OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES=Breaking Bad
Homeland is the incumbent, making it a huge threat to win, and House of Cards picked up a pivotal casting award at the Creative Arts Emmys (in addition to having the prestige factor and the Netflix factor, which has turned into a positive now that it has actually achieved the nomination). However, Breaking Bad was the show of the moment when voting was taking place thanks to the marketing campaign for the final season and the first few episodes of the final season not only receiving critical acclaim but also being a pop culture phenomenon.
OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES=Modern Family
For a long time this has been a Modern Family vs. the field matchup that would inevitably favor the incumbent when facing so many competitors who are on equal footing with each other. However, did a clear alternative emerge when voters gave 30 Rock a casting award at the Creative Arts Emmys? This could be a nail biter.
OUTSTANDING MINISERIES OR TV MOVIE=Behind the Candelabra
This is a lock.
OUTSTANDING VARIETY SERIES=The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
I’m thinking that Jimmy Kimmel Live! (which has been everywhere as of late) and The Colbert Report (which is largely thought as overdue) cancel each other out, resulting in the incumbent winning.
OUTSTANDING REALITY-COMPETITION SERIES=The Amazing Race
This is a similar situation to the variety series category with The Voice (the hottest show nominated) and Project Runway (which picked up a nomination despite a submission mistake and picked up a surprise win for host) in the roles of Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Colbert Report.
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES=Louis C.K., Louie
Louie seems like it will win somewhere and C.K. has no clear alternative. You need to have something major to get back to the podium after not winning, which should rule out Jim Parsons, and Alec Baldwin did not submit the 30 Rock finale (which could have been a winner for him).
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES=Damian Lewis, Homeland
Damian Lewis is the incumbent and has a baity submittion tape. His biggest challenger will be Kevin Spacey (whose high profile nature could be enough to get him past Lewis).
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A MINISERIES OR TV MOVIE=Michael Douglas, Behind the Candelabra
This is a lock.
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES=Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Julia Louis-Dreyfus is the defending champion, and you would think voters would want to reward Veep somewhere after giving it a bigger than expected nomination haul. Her biggest competitor is Tina Fey (an Emmy darling who submitted a strong tape with the 30 Rock finale).
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES=Claire Danes, Homeland
It seemed like Claire Danes would come into the ceremony as one of the biggest locks of the night, but Kerry Washington is coming on strong (she has received a lot of publicity for leading one of the only true breakout shows of the last few seasons and being the first African-American nominated in this category in a long time), and voters showed they are willing to vote for Scandal when they gave Dan Bucatinsky the Guest Actor in a Drama Series award this past week. Nonetheless I still think Danes has too much of a baity tape to be beaten.
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A MINISERIES OR TV MOVIE=Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Asylum
This is a two-way race (and has been from the beginning) between Jessica Lange and Elisabeth Moss. Moss may be overdue but Lange is an acting legend and is the incumbent.
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES=Ed O’Neill, Modern Family
This is going to be between two Modern Family men: Ty Burrell and Ed O’Neill, and you know what? This is a complete toss-up. O’Neill is considered overdue, and that’s the only reason I’m picking him.
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES=Jonathan Banks, Breaking Bad
Many Emmy prognosticators will have you believe that Mandy Patinkin is this category’s frontrunner, but he has burned quite a few bridges within the industries (Did we forget he couldn’t even get a nomination for the first season of Homeland, which ended up winning Outstanding Drama Series?). I guess I will have to call him a major threat (because despite his many enemies within Hollywood he also has many friends), but I’m going with Jonathan Banks for a great performance on a show that Emmy voters like to give acting awards to. Emmy darling Bobby Cannavale is also a major threat.
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A MINISERIES OR A MOVIE=Zachary Quinto, American Horror Story: Asylum
Zachary Quinto is having quite the year. He was in one of the most high profile blockbusters of the year so far with Star Trek Into Darkness and is currently appearing in a Broadway revival of The Glass Menagerie that received rave reviews in its original incarnation in the Boston area (which had the same cast as the Broadway version, including Quinto). Having contacts in the film and stage industries will give him a big boost for a victory in this category.
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES=Julie Bowen, Modern Family
This is a weak category that will probably see incumbent Julie Bowen achieve victory again over Jane Krakowski (who has the strongest tape in the category, but probably only just eked out a nomination).
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES=Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
This is another race that has been a two-way race from the beginning. This has been between Anna Gunn and Maggie Smith. Maggie Smith is the logical choice. She’s the incumbent and is an acting legend (to the point that voters still vote for her with the knowledge that she will never show up to accept the award). Yet my heart is swaying me to pick the strongest tape (and the best performance) in the category, which belongs to Anna Gunn.
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MINISERIES OR A MOVIE=Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Asylum
This is a lock.
OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A COMEDY SERIES=30 Rock
Emmy voters love to reward finales in the directing categories, which makes 30 Rock an obvious frontrunner. Emmy favorite Louis C.K. could also win for Louie though.
OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A DRAMA SERIES=House of Cards
David Fincher is the biggest name of the nominees for his work on House of Cards. A casting and cinematography win at the Creative Arts Emmys also reveals strong support for the Netflix series. If there is an upset and Fincher loses, Boardwalk Empire or Breaking Bad would be he beneficiary.
OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A MINISERIES OR A MOVIE=Behind the Candelabra
This is a lock.
OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A VARIETY SERIES=Saturday Night Live
This is a lock.
OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A COMEDY SERIES=30 Rock (“Last Lunch”)
This will be a battle of the finales as I don’t see anything other than 30 Rock (“Last Lunch)” or The Office winning. 30 Rock’s major nomination haul and its Comedy Series nomination gives it the edge over its departing NBC brethren.
OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A DRAMA SERIES=Homeland
This is a lock.
OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A MINISERIES OR A MOVIE=Top of the Lake
I have a feeling that voters want to give a major award to Top of the Lake somewhere, and the writing category is where Behind the Candelabra looks weakest.
OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A VARIETY SERIES=The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
If The Daily Show wins Variety Series it will also win this award. If The Colbert Report wins this category it will be a sign that it will also pull of the upset in Variety Series. Yet if Jimmy Kimmel Live! is going to win Variety Series you probably won’t know beforehand because I think The Daily Show still wins this category in that scenario.
OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHY=So You Think You Can Dance (Travis Wall)
Although it didn’t win last year, Emmy voters like So You Think You Can Dance in this category, and Travis Wall is the only returning nominee from last year.