A breakdown of the major categories for Sunday night’s Emmy Awards. I once won an Oscar pool, so trust me.
Outstanding Drama Series
Nominees: House of Cards, Mad Men, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, Homeland, Breaking Bad
Should win: There are some shows missing from this category. For me, I don’t like it that The Good Wife isn’t in the mix; you could also argue that The Americans and Boardwalk Empire deserve to be here (depending on my energy level, I might join you). Or Scandal, the most talked about show of the networks’ season! But let’s deal with reality, people: These are the choices we have. The strongest contenders, therefore, are Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, and Mad Men — but I will also throw in Homeland (despite its disappointing second season) and House of Cards (for the Netflix novelty factor more than the show itself). Game of Thrones had its breakout season, culminating with the Red Wedding, and there is nothing else like it on television in terms of scale and ambition. If it won, that would be terrific. But I feel like these final episodes (as in, the ones we’re currently watching) of Breaking Bad have finally taken it permanently out of Mad Men‘s shadows. The show is one for the ages, and its penultimate episode will be airing during… the Emmys. Give it over to Breaking Bad.
Will win: Because I am an optimist — ha! not really! — I will also say that should win and will win will meet here with Breaking Bad, and that it will take home the Outstanding Drama title.
Ursula Coyote / AMC
Outstanding Comedy Series
Nominees: Modern Family, Louie, The Big Bang Theory, 30 Rock, Girls, Veep
Should win: There’s something for everyone here: FX’s Louie is challenging and wholly original; Veep is hilarious and profane and weird; 30 Rock had its last season, and it was a really good one; The Big Bang Theory is a phenomenon and a juggernaut of popularity; and Girls is an instigator of fascinating cultural debates. I would love to see 30 Rock win, because this show was consistently funny throughout (so difficult to achieve!), and it gave Tina Fey the primetime platform she deserved (there was a time when that wasn’t a given).
Will win: I want to say 30 Rock or Louie so, so badly. But I can’t. I hope I’m wrong here: Modern Family.
Peter “Hopper” Stone / ABC
Outstanding Actress in a Comedy
Nominees: Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep), Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation), Tina Fey (30 Rock), Lena Dunham (Girls), Laura Dern (Enlightened), Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie)
Should win: There’s no wrong answer in this group — it’s a wonderful assortment, which is rare for the Emmys. But Laura Dern did something on Mike White’s Enlightened that audiences have never seen before. She and White created a beleaguered, unhinged character in Amy Jellicoe; Amy was embarrassing, stubborn, beautiful, selfish, moral, sad, warm, and heroic. (Dern and the show were also consistently funny.) I fear I’ll miss this show and Amy forever.
Will win: Can’t argue with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, though.
Lacey Terrell / HBO
Outstanding Actor in a Comedy
Nominees: Matt LeBlanc (Episodes), Don Cheadle (House of Lies), Jason Bateman (Arrested Development), Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory), Alec Baldwin (30 Rock), Louis C.K. (Louie)
Should win: People don’t remember what an underdog 30 Rock was when it came on the air in 2006; the original pilot was not good, you guys. So the fact that Alec Baldwin was able to moor this show with his Jack Donaghy amazingness was so crucial to it finding its footing. I would like to see Baldwin win again. But! I wouldn’t argue with Louis C.K. winning here, especially if Louie doesn’t win for Outstanding Comedy Series. (Last year’s winner, Jon Cryer for Two and a Half Men, wasn’t nominated.)
Will win: I think it’s between Louis C.K. and Jim Parsons (who won in 2010 and 2011). I’ll roll the dice and say Louis C.K.
FX / AP