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2012 Emmy Predictions: The Drama Categories

2012 Emmy Predictions: The Drama Categories

The Emmy nominations are being announced this Thursday, July 19th and Indiewire is offering previews of what could go down in the three primary category subsections: comedy, drama and TV movie/miniseries (we already offered up a wishlist of “most wanted” nominees… read that here).

We tackled the comedy categories yesterday, and today we’re taking a stab at drama. And while we gushed yesterday about what an incredible season it was for the former, collectively the comedy series of the 2011-12 television does not come close to what was offered from the dramas.

It’s genuinely arguable that it was one of the best seasons ever for dramatic television, with AMC’s longtime Emmy favorites “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” each offering perhaps their best seasons yet alongside generally stellar offerings from newer shows like “Homeland,” “Game of Thrones,” “Downton Abbey,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Justified” and “The Killing” (to name a few).

But the Emmys haven’t exactly been perfect at nominating the most deserving dramatic television — see the widespread dismissals of the likes of “Treme,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “Battlestar: Galactica,” “Gilmore Girls,” “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” and, most horrifyingly, “The Wire.” But they have improved significantly in recent years, with last year’s crop featuring multiple nominations for shows like the now departed “Friday Night Lights” as well as aforementioned “Justified” and “The Killing” — all of which seemed ripe for the snubbing.

Things are clearly more crowded than ever before, and not simply because it was such a standout year for dramatic television in general.

Last year, Emmy favorites “Breaking Bad” and “Damages” didn’t have seasons that qualified. This year, they do (and they were great).

Last year, “Downton Abbey” swept the miniseries/TV movie categories. This year, it’s eligible instead in the series categories thanks to a few more episodes this time around (it has also become a considerable pop culture phenomenon).

Last year, we’d yet to see the likes of “Homeland,” “Luck,” “Boss,” “Revenge” and “Smash.” This year, we most certainly have and a few them could easily break through (particularly “Homeland”).

All this on top of returning Emmy regulars “Mad Men,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “The Good Wife,” “Game of Thrones” and “Dexter,” and we have ourselves some very tight races.

So how might it all shake down? Our predictons in the major drama races are on the next page. Check back for Indiewire’s take on the TV movie/miniseries categories tomorrow.

Best Drama Series: (our predicted picks in bold)

The Locks:
1. Mad Men
2. Breaking Bad

The Strong Newbies:
3. Homeland
4. Downton Abbey

The Returning Nominees?
5. Game of Thrones
6. The Good Wife

7. Boardwalk Empire
8. Dexter

The Possible Surprises:
9. Justified
10. Boss
11. Damages
12. Smash
13. The Killing
14. The Walking Dead
15. Luck

Best Lead Actress – Drama Series:

The Heavily Favored Newbie:
1. Claire Danes, Homeland

The Returning Locks:
2. Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
3. Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife

The Strong Newbie:
4. Elizabeth McGovern, Downton Abbey

The Returning Nominees?
5. Glenn Close, Damages
6. Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

7. Kyra Sedgewick, The Closer
8. Kathy Bates, Harry’s Law
9. Mireille Enos, The Killing

The Possible Surprises:
10. Jessica Pare, Mad Men
11. Debra Messing, Smash
12. Katey Segal, Sons of Anarchy

One Can Dream:
13. Madeleine Stowe, Revenge

Best Lead Actor – Drama Series:

The Locks:
1. Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
2. Jon Hamm, Mad Men

The Strong Newbies:
3. Damian Lewis, Homeland
4. Kelsey Grammer, Boss

The Returning Nominees?
5. Michael C. Hall, Dexter
6. Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
7. Timothy Olyphant, Justified
8. Hugh Laurie, House

Possible Surprises:
9. Dustin Hoffman, Luck
10. Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey
11. Jeremy Irons, The Borgias
12. William H. Macy, Shameless

Best Supporting Actress – Drama Series:

The Locked Newbie:
1. Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

The Locked Returnees:
2. Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
3. Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife

Finally Making The Cut?
4. Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad

The Returning Nominees?
5. Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
6. Rose Byrne, Damages

7. Kelly MacDonald, Boardwalk Empire

Possible Surprises:
8. Morena Baccarin, Homeland
9. Anjelica Huston, Smash
10. Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
11. January Jones, Mad Men
12. Sharon Gless, Burn Notice

Best Supporting Actor – Drama Series:

The Locks:
1. Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
2. Giancario Esposito, Breaking Bad

3. Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
4. John Slattery, Mad Men

The Strong Newbies:
5. Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
6. Nick Nolte, Luck

The Returning Nominees?
7. Alan Cumming, The Good Wife
8. Walton Goggins, Justified
9. Josh Charles, The Good Wife

The Possible Surprises:
9. Neal McDonough, Justified
10. Jared Harris, Mad Men
11. John Goodman, Damages
12. Vincent Kartheiser, Mad Men

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Jessica Lange from American Horror Story for Best Supporting Actress!

Andrew S

I don't think Elizabeth Moss is a lock this year. She didn't have a great storyline and Jessica Pare really stole the show this year. Also, I think Mireille Enos should be higher on your list and Kyra Sedgwick should be higher also because its her last year.


This season of Downton Abbey was great because Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary) was amazing, though Elizabeth McGovern has been nominated before, Michelle for sure stole the show this past season.


I wouldn't count out 'Revenge' for a series nom. It's the one solid network show success that could work its way in amongst the cable giants, and I don't think Madeleine Stowe is such an outside contender either.

'Mad Men' won't win much this year, given the number of shows which excelled this year. I think awarding 'Homeland' (except for Damian Lewis, who won't win because of the love for Cranston) would be a mistake – good show, great acting, but it's missing something. 'Breaking Bad' is due, but HBO seemed to renew itself this year and, with 'Luck' cancelled, it will likely be a run-off between 'Boardwalk' and 'Thrones.' Dinklage should win, and Headey will likely take a Supporting nom, tho Dame Smith will take 'Abbey's sole major win, and Michael Pitt will likely slot into a nom for 'Boardwalk.' Danes is probably a lock, and Moss should have won last year, but Pare, Enos, and Sagal all did nom worthy worthy work. I also wouldn't count out Kerry Washington for the pilot of 'Scandal.' She owned every second of it.

'Dexter' can be taken down in most categories – almost universally, it's considered on its way down in terms of overall quality (I do like the cinematography still). And how does 'Smash' even get mentioned here in serious Emmy conversation? It's guffaw-worthy for almost all of it, except in giving Katharine McPhee a vehicle to becoming a bigger star. 'Once Upon A Time?' Really? Agreed that Carlyle is good in spots, but yeah, no.


I think possible surprises for Outstanding Supporting Actress is missing Monica Potter from Parenthood. I've saw all other shows that are supposedly nominated and Monica Potter is a better actor than half of them. She's quite the underdog. I also think Robert Carlyle and Lana Parilla from Once Upon a Time could be possible surprises. Giniffer Goodwin also has a very slight chance at Outstanding Leading Actress.


I also think Robert Carlyle deserves to be nominated for best Supporting Actor.He is so fantastic in that roles no one else could play that part than him


Giancarlo Esposito. One word. Winning.


Giancarlo Esposito, hands down, must win the Emmy this year for Breaking Bad (Best Supporting Actor). I know many of the other performances in this article are phenomenal, but he.. he was perfect. Every move, every line, every moment of silence.. was perfect. Chances seem low that he will be even nominated, let alone win, but I really hope he at least get's nominated. He deserves it.


If Robert Carlyle doesn't get a nomination, it'll be a straight out rob.


Ugh why no Jason Isaacs! Awake was one of the greatest shows to hit television and mostly because of his phenomenal performance!


What if you had a best supporting acting role that had you keeping track not only of the character you'd already been exploring for nearly 3 seasons, but suddenly the person that character might have been had he had a different life experience. Been done you say? Now multiply that task by 5. Five variations on the same character, sometimes even in the same scene with one another. Trouble is, the actor does this so well that the stretch is all but invisible, and the genre that has given him this opportunity is, of course, science fiction. This is the next to last chance to give this worthy his due. His name is John Noble of "Fringe."


I would also love to see Breaking Bad beat Mad Men for best drama series. But I'd be ok with Boardwalk Empire, Homeland, and Game of Thrones winning as well, because they deserve it.


Definitely Bryan Cranston for lead actor. He deserves it again. His performance is incredible. I'm rooting for Peter Dinklage or Aaron Paul for supporting actor. Maggie Smith definitely deserves supporting actress. And I don't know how they could chose anyone over Claire Danes for best lead actress. She is simply incredible in Homeland.


I would love to see Revenge getting at least 1 nomination here. Stowe or the show. Downton will once again garner the nominations mentioned here, imo. Game of thrones has also had an excellent season and would love for them to take home thebig prize.


I'd like to see Richard Kind recognized for his role as Joey Rathburn, the stuttering jockey agent in Luck. Though he's typically known for this comic roles his turn here had me hating him at first then rooting for him by the end. Well done, I thought.


I have to say the acting on Game Of Thrones has been beyond excellent this season. I would be surprised if Charles Dance did not get a nomination for Best Supporting Actor. I also think that Lena Headey and Maisie Williams and possibly Michelle Fairley who have also been excellent.


For the love of GOD why is John Noble from Fringe NEVER considered?? Instead of nominating people just for the sake of nominating them (50%) of the emmy predictions, regardless of whether the work was good or not, how about voters think OUTSIDE the box sometime… John Noble is amazing and Fringe should be a strong contender for him as well as writing and directing!!!!


I think American Horror Story should be one of the nominees for best drama series. And definetaly Jessica Lange in American Horror Story for Best Supporting Actress, she did win the SAG for the category.


I think a possible suprise could be Lana Parilla from "Once Upon a Time"


Damian Lewis must be given some credit .He should win a golden globe for band of brothers 10 years ago and of cource for homeland now!at least give him an emmy nomination…


if Michael Pitt doesn't receive an Emmy this year for his incredible performance on Boardwalk Empire (he should have won last year as well, and he wasn't even nominated), I will just die.


ok. breaking bad needs to sweep and thats all i care about. idont watch any of these other show besides dexter, and this last season was really boring. in 2003 boomtown should have won best drama series with neal mcdonough winning for best actor. also, malcom in the middle should have won best comedy at least once. and jane kazcmerek and bryan cranston should have won at least once. frankie muniz i have no delusions that he ever could have won because hes a kid, and the emmys hate kids lol. and the wire shoulda won once too


what about the show NCIS always has a big following?


I would love to see Evan Peters as a nominee for his work on American Horror Story. He is scary as hell and his character is awesome, very deep. That would be so deserved.


"Mad Men" all the way!! Hugh Laurie and Jon Hamm should have won multiple Emmy's by now, but i think that sadly they will both be snubbed again this year because the award is gonna go either to Kelsey Grammer or Bryan Cranston(again) and that pisses me off!!!


I really want Morena Baccarin to do it. I've had tremendous luck for picking curveball nominees…I picked Gary Oldman for a nod at the Oscars.


I hope Hugh Laurie, after bring nominated six times for House, not only gets nominated and wins for his acting during this season of House, but for all of the seasons of House. He is brilliant, and I don't think we'll see such a intricate portrayal by an actor for a long time to come.

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