Emmys: What the Critics' Choice Noms Mean for Hopefuls

"The Americans"

The June 19 ceremony at the Beverly Hilton is the final major milestone before Emmy noms are announced July 10; any bump will help certain contenders break through.

This story first appeared in the June 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

The Americans (FX)

The 1980s spy drama did what Downton Abbey and House of Cards couldn't: earn a Critics' Choice nom for best drama series. Many pundits have favorited the FX drama as this year's most worthy spoiler, and a win here could help seal its fate. Actors Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys and Annet Mahendru also are nominees, which bodes well for their individual Emmy chances.

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Bates Motel (A&E)

Star Vera Farmiga earned an Emmy nomination last year for lead actress, so her Critics' Choice nom this year wasn't a surprise. But one for her onscreen son, played by Freddie Highmore, was unexpected, especially alongside such Emmy frontrunners as Bryan Cranston and Matthew McConaughey. Wins for both lead Bates actors could position the show and its talent for surprise consideration by Emmy.

The Big Bang Theory (CBS)

Last year's Critics' Choice winner for best comedy is seen by many as a frontrunner for Emmy this year amid chatter that Modern Family isn't likely to score a fifth straight win. A nom for last year's Critics' Choice comedy actress winner, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, and another for three-time Emmy winner Jim Parsons are huge boosts for executive producer Chuck Lorre's likelihood of a first-time Emmy win.

Broad City (Comedy Central)

Comedy Central never has been nominated for a comedy series Emmy. But that could change if the network's series about a pair of hapless New York gal friends beats such competition as Veep and Louie at the Critics' Choice Awards. Also, star Ilana Glazer is nominated alongside venerable talent like Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Broad City producer Amy Poehler, which boosts the show's profile.

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Conan (TBS)

Critics' Choice inexplicably combines daytime and nighttime talk shows in the same category. But this could bode well for nominee Conan O'Brien, whose basic cable show beat out the likes of repeat contenders Real Time With Bill Maher and Late Show With David Letterman. The Emmy variety series race is especially crowded this year with a handful of sketch-show entrants, so a win could help the TBS series avoid another round of TV Academy snubbing.

Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey (Fox/National Geographic Channel)

The popular redux of Carl Sagan's classic 1970s series is contending for outstanding nonfiction series at the Emmys, but Critics' Choice categorizes it as a reality show alongside more traditional offerings like Duck Dynasty. Any pre-Emmys exposure is a bonus for the Seth MacFarlane-produced series, including a potential win for its host, Neil deGrasse Tyson, who is up for a Critics' Choice Award against Emmy favorites Tom Bergeron and Cat Deeley.

The Goldbergs (ABC)

The year's second '80s-set series -- this one a critically acclaimed family comedy -- saw its lead actress, Bridesmaid's and Reno 911!'s Wendi McLendon-Covey, earn a Critics' Choice nom, which suddenly places her and the comedy among such repeat broadcast TV Emmy competition as Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory. A win for McLendon-Covey would be huge for the show, a rare new broadcast hit from last season.

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Masters of Sex (Showtime)

The Golden Globe nominee about '50s sex researchers Masters and Johnson was a frontrunner to break through the Emmy drama series category -- until HBO's True Detective became a juggernaut and shocking entrant to the drama race. Masters' Critics' Choice noms for drama, lead actor and actress now put it on par with competitor The Good Wife going into Emmy noms.

Orange Is the New Black (Netflix)

The show on everyone's lips (and computers) might appear to be a lock for an Emmy nom, but many voters might not see the one-hour show as a true funny offering. Critics' Choice noms for comedy, supporting actresses Laverne Cox and Kate Mulgrew and guest actress Uzo Aduba reinforce the series' threat to traditional half-hour Emmy race entries.

Parks and Recreation (NBC)

Although snubbed by Critics' Choice for comedy, the show's lovable onscreen couple played by Amy Poehler and Adam Scott earned noms for lead actor and actress. Their wins would do well to remind Emmy voters the show still is, despite its forthcoming final season, an all-around contender.

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Shameless (Showtime)

The year's biggest Emmy switch­eroo came when this gritty drama jumped to the comedy category. With Critics' Choice noms for lead actress Emmy Rossum and first-timer Jeremy Allen White, the show would see its Emmy stock rise.

Silicon Valley (HBO)

The new Mike Judge comedy about NorCal tech nerds scored Critics' Choice noms for series, lead actor Thomas Middleditch and late supporting actor Christopher Evan Welch, placing the buzzy series atop the Emmy-newbies pack.