Awards season is just getting ready to gear up in the movie world, but awards show fanatics (if there are such creatures) don't have to wait for the new year to sit through a three hour-plus session of people winning things, because this Sunday brings the Emmy Awards, the annual celebration of the best/most popular/however you want to define it in television.
The Creative Arts Emmys (for technical categories, for the most part) were held this past weekend, with "Game of Thrones" winning a brace of prizes, but this Sunday brings the main event. And to get you ready, we've made our predictions for the winners below (at least in the categories we care about — not so much reality shows and co.), as well as picking out those who we think should take the prizes of the nominees. Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments section.
Writing – Miniseries, Movie Or Dramatic Special
Danny Strong – "Game Change"
Bill Kerby, Ted Mann & Ronald Parker – "Hatfields & McCoys"
Abi Morgan – "The Hour"
Neil Cross – "Luther"
Steven Moffat – "Sherlock: A Scandal In Belgravia"
Should Win: A decent line-up here, but we'd lean towards Steven Moffat's work on "Sherlock," which was the strongest episode of the three by quite some distance this year.
Will Win: Moffat has a chance, but we suspect that it's going to be Danny Strong here for "Game Change."
Writing – Comedy
Chris McKenna – "Community" ("Remedial Chaos Theory")
Lena Dunham – "Girls" ("Pilot")
Louis C.K. – "Louie" ("Pregnant")
Amy Poehler – "Parks and Recreation" ("The Debate")
Michael Schur – "Parks and Recreation" (Win, Lose Or Draw")
Should Win: Our absolute favorite category of the year — we'd be happy with any of these shows winning out. If we had to pick one, we'd go for Chris McKenna and "Community" — the episode in question (the alternate timelines one) is one of the best bits of sitcom TV we've ever seen.
Will Win: Tough to call, but we reckon Lena Dunham has the best chance here.
Writing – Drama
Julian Fellowes – "Downton Abbey" ("Episode 7")
Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, Gideon Raff – "Homeland" ("Pilot")
Semi Chellas, Matthew Weiner – "Mad Men" ("The Other Woman")
Andre & Maria Jacquemetton – "Mad Men" ("Commissions & Fees")
Semi Chellas, Matthew Weiner – "Mad Men" ("Far Away Places")
Should Win: The vote split on "Mad Men' is likely to mean that it's out of contention, but we'd give it the edge over the others here. Again, we'd be happy to see any of the nominated episodes win, but we'd probably lean towards Chellas and Weiner for "Far Away Places," the stunning episode featuring Roger Sterling's LSD trip.
Will Win: Julian Fellowes
Directing – TV Movie/Miniseries
Jay Roach – "Game Change"
Kevin Reynolds – "Hatfields & McCoys"
Philip Kaufman – "Hemingway & Gellhorn"
Sam Miller – "Luther"
Paul McGuigan – "Sherlock: A Scandal In Belgravia"
Should Win: Hmm. In a much lower profile group than usual (Todd Haynes, Olivier Assayas, Curtis Hanson and Berman and Pulcini were all nominated last year), there's no immediate stand out for us — Paul McGuigan would have been better rewarded with a win for the first series of "Sherlock," but we'd take a win here. We wouldn't be too upset with an Emmy for Philip Kaufman either.
Will Win: Probably Jay Roach, maybe Reynolds or Kaufman.
Directing – Comedy
Robert B. Weide – "Curb Your Enthusiasm" ("Palestinian Chicken")
Lena Dunham – "Girls" ("She Did")
Louis C.K. – "Louie" ("Duckling")
Jason Winer – "Modern Family" ("Virgin Territory")
Steven Levitan – "Modern Family" ("Baby On Board")
Jake Kasdan – "New Girl" ("Pilot")
Should Win: We'd be happy with Dunham taking this too (her direction came on leaps and bounds since "Tiny Furniture,") but our heart belongs to Louis C.K. — "Duckling" still stands as the high watermark of the show so far.
Will Win: Never underestimate the "Modern Family" juggernaut, but Dunham could also end up winning here, and Robert Weide could sneak in too.
Directing – Drama
Tim Van Patten – "Boardwalk Empire" ("To The Lost")
Vince Gilligan – "Breaking Bad" ("Face Off")
Brian Percival – "Downton Abbey" ("Episode 7")
Michael Cuesta – "Homeland" ("Pilot")
Phil Abraham – "Mad Men" ("The Other Woman")
Should Win: Another tough one, but if we had to pick, we'd go with Michael Cuesta and "Homeland" — he established the show's tone and look in a taut, gripping 60-odd minutes, as well delivering some terrific performances from the cast.
Will Win: Voters could end up going for Cuesta as well, but Brian Percival won the Miniseries prize last year, and we think he's likely to repeat, albeit in a different category here.
Best Supporting Actress – TV Movie/Miniseries
Frances Conroy – "American Horror Story"
Jessica Lange – "American Horror Story"
Sarah Paulson – "Game Change"
Mare Winningham – "Hatfields & McCoys"
Judy Davis – "Page Eight"
Should Win: A somewhat thin category, we'd probably lean towards Sarah Paulson for this one, mainly because we gave up on "American Horror Story" early on.
Will Win: Jessica Lange. It's barely worth the other nominees' time showing up.
Best Supporting Actor – TV Movie/Miniseries
Denis O'Hare – "American Horror Story"
Ed Harris – "Game Change"
Tom Berenger – "Hatfields & McCoys"
David Strathairn – "Hemingway & Gellhorn"
Martin Freeman – "Sherlock"
Should Win: Another category where we'd be happy for anyone to take (despite our feelings about "American Horror Story," Denis O'Hare always rocks…). But Ed Harris or Martin Freeman for us, probably.
Will Win: Anyone but Ed Harris would be a serious upset.
Supporting Actress – Comedy
Mayim Bialik – "The Big Bang Theory"
Merritt Wever – "Nurse Jackie"
Julie Bowen – "Modern Family"
Kristen Wiig – "Saturday Night Live"
Sofia Vergara – "Modern Family"
Kathryn Joosten – "Desperate Housewives"
Should Win: We certainly wouldn't be against a posthumous win for Kathryn Joosten, if only to recognize the brilliance of Mrs. Landingham on "The West Wing."
Will Win: Joosten shouldn't be ruled out, but it's likely that Julie Bowen or Sofia Vergara have this in the bag. As Bowen won last year, maybe it's Vergara's turn?
Supporting Actor – Comedy
Ed O'Neill – "Modern Family"
Jesse Tyler Ferguson – "Modern Family"
Ty Burrell – "Modern Family"
Eric Stonestreet – "Modern Family"
Bill Hader – "Saturday Night Live"
Max Greenfield – "New Girl"
Should Win: We'd be delighted with some recognition for Bill Hader, but Max Greenfield came up with one of the most memorable comic creations of the year with Schmidt on "New Girl," so we'd be inclined to go with him.
Will Win: An episode submission snafu may have cost Greenfield his chance to spoil the "Modern Family" party, so we imagine it'll be a repeat win for Ty Burrell — who is admittedly the best thing on the show.
Supporting Actress – Drama
Anna Gunn – "Breaking Bad"
Joanne Froggatt – "Downton Abbey"
Maggie Smith – "Downton Abbey"
Christine Baranski – "The Good Wife"
Archie Panjabi – "The Good Wife"
Christina Hendricks – "Mad Men"
Should Win: Christina Hendricks has been superb across "Mad Men," particularly with this season, and her performance in "The Other Woman" was phenomenal.
Will Win: Hendricks won the Critic's Choice award in this category this year, but she wasn't up against Maggie Smith, who's a near certainty to win.
Best Supporting Actor – Drama
Giancarlo Esposito – "Breaking Bad"
Aaron Paul – "Breaking Bad"
Brendan Coyle – "Downton Abbey"
Jim Carter – "Downton Abbey"
Peter Dinklage – "Game of Thrones"
Jared Harris – "Mad Men"
Should Win: A very, very tough category, but we miss Gus Fring so much that Giancarlo Esposito just edges it over Peter Dinklage and Jared Harris.
Will Win: We think Dinklage is unlikely to repeat his victory from last year, although it could happen. Our theory is actually that Esposito will win the prize, but don't count out Brendan Coyle from 'Downton.'
Lead Actress – Miniseries
Connie Britton – "American Horror Story"
Ashley Judd – "Missing"
Nicole Kidman – "Hemingway & Gellhorn"
Julianne Moore – "Game Change"
Emma Thompson – "The Song of Lunch"
Should Win: We have to confess we haven't seen a few of these nominees, but we'd go with Nicole Kidman of the ones we have.
Will Win: Julianne Moore, almost certainly. Kidman could upset, but there's a very slim chance of that.
Lead Actor – Miniseries
Kevin Costner – "Hatfields & McCoys"
Benedict Cumberbatch – "Sherlock: A Scandal In Belgravia"
Idris Elba – "Luther"
Woody Harrelson – "Game Change"
Clive Owen – "Hemingway & Gellhorn"
Bill Paxton – "Hatfields & McCoys"
Should Win: A tough one, this, but we'd probably lean towards Benedict Cumberbatch or Idris Elba, though they did better work in previous seasons of their shows.
Will Win: Woody Harrelson will most likely continue the "Game Change" sweep. That said, Clive Owen shouldn't be ruled out, and nor should Kevin Costner.
Lead Actress – Comedy
Zooey Deschanel – "New Girl"
Lena Dunham – "Girls"
Edie Falco – "Nurse Jackie"
Tina Fey – "30 Rock"
Julia Louis-Dreyfus – "Veep"
Melissa McCarthy – "Mike & Molly"
Amy Poehler – "Parks and Recreation"
Should Win: A fiercely competitive category (elevated to seven nominees), we think both Deschanel and Dunham are terrific on their shows, but we'd have to lean towards Amy Poehler: we just watched the Season 4 finale of "Parks and Recreation" again, and she's absolutely terrific in it.
Will Win: Almost anyone (bar perhaps Falco) is in with a shot here, but our gut says it'll be Emmy favorite Julia Louis-Dreyfus — she's stacked up thirteen nominations and two wins over the years.
Lead Actor – Comedy
Alec Baldwin – "30 Rock"
Don Cheadle – "House of Lies"
Louis C.K. – "Louie"
Jon Cryer – "Two and a Half Men"
Larry David – "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
Jim Parsons – "The Big Bang Theory"
Should Win: We're oddly uninspired by this category — even Louis C.K. isn't quite as strong an actor as he is a comedian or director. Still, we'd pick him, or maybe Alec Baldwin, who's always good value.
Will Win: Jim Parsons seems likely to take his third award in a row.
Lead Actress – Drama
Kathy Bates – "Harry's Law"
Glenn Close – "Damages"
Claire Danes – "Homeland"
Michelle Dockery – "Downton Abbey"
Julianna Marguiles – "The Good Wife"
Elisabeth Moss – "Mad Men"
Should Win: We could deal with anyone bar perhaps Kathy Bates taking this prize, but our favorite would be Claire Danes, who was spectacular in "Homeland."
Will Win: Probably Danes, as it happens, though don't rule out a 'Downton'-related upset for Michelle Dockery .
Lead Actor – Drama
Hugh Bonneville – "Downton Abbey"
Steve Buscemi – "Boardwalk Empire"
Bryan Cranston – "Breaking Bad"
Michael C. Hall – "Dexter"
Jon Hamm – "Mad Men"
Damian Lewis – "Homeland"
Should Win: In a tough category, we'd just lean with Jon Hamm, who gets better and better on "Mad Men," over Bryan Cranston and Damian Lewis (it's not his fault, but we can't help but be reminded of "Dreamcatcher" every time we see his face).
Will Win: Probably Bryan Cranston, having won three times consecutively, but Damian Lewis is a strong possibility too.
"American Horror Story"
"Hatfields & McCoys"
"Hemingway & Gellhorn"
"Sherlock: A Scandal In Belgravia"
Should Win: Well, we actually weren't wild about "Game Change," so we'd probably lean towards "Luther" or "Sherlock" or "Hemingway & Gellhorn" here.
Will Win: "Game Change" is the front-runner, but "American Horror Story" or "Hatfields & McCoys" are both firmly in contention too.
"The Big Bang Theory"
"Curb Your Enthusiasm"
Should Win: Given that this list misses out most of our favorite comedies, we're going to go with the only one in the list that we truly adore these days — "Girls." But we wouldn't be particularly upset with wins for 'Curb,' "30 Rock" or "Veep."
Will Win: Not much can stop the "Modern Family" train, though we suppose "Girls" could upset, and "The Big Bang Theory" might get an upswing.
"Game of Thrones"
Should Win: A brutally tough category, we'd just go for "Mad Men," which had its finest season, over "Game of Thrones" and "Breaking Bad." We wouldn't be disappointed with either, though.
Will Win: Honestly, we're not sure. "Mad Men" took it last year, but "Homeland" and "Downton Abbey" are both high-profile new arrivals, "Breaking Bad" is fiercer than ever, and "Game of Thrones" keeps getting better. Hell, even "Boardwalk Empire" stepped up its game in a big way in season two. If we had to pick one, we'd say 'Downton,' but nothing would surprise us here.