Of all the major awards shows, the Emmys may be the most hard to correctly forecast. Because final voting is done by unidentified groups of voters culled from the 17,000 plus members of the Academy, and exact numbers of those voters are not known, it's almost a fool's errand to try to assess the way the winds are blowing. Tom O'Neil of the awards betting site Gold Derby told me that last year not one of his "experts" even was able to approach 40% in correct picks.
Emmys work differently than Oscars or Tonys where the entire membership takes part in the final phase of voting. With the Emmys each voter volunteers to judge at least one category. Essentially you can conceivably judge up to four (that includes two general program categories for which every member is eligible and two more from your peer group (i.e. writers, actors, directors, etc.). And because the Television Academy has taken measures to make sure the same select voters are not allowed to vote in the exact same categories year after year, and must vouch for the fact that they have no conflict of interest in the chosen category, the idea is to get a broad range of opinion from unbiased members who sign an affadavit that they have watched each entry. Surprises often happen. I don't think any single pundit correctly guessed last year for example that The Newsroom's Jeff Daniels would triumph in the uber-competitive Lead Actor In A Drama Series, but the episode he submitted turned out to be more impressive for the actors casting ballots than those of Bryan Cranston, Kevin Spacey, Hugh Bonneville and others.
Over the past few weeks I have tried to handicap the top program and acting races. You can access all those links below. Since those predictions were made we have had results from last weekend's Creative Arts Emmy Awards. The winners were all over the map, but if you were to judge on momentum from those results then Monday should be a particularly good night for the likes of Orange Is The New Black, True Detective, Sherlock: His Last Vow, Game Of Thrones, and Saturday Night Live. Each of those shows won at least three Emmys, an impressive haul, but really the Academy did try to spread the wealth. I am not going to change any of my previous predictions based on this outcome except to caution that my longshot pick for Comedy Series, Veep was never called to the stage, nor was four-time winner Modern Family. Instead upstart Netflix darling Orange Is The New Black took three trophies and would appear to be on the cusp of an even bigger night at the Nokia on Monday. Similarly HBO's True Detective with four Emmys already under its belt looks to be an even more formidable challenger to AMC's final season of Breaking Bad, my prediction to win a second consecutive Drama Series Emmy. However, it only picked up one award at the Creative Arts so perhaps that year between the finale and these Emmys have taken a toll. We'll see. Use any of these hunches as fodder for your office betting pool, but proceed with caution. Like I said -- this is a fool's game.