The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences gets many nominations and winners right, while getting a number of them so very wrong. I guess that’s just how awards go (whether its television, film or music). So here’s a look at the nominees for the major awards with my predictions for the winners in each, and those who should win (out of the nominees).
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Mayim Bialik “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)
Jane Lynch “Glee” (Fox)
Sofia Vergara “Modern Family” (ABC)
Julie Bowen “Modern Family” (ABC)
Merritt Wever “Nurse Jackie” (Showtime)
Jane Krakowski “30 Rock” (NBC)
Anna Chlumsky “Veep” (HBO)
Who should win: Merritt Weaver. Weaver is the best part of “Nurse Jackie,” a series that hits as many highs as it does lows. The most consistent character is Weaver’s Zoey Barkow, a delightful mix of idiosyncratic humor and genuine heart. Zoey’s never-ending positivity is the perfect balance to Jackie’s (Edie Falco) apathy and pessimism. Plus, just look at her dance!
Who will win: The favorites have to be the “Modern Family” actresses — with Sophia Vergara having a slight edge — because the Emmy voters just love that show. But I’m going to predict Mayim Bialik pulls off the upset here.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Adam Driver “Girls” (HBO)
Jesse Tyler Ferguson “Modern Family” (ABC)
Ed O'Neill “Modern Family” (ABC)
Ty Burrell “Modern Family” (ABC)
Bill Hader “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
Tony Hale “Veep” (HBO)
Who should win: This is easy. It’s Adam Driver and it’s not even close. Yes, he wasn’t as prevalent in Season 2, but he made the absolute most of his screen time. “Girls” can have more dramatic material, which Emmy voters occasionally embrace in comedy categories, and Driver nailed those moments as well. As far as comedy goes, Adam’s daytrip with Ray (Ray Ploshansky) in “Boys” was probably the funniest moment of “Girls” Season 2.
Who will win: Again, one of the “Modern Family” actors, most likely Ty Burrell. It’s a shame that “Modern Family” dominates this category because there are so many great supporting comedy performances (hello, Ron f---ing Swanson).
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Laura Dern “Enlightened” (HBO)
Lena Dunham “Girls” (HBO)
Edie Falco “Nurse Jackie” (Showtime)
Amy Poehler “Parks and Recreation” (NBC)
Tina Fey “30 Rock” (NBC)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus “Veep” (HBO)
Who should win: This is such a strong field of nominees that any of them more than deserve the win, but if I have to pick one I’ll go with Tina Fey. “30 Rock” had a great final season and Fey’s performance matched it.
Who will win: This is such a great group it’s hard to predict a winner. My bet would be on Julia Louis-Dreyfus repeating, but Fey shouldn’t be counted out either.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Jason Bateman “Arrested Development” (Netflix)
Jim Parsons “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)
Matt LeBlanc “Episodes” (Showtime)
Don Cheadle “House of Lies” (Showtime)
Louis C.K. “Louie” (FX)
Alec Baldwin “30 Rock” (NBC)
Who should win: Louis C.K. This is one of those no-brainers that the Emmy voters will most likely screw up. C.K. is so brilliant with everything (writing, directing, starring) he does for “Louie” that his performance often gets overlooked.
Who will win: While my brain is fairly confident C.K. won’t get the win, something in my gut says he will. C.K. has had a huge year (with a number of Emmy nominations for his FX series and HBO standup special) that Emmy voters might have to recognize him in a big way with multiple wins. With that said, complacency probably wins the day and Jim Parsons gets another statue.
Outstanding Comedy Series
“The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)
“Modern Family” (ABC)
“30 Rock” (NBC)
Who should win: “Louie” and it’s not close. C.K. has become a master of his craft presenting the smartest, funniest and most unexpected comedy on television. Can’t wait for its 2014 return.
Who will win: “Modern Family” will probably win again. Boo. But maybe “30 Rock” gets a farewell Emmy for the final season and placates this TV critic? Nah, another “Modern Family” win angering this TV critic is more likely.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Anna Gunn “Breaking Bad” (AMC)
Maggie Smith “Downton Abbey” (PBS)
Emilia Clarke “Game of Thrones” (HBO)
Christine Baranski “The Good Wife” (CBS)
Morena Baccarin “Homeland” (Showtime)
Christina Hendricks “Mad Men” (AMC)
Who should win: This is a category with a couple really good performances, but only one is truly magnificent. Anna Gunn (suck it, Skyler haters) was masterful in the first half of “Breaking Bad’s” final season. The “Fifty-One” episode (with Skyler’s swimming pool descent and brutal argument with Walt/Heisenberg) was the most intense and chilling thing on television in 2012.
Who will win: Anna Gunn. While Skyler haters clearly just don’t get it, the character wasn’t great early in the series. Skyler (and Gunn) has significantly improved over the seasons and Emmy voters will finally recognize her.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Bobby Cannavale “Boardwalk Empire” (HBO)
Jonathan Banks “Breaking Bad” (AMC)
Aaron Paul “Breaking Bad” (AMC)
Jim Carter “Downton Abbey” (PBS)
Peter Dinklage “Game of Thrones” (HBO)
Mandy Patinkin “Homeland” (Showtime)
Who should win: This is the toughest field in any of the categories. With the exception of Jim Carter, these are all outstanding performances and deserve to win. It’s extremely difficult to choose between Bobby Cannavale’s manic villain Gyp Rosetti, Jonathan Banks’ indelible tough guy Mike Ehrmantraut, Mandy Patinkin’s world-weary Saul Berenson, Peter Dinklage’s sardonic schemer Tyrion Lannister or Aaron Paul’s heart-wrenching portrayal as Jesse Pinkman.
If I have to choose a favorite, I’m going with Banks. Mike’s tragic storyline was fantastic, and Banks nailed every nuance of a character always in control losing control as everything around him spirals into chaos.
Who will win: Paul makes it a three-peat (with Dinklage winning when Paul wasn't eligable in 2011) and that’s hard to quibble with, even if I enjoyed Banks more. Paul has given the performance of his lifetime as Jesse and Emmy voters giving him another statue is okay by me.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Vera Farmiga “Bates Motel” (A & E)
Michelle Dockery “Downton Abbey” (PBS)
Claire Danes “Homeland” (Showtime)
Robin Wright “House of Cards” (Netflix)
Elisabeth Moss “Mad Men” (AMC)
Connie Britton “Nashville” (ABC)
Kerry Washington “Scandal” (ABC)
Who should win: There are a couple really good performances here. Elisabeth Moss is always fantastic as Peggy Olson, and Vera Farminga and Robin Wright did really strong work that gets overlooked (as much as you can get overlooked and nominated for an Emmy). Still, the award should only go to Claire Danes. “Homeland” was kind of a mess in Season 2, but Danes was stellar throughout.
Who will win: Danes is the biggest lock on Sunday night.
Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series
Bryan Cranston “Breaking Bad” (AMC)
Hugh Bonneville “Downton Abbey” (PBS)
Damian Lewis “Homeland” (Showtime)
Kevin Spacey “House of Cards” (Netflix)
Jon Hamm “Mad Men” (AMC)
Jeff Daniels “The Newsroom” (HBO)
Who should win: Bryan Cranston has won three Emmys portraying Walter White, and it should be four — with number five coming Sunday. Emmy voters choosing Damian Lewis, who was very good in the first season of “Homeland,” over Cranston was the most egregious mistake last year. Cranston is so far ahead of this field, with Jon Hamm a distant second, that anyone else winning would be ludicrous.
Who will win: While Cranston should win — and has to be considered the front-runner — it’s not a lock. Lewis winning last year proved Emmy voters may not love Cranston as much as they should, and the entry of Kevin Spacey muddles things even more. There’s a good chance Spacey wins here, mainly because he’s a “movie” actor doing television and the Emmys bow to star power, but Cranston was so great it’s impossible to ignore. Remember Walt’s “Say my name” speech?
Outstanding Drama Series
“Breaking Bad” (AMC)
“Downton Abbey” (PBS)
“Game of Thrones” (HBO)
“House Of Cards” (Netflix)
“Mad Men” (AMC)
Who should win: “Breaking Bad” has been the best show on television for the last few years and has yet to win this category. Although it’s hard to complain about the four wins for “Mad Men.” “Homeland” was very good when it won this category last year, but didn’t deserve to be called the best drama on television. Hopefully “Homeland’s” subpar Season 2 eliminates it from winning, and I believe it will because there was some really terrible writing at the end. “Breaking Bad” deserves the win because even if the first half of the final season may not have been as good as Seasons 3 or 4, it was far better than the rest of the field.
Who will win: Much like Kevin Spacy in the Outstanding Lead Actor category, I have a similarly sinking feeling “House of Cards” wins. Emmy voters could be too enamored with the Netflix model and star power of “House of Cards,” which would be a shame. It’s not even in the same league as “Breaking Bad,” or “Mad Men,” or even "Game of Thrones." But I’m going to have a positive outlook and predict “Breaking Bad” finally gets its due. Even if “Breaking Bad” doesn’t win, there’s no way it doesn’t haul in a bunch of Emmys next year — including Outstanding Drama Series — for the final eight episodes.
Quick-hit miniseries/movie predictions
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Should win: Sarah Paulson “American Horror Story: Asylum” (FX)
Will win: Sarah Paulson “American Horror Story: Asylum” (FX)
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Should win: Peter Mullen “Top of the Lake” (Sundance)
Will win: Zachary Quinto “American Horror Story: Asylum” (FX)
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Should win: Elisabeth Moss “Top of the Lake” (Sundance)
Will win: Elisabeth Moss “Top of the Lake” (Sundance)
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Should win: Michael Douglas “Behind the Candelabra” (HBO)
Will win: Michael Douglas “Behind the Candelabra” (HBO)
Outstanding Miniseries or Movie
Should win: “Top of the Lake”
Will win: “Behind the Candelabra”