EMMYS: Who Will Win The Major Races?

(Editor’s Note: This report originally was posted Friday.)

Predicting Primetime Emmy winners was such a cushy assignment back when broadcasters had the field to themselves. The takeover of edgy, FCC-scoffing cable shows really gummed up a good thing, and bright shiny Netflix is now proving such a headache for Emmy forecasters, the best they can hope to achieve is the same accuracy rate as that of TV news talking heads forecasting presidential races — which puts Emmy forecasters in pretty mixed company. Will this be The Year of Louis C.K.? (He copped nine noms this year, shattering his 2012 record of most nods for an individual in a single year.) Will Kerry Washington make history and drag this industry into 2013’s multi-racial world? Will House Of Cards open the floodgate for digital competitors to come? Will House Of Cards star Kevin Spacey get to chastise industry execs to their face onstage, the way he did in countless interviews and TV-fest speeches plugging the Netflix series?

DRAMA SERIES

Nominees:  Breaking Bad (AMC), Downton Abbey (PBS), Game of Thrones (HBO), Homeland (Showtime), House Of Cards (Netflix), Mad Men (AMC)

Favored to Win: Yes, Hollywood is having a love affair with Washington D.C. these days, and with new systems of distribution, which would point to a House Of Cards win. And yes, it would make for great TV if Mad Men won, making it five in all for the AMC series, breaking the show’s four-way best-ever tie with Hill Street Blues, LA Law and The West Wing. But tea-leaf readers are making much of the fact Breaking Bad is nominated for its fifth year and The Sopranos won its first best-drama Emmy with its fifth season. Maybe more to the point, Breaking Bad headed into its critically lauded home stretch right smack in the midst of Emmy-voting season.

COMEDY SERIES

Nominees: The Big Bang Theory (CBS), Girls (HBO), Louie (FX), Modern Family (ABC), 30 Rock (NBC), Veep (HBO)

Favored to Win: Conventional wisdom has Modern Family winning a fourth consecutive Emmy, though there are hints Louie stands a chance to become only the second cable series to win this derby, following in the Louboutins of HBO’s Sex And The City. A Modern Family fourth would put it in company with The Dick Van Dyke Show, All in the Family, and Cheers, and behind only winningest Frasier, with five.

LEAD ACTOR – DRAMA SERIES

Nominees: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad (AMC); Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey (PBS); Damian Lewis, Homeland (Showtime); Kevin Spacey, House of Cards (Netflix); Jon Hamm,  Mad Men (AMC); Jeff Daniels, Newsroom (HBO)

Favored to Win: Presumably, Emmy voters took Lewis at his word when he began his acceptance speech last year with, “I don’t really believe in judging art, but I thought I’d show up just in case,” and cast their vote to award Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston his fourth Emmy, to tie Dennis Franz’s record.

LEAD ACTRESS – DRAMA SERIES

Nominees: Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel (A&E); Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey (PBS), Claire Danes, Homeland (Showtime); Robin Wright, House Of Cards (Netflix); Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men (AMC); Connie Britton, Nashville (ABC); Kerry Washington, Scandal (ABC)

Favored to Win: Kerry Washington would make Emmy history by being the first black woman to win this derby. But expectations are this year will be a repeat for the only prior winner in the bunch — and the reigning queen of small-screen melodrama — Claire Danes, who used last year’s acceptance speech to give the larger Emmy audience a taste of her premium-cable performance, when she super-emoted, “My husband, my love, my life, my baby daddy, this doesn’t mean anything without you!”

LEAD ACTOR – COMEDY SERIES

Nominees: Jason Bateman, Arrested Development (Netflix); Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory (CBS); Matt LeBlanc, Episodes (Showtime); Don Cheadle, House Of Lies (Showtime); Louis C.K., Louie (FX); Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock (NBC)

Favored to Win: Jim Parsons is expected to win another Emmy, after the Academy took a break last year to honor Jon Cryer for surviving the Charlie Sheen years on Two And A Half Men. That said, the TV Academy seems to have gotten over its timidity about Louis C.K.’s FX series last year when it handed him a writing statuette for the series last year. They may be ready to take the best-acting plunge this year.

LEAD ACTRESS – COMEDY SERIES

Nominees: Laura Dern, Enlightened (HBO); Lena Dunham, Girls (HBO); Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie (Showtime), Amy Poehler, Parks And Recreation (NBC); Tina Fey, 30 Rock (NBC); Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep (HBO)

Favored to Win: Against stiff competition, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, TV’s VPOTUS and last year’s winner, is expected to be re-elected.

TV MOVIE/MINISERIES

Nominees: American Horror Story (FX), Behind The Candelabra (HBO), The Bible (History), Phil Spector (HBO), Political Animals (USA), Top Of The Lake (Sundance)

Favored to Win: Behind The Candelabra mopped up with eight wins at last weekend’s Creative Arts Emmys, and is favored to win here too. Should Candelabra win four of its five possible Emmys on Sunday night, it would break the record of 11 wins for a made-for-TV movie, set by ABC’s Eleanor And Franklin way back in 1976. If Candelabra takes all five derbies, it will tie HBO’s John Adams’ movie/mini record 13 wins.

REALITY COMPETITION PROGRAM

Nominees: The Amazing Race (CBS), Dancing With The Stars (ABC), Project Runway (Lifetime), So You Think You Can Dance (Fox), Top Chef (Bravo), The Voice (NBC)

Favored to Win: The Amazing Race because, well, it wins every year — except that one year Top Chef pulled off the coup that still has some people scratching their heads

VARIETY SERIES

Nominees: The Colbert Report (Comedy Central), The Daily Show (Comedy Central), Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC), Late Night With Jimmy Fallon (NBC), Real Time With Bill Maher (HBO), Saturday Night Live (NBC)

Favored to Win: The Daily Show already holds the record for most Emmy wins in any single category with 10 and there’s no reason to think it won’t make it 11 on Sunday night. Conversely, Bill Maher is widely expected to make it 0 for 32 on Sunday in the comedy/variety series race.

WRITING – DRAMA SERIES

Nominees: George Mastras, Breaking Bad “Dead Freight” (AMC); Thomas Schnauz, Breaking Bad “Say My Name” (AMC); Julian Felllowes, Downton Abbey “Episode 4” (PBS); David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Game Of Thrones “The Rains Of Castamere” (HBO); Henry Bromell, Homeland “Q&A” (Showtime)

Favored to win: After four years being ignored for its writing, Breaking Bad is twice nominated this year. That said, Homeland’s pilot won last year and this time it’s humdinger interrogation episode, “Q&A”, is expected to win. “Q&A” is also the episode that snagged show stars Claire Danes and Damian Lewis this year’s acting noms and the episode that landed the show’s directing nom.

WRITING – COMEDY SERIES

Nominees: David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik, Episodes “Episode 209” (Showtime); Louis C.K. and Pamela Adlon, Louie “Daddy’s Girl (Part 1)” (FX); Greg Daniels, The Office “Finale” (NBC); Jack Burditt and Robert Carlock, 30 Rock “Hogcock!” (NBC); Tina Fey and Tracey Wigfield, 30 Rock “Last Lunch” (NBC)

Favored to Win: Emmy voters typically prefer pilots to finales, but since there’s zero of the former in this year’s race, one of the latter — 30 Rock’s “Last Lunch” — became prognosticators’ fave to win. “Not so fast!” say contrarians, who give the edge to Louis C.K., last year’s winner and this year’s Emmy Nom It Guy.

WRITING – MINISERIES/MOVIE/DRAMATIC SPECIAL

Nominees:  Richard LaGravenese, Behind the Candelabra (HBO), Abi Morgan, The Hour (BBC America), Tom Stoppard, Parade’s End (HBO), David Mamet, Phil Spector (HBO), Jane Campion and Gerard Lee, Top of the Lake (Sundance Channel).

Favored to Win: Prognosticators are uniformly lined up behind the Liberace biopic, Behind the Candelabra in this competition.

DIRECTING – DRAMA

Nominees: Tim Van Patten, Boardwalk Empire “Margate Sands” (HBO); Michelle MacLaren, Breaking Bad “Gliding Over All” (AMC); Jeremy Webb, Downton Abbey “Episode 4” (PBS); Lesli Linka Glatter, Homeland “Q&A” (Showtime); David Fincher, House Of Cards “Chapter 1” (Netflix)

Favored to Win: The House Of Cards pilot, directed by twice-Oscar-nommed David Fincher seems to have the slight edge over Breaking Bad’s midseason finale “Gliding Over All,” best remembered for its mega-murder montage.

DIRECTOR – COMEDY

Nominees: Lena Dunham, Girls “On All Fours” (HBO); Paris Barclay, Glee “Diva” (Fox); Louis C.K., Louie “New Year’s Eve” (FX); Gail Mancuso, Modern Family “Arrested” (ABC); Beth McCarthy-Miller, 30 Rock “Hogcock!” (NBC)

Favored to Win: Louis C.K. is expected to become the first basic cable series director to win this derby for the episode of his starring vehicle on FX  — one of nine noms he amassed this year.

DIRECTING– MINISERIES/MOVIE/DRAMATIC SPECIAL

Nominees:  Steve Soderbergh, Behind The Candelabra (HBO); Julian Jarrold, The Girl (HBO); David Mamet, Phil Spector (HBO); Allison Anders, Ring Of Fire (Lifetime); Jane Campion and Garth Davis, Top Of The Lake, Part 5 (Sundance Channel).

Favored to Win: Slam-dunk for Soderbergh.

  1. I really REALLY hope Julia Louis-Dreyfus wins. She’s simply BREATHTAKING on Veep (which is an incredibly well-written comedy). Laura Dern was great on Enlightened (still mad HBO canceled the show), so were the other nominees, but JLD… oh my. She’s the real deal.

    1. Assuming your use of the word “breathtaking” refers to her appearance, I hope that’s not your rationale for her deserving an Emmy.

      Unfortunately, that probably IS the criteria used by most TV Academy members.

      1. Know your “Seinfeld” memes. From “The Hamptons” episode.

        Ben: A beautiful woman like you should. You’re quite
        breathtaking.
        Elaine: Breathtaking? I’m breathtaking?
        Carol: And he’s very particular. Ben, you’re staying tonight, right?
        Ben: Sure. (Elaine celebrates to herself as Jerry enters and
        quickly looks away from the baby)
        Jerry: Ah, I’m gonna go pick up Rachel at the station.
        Elaine: Yeah, see ya.
        Jerry: Okay. (He leaves)
        Carol (about the ugly baby): Oh, just look at him!
        Ben: Yeah, he really is breathtaking.

      2. Don’t you know what “breathtaking” means? If Julia Louis-Dreyfus wins this award, that’s because she’s a comedic genius who simply deserves to win for her amazing work on Veep, not because she’s a gorgeous lady (which is true anyway).

        She’s talented, and her work should be rewarded. Period.

  2. Seriously!??? THE WALKING DEAD is not nominated for ANY of the main awards!?? Best Drama? Lead Actor?? Andrew Lincoln is BEYOND impressive in the show!! Especially the 3rd season where he was losing his mind after the death of his wife! THE WALKING DEAD is the MOST WATCHED SHOW on cable or local for the 18-49 demographic…and it seems like the Emmys ignored all that!! The shows are BRILLIANTLY written and the ensemble cast are just…AMAZING!!!! Such an AWESOME SHOW!!!! This makes me so sad!!
    Granted…I am very happy that Downton Abby is nominated as it is another BRILLIANT show with such a great ensemble cast!! Nice to see some decent shows up there that aren’t filled with full nudity and sex scenes every second!!! And yet again Downton is an AMAZING show!! America could learn from that!! Time we start doing more epic period pieces like the Brits do!! Honestly my family and I watch more British TV these days then we do from our own country!!!

    1. Absolutely agree that Walking Dead was shockingly snubbed. I’d blame it on a disdain for horror, yet American Horror Story was inexplicably multi-nominated. Walking Dead should have had nods for directing, music, as well as a number of performances, including Andrew Lincoln, Laurie Holden, Scott Wilson, Michael Rooker and David Morrissey. Besy and most compelling show on TV by far.
      In other news, don’t understand all the love for Louie CK. His show is rarely funny, nothing happens, and his stand-up is all sex and excretory functions. Vaffling how he gets noms over Community or Parks and Recreation or Happy Endings.

      1. while The Walking Dead is incredibly entertaining none of the actors aside from Michael Rooker and Lennie James gave even close to nomination worthy performances. Andrew Lincoln’s acting after finding out Lori was dead was possibly the most embarrassing thing I’ve seen on TV all year – maybe not as bad as what they wrote for Andrea this season and not as bad as the acting of the thankfully gone Shane – but still incredibly bad. I love the show and understand rooting for it. But come on people. It’s really fun to watch but not award worthy television. And that’s fine. It’s winning the real award which is amount of viewers.

        1. I agree..Walking Dead is entertaining but “Brilliantly” written is a far stretch and the acting is just “ok” no snubb needed…they need better writing

    2. In my view the awards process shouldn’t be influenced by ratings. The Walking Dead is, in its current form, a C+ caliber show, and I am not convinced it merits any significant awards. It’s not bad, but when it’s swimming in a pool with shows the likes of Breaking Bad, Mad Men and House of Cards, it’s going to have huge difficulty competing. The only one of the nominated shows I’d put nearly on a par with Walking Dead in terms of quality is Homeland, and that’s only because the second season spiraled into silliness in the final 4 or 5 episodes. I think this is probably largely academic in that Breaking Bad’s quality levels the last few seasons are SO much higher than every other show that, speaking strictly on the merits, nothing else should be able to fairly compete with it.

      1. Seriously, Walking Dead isn’t anything more than entertaining. It isn’t really fantastic. It got zombies which add tension and so people think it’s amazing. But it has some of the worst written female characters on television in years. It’s downright INSULTING. Andrea? My God…Lori? Carol exists for Daryl only, Michonne didn’t get any real development and Maggie’s sexual assault wasn’t about Maggie’s feelings, but about how Glenn felt powerless and less of a man.

        It’s a show which celebrates the Alpha Male.

        But moving away from the sexist writing, overall it just isn’t that great. Plot conveniences, plot holes, character motivations swinging with the plot and not the other way around…Is it a tense and exciting show? Yes, but is it one of TV’s best…NO.

  3. by far in all ltd. series drama categories, PBS’ sherlock, birdsong, the song of lunch & the bletchley circle should win…no questions about it…liberace bio pic is HEAVILY hyped only to draw 18-24 aud share w/ hbo, damon & sodeberg attached & older aud w/ douglas attached…awards show serves purely as a pledge drive to sign up more WAY OVERPRICED premium cable SUBSCRIBERS…

    joseph mawle as jack firebrace in birdsong singularly gave the most mesmerizing supporting drama actor performance of the year…yet, not even nominated…sad…

    1. Seriously? Good lord.

      I stopped watching that crapfest, because I was embarrassed for Vera. From a topnotch actress, her performance is embarrassingly bad on BM.

  4. Can we have new winners other than The Amazing Rcae or The Daily Show With Jon Stewart? And can we have the Emmys celebrate all nationalities, other than the typical, old, white and mumdane.
    If not, then screws the Emmys, I’m watching Sunday Night Football.
    Any Bears fans? or Any Steelers Fans? Tune in on NBC for a good time. Or if you wanna the same thing get awarded get over and over again like we’re stuck controling the awards in a nursing home, then watch the Emmys on CBS, the network hated by the Golden Globes.

  5. Best Drama- Homeland
    Best Comedy- Louie

    Best Actor Drama- Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
    Best Actress Drama- Claire Danes, Homeland
    Best Supp Actor Drama- Jonathan Banks, Breaking Bad
    Best Supp Actress Drama- Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

    Best Actor Comedy- Louis CK, Louie
    Best Actress Comedy- Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
    Best Supp Actor Comedy- Ty Burrell, Modern Family
    Best Supp Actress Comedy- Julie Bowen, Modern Family

    Best Directing Drama- David Fincher, House of Cards
    Best Directing Comedy- Louis CK, Louie
    Best Writing Drama- Lesli Linka Glatter, Homeland
    Best Writing Comedy- Louis CK, Louie

    TV/Mini-Series: Behind the Candelabra
    Variety Series: The Daily Show (I really wish someone else beats it)
    Reality Competition: The Voice

  6. What is the point?

    I am looking at the predicted winners above and it’s almost a replay of last years Emmys.

    I watch a lot of these episodes they submit and it’s never that one sided. They voter for the characters they like as most of these nominees are submitting good work.

    I will never understand why they just vote for the same names over and over.

    1. Yeah, I agree, The Emmy voters are kinda that lazy at the branch and need to wake up and explore the 2010s. However, i only the 18-49, not a voter.

  7. I can’t honestly say who’ll win, but I can say who lost – Jack Klugman, Larry Hagman and Charles Durning. Well over a 100 years of collective television experience and the Emmy’s show them nothing save disdain by snubbing them.

  8. It would be a travesty if Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones didn’t win some awards. Look, Homeland is a well written show, as is Mad Men, but they don’t hold a candle to either of the others. I don’t understand the love for House of Cards, either. It’s not even as good as it’s British counterpart in my opinion.

  9. Im at Emmys right now, people sloooowly trickling in. Hope “Breaking Bad” everything! Best acting in years!! P.S. everyone keeps talking about Raquel Welch! Hope shes here!

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