Emmy Watch: Your Drama Nominees

With the Emmy’s arriving this Sunday night, September 18, at 7 pm EST, we’re breaking down your nominees in the Drama categories. Remember, the Creative Arts Emmys, which were spread over two nights last weekend, took care of all your below-the-line talents—here are those results

Let’s have a look at this year’s drama categories—outstanding drama series, lead actor and lead actress, supporting actor and actress, and writing and directing. We’ll share some of our interviews with the respective shows’ creators, parse who we think has the edge and more.  


Outstanding Drama Series

Game of Thrones (HBO)

We’ve covered all things GoT in 2016, and have had a blast doing it. The series has received an astonishing 110 Emmy nominations, including six consecutive Outstanding Drama Series noms. It now has more Emmy wins, 35, than any other drama in TV history. It received more nominations this year than any other show, with 23. If it wins two more awards this coming Sunday (which it will), GoT will become the most awarded scripted show, period, in Emmy history.

The Americans (FX)

Quietly one of the best shows on TV. We spent time with their great costume designer, Jenny Gering, to find out how she created the fabulous 80s wardrobes.

House of Cards (Netflix)

We spoke with House of Cards Emmy-nominated production designer, Steve Arnold, about turning Baltimore in Washington D.C. and more.

Downton Abbey (PBS)

The great PBS drama aired it’s final show on Christmas, 2015. 

Better Call Saul (AMC)

If you thought they’d never be able to make a great show out of a Breaking Bad prequel, by now you know you were wrong.

Mr. Robot (USA)

We talked to Mr. Robot’s production designer about creating the show’s sinister looks.

Homeland (Showtime)

Homeland’s composer Sean Callery spoke to us about giving the show it’s heart pounding score.


Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Rami Malek, Mr. Robot (USA)

Malek’s performance in season one of Mr. Robot was astounding, and he’s your odds-on-favorite here.

Kevin Spacey, House of Cards (Netflix)

Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul (AMC)

Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan (Showtime)

Kyle Chandler, Bloodline (Netflix)

Matthew Rhys, The Americans (FX)

Rhys is getting the dark horse treatment from many Emmy-watchers. The Americans is finally getting the Emmy recognition it’s so richly deserved, and Rhys work on the series has been consistently outstanding. 


Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder (ABC)


It’s a hotly contested contest with Lead Actress with so many great performances, but no one brings the star power quite like Davis.

Robin Wright, House of Cards (Netflix)

Giving Lena Headley’s Cersei a run for her money for TV’s reigning Ice Queen. Wright has been excellent from the jump, and is a four-time nominee. 

Claire Danes, Homeland (Showtime)

Danes, like Wright, has been so good for so long on her show she is sometimes lost in the shuffle. 

Taraji P. Henson, Empire (Fox)

Henson is the best thing on Empire, which is saying a lot considering the high wattage talent that surrounds her.

Keri Russell, The Americans (FX)

As good as Rhys, only with even better wigs. Russell could win in any given year of the show, but again, the competition is stiff. This is her first nomination.

Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black (BBC America)

Finally Maslany gets her long overdue nomination. Of everyone in this category, she’s the only one who plays more roles than Russell does on The Americans.  We spoke to Maslany at this year's SXSW.


Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones (HBO)

Always a favorite of critics and fans alike. The only thing slowing Dinklage down was Tyrion’s relatively tame season six.

Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul (AMC)

There are few character actors who lift their shows up more than Banks, who does yeoman work on Saul, just as he did on Breaking Bad.

Michael Kelly, House of Cards (Netflix)

Kit Harington, Game of Thrones (HBO)

Harington deserves an Emmy simply for keeping the fate of his Jon Snow a secret for so long. He’s one of the main protagonists in one what’s about to be the most decorated TV show in history, and he does solid work as always as one of Westeros’s few moral compasses. 

Jon Voight, Ray Donovan (Showtime)

Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline (Netflix)


Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey (PBS)

What more do you need?

Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones (HBO)

There’s a real GoT glut here, with three very strong performances garnering nominations. Odds are it’s not going to be Clarke’s year.

Lena Headey, Game of Thrones (HBO)

That distinction likely goes to Headey. If any of these performances are going to be honored, it’s like to be Heady’s for a spectacular season that saw Cersei get her groove back in a major, brutal way.

Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones (HBO)

Maura Tierney, The Affair (Showtime)

Constance Zimmer, UnREAL (Lifetime)

We interviewed Zimmer way back when UnReal was just bowing at SXSW. Now she’s one of the best things on a very smart, funny show.


Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series

Michael Engler, Downton Abbey, "Episode 9" (PBS)

Jack Bender, Game of Thrones, "The Door" (HBO)

Miguel Sapochnik, Game of Thrones, "Battle of the Bastards" (HBO)

Yeah, we’re still reeling from this episode.

Lesli Linka Glatter, Homeland, "The Tradition of Hospitality" (Showtime)

David Hollander, Ray Donovan, "Exsuscito" (Showtime)

Steven Soderbergh, The Knick, "This Is All We Are" (Cinemax)


Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey, "Episode 8" (PBS)

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Game of Thrones, "Battle of the Bastards" (HBO)

Sam Esmail, Mr. Robot, "eps1.0_hellofriend.mov (Pilot)" (USA)

Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg, The Americans, "Persona Non Grata" (FX)

Robert King and Michelle King, The Good Wife, "End" (CBS)

Marti Noxon and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, UnREAL, "Return" (Lifetime)



Bryan Abrams

Bryan Abrams is the Editor-in-chief of The Credits. He's run the site since its launch in 2012. He lives in New York.