2011 Primetime Emmy Predictions: Outstanding Writing for Drama and Comedy Series

The 2011 Primetime Emmys are so close! September 18th to be exact. Up until the ceremony airs on FOX, I’ll be working through most of the major categories and discussing who could win, who should win and of course, who will win. I’ll likely be tackling two categories in each post, just so you know.

Happy Friday folks! We continue our prediction journey with the writing side of things, again for both comedy and drama. These categories are both more interesting and more competitive than what we had to deal with yesterday, so that’s nice.

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

Nominees:

  • Matthew Weiner, Mad Men, “The Suitcase”
  • Maria Jacquemetton and Andre Jacquemetton, Mad Men, “Blowing Smoke”
  • Jason Katims, Friday Night Lights, “Always”
  • David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Game of Thrones, “Baelor”
  • Veena Sud, The Killing, “Pilot”

What won’t happen: I am very charmed by this category and honestly, I think there is a chance that any one of these five scripts takes home the trophy. Mad Men has pedigree and the privilege of winning this category each of the last three years. After three years of ignorance, the voters are at least somewhat appreciative of Friday Night Lights. As I mentioned yesterday, there’s a chance that HBO pushes Game of Thrones to a number of victories. And despite all the justified hatred and vitriol being sent her way these days, Veena Sud’s script for The Killing pilot is solid. Like I said, there is legitimate competition here. However, I do think that we can take two challengers out of the running. First of all, no Mad Men script without Matthew Weiner’s name on it has won the award, which means bad things for the Jacquemetton’s “Blowing Smoke.” Plus, “The Suitcase” is just tremendous. Secondly, the voting took place late enough and the competition is strong enough that I don’t believe Veena Sud has much of a chance. If the rest of the nominees weren’t so good, maybe, but not under these circumstances.

What could happen: Like I said, there’s some possibility that Jason Katims and the Benioff/Weiss duo pull this one away from Matthew Weiner. The Friday Night Lights finale was universally beloved, the awards buzz is more solidified and people like Katims. And again, Game of Thrones could certainly have a big night or Benioff and Weiss could take this category no matter what else happens. “Baelor” is the best episode of Game of Thrones’ very good first season and it’s also an episode people were talking about. If I were to guess, I’d say that Benioff and Weiss have a better shot than Katims.

What should happen: I love “The Suitcase” just like you, but there’s no way that I wouldn’t give this award to Katims. Lifetime achievement is the wrong word choice, but this is his final chance to be recognized for a half-decade’s worth of great work on one of television’s all-time dramas and I’m almost crying just thinking about “Always.” Is it technically a “better” script that “The Suitcase?” Probably not. But I don’t care.

What will happen: Matt Weiner wins. He’ll then make a mega-douche of himself on the stage, but hey, at least this time he won’t have to make a co-writer uncomfortable while he does so. He’ll get the stage all to himself and we will remember how much we hate him even though he writes scripts like “The Suitcase.” That son of a bitch.

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series

Nominees:

  • David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik, Episodes, “Episode 107”
  • Greg Daniels, The Office, “Goodbye, Michael”
  • Steve Levitan and Jeffrey Richman, Modern Family, “Caught in the Act”
  • Louis C.K., Louie, “Poker/Divorce”
  • Matt Hubbard, 30 Rock,”Reaganing”

What won’t happen: This is a hell of a category, even if I don’t personally care for two of the episodes on the list. Episodes wasn’t that interesting, but David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik are known quantities and we can never count out Showtime’s ability to make the Emmy voters like them. Greg Daniels has been nominated for his work on The Office three times now, including a victory in 2007. Steve Levitan shared this award with Christopher Lloyd last year for what was a really fun, tight Modern Family pilot script and the ABC series looks to be the favorite in many comedy categories this year. 30 Rock has been nominated in this category 11 times in five years and won twice. Matt Hubbard is one of those two winners and his “Reaganing” is hilarious. And of course, Louis C.K. is the hot new thing on the television comedy scene – and rightfully so. With all that in mind, I think Crane and Klarik are the only nominees we can eliminate. Though they’ve worked a lot over the years, the only writing nomination between them is Crane’s for Dream On in 1993. Plus, Episodes kind of sucked. Screw you, Showtime.

What could happen: Between the remaining four nominees, anything is possible – theoretically. Daniels and Hubbard are both past winners submitting strong episodes for series that are still relatively well-respected by the voters. 30 Rock has won more awards and won them more recently, but the positive vibes for “Goodbye, Michael” that should help Steve Carell win his first lead actor award could very easily pass down to Daniels. Louie didn’t grab a ton of nominations, but the buzz for the second season was already on by the time people voted so it’s possible that impacted things as well. And again, all three of these episodes were damn good.

What should happen: This is tough. “Poker/Divorce” isn’t the strongest offering of Louie’s first season – where is “Bully” or “God”? – and Greg Daniels episodes of The Office are always personal favorites. And hell, I very much love “Reaganing” as well. Nevertheless, I think I would personally pick “Goodbye, Michael.” I don’t know how The Office could have made Michael’s exit any better and Daniels was smart to take the reins for it.

What will happen: You know how a couple of years ago we all complained about 30 Rock winning all the comedy awards? Well now Modern Family is doing that. Steve Levitan won here last year and there is very little to convince me that he and Jeffrey Richman won’t take home the honors this year. Just like in the directing category, I don’t actually understand why this Modern Family episode was chosen to begin with, but it probably doesn’t matter in the end. Despite good competition, Modern Family is going to win lots of awards, this won included.

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