The Emmy Awards air this Sunday, September 23rd at 7pm ET/4pm PT on ABC, with Jimmy Kimmel hosting the ceremony. We'll have our coverage of the winners and highlights from the ceremony on Monday, but in the meantime, here are our predictions for who's most likely to win in the major categories and who among the nominees we'd really like to see take home the trophies.
Jim Parsons from "The Big Bang Theory" has walked away with the lead actor prize in this categoy for the past two years, and Alec Baldwin won for "30 Rock" twice in a row before that. Both have been nominated again this year, and while we'd love to see Louis C.K. get recognition for his funny, vulnerable turn as a heightened version of himself in "Louie," we're giving the edge to Parsons again for the most distinctive performance in a show that's a crowd favorite. The supporting actor category is dominated by "Modern Family," with four nominees out of the six coming from ABC's sitcom. But the fact that two different cast members from the show have nabbed the prize the past two years signals the show's lock on the category isn't airtight — we're going with Max Greenfield's scene-stealing turn as Schmidt on "New Girl," our personal preference also, for the win this time.
The lead actress award has been all over the place the last few years, with the 2011 prize going to the very funny Melissa McCarthy in the not funny "Mike & Molly." She's up for the prize again this year against six other nominees — while we'd love to see the win go to Amy Poehler for her sunny turn in "Parks and Recreation," we have a feeling the prize is going to the genre pro with the high-end new show, Julia Louis-Dreyfus for "Veep." In terms of supporting actress, both last year's winner Julie Bowen and her "Modern Family" co-star Sofía Vergara are in contention. Our pick would be Merritt Wever for her warm, odd Zoey Barkow in "Nurse Jackie," but we're pegging Mayim Bialik (the artist formerly known as Blossom), whose Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler has justifiably been beefed up on "The Big Bang Theory," as the likely winner.
"Modern Family" has won the Emmy for writing the past two years, but doesn't have a horse in the race this year, leaving the field open. We're going to give both our pick and prediction to Chris McKenna for his "Community" episode "Remedial Chaos Theory," which uses a wonderfully nerdy alternate universes structure to explore the group's dynamics on an utterly mundane evening. And as for outstanding series, there's no reason to believe "Modern Family" won't win for the third year in a row — but while the past year's arc wasn't our favorite, we'd love to see "Curb Your Enthusiasm" pick up the prize, since who knows if or when Larry David will bring the show back for another season.
Last year, Kyle Chandler won the award for lead actor for the final season of "Friday Night Lights," breaking a three-year Bryan Cranston/"Breaking Bad" streak aided by the fact that the show wasn't in the running thanks to its air dates. Cranston's almost certainly going to be back on top this year, and he deserves it, but we'd love to see Damian Lewis get recognition for his complex, uneasy, wounded turn as Nicholas Brody in "Homeland." Peter Dinklage picked up the prize for supporting actor for his best-in-show role in "Game of Thrones," and he's back in contention this year. But two "Downton Abbey" nominations and two for actors whose characters have been killed off make this category tricky — we're going to give both the win and our personal pick to Giancarlo Esposito for "Breaking Bad" baddie Gus Fring, who should not go gently into the night without a shiny trophy of some sort.
Due to when the last season of "Damages" aired, two-time winner Glenn Close has still got another year to be nominated for lead actress, so we're going to go wild on our prediction here and go with Michelle Dockery for "Downton Abbey" — the adored period drama is nominated for several categories this year, but this seems one in which it has a particularly good chance. Our pick, however, is Claire Danes for her dedicated, unhinged CIA agent Carrie Mathison on "Homeland." Both 2010 winner Archie Panjabi and her "Good Wife" colleague Christine Baranski are up for supporting actress again, but this feels like it's finally Christina Hendricks' year, especially after what Joan went through on this past season of "Mad Men." She's our own pick, too.
"Mad Men" won the award for writing in 2008, 2009 and 2010, with the departing "Friday Night Lights" sneaking in a win last year. With three of the five nominations in the category this year, Matthew Weiner's show seems bound to win — we're thinking "Far Away Places" will be the Emmys' pick, though "The Other Woman," with its narrative of a terrible price paid for the benefit of the company, would be ours. That also leaves four-time winner "Mad Men" as the shoo-in for another year on top in outstanding series, and it's well-deserved, though we'd like to see "Breaking Bad" get the win just because season four put its characters through some unimaginable things and completed the turn on Walter White from anti-hero to villain.
Miniseries or Movie
There are some damn charismatic gentlemen up for the award in this lead actor category this year, with Brits Benedict Cumberbatch ("Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia"), Idris Elba ("Luther") and Clive Owen ("Hemingway & Gellhorn") all nominated. But the mammoth success of "Hatfields & McCoys" demands a reckoning, and while Cumberbatch would be our pick, of History's two contenders in this category, Kevin Costner's turn as Devil Anse Hatfield looks likely to be the winner. While Tom Berenger's role in the feuding miniseries is nominated for supporting actor, we're betting that "Sherlock" might actually sneak out a win in the category for Martin Freeman's turn as Dr. John Watson, our pick as well.
Jessica Lange, Claire Danes, Kate Winslet — before it became commonplace to see movie star taking regular TV roles, the lead actress category in this division generally seemed to go to big screen names. But Julianne Moore's turn as Sarah Palin in "Game Change" is so downright spooky and dead-on that it'd be our prediction and pick even if she weren't also better known for her film work. In the supporting actress category, Jessica Lange's scenery-chomping role in "American Horror Story" should benefit from the anthology series' unusual classification, though we'd love to see Judy Davis win for the British "Page Eight."
Julian Fellowes took the writing award last year for "Downton Abbey," but with the series reclassified as a drama, this category seems set to go to either actor-turned-writer Danny Strong for "Game Change" or Steven Moffat for "Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia." We like Moffat, but will give the edge in terms of prediction to Strong, whose HBO movie clearly struck a nerve. "Hatfields & McCoys" feels like a sure bet for the outstanding miniseries or movie prize, given that it's both critically respected and was a record-breaking ratings event — but our favorite in the category is once again "Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia."