Yeah, yeah, yeah, "The Dark Knight Rises", blah blah blah. Friday might be the day that many movie-watchers have been waiting for for four years, but tomorrow sees one of the biggest points of the year for watchers of the small screen; namely, the announcement of the Emmy nominations.
Yes, with the TV season having wrapped up a few months back (have a look at our favorite shows of the year here), it's time for the Oscars of the cathode ray to have their say. And like the Oscars, it's a maddening affair — perhaps even more so, thanks to the way that actors and series can embed themselves as favorites and keep being nominated, and winning, long past their prime.
That said, there's reason for optimism, particularly given the golden state of TV these days: "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad" keep picking up the gold, and top quality shows like "Game Of Thrones," "Parks & Recreation" and "Louie" are starting to make inroads, even if they're often beaten out by more popular shows like "Modern Family" and "The Big Bang Theory." We've had our say on the great performances that won't be nominated, but now, ahead of the announcement tomorrow morning, you can find our full predictions for the nods (at least for the major categories in the comedy, drama and TV movies & miniseries categories — we don't really care about the reality shows…) below. And come back tomorrow to find out who the Emmys actually pick out: we'll have them up not long after they're revealed, at 5:35 AM PST.
The TV Movies & Miniseries
Best Supporting Actress – TV Movie/Miniseries
Jessica Lange – "American Horror Story"
Sarah Paulson – "Game Change"
Gillian Anderson – "Great Expectations"
Mare Winningham – "Hatfield & McCoys"
Judy Davis – "Page Eight"
If we were a nominee and our name didn't rhyme with 'Schmessica Schmange,' we pretty much wouldn't bother showing up for this one. "American Horror Story" might not be classic Emmy fare, but the chance to honor someone like Lange is too good for them to pass up. If anyone was to slip out, it might be Paulson or Winningham; look for Lange's co-star Frances Conroy, or possibly Lara Pulver from "Sherlock," to slip in instead.
Best Supporting Actor – TV Movie/Miniseries
Denis O'Hare – "American Horror Story"
Ed Harris – "Game Change"
David Strathairn – "Hemingway & Gellhorn"
Michael Gambon – "Page Eight"
Martin Freeman – "Sherlock"
This one's a touch more open, but is pretty much Harris's to lose for his portrayal of John McCain. If there's a spoiler, it could be Martin Freeman, but we think it's probably a long-shot. O'Hare or Gambon might fail to make the cut, with Ralph Fiennes, also for "Page Eight," Ray Winstone for "Great Expectations" or one of the "Hatfield & McCoy" cast — Powers Booth or Tom Berenger, most likely — hovering on the outside.
Best Actress – TV Movie/Miniseries
Connie Britton – "American Horror Story"
Julianne Moore – "Game Change"
Nicole Kidman – "Hemingway And Gellhorn"
Emily Watson – "Appropriate Adult"
Rachel Weisz – "Page Eight"
A tough category here, and one with a line-up that the Oscars wouldn't be ashamed of. It should be a two-way battle between Moore and Kidman (and Moore likely has the edge, due to the impersonation aspect of her Sarah Palin), but Watson could theoretically upset, even if few saw the original broadcast of "Appropriate Adult." Britton and Weisz are a little more borderline: it's possible that Emma Thompson and Patricia Clarkson could sneak in for "The Song Of Lunch" and "Five" respectively.
Best Actor – TV Movie/Miniseries
Woody Harrelson – "Game Change"
Kevin Costner – "Hatfields & McCoys"
Clive Owen – "Hemingway And Gellhorn"
Bill Nighy – "Page Eight"
Benedict Cumberbatch – "Sherlock"
A particularly tough category here, arguably the hardest of any category. "Sherlock" was shut out last year, but its growing cult should see Cumberbatch make it in, while Bill Nighy has a good chance too. Kevin Costner should get in, but is unlikely to win, with Clive Owen and Woody Harrelson likely battling for the trophy (our money's on Owen, for now). Don't count out Idris Elba (one of the turns we picked out), while Dominic West has two potentials, in "The Hour" and "Appropriate Adult," but may end up splitting his vote as a result.
Best TV Movie/Miniseries
"American Horror Story"
"Hatfields And McCoys
"Hemingway And Gellhorn"
As ever, the star-laden HBO movies lead the pack here, while ratings hits "American Horror Story" and "Hatfields & McCoys" should join them, although neither are absolute locks. "Downton Abbey" having graduated to series, we think "Sherlock" (which could upset for the win) and the terrific "Great Expectations" will make up the rest, but don't count out "The Hour" or "Appropriate Adult" either.
Best Supporting Actress – Comedy
Betty White – "Hot In Cleveland"
Julie Bowen – "Modern Family"
Sofia Vergara – "Modern Family
Kristin Wiig – "Saturday Night Live"
Cheryl Hines – "Suburgatory"
Maya Rudolph – "Up All Night"
As ever, the supporting comedy categories should be dominated by "Modern Family," and it'll likely be either Bowen or Vergara for the win. We don't know anyone who's ever watched an episode of "Hot In Cleveland," but that won't stop Betty White getting in, and Kristen Wiig should repeat for SNL, given that it was her last season on the show. Past staples Jane Lynch and Jane Krakowski are feasible, as well as veteran Cloris Leachman, for "Raising Hope," and first-timer Kristen Bell, for "House Of Lies," while there could be a posthumous nomination for "Desperate Housewives" star Kathryn Joosten. But we think that it'll be two beloved comedy actresses from a pair of new shows — Cheryl Hines and Maya Rudolph, of "Suburgatory" and "Up All Night," that'll make up the rest.
Best Supporting Actor – Comedy
Ty Burrell – "Modern Family"
Ed O'Neill – "Modern Family"
Eric Stonestreet – "Modern Family"
Jesse Tyler Ferguson – "Modern Family"
Max Greenfield – "New Girl"
Nick Offerman – "Parks & Recreation"
Despite the show essentially having become a series about a gay couple who just argue all the fucking time, "Modern Family" should continue to dominate, and we're expecting all four actors who were nominated last time to repeat. Otherwise, we think this'll finally be Nick Offerman's year (Ron! Fucking! Swanson!), and "New Girl" breakout Max Greenfield should join them, but don't count out past nominees Chris Colfer or Neil Patrick Harris, or "The Big Bang Theory"'s Simon Helberg.
Best Actress – Comedy
Tina Fey – "30 Rock"
Lena Dunham – "Girls"
Melissa McCarthy – "Mike & Molly"
Zooey Deschanel – "New Girl"
Amy Poehler – "Parks & Recreation"
Julia Louis-Dreyfus – "Veep"
Having finally broken through last year, our gut says that this should be Amy Poehler's year for the win: Season 4 might have been a touch weaker than the last, but it was a much better showcase for Poehler. She's got touch competition from Julia Louis-Dreyfus and multiple winner Tina Fey, and while last year's victor Melissa McCarthy is unlikely to repeat, she should get a nod, along with first-timer Zooey Deschanel (even those who don't like the show have to concede it's a pretty terrific comic turn). And we think she'll be joined by Lena Dunham — "Girls" might not be classic Emmy material, but we think there'll be recognition for her if nothing else. That said, Laura Dern for "Englightened" is a strong contender (and we confess that we've not seen the show; if we had, we might have her in the final six), and Laura Linney and Edie Falco are both contenders too.
Best Actor – Comedy
Alec Baldwin – "30 Rock"
Johnny Galecki – "The Big Bang Theory"
Jim Parsons – "The Big Bang Theory"
Joel McHale – "Community"
Don Cheadle – "House Of Lies"
Louis C.K. – "Louie"
To a degree, this is likely to be the same story as last year; Jim Parsons winning, co-star Galecki nominated, Alec Baldwin there again, and a deserved nod for critic's favorite Louis C.K. We think that he's taken that playing-a-version-of-yourself slot over Larry David — "Curb" didn't have its strongest season, which opens the way for movie star Don Cheadle to come in. And if "Community" ever gets a nod, it might be Joel McHale, the acceptable face of the show, and a weaker-than-usual category makes that plausible here.
Best Comedy Series
"The Big Bang Theory"
"Parks And Recreation"
Again, this should be "Modern Family"'s category all over, although "Parks & Recreation" could be set for an upset. Otherwise, expect to see "Big Bang Theory" and "Louie" in there again, and our gut says that for the first time in years, we could see "30 Rock" fall out, in favor of freshman "New Girl." And for the sixth slot, we reckon critically lauded "Girls" will just sneak in, but "Curb Your Enthusiasm" might return, while "Veep" has a strong shot too, and "Community" could surprise (though probably not).
Best Supporting Actor – Drama
Giancarlo Esposito – "Breaking Bad"
Aaron Paul – "Breaking Bad"
Peter Dinklage – "Game Of Thrones"
Mandy Patinkin – "Homeland"
Walton Goggins – "Justified"
John Slattery – "Mad Men"
Although Dinklage took this last year, and was even better in season two, we think this category comes down between the two "Breaking Bad" boys, and our money's on Mr. Gus Fring, given season four was his best-ever showcase. Elsewhere, John Slattery (who gets funnier with every passing season) will likely repeat, and Mandy Patinkin is a lock for "Homeland." As for the sixth slot, we think Walton Goggins will return, but Alan Cumming for "The Good Wife" has an equally good shot, while Jared Harris or Nick Nolte (for "Luck") could surprise.
Best Supporting Actress – Drama
Kelly MacDonald – "Boardwalk Empire"
Maggie Smith – "Downton Abbey"
Christine Baranski – "The Good Wife"
Archie Panjabi – "The Good Wife"
Morena Baccarin – "Homeland"
Christina Hendricks – "Mad Men"
A move into the series category means that Maggie Smith is all over this category, while previous favorites Kelly MacDonald, Christina Hendricks, Christine Baranski and Archie Panjabi are likely lagging some way behind. Some have pegged this as the year "Breaking Bad"'s Anna Gunn finally makes the cut, but we suspect that Morena Baccarin from "Homeland" has a better chance. Angelica Huston, of "Smash," and Rose Byrne, of "Damages," could also be contenders.
Best Actor – Drama
Steve Buscemi – "Boardwalk Empire"
Kelsey Grammer – "Boss"
Bryan Cranston – "Breaking Bad"
Hugh Laurie – "House"
Damian Lewis – "Homeland"
Jon Hamm – "Mad Men"
Once again, there's a Hamm vs. Cranston battle at the top, but they face new competition in the shame of Damian Lewis, who could well sneak in for the victory. Kelsey Grammer got the Golden Globe for "Boss," but will probably have to settle for the nomination here. Any of Michael C. Hall, Timothy Olyphant, Hugh Bonneville and Dustin Hoffman might get nominations, but we think that Steve Buscemi and one final go-round for Hugh Laurie as "House" are more likely.
Best Actress – Drama
Glenn Close – "Damages"
Michelle Dockery – "Downton Abbey"
Elizabeth McGovern – Downton Abbey"
Claire Danes – "Homeland"
Julianna Marguiles – "The Good Wife"
Elisabeth Moss – "Mad Men"
The category's theoretically competitive, but in reality, this is all about Claire Danes for "Homeland," who should walk away with it, leaving closest competition Elisabeth Moss and Julianna Marguilles in the dust. The "Downton Abbey" mother and daughter look good for nods, and though the show doesn't have the profile it once did, Glenn Close in "Damages" is a solid bet. But Mireille Enos, Debra Messing, Kathy Bates, Mariska Hargaty and Jessica Pare could all surprise.
Best Drama Series
"Game Of Thrones"
"The Good Wife"
For the most part, the big hitters should all be back, with "Homeland" joining them, and it should make a real play for the win. "The Good Wife" is our best bet for the final slot, but "Boardwalk Empire" could theoretically push it out.