(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?
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.
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.
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
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.