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With the Primetime Emmys upon us tonight, I figured I’d give my predictions for winners. Sorry, only the major categories will get predictions (the nominee list is 45 pdf pages long!).
Outstanding Comedy Series
Winner: Modern Family • ABC. It will most likely repeat from last year, offering up solid all-family laughs. 30 Rock is slowly descending the mountain of hilarity and the first seasons of Veep and Girls showed potential but are not quite there yet.
Sleeper: Curb Your Enthusiasm • HBO It has been nominated for seven times in this category but has never won. Perhaps the Emmys will finally reward the show that seems to get better as each season goes on.
Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Winner: Lena Dunham • Girls • HBO Last year’s winner, Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly) was the new girl on the block, I think the Emmy’s continue this trend and award Dunham who also has the task of writing some of the shows.
Sleeper: Julia Louis-Dreyfuss • Veep • HBO While not a newcomer, this was the first season of Veep. She did a great job schmoozing, running, and keeping it all together despite the ridiculousness situations unfolding around her. Louis-Dreyfuss really holds Veep together.
Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Winner: Jim Parsons • Big Bang Theory • CBS He’s won it three years in a row and, aside from Don Cheadle in House of Lies, everyone nominated has had multiple seasons on air.
Sleeper: It’d be a shock if anyone else won, frankly. Both Louie C.K. and Larry David play themselves, which doesn’t bode well since the award is for acting. Alec Baldwin is constantly funny, but he’s been around for a while too, although they might get tired and want to reward him for his outstanding work for every season of 30 Rock.
Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Winner: Kristen Wiig • Saturday Night Live • NBC Kristen Wiig is no more on SNL, so a sort of lifetime achievement award would probably be fitting. It wouldn’t surprise if Julie Bowen from Modern Family repeated.
Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Winner: Anyone from Modern Family. They have four of the six nominations in the category. Ty Burrell won last year so he is the slight favorite.
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
Winner: Amy Poehler • ‘The Debate’ • Parks and Recreation • NBC Awarding Parks and Rec like a good bet with two nominations and given that Poehler is the show’s star she gets a slight nod over Michael Schur. This is a pretty strong field though.
Sleeper: Chris McKenna • ’Remedial Chaos Theory’ • Community • NBC I wouldn’t call it a shock if the brilliant Louis C.K. or the en vogue Lena Dunham won, which only leaves McKenna for Community. I’m a huge Community fan and would love to see it win but it’d be a pretty big shock in this field.
Outstanding Drama Series
Winner: Mad Men • AMC Mad Men is far above anything that is currently on TV. The writing and acting is superb, they often taken unneeded chances in storytelling (many of the episodes this year felt more like movie homages than an episode of Mad Men), and the production value is incredibly high. I could see Breaking Bad challenging since it had it’s best season since its first, but when you take into account the fact that every Breaking Bad subplot is mediocre at best it doesn’t deserve the award.
Sleeper: Homeland • Showtime It’s the only newcomer to the party and I already mentioned Breaking Bad. By all accounts Homeland is a very tense and well acted show that gained a lot of acclaim in its first season. It would be very surprising for Homeland to beat out both Mad Men and Breaking Bad, but there is a slim chance. HBO’s Game of Thrones might also get a quick look as it is the most grandiose of all the shows and requires very carefully plotted episodes in order to tell the entire story that they are adapting from novels.
Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Winner: Claire Danes • Homeland • Showtime Homeland’s success hinged on Dames’s performance and she delivered. No show probably asked more of its leading woman and with the range and breadth of emotions she faced in the first season there isn’t a better pick for the Emmy.
Sleeper: Kathy Bates • Harry’s Law • NBC Everyone loves a very well known and respected actress that finds herself on a TV show and Bates is just that. Since Harry’s Law is cancelled it’ll be her only time to win in the foreseeable future. It is a real shame that Elizabeth Moss (Peggy Olson) from Mad Men has never won but, unfortunately, this past season might have been her weakest season and in fact didn’t appear in a few episodes, so she’ll end up waiting at least another year.
Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Winner: Bryan Cranston • Breaking Bad • AMC Yes, he’s back after the hiatus from last year’s Emmys. Somehow Jon Hamm just cannot catch a break, even last year when AMC specifically made sure Breaking Bad was ineligible so Hamm could win (he lost to Kyle Chandler). But Cranston is back and so everyone is going to have to wait their turn until Breaking Bad ends next summer.
Sleeper: There is none because Cranston won’t lose, he never does.
Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Winner: Christina Hendricks • Mad Men • AMC If Hendricks does not win this year then the Emmys are complete nonsense. This past season of Mad Men was really Joan’s coming out party as Joan’s character arc was the most compelling of anyone on TV (that includes Walter White). Hendricks absolutely nailed it having to sift through an entire range of emotions until utterly falling from grace and finally crossing the line of office tease she had been straddling for so long.
Sleeper: No one even deserves mention, but if Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad) wins I will throw a hissy fit the likes of which five year olds would be envious.
Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Winner: Aaron Paul • Breaking Bad • AMC This is far and away the strongest competition for an award in this year’s Emmys. It is incredible to see just how much Paul has grown over the years on Breaking Bad. This is his most powerful performance yet as he dives deep into the pits of depression after dealing with the repercussions of his actions in the season finale of Season 3. He gets the slight edge over both Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) and Jared Harris (Mad Men). In fact it might be a tie between Paul and Harris.
Sleeper: Giancarlo Esposito • Breaking Bad • AMC Esposito’s character met an untimely end by Season 4’s final scene, and rewarding the actor who emits pure menace from his eyes would be apt. Unfortunately, in such a strong field Esposito probably will go home wanting.
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
Winner: Sam Chellas and Matthew Weiner • ‘The Other Woman’ • Mad Men • AMC It’s cruel to have to choose between the three episodes of Mad Men that were nominated this season. ‘The Other Woman’ gets the nod here because it was truly a turning point for Mad Men. There’s so much to say about this episode but for fear of spoiling, I won’t. The very next episode, which was also nominated, ‘Commissions and Fees’ was almost equally as brilliant but since a good part of it was dealing with the fallout set up in ‘The Other Woman,’ it doesn’t deserve to win, it can’t be nearly as strong.
Sleeper: Again, any Mad Men episode would suffice and having any episode win that isn’t from Mad Men would be ludicrous.
Outstanding Miniseries or Movie
Winner: Game Change • HBO This isn’t my personal choice but I have a feeling the Emmys will award the docudrama that shed light on the nomination for Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. It was a well acted and fairly well written movie and was much better than HBO’s other entry Hemingway and Gellhorn.
Sleeper: Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia • PBS This would be my choice. For any who have not seen the Sherlock series it is a must. Incredibly written and acted, giving a modern spin on Sherlock Holmes, these are really TV movies than a TV show and the quality is more reminiscent of something on the Silver Screen than the Small Screen.
The Rest of the Predictions
I don’t watch reality TV, so I can’t comment on who will win or lose. Also the miniseries category, while important, isn’t as important as the season long TV shows. I will give my predictions for the rest of the miniseries categories.
Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie: Julianne Moore • Game Change • HBO
Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie: Benedict Cumberbatch • Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia • PBS
Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie: Sarah Paulson • Game Change • HBO
Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie: Martin Freeman • Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia • PBS
Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries or Movie: Steven Moffat • Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia • PBS
Outstanding Variety Series: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart • Comedy Central
Outstanding Animated Program: ‘The Tip of the Zoidberg’ • Futurama • Comedy Central
Outstanding Nonfiction Special: George Harrison: Living In The Material World • HBO
Make sure to pop by Monday morning for my reaction to the winners for these categories and more. Or maybe just the aforementioned hissy fit I’ll throw if Christina Hendricks doesn’t win.