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2012 Emmy Predictions: The Drama Categories

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire July 17, 2012 at 11:46AM

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 "Friday Night Lights," "Justified" and "The Killing" -- all of which seemed ripe for the snubbing.
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Ursula Coyote/AMC 'Breaking Bad'

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.

PBS "Downton Abbey"

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

This article is related to: Emmys, Television, Mad Men, Breaking Bad