to carry the show of a great supporting cast, he still nails the introverted mad genius thing. He also handles most social situations like many of us would probably like to admit.

Jim Parsons, ‘The Big Bang Theory’ (CBS)

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Jim Parsons didn’t receive a nomination last year, but won 4 out of the 6 years before. For as long as Big Bang Theory continues to run, Sheldon Cooper remains to be the most interesting part of the show. In this past season, we saw him develop well beyond the way he had before and that should bode well for Parsons come nomination time.

Also Consider:

 

Andy Daly, ‘Review’

Awesome and underrated concept show on Comedy Central, where Andy Daly plays a sweet and lovable character…forced to do horrible things.

Bruce Campbell, ‘Ash vs. Evil’

Fans of the cult classic franchise were not disappointed by the sequel series. Not one bit. 

Billy Eichner, ‘Difficult People’

Because we all want to see Billy Eichner with a chance to win. He’s America’s sweetheart.

Outstanding Supporting Actress

 

Anna Chlumsky, ‘Veep’ (HBO)

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Like Julia Louis-Dreyfus, castmate Ann Chlumsky is regular nominee. Unlike JLD, she hasn’t won yet. It’s a ridiculously tough category, but her performances consistently warrant a win.

Allison Janney, ‘Mom’ (CBS)

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Alison Janney is a TV Powerhouse. She has 6 Emmy wins from 3 different roles (The West Wing, Masters of Sex, and Mom). She’s the reigning champ for now and it will be interesting to see if she can repeat.  

Julie Bowen, ‘Modern Family’ (ABC)

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Julie Bowen has come a long way since Happy Gilmore…Her 2 Emmy wins and nominations for each of the past 6 years is a serious testament to her work and role on Modern Family. 

Sofia Vergara, ‘Modern Family’ (ABC)

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Sofia Vergara hasn’t been nominated since 2013, but she still delivers the biggest punchlines on Modern Family.

Judith Light, ‘Transparent’ (Amazon)

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Tambor and Bradley Whitford won Emmys a year ago and it’s time for Judith Light to join her castmates in nominations, at the very least.

Chelsea Peretti, ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ (FOX)

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Chelsea Peretti is considered more of a darkhorse contender, but she’s a huge reason I tune into Brooklyn Nine-Nine as often as I can. I would also be most interested in hearing an acceptance speech from her than anyone else.

Also Consider:

Kate MicKinnon, ‘Saturday Night Live’

I imagine she’ll be nominated over at least 2 of the above hopefuls, because she’s the best thing Saturday Night Live has going. 

Mayim Bialik, ‘The Big Bang Theory’

Like Sheldon Cooper, you can never count out Amy Farafaler.

Amanda Peete, ‘Togetherness’

Although Togetherness is no longer on the air, Amanda Peete was great on it and needs something better to talk about Late Night talk shows than her husband’s work on Game of Thrones. 

Outstanding Supporting Actor

Tony Hale, ‘Veep’ (HBO)

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Despite never being nominated for his awesome work as Buster Bluth on Arrested Development, Tony Hale has done very well for himself on Veep with 2 wins in the last 3 years. His character, Gary Walsh, is the ultimate kiss-ass and has been key for years of awesome punchlines.

T.J. Miller, ‘Silicon Valley’ (HBO)

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TJ Miller is having a very awesome run of late, scoring big in Deadpool and being casted in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming adaptation of ‘Ready Player One’. As Silicon Valley continues to rack up critical acclaim, it wouldn’t be a shock to hear his name called when nominees are announced. His Erlich Bachman character continues to evolve and surprise audiences, episode to episode.

Louie Anderson, ‘Baskets’ (FX)

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As a former producer who was flaked out on by Louie Anderson for a radio interview, it takes a lot for me to say he was brilliant on Baskets as Zach Galifianakis’ mother…He really was. It would be a great story to recognize the veteran comedian’s comeback too.

Ty Burrell, ‘Modern Family’ (ABC) 

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Ty Burrell has become an institution when it comes to Emmys and Modern Family. From the pilot thru 7 seasons of the ABC comedy, his energy and performance has lasted like the Energizer Bunny. The category would feel a little empty without him.

Andre Braugher, ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ (FOX)

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Nobody does straight-face/deadpan better than Andre Braugher on Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Malcolm McDowell, ‘Mozart in the Jungle’ (Amazon)

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Whether it’s a Rob Zombie film, a TNT bro comedy (Franklin & Bash) or series about the New York symphony orchestra, Malcom McDowell brings such a fun fascination and elegance to whatever he’s working on. Playing the old maestro trying to finish his masterpiece in Mozart in the Jungle, McDowell is a big reason I couldn’t turn this show off for an entire weekend.

Also Consider:

Titus Burgess, ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’

Voters love Titus Burgess and with good reason. I have no doubt he’ll replace one of my favorites above.

 

Tim Robbins, ‘The Brink’ 

One of the most underrated performances in the last year. Tim Robbins made The Brink appointment television for me last summer.

Keegan-Michael Key & Jordan Peele, ‘Key and Peele’

These are the funniest people on TV and should great as much credit as possible for the great work they did on their now former sketch show.

Stay Tuned for “Part III – Limited Series” coming soon. Checkout Part I (Drama) here.

Follow for more on Facebook or Twitter. You can subscribe to The Piffcast on iTunes too.

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Predicting the 2016 Emmy Nominees (Part I) – Drama

I’ve joked in the past that this is the post-Breaking Bad era, though it doesn’t totally feel like it thanks to Better Call Saul. You could say it’s more of the post-Mad Men era, after Jon Hamm rode off into the sunset with as many Best Actor awards as he could grab. Come July 14th, we’ll see which of our favorite shows, actors and actresses are getting the credit that we know their due.

Emmy voting will begin June 13th, as the networks and streaming services had from March 28th until May 2nd to make submissions. To qualify for this year’s Emmys, a show had to air from June 1st of 2015 to May 31st, 2016. This is why it feels weird when shows from last summer (forever ago) are nominated or may feel looked over from this past year. That’s why Mr. Robot Season 1 will be considered as well as HBO’s Show Me A Hero miniseries.

To prepare for the announcements coming in the middle of July, let’s speculate on which titles and whose names will be called as 2016 Emmy Nominees. Since there are 18 different categories, we’ll break the predictions up into 3 different “Parts” – Drama, Comedy, and Limited Series/TV Movies/Variety Shows. We’ll also determine the number of nominees based on last year’s total per category.

Beginning with the Drama Categories…

Outstanding Drama Series 

Game of Thrones (HBO)

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Last year’s winner has put together a very good follow up season. It’s filled with the twists and heartache that you’ve come to know Game of Thrones by, but also many more “wins” that viewers don’t normally get. HBO’s most popular show is just a few more years from wrapping up, there are more answers than questions and that’s been very satisfying.

Better Call Saul (AMC)

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The sophomore season of the Breaking Bad spinoff has established itself as something completely different from its predecessor, and it’s even better than the first. Whereas Breaking Bad was a suspenseful crime thriller, Better Call Saul is a slower paced Law Dramedy with some elements of the original series. Who knew such a hit show could be developed around a smaller supporting character like Saul, carried by comedic actors (Bob Odenkirk and Michael McKean)?

House of Cards (Netflix)Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 12.12.54 PM

The fourth season of House of Cards felt like a much needed rebound from the third. Part of the suspense of this show is that you always fear the worst for anyone who gets in Frank Underwood’s way. The tearing down and rebuilding of his relationship with Claire, plus the relevance of an election campaign were especially compelling.

Mr. Robot (USA)

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Mr. Robot’s pilot episode was one of the best in recent years. It was an honest look into the world of hacking, not the superficial “CW spin” or goth look with a strand of hair dyed a different color. The show remained suspenseful and worth watching thanks to the performance of Rami Malek as the ultimate introvert protagonist, which cut through many of the pretentious themes and the blatantly “Fight Club” ripoff. It was still very refreshing and helped legitimize a network that really needed a hit.

Narcos (Netflix)

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Narcos was one of the big surprises of 2015 and had similar storytelling that you’d find in a Scorsese film. Even if most of the dialogue was in subtitles, you could argue that the action and acting helped make this take on the life of Pablo Escobar one of the most suspenseful show’s of the year.

The Americans (FX)

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For years, The Americans has been one of the most critically acclaimed shows on television but has only received two Emmy nominations, one for writing and a win for Margo Martindale’s guest appearance. With Mad Men finally ineligible and Homeland having a weak season (in my opinion), it seems to be now or never for the Russian Spy/Cold War thriller.

Downton Abbey (PBS)

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It was the farewell season. Has to be nominated, right?

Also Consider: 

Billions

 A personal favorite with some of the best writing this year. 

Horace and Pete

Louis C.K.’s web-drama. He didn’t feel he needed to promote it until he noticed nobody was watching it. You’ll be glad if you do.

Homeland

If so, it’ll be by reputation and not merit. Last year was not a good followup to a great 4th season. 

 

Outstanding Lead Actress

Robin Wright, ‘House of Cards’ (Netflix)

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Every year I try to predict this category, I go with Robin Wright (and usually lose). You could make an argument that her character shined even more than the iconic Frank Underwood this season.

Julianna Margulies, ‘The Good Wife’ (CBS)

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One of network television’s biggest hits in recent years also said farewell, The Good Wife, and their leading lady literally got slapped in the face (on the show). Hopefully the 12-time nominee will get some love from the Emmys make that feel better.

Tatiana Maslany, ‘Orphan Black’ (SyFy)

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There’s a lot to be said for an actress who plays as many characters as you can count on your hand, and you forget that each one is the same person…and also clones. I just recently jumped on the Orphan Black bandwagon and I get the hype now.

Krysten Ritter, ‘Jessica Jones’ (Netflix)

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In a world (movie trailer guy voice) where superheroes dominate the box office, they also have begun taking over the small screen as well. Netflix expanded the Marvel universe and is doing it the best on television with Daredevil and Jessica Jones. The latter has received more acclaim and credibility because of Krysten Ritter’s performance as the whiskey drinking, super-strength wielding private eye.

Eva Green, ‘Penny Dreadful’ (Showtime)

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I am unsure if there is an actress on television right now as scary as Eva Green in Penny Dreadful. She has this unbelievable ability to be so warm and then so terrifying in a blink of an eye. It’s about time she got some love for it.

Viola Davis, ‘How to Get Away with Murder’ (ABC)

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Last year’s winner has clearly brought her Oscar nominated acting chops to TV and could be carrying the mantle for network representatives as Margulies seems to be putting it down…for now.

Also Consider:

Claire Danes, ‘Homeland’

I have no doubt she will snag one of the nominations from my predictions above, since she’s been nominated each of the last 4 years. Carrie Mathieson needs some new life, and thankfully the series is taking a year off to find it. 

Taraji P. Henson, ‘Empire’

Nobody puts Cookie in the corner.

Olivia Wilde, ‘Vinyl’

Olivia Wilde really did the best she could with a script that didn’t give her character enough credit. Hope they right that wrong in Season 2. 

Outstanding Lead Actor

Bob Odenkirk, ‘Better Call Saul’ (AMC)

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I love that Bob Odenkirk is where he is now. Comedy is one of the hardest things to do for an actor, and he’s a master of that. So it’s no surprise he’s turned the creation of Saul Goodman into something we all can’t seem to get enough of.

Kevin Spacey, ‘House of Cards’ (Netflix)

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You can imagine Spacey will be a staple in this category for as long as House of Cards is running. It’s very interesting how the character has aged in such a short span, but that may be the point the show is making with the “reality of being president”.

Rami Malek, ‘Mr. Robot’ (USA)

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Rami Malek makes Mr. Robot worth watching. He plays the role perfectly and keeps the viewer at edge with what will happen to him next.

Kyle Chandler, ‘Bloodline’ (Netflix)

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I’ll be honest, I didn’t like the newest season of Bloodline. It was too miserable for my taste, but Kyle Chandler’s acting was something worth rooting for. He presents John Rayburn’s fall from grace perfectly and it’s just so damn heartbreaking.

Liev Schreiber, ‘Ray Donovan’ (Showtime)

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Ray Donovan has one of the best casts on television, but the title character is why you watch it. Schreiber was nominated last year for the role, but his best acting was certainly executed in the most recent…I’ll reference the Season 3 finale as enough evidence to earn Schreiber a surprise win.

Damien Lewis, ‘Billions’ (Showtime)

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Both leads in Billions, including Paul Giamatti, deserve nominations. They played off each other perfectly but if one of them has to be named, it should be Lewis. In a day and age where Wall Street is the Big Bad Wolf (another Scorsese reference), Lewis portrays a hedge fund antihero of sorts…or villain you can’t help but cheer for because he is so well written.

Also Consider:

Paul Giamatti, ‘Billions’ 

For the reasons above, but as a Federal Attorney.

Bobby Cannavale, ‘Vinyl’

I didn’t really like Vinyl as a show but Cannavale’s performance alone is enough to watch all 10 episodes of the first season…so is the music.

Wagner Moura, ‘Narcos’

His performance as Pablo Escobar is so unpredictable, just the slightest movement makes you jumpy over what will happen next.

Outstanding Supporting Actress

Uzo Aduba, ‘Orange is the New Black’ (Netflix)

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Last year, Uzo Aduba shifted categories, from comedy to drama, and won again. If you ask me, she’s the best thing Orange is the New Black has going and I probably wouldn’t be looking forward to the next season if it weren’t for her. The erotic novelist arc of “Crazy Eyes” in season 3 was the most entertaining part of the most recent season.

Lena Headey, ‘Game of Thrones’ (HBO)

Cersei

Mark my my words, Lena Headey is going to get a win before Game of Thrones is over. She gives some of most powerful performances and scenes on TV’s most talked about show, and her character has gone from hatable to fan favorite in just a year’s span.

Christine Baranski, ‘The Good Wife’ (CBS)

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Christine Baranski has been nominated for each of the last six years and hasn’t come away with a win. She actually has 14 total and hasn’t won since 1995. Her character delivers the aforementioned “slap heard around the world” and is rumored to be getting a spinoff, so she must be doing something right.

Maggie Siff, ‘Billions’ (Showtime)

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Maggie Siff was an absolute scene stealer in the first season of Billions and went toe-to-toe with both of the leads. If there was a “hero” type character on the show, it’s hers and she deserves all the acclaim she gets for her performance.

Constance Zimmer, ‘UnReal’ (Lifetime)

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UnReal is Lifetime’s saving grace from the victim formula movies and bad “Real Story” biopics. Constance Zimmer is a big reason for that, showing you the reality of producing reality television. She could be the breakout that the network needs to be taken seriously.

Regina King, ‘The Leftovers’ (HBO)

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Regina King is one of my favorite actresses, who will likely be nominated again for her role in the American Crime anthology miniseries. She was a great addition to The Leftovers and represents a whole bunch of actresses who could easily fill this category if needed.

Also Consider:

Joanne Froggatt, ‘Downton Abbey’

It’s Downton victory lap.

Maggie Smith, ‘Downton Abbey’

Same reason.

Sissy Spacek, ‘Bloodline’

The story is not much to write home about but there are multiple times you almost expect the Carrie hellfire to rain down on those opposite her. Great acting.

Outstanding Supporting Actor

Peter Dinklage, ‘Game of Thrones’ (HBO)

Tyrion

Dinklage’s role hasn’t been prevalent as it was in the latest season, but the performance has still been nomination worthy (6 episodes in). Actually, the scene he has taming the dragons could put him over the top again, when push comes to shove. It was everything we’ve come to love about Tyrion Lannister as a character and more.

Jonathan Banks, ‘Better Call Saul’ (AMC)

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The Mike storyline in Better Call Saul has the familiar suspense and danger that we knew and loved from Breaking Bad. Jonathan Banks may be the biggest reason some fans love the show, and I wouldn’t blame them.

Jim Carter, ‘Downton Alley’ (PBS)

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Like many of the other Downton Emmy contenders I’ve mentioned, it’s victory lap time for the show. It would just feel wrong to leave the 4-time nominee out.

Joel Kinnaman, ‘House of Cards’ (Netflix)

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The Killing alum Joel Kinnaman deserved more credit for his performance on that show, and he proved to have even more range after joining House of Cards. He should be nominated alone for making a Republican candidate seem…*gulp*…relatable. Even if it is for a short time.

Alan Alda, ‘Horace and Pete’ (LouisCKNet)

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The role may have originally been written for Joe Pesci (as Louis C.K. has admitted) but what ISN’T Alan Alda good in? It’s kinda funny seeing Hawkeye from M.A.S.H. play a character who represents almost everything he hates.

Also Consider:

Michael Kelly, ‘House of Cards’

If Kinnaman isn’t nominated, Doug Stamper totally will be. 

Christian Slater, ‘Mr. Robot’

He’s riding a lot of momentum after winning a Golden Globe for the award. 

Ben Mendelsohn, ‘Bloodline’

Mendelsohn is turning out to be one of my favorite actors as of late. He may get nominated based on reputation but his character does nowhere near enough as he had in the first season. He’s more of a symbol than a player. 

Stay Tuned for “Part II – Comedy” coming soon. 

Follow for more on Facebook or Twitter. You can subscribe to The Piffcast on iTunes too.

‘One Shining Moment’ of the Day: 2006

Final Four:

(3) Florida, (2) UCLA, (11) George Mason, (4) LSU

 

National Championship

Florida over UCLA, 73-57 at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, IN

 

Most Outstanding Player:

Joakim Noah, Florida

 

Leading Scorers:

Glen “Big Baby” Davis (LSU) and Joakim Noah – 98 points/16.3 ppg.

 

Fun Fact:

6 double-digit seeded teams (#11 and over) won big upsets, including #14 Northwestern State over #3 Iowa.

 

Check out our discussion on this year’s tournament and who to keep in mind when filling out your brackets. Subscribe to The Piffcast on iTunes here

 

Follow along for more on Facebook or Twitter.

 

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The 2016 GRAMMYs: Who’s Won What So Far

There are 83 categories for this year’s GRAMMY Awards. Believe it or not, that’s more than 20 less than they presented in 2011.

While the broadcast of the awards show doesn’t start until 7:00 PM CT on CBS, awards were being handed out nearly 5 hours before the show. To keep you posted on the “Who Wins What”, we’ll continuously update this page with announcements and winners.

Winning the first award of the night is…

Best Pop Vocal Album

Taylor Swift – ‘1989’

 

Best Instrumental Composition

Arturo O’Farril – ‘The Afro Latin Jazz Suite’

 

Best Arrangement, Instrumental Or A Cappella

Ben Bram, Mitch Grassi, Scott Hoying, Avi Kaplan, Kristin Taylor and Kevin Olusola – ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’

 

Best Arrangement, Instruments And Vocals

Maria Schneider – “Sue (Or In A Season of Crime)”

 

Best Recording Package

Sarah Dodds, Schauna Dodds and Dick Reeves – ‘Still The King: Celebrating The Music Of Bob Wills And His Texas Playboys’

 

Best Album Notes

Joni Mitchell – ‘Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, A Ballet, Waiting To Be Danced’

 

Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package

Jack White, Susan Archie and Dean Blackwood -‘The Rise & Fall Of Paramount Records, Volume Two (1928-32)’

 

Best Historical Album

Steve Berkowitz, Jan Haust, Jeff Rosen, Peter J Moore and Mark Wilder – ‘The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11’

 

Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical

Shawn Everett and Bob Ludwig – ‘Color and Sound’

 

Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical

Dave Aude – ‘Uptown Funk’ (Dave Aude Remix)

 

Best Surround Sound Album

James Guthrie and Joel Plante – ‘Amused To Death’

 

Best Contemporary Instrumental Album

Real Snarky Puppy and Metropole Orkest – ‘Sylva’

 

Best New Age Album

Paul Avgerinos – ‘Grace’

 

Best Improvised Jazz Solo

Christian McBride – ‘Cherokee’

 

Best Jazz Vocal Album

Cecile Salvant – ‘For One To Love’

 

Best Jazz Instrumental Album

John Scofield – ‘Past Present’

 

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album

Maria Schneider Orchestra – ‘The Thompson Fields’

 

Congrats Best Latin Jazz Album

Eliane Elias – ‘Made In Brazil’

 

Best Reggae Album

Morgan Heritage – ‘Strictly Roots’

 

Best World Music Album

Angelique Kidjo – ‘Sings’

 

Best Children’s Album

Tim Kubart – ‘Home’

 

Best Spoken Word Album

Jimmy Carter – ‘A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety’

 

Best Comedy Album

Louis C.K. – Live At Madison Square Garden

 

Best Latin Pop Album

Ricky Martin – ‘A Quien Quiera Escuchar (Deluxe Edition)’

Best Latin Rock, Urban Or Alternative Album

Natalia Lafourcade – ‘Hasta La Raíz’

and

Pitbull – ‘Dale’ (Tie)

 

Best Regional Mexican Music Album

Los Tigres Del Norte – ‘Realidades – Deluxe Edition’

 

Best Tropical Latin Album

Ruben Blades w/ Roberto Delgado – ‘Son De Panamá’ 

 

Best American Roots Performance

Mavis Staples – ‘See That My Grave Is Kept Clean’ 

 

Best American Roots Song

Jason Isbel – ’24 Frames’

 

Best Americana Album

Jason Isbel – ‘Something More Than Free’

 

Best Bluegrass Album

Steel Drivers – ‘The Muscle Shoals Recordings’

 

Best Blues Album

Buddy Guy – ‘Born To Play Guitar’

 

Best Folk Album

Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn – ‘Béla Fleck And Abigail Washburn’

Best Regional Roots Music Album

Jon Cleary – ‘Go Go Juice’

 

Producer Of The Year, Classical

Judith Sherman

 

Best Opera Recording

Seiji Ozawa, Isabelle Leonard and Dominic Fyfe – ‘Ravel: L’Enfant Et Les Sortilèges; Shéhérazade’

 

Best Choral Performance

Charles Bruffy, Phoenix Chorale and the Kansas City Chorale – ‘Rachmaninoff: All-Night Vigil’

 

Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance

Eighth Blackbird – ‘Filament’

 

Best Classical Instrumental Solo

Augustin Hadelich and Ludovic Morlot – ‘Dutilleux: Violin Concerto, L’Arbre Des Songes’

 

Best Classical Solo Vocal Album

Joyce DiDonato & Antonio Pappano – ‘Joyce and Tony – Live From Wigmore Hall’

 

Best Contemporary Classical Composition

Stephen Paulus – ‘Paulus: Prayers & Remembrances’

 

Best Classical Solo Vocal Album

Joyce DiDonato & Antonio Pappano – ‘Joyce and Tony – Live From Wigmore Hall’

 

Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media

Glen Campbell  – ‘Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me’

 

Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media

Antonio Sanchez – ‘Birdman’

 

Best Song Written For Visual Media

Common, Rhymefest and John Legend – ‘Glory’

 

Best Music Video

Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – ‘Bad Blood’

Bad Blood.gif

 

Best Gospel Performance/Song

Kirk Franklin – ‘Wanna Be Happy?’

 

Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song

Francesca Battistelli – ‘Holy Spirit’

 

Best Gospel Album

Israel New Breed – ‘Covered: Alive In Asia [Live]’

Best Contemporary Christian Music Album

Toby Mac – ‘This Is Not A Test’

 

Best Roots Gospel Album

The Fairfield Four – ‘Still Rockin’ My Soul’

 

Best Country Solo Performance

Chris Stapleton – ‘Traveller’

 

Best Country Duo/Group Performance

Little Big Town – ‘Girl Crush’

 

Best Country Song

Little Big Town – ‘Girl Crush’

 

Best Dance Recording

Skrillex, Diplo and Justin Bieber – ‘Where Are Ü Now’

 

Best Dance/Electronic Album

Skrillex, Diplo and Justin Bieber – ‘Where Are Ü Now’

 

Best R&B Performance

The Weeknd -‘Earned It (Fifty Shades Of Grey)’

 

Best Traditional R&B Performance

Lalah Hathaway – ‘Little Ghetto Boy’

 

Best R&B Song

D’Angelo – ‘Really Love’ 

 

Best Urban Contemporary Album

The Weeknd – ‘Beauty Behind The Madness’

 

Best R&B Album

D’Angelo – ‘Black Messiah’

 

Best Metal Performance

Ghost – ‘Cirice’

 

Best Rock Song

Alabama Shakes – ‘Don’t Wanna Fight’

 

Best Rock Album

Muse – ‘Drones’ 

 

Best Alternative Music Album

The Alabama Shakes – ‘Sound & Color’

 

Best Rap Performance

Kendrick Lamar – ‘Alright’ 

 

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration

Kendrick Lamar ft. Bilal, Anna Wise & Thundercat – ‘These Walls’

 

Best Rap Song

Kendrick Lamar – ‘Alright’

 

Best Pop Solo Performance

Ed Sheeran – ‘Thinking Out Loud’

 

Best Pop Duo/Group

Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – ‘Uptown Funk’

 

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album

Tony Bennett and Bill Charlap – ‘The Silver Lining: Songs of Jerome Kern’

 

Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical

Jeff Bhasker

 

Best Rap Album

Kendrick Lamar – ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’

 

Best Country Album

Chris Stapleton – ‘Traveller’

 

Song Of The Year

Ed Sheeran & Amy Wadge – ‘Thinking Out Loud’

 

Best Musical Theater Album

Hamilton

 

Best Rock Performance

Alabama Shakes – ‘Don’t Wanna Fight’

 

Best New Artist

Meghan Trainor

 

 

Album Of The Year

Taylor Swift – ‘1989’

 

 

Record Of The Year

Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars – ‘Uptown Funk’

 

Solid night of music. For more follow along on Facebook and Twitter.

#SB50 Roundup: Prop Bets, Podcast, Playlist and More

 

Tonight’s the night…

(5:30 PM CT for kickoff, to be exact)

A week (and a year) of hype for the 50th installment of THE BIGGEST SPORTING EVENT IN THE WORLD. All caps necessary. 

Here on MichaelPiff.com we did everything we could to get you prepared for the “Big Game”. 

ALL THE PROP BETS…

From the color of the Gatorade dumped on the winning coach to the combination of tonight’s victor and our next President, listed HERE. 

The Piffcast…

We brought back the show just in time for Super Bowl 50! Don’t forget to post your Super Bowl Party spread to Facebook or Twitter. The tastiest looking pic wins the first Piffcast Prize Pack. One of the things included is mentioned early in the show, so listen up!

 

The Playlist…

For your Super Bowl party, check out the music from the artists we listed in the “Denver vs. Carolina: Everything But Football” breakdown…and the Halftime acts too. 

 

And more…

Like the 2016 NFL Bad Lip Reading videos…Parts I

and II

 

Follow along on Twitter during the game and don’t forget to send your Super Bowl Spread pics to @Mike_PiFF03 for a chance at the first ever Piffcast Prize Pack

September 2015 TV Premieres and What To Watch

Ready your DVRs! 

Fall TV is coming. While you still have to wait another month for big premieres like Homeland, The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, and Fargo…

(“…very friendly people”)

…but September is no slouch for new Television. After this week, CBS will be leading off big for Late Night TV lovers and it only gets better from there. 

September 8th

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (CBS)

Stephen Colbert Late Show Premiere

10:35 PM CDT

The table is set for Stephen Colbert, who takes over for Davide Letterman at The Late Show. The Tuesday premiere schedule is pretty thin as is, and all eyes will be on Colbert to see how he transitions from his Comedy Central character and takes on the likes of Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel in that time slot.

For me, it’s a breath of fresh air after the disappointing showing so far from Colbert’s new CBS teammate, James Corden. I wasn’t expecting the spastic preteen pandering that Corden’s Late Late Show was going to bring. It’s a long “ughhhh” when you go from Craig Ferguson and his “Don’t give a shit” brand of comedy to…sing-a-longs with Justin Bieber. 

Here’s the slate of guests to look forward to with Colbert when the new Late Show kicks off. 

Tuesday: George Clooney, Jeb Bush and band leader Jon Baptiste with special musical guests

Wednesday: Scarlet Johansson, Elon Musk and Kendrick Lamar

Thursday: Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and Toby Keith

Friday: Amy Schumer, Stephen King and Troubled Waters

September 9th

The League (FXX)

League FXX

9:00 PM CDT

The 7th season of The League will be it’s last. It’s a show about a Fantasy Football league that only sorta talks about Fantasy Football, which is fine. Every few episodes have their NFL cameos that include Matt Forte, Darren Sproles, JJ Watt, Marshawn Lynch, Jay Cutler, and the “Cameron Jordan & Jordan Cameron” combo that never gets old.

I’ll be honest, I have only watched the show as a Netflix binge watch ever since their move to FXX. It’s a ridiculously quick watch that way. For the final season though, it’ll be worth the effort week-to-week. A lot of familiar faces will be reprising their roles like Rob Riggle, Will Forte, Zach Woods, Ike Barinholtz, Leslie Bibb…and Marshawn Lynch. And don’t forget all the near decade long running jokes between Mark Duplass, Nick Kroll, Jon Lajoie, Stephen Rannazzisi, Paul Sheer and Katie Aselton and their quest for THE SHIVA!

September 10th

Longmire (Netflix)

Longmire Netflix

Full Season Available at 12:01 AM

Originally on A&E, Longmire is an excellent fix for fans of both Justified and Hell On Wheels. It’s a modern serial western about a Wyoming county sheriff solving gruesome crimes in both his jurisdiction and the neighboring Cheyenne reservation. Robert Taylor didn’t have much notoriety before playing Walt Longmire, but it seems like the role he was meant to play. Along with Battlestar Galactica and 24 alum Katee Sackhoff, Lou Diamond Phillips takes viewers back to his Young Guns days as Walt’s badass Native American sidekick.

September 13th

Doll & Em

9:30 PM CDT

If you’re having Emily Mortimer withdrawal since The Newsroom went off the air, this may be your fix. This 6 episode sitcom follows the actress and her best friend/assistant Dolly Wells around during their adventures in Hollywood and Broadway. It’s cheeky…Did I use that correctly? 

September 15th

The Mindy Project (Hulu weekly)

Mindy Project Hulu

Best Time Ever w/ Neil Patrick Harris (NBC)

Best Time Ever NBC

9:00 PM CDT

The Bastard Executioner (FX)

9:00 PM CDT

Kurt Sutter’s followup to FX’s highest rated show, Sons of Anarchy, is medieval in every way possible. It’s Game of Thrones with more historical relevance, as it takes place during King Edward III’s reign. Lee Jones has some Chris Hemsworth/Thor to him playing the protagonist Wilkin Brattle. True Blood fans will enjoy Vampire Bill aka Stephen Moyer back in a period piece in a co-starring role. Longtime Sutter enthusiasts will recognize plenty of familiar faces from his SOA and  The Shield  runs, including Katey Sagal and Timothy V. Murphy. 

September 16th

South Park (Comedy Central)

9:00 PM CDT

THIS IS SEASON 19!!! Trey Parker and Matt Stone truly have it made, as they have been renewed through 25 seasons with Comedy Central. It’s fun to speculate which pop culture and political news, issues and events will be parodied in the upcoming season…I’ll throw down some bets for Donald Trump, Star Wars, and Deflategate (they love their football and their Denver Broncos). 

September 19th

Doctor Who (BBC America)

Picture shows:  Peter Capaldi as The Doctor and Jenna Coleman as Clara

8:00 PM CDT

I have to confess…I’ve never seen an episode of Doctor Who (*ducks*). I guess it’s never too late to start, right? 

September 21st

The Big Bang Theory (CBS)

Big Bang Theory CBS

7:00 PM CDT

Minority Report (FOX)

Minority Report

8:00 PM CDT

Gotham: Rise of the Villains (FOX)

7:00 PM CDT

I’m not sure if anyone really loved Gotham’s Season 1. Whether it was the campiness of the show or the inconsistent schedule that made you forget it was still on-air…Regardless, all the Batman bad guys you saw in S1 are back for S2…and they are angry. 

September 22nd

NCIS (CBS)

NCIS

7:00 PM CDT

Scream Queens (FOX)

Scream Queens

7:00 PM CDT

The Muppets (ABC)

7:00 PM CDT

It’s the F***’n Muppets…what more do you need? 

September 23rd

The Goldbergs (ABC)

JEFF GARLIN, WENDI MCLENDON-COVEY, GEORGE SEGAL, TROY GENTILE, SEAN GIAMBRONE, HAYLEY ORRANTIA

7:30 PM CDT

Empire (FOX)

Empire

8:00 PM CDT

Modern Family (ABC)

Modern Family S6

8:00 PM CDT

Going into it’s sixth season, Modern Family still guarantees at least one solid belly laugh every episode. 

September 24th

Heroes Reborn (NBC)

7 PM CDT

I understand that Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How To Get Away With Murder  all return that evening, but Heroes is all that matters to me…and many. 

September 28th

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Comedy Central)

10:00 PM CDT

By the end of the month, we’ll be comfortable with the new Late Show hosted by Daily Show alum Stephen Colbert…and we’ll finally get to know Trevor Noah better as he heads the post-Jon Stewart era. 

What TV shows are you looking forward to most this Fall? Let me know on Facebook and Twitter

President Obama’s Birthday and All His Sportiness

The 44th President of the United States LOVES his sports. He is an unapologetic Chicago White Sox fan. He fills out March Madness brackets for both Men and Women’s tournaments on SportsCenter each year. He also has no problem mixing it up on the White House basketball court.

Air Obama

So on his 54th birthday, lets put the partisan blah blah blah on the back-burner and appreciate something we all enjoy…Sports.

March Madness

Presidential Bracket

I look forward to the President’s annual segment on ESPN where he joins the rest of the nation in the Madness. Since he was elected, President Obama is interviewed by college basketball reporter Andy Katz from the White House to talk out each of his picks. Last year he took regular season undefeated favorite Kentucky to win it all (like many of you did) over Nova, and was obviously incorrect as Duke beat Wisconsin in the National Championship.

President Obama finished in ESPN’s 72.9 percentile in 2014 and was most successful in 2011 with a bracket in the 87.4%. Both years, UConn won the National Championship and he didn’t pick them. The President did choose a National Champion for his first year in office, North Carolina in 2009.

ESPN isn’t the only network who gets to share air-time with the Commander in Chief as one of CBS’s best color analysts, Clark Kellogg, took him on in a game of HORSE…err POTUS.

I don’t even want to know what would’ve happen if the President got skunked.

He Loves His Chicago Teams

President Chicago Teams

Despite referring to his White Sox’s home stadium as “Kaminskey Field” early in his first term, the President has never wavered as a Chicago die hard. When the Bulls re-signed All-Star Jimmy Butler to a longterm deal, he was on it…

(Props to my old teammate Matt Rodewald for getting that tweet picked up)

Before the Blackhawks hit the ice for Game 6, President Obama was leading the chants from Twitter…

And wore his lucky hockey sweater while doing so.

While touring Cooperstown a year ago, the President asked to try on the White Sox World Series ring.

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 2.35.07 PM

…and then donated the Sox jacket he wore to throw out the first pitch at the 2009 All-Star Game to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The President even hosted a White House visit for the Super Bowl winning 1985 Bears team, because they never got the chance to do so before. 

President and Ditka

(Ironic that it was Mike Ditka handing the President his jersey since he also wanted to run against him for a Senate seat in 2004)

The ’85 Bears and the Blackhawks may be the only Chicago teams that the President has hosted at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but he always seems to get a quick shoutout in for his favorite squads when he hosts other teams.

White House Host with the Most

We all remember the drama surrounding Red Sox DH David Ortiz’s selfie with the President and the handful of athletes who make a thing out of not going to visit the White House, despite it being a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (looking at you, Tim Thomas)…

But damn, do those photo ops turn out great.

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For more, follow along on Facebook and Twitter