The television academy did a pretty good job at picking its Emmy nominees this year. Will the list of winners be just as satisfying?
We’ll find out on Sunday (Sept. 18) when the Emmys air live at 8 p.m. ET/5 PT on FOX. We have some ideas of our own, though, on how the awards will play out — and, in our ideal world, how they ought to go. Read on for our predictions, and let us know your own picks in the comments.
Outstanding supporting actress – drama
Will win: Margo Martindale. Martindale’s performance as tough hillbilly Mags on “Justified” was a tour-de-force, and she’ll win the hardware. She’s a first-time nominee, but has been around Hollywood a long time and we think the Emmys will finally give her some recognition. (Though I won’t be mad if Michelle Forbes takes it).
Should win: Michelle Forbes. In truth, Martindale also “should” win, but I wanted to give Forbes a mention because frankly, I can’t really choose between the two of them. “The Killing” was a little uneven, but there were some outstanding performances within it. Forbes absolutely killed us every time she was on scene as the mother of slain teenager Rosie Larsen.
Outstanding supporting actor – drama
Will win: Peter Dinklage. This is perhaps the most wide-open category of the night. Every man nominated is worthy, with maybe the exception of Josh Charles of “The Good Wife,” who is just slightly behind the other nominees. But if I have to choose, Dinklage gets the nod. “Game of Thrones” is very much an ensemble piece, and not only did Dinklage manage to stand out both dramatically and comedically among the huge and very talented cast, but it would also be a nice way to acknowledge the show, especially in light of Sean Bean’s best actor snub.
Should win: Dinklage. Walton Goggins was also incredible on “Justified,” but that show’s award will probably go to Margo Martindale. This is the one that goes to “Game of Thrones.”
Outstanding supporting actress – comedy
Will win: With the “Modern Family” vote split two ways and established track record of hosts rarely taking home awards themselves (sorry, Jane Lynch), expect Hollywood’s eternal crush on Betty White to bring it home for her bumped-from-guest-star-status performance on “Hot in Cleveland.” Emmy voters are more likely to stab a puppy than not tick a box beside White’s name.
Should win: Zap2it joins Alec Baldwin in his extreme displeasure that Jane Krakowski still hasn’t brought home a win for playing Jenna Maroney. Sure, it’s a shtick. But it’s one that has “30 Rock” still feeling fresh as it heads into Season 6.
Outstanding supporting actor – comedy
Will win: Eric Stonestreet. In a field dominated by “Modern Family” cast members (they all submitted in the supporting category), Stonestreet (who also won last year) stands out for his work as Cameron Tucker. His performance in the episode where he takes over as director of the elementary school play is a crowning achievement.
Should win: Stonestreet. As much as I love Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Stonestreet is just a notch above. His deftness at playing the butt of the joke beats out Ferguson’s ability to play the straight man (comically speaking).
Outstanding lead actress – drama
Will win: Her work on “The Good Wife” has been amazing, and she’s a name voters have long associated with formal kudos, so this could be the year for Julianna Margulies. Then again, the absence of last year’s winner Kyra Sedgwick and award-magnet Glenn Close leaves the race wide open for who…
Should win: And that’s Ms. Connie Britton. With five under-appreciated seasons to her credit, the “Friday Night Lights” star has continuously turned in some of the strongest performances in television history. Yeah, we said it. History! Recognizing her heartbreaking, familiar and often hilarious portrayal of Tami Taylor would renew our faith in these silly award shows.
Outstanding lead actor – drama
Will win: Michael C. Hall for the lovable serial killer on “Dexter.” The show is more popular than ever — and that word “lovable” isn’t meant ironically. It’s not easy to make someone who kills people — even those who deserve to die — sympathetic, but Hall continues to pull it off.
Should win: Kyle Chandler. If anyone ever deserved a lifetime achievement award for a series that was seemingly on the chopping block every year, it’s Chandler for his work on “FNL.” Coach Taylor’s continual struggle to maintain a normal life in the football-crazy town of Dillon, combined with him just looking the part of a coach deserves recognition.
Outstanding lead actress – comedy
Will win: Laura Linney. As much as Amy Poehler deserves this award, the academy has shown the last couple of years that they like the Showtime formula: women doing challenging roles in half-hour pseudo-comedies. Linney’s performance in “The Big C” fits that description perfectly. Linney also has a Golden Globe and a “movie star” rep, which the Emmy voters just love.
Should win: Amy Poehler. She was the heart and soul of “Parks and Recreation,” which had a near-brilliant third season, and her submission, “Flu Season,” was a showcase of her multiple comedic talents. There’s still a chance she’ll overcome Linney and win the prize, which would make for a refreshing departure from recent Emmy history.
Outstanding lead actor – comedy
Will win: Steve Carell. The TV academy hasn’t been overly sentimental in choosing winners in the past couple years, but Carell is long overdue for an Emmy win for playing Michael Scott on “The Office.” The show had an up-and-down year last season, to be sure, but Carell knocked it out of the park in several episodes — including the one he submitted, “Goodbye, Michael.”
Should win: Carell. “Goodbye, Michael” was a fantastic send-off for the character, emotional as well as very, very funny.
Outstanding comedy series
Will win: “Modern Family.” (Relative) newcomers had something of a breakthrough in the comedy categories at last year’s Emmys, including a win for “Family” after its first season. I don’t see the ABC series relinquishing the crown this time, though — as a critical and popular favorite that’s not-so-secretly a little old-fashioned in its storytelling, it’s right in the Emmy wheelhouse.
Should win: No comedy on television last season had a higher batting average than “Parks and Recreation,” which had nary a flat episode in its entire run — an almost unthinkable streak. Watching the show walk the line between grounded characters and comic insanity is a sight to behold.
Outstanding drama series
Will win: “Mad Men.” The show has had a lock on this category for the past three years, but none of the 2011’s other nominees are strong enough to break the AMC show’s stranglehold, despite stiff competition in the form of Emmy-bait “Boardwalk Empire,” “Dexter,” the final season of “Friday Night Lights” and HBO’s costume drama “Game of Thrones.” It’s just hard to argue with Don Draper’s angst and a fourth season that saw the show continue to grow and change along with the turbulent decade in which it takes place.
Should win: “The Good Wife.” It’s done a bang-up job of expanding the procedural genre to embrace the complicated backstory of main character Alicia Florrick, played to perfection by Julianna Margulies. If the competition was confined to broadcast network fare, it would win, hands down. But a broadcast-network show hasn’t won this award since 2006 (when “24” took the prize), and I don’t see the string getting broken this time.
What are your Emmy picks? Who do you think should win?