Magazine article Variety

Rooting for the Underdogs on Emmy Night

Magazine article Variety

Rooting for the Underdogs on Emmy Night

Article excerpt

WHILE EVERY EMMY AWARDS race has its frontrunners (hello, "Veep!"), no nominee can truly be counted out until the official envelopes are opened and the winners' names read on stage Sept. 17. Until then, there are still quite a few underdogs in the mix that just could take top prizes if the Television Academy wants to do the unexpected. And it has happened before: Rami Malek claimed the lead actor trophy for "Mr. Robot" last year, while Tatiana Maslany ("Orphan Black") was crowned best actress.

Drama Series 1

"Better Call Saul" (AMC)

The "Breaking Bad" prequel really hit a stride in season three, firmly emerging from the shadow of its beloved predecessor and long-time Emmy favorite, "Breaking Bad." "Saul" has its own rhythms and storytelling quirks and a level of humor that makes it less of a harrowing experience than the journey fans took with Walter White. Though there's still no excuse for Emmy voters overlooking the work of co-stars Rhea Seehorn and Michael McKean this year, a series win for drama would soften the blow a little. - Cynthia Littleton

Drama Actor 2

Milo Ventimiglia, "This Is Us" (NBC)

Ventimiglia may be best known for teen-favorite roles on "Gilmore Girls" and "Heroes," but the 40-yearold has officially grown up in front of Hollywood's eyes with his most complex role to date in broadcast's biggest hit, "This Is Us." Though he's up against stiffcompetition with vets like Bob Odenkirk ("Better Call Saul") and Kevin Spacey ("House of Cards"), plus his own award-winning co-star Sterling K. Brown, Ventimiglia will always hold a title that none of his competitors do this season - most likely to make the audience cry. - Elizabeth Wagmeister

Drama Actress 3

Claire Foy, "The Crown" (Netflix)

When it comes to Emmy nominations, what so many dramatic actresses brilliantly conveyed were the strategies and emotions masked by a pose of conformity. Foy's work in "The Crown" is a brilliant example of deft, controlled rebellion. Unlike Offred (Elisabeth Moss) or Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), the queen of England is free - or is she? Foy masterfully shows a woman who sees the limits imposed on her but occasionally pushes past them with quiet, stubborn force. - Maureen Ryan

Comedy Series 4

"Silicon Valley" (HBO)

Though it's often overshadowed in voters minds' by that other HBO comedy with a flawless ensemble set in a specific world that somehow feels universal, "Silicon Valley" deserves to be recognized for the masterpiece it is. …

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