With the announcement of the primetime Emmy nominations drawing near (July 18, y’all!), we’re giddy with anticipation that some of our favorite Broadway-turned-TV stars could land nods for their killer performances on the telly. The competition is fiercer than ever, though, and this year’s crop of stage stars will have to edge out a whole other batch of Broadway alums who are already Emmy mainstays (call it the “Edie Falco Factor”). Still, we’re insistent that these 10 standout performers nab Emmy gold—or at least a nomination.
10. Adam Driver in Girls
It’s hard to deny that Driver’s perennially shirtless douchebag on Girls became more sympathetic in the show’s sophomore season. For that reason, the polarizing performer ought to be remembered for making sleazy look…well, slightly less sleazy.
9. Sutton Foster in Bunheads
Emmy typically wouldn’t show love to a series sitting in renewal purgatory, but critics agree that Foster brought her two-time Tony-winning A-game to the fast-talking Amy Sherman-Palladino series about small town ballet. (Devastatingly, Bunheads wasn’t even submitted for Emmy consideration.)
8. Bobby Cannavale in Boardwalk Empire
Cannavale was snubbed—twice!—by this year’s Tonys, so we’re crossing our fingers that his batsh*t crazy gangster on HBO’s Prohibition-era series gets his Emmy due. (He won back in 2005 for Will & Grace.) Nobody swears, curses, bedamns and blasphemes like Cannavale!
7. Ellen Barkin in The New Normal
Admit it: You welled up at least once while watching Barkin’s vicious-yet-vulnerable grandmother on NBC’s now-cancelled gay sitcom. Barkin brought equal parts sassiness and sympathy to the role, simultaneously avoiding caricature and (hopefully) earning herself her second Emmy.
6. Tony Goldwyn in Scandal
Goldwyn has been serving up some POTUS realness on ABC’s addicting political drama, and the Emmys would do well to reward his beleaguered president on Scandal. To not show him the proper recognition would be quite a juicy… error.
5. Julie White in Go On
The best part of NBC’s kooky therapy sitcom (which was also prematurely cancelled) was the sharp wit and even sharper tongue of Tony winner White, who played a lesbian dealing with loss and dishing out laughs. Go On and win that Emmy, Jules.
4. John Gallagher Jr. in The Newsroom
This sensational Spring Awakening alum charmed us as an affable producer with a propensity for bedhead on HBO’s gritty journalism drama. Gallagher deserves praise for his nuanced young romantic, even if the show has its (unfair) share of detractors.
3. Megan Hilty in Smash
If you’ve read Broadway.com at all this year, you know we fell—hard—for Megan Hilty on Smash. Fortunately, even the show’s harshest critics agree that Ivy was the heartbeat of Smash. After an incredibly strong second season performance, it’s time to let her be Emmy’s star.
2. Mandy Patinkin in Homeland
One of last year’s biggest Emmy snubs could be rectified if the suits hand over an Emmy to stage vet Patinkin, whose CIA honcho Saul Berenson kept his cool while enduring tragedy after tragedy during the show’s sophomore season. And if you need more proof, did you see how excited he gets about babies!?
1. Sarah Paulson in American Horror Story: Asylum
Hands down, the easiest Emmy pick of the year is Paulson’s incredible portrayal of a journalist-turned-mental patient in the ridiculously good second cycle of AHS. Horrifying, heartwrenching and—at times—even hilarious, Paulson gave it her all, and it’s about time someone gave her something in return.
Honorable Mentions: Laura Benanti in Go On; Christian Borle in Smash; Hugh Dancy in Hannibal; Raul Esparza in Law & Order: SVU; Jane Krakowski in 30 Rock; Jessica Lange and Zachary Quinto in American Horror Story: Asylum; Denis O'Hare in True Blood; Annie Parisse in The Following; Alison Pill in The Newsroom; Sara Ramirez in Grey’s Anatomy; Andrew Rannells in The New Normal; Kevin Spacey and Corey Stoll in House of Cards; Bellamy Young in Scandal.