Emmy Awards voters injected a good amount of new blood (and a little bit of “True Blood”) into the pool of nominees this year, and thus it feels like fewer races than usual are foregone conclusions. That could make for a fun night of TV Sunday (Aug. 29), but it makes the prediction game a little tougher.
Will the TV academy honor the swan song of “Lost,” reward the edgy but frequently brilliant “Breaking Bad” or “Dexter” or keep up the “Mad Men” string? Will “Glee” or “Modern Family” topple “30 Rock” from the top? Will multiple winners Tony Shalhoub and Alec Baldwin be cast aside for someone new?
It’s all fun to think about — and we have. Below are our predictions on who will take home the hardware in the major categories on Sunday, along with the people we think deserve it most.
Outstanding supporting actress – comedy
Will win: Jane Lynch. The only comedy more buzzworthy this past year than “Modern Family” is “Glee,” and with its extreme characterizations, elements of fantasy play and soaring musical moments, the FOX show will be a sentimental favorite to win many categories. Lynch as the over-the-top Sue Sylvester is deserving of attention for sure, but she wins her laughs by blunt force.
Should win: Julie Bowen. The quietly gorgeous actress balances righteous condescension with outraged guilt as the inconsistent matriarch of a good-looking but wholly imperfect nuclear family every week. The lovable but harried Bowen, however, will split votes with her co-star and fellow nominee Sofia Vergara, since “Modern Family” is one of the hottest comedies out there.
Outstanding supporting actor – comedy
Will win: Jon Cryer is the incumbent, but this year, we’d bet on Neil Patrick Harris. He’s generating more buzz than ever — heck, he’s already won two Emmys — and his hilarious performance in “How I Met Your Mother’s” 100th episode, the musical “Girls vs. Suits,” was one of the most memorable comedy moments this year.
Should win: This category is full of deserving nominees. We’d love to see “Modern Family” recognized here, though the Sophie’s choice of Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet is enough to make us tear our hair out. We’ll go for Stonestreet, because his portrayal of Cam could brighten up even the worst day.
Outstanding supporting actress – drama
Will win: If you assume that the two pairs of castmates — “The Good Wife’s” Christine Baranski and Archie Panjabi and “Mad Men’s” Christina Hendricks and Elisabeth Moss — end up splitting votes, then it’s a two-woman race between Sharon Gless of “Burn Notice” and Rose Byrne of “Damages.” Byrne was very good on “Damages” this season (she could easily have submitted herself as a lead actress), but the money here is on past winner Gless, who’s made what could be a one-note character a lot more than that.
Should win: It’s a fairly wide-open category, and none of the six nominees would be a huge letdown. But Christina Hendricks (who submitted the fantastic episode “Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency” for consideration) proved she was much, much more than just the office bombshell on “Mad Men” last season.
Outstanding supporting actor – drama
Will win: Terry O’Quinn for “Lost.” The series finale was the most talked-about television episode of the year, and we expect to see “Lost” represented in several major categories.
Should win: O’Quinn or his “Lost” castmate Michael Emerson. Don’t make us choose!
Outstanding lead actress – comedy
Will win: This is probably a three-commedienne race between past winners Tina Fey and Toni Collette and first-time “Nurse Jackie” nominee Edie Falco (a past winner on the drama side for “The Sopranos”). My money is on the statuette going to Collette again for her superb work on “United States of Tara.”
Should win: It’s not enough that Amy Poehler got a nomination for “Parks and Recreation.” She deserves a win. She seemed like Fey’s wingwoman for a long time on “Saturday Night Live,” and then moved onto a prime-time show that initially wasn’t as well-liked as Fey’s “30 Rock.” But “Parks and Rec” has really hit its stride, and Poehler is at the helm. It would be great to see her get some recognition for it.
Outstanding lead actor – comedy
Will win: Conventional wisdom says Alec Baldwin and Tony Shalhoub are the favorites. Baldwin has won this award the past two years for his portrayal of Jack Donaghy on “30 Rock,” and his Season 4 performance kept ramping up the funny. But Shalhoub hasn’t won in four years, and this was “Monk’s” final season. Habit will trump sentiment, though, and Baldwin will get his third straight Emmy.
Should win: Jim Parsons of “The Big Bang Theory.” He’s a relative new kid on the awards-show block (this is his second nomination), and he’s easily the funniest part of an already-very funny sitcom (and his submission episode, in which he plays drunk, is pretty great too). Let’s see Sheldon take home some hardware — geeks unite!
Outstanding lead actress – drama
Will win: Julianna Margulies. Aside from the fact that she’s very, very good? Margulies has already taken home a Golden Globe and a SAG Award for her “Good Wife” role. She has the
Emmy in the bag.
Should win: Connie Britton. Here’s the thing: “Friday Night Lights” has been woefully neglected when it comes to Emmy. Getting Britton’s and Kyle Chandler’s names on the ballot might be the only victory they have, but having come this far, they should really be rewarded a thousandfold for the excellent work they’ve turned out sans official recognition for the past four seasons.
– Brill Bundy
Outstanding lead actor – drama
Will win: Michael C. Hall, because the three-time Emmy loser turned in some of his best work on the already amazing “Dexter” in Season 4. Also on his side? He finally nabbed a Golden Globe and, let’s face it, his public battle with cancer was a big boost to the typically off-the-radar actor’s public image.
Should win: Kyle Chandler. It almost seems cruel to nominate the consistently overlooked actor just to have him walk away empty-handed. His work on “Friday Night Lights” defines what we think of as “Emmy worthy” — and so does the show, for that matter. A rousing 30-second Coach Taylor pep-talk could also change our whole perspective on acceptance speeches.
Outstanding comedy series
Will win: It’s time for “30 Rock” to step aside after a spotty fourth season that had as many lows as highs. “The Office” was likewise inconsistent, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” has never won in five previous nominations and “Nurse Jackie” is a longshot. That leaves the two hot newcomers, “Glee” and “Modern Family.” Academy voters will go with the more buzzed-about of the two, giving “Glee” an Emmy to put next to its Golden Globe for best comedy.
Should win: “Glee’s” highs were great, but it could also be maddeningly inconsistent — and, since we’re talking about comedy here, occasionally not very funny. “Modern Family” started great — its pilot was the most fully formed comedy debut in years — and then got better as the season wore on. Performing at such a high level week after week deserves to be rewarded.
Outstanding drama series
Will win: “Breaking Bad,” because its third season was extremely well-written and from what we can tell, its original take on a prognosis of death is finally getting Emmy voter buzz. Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul are superb, and two-time winner and network neighbor “Mad Men” may have voters looking to change things up, but still send some love to AMC.
Should win: “Mad Men,” because it’s utterly perfect and deserves a third trip to the podium for its amazing writing, spot-on acting, beautiful directing and attention to period detail. The fact that it has become clich� to say that the series is the best show on TV speaks volumes. They’re called clich�s for a reason.
Photo credits: ATAS, CBS, NBC, FOX