Steve Carell, Julianna Margulies
Break out your ballots and put on your thinking caps: It's time to make Emmy predictions.
TV's highest honor will be given out Sunday at the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards (8/7c on Fox), where a ton of questions will be answered. Will Mad Men four-peat? Will bridesmaids Steve Carell, Jon Hamm, Hugh Laurie or Michael C. Hall finally become the bride? Will Emmy host Jane Lynch walk away an Emmy winner?
Check out the list of nominees, make your picks and see if they match up with ours.
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Who will win: Mad Men
The Emmys' fondness for the AMC series is not subsiding as the years pass — Mad Men received 19 nods, its most ever, this year and it's gunning for the first four-peat since The West Wing did it (2000-03). While unexciting, a fourth trophy would not be undeserved for a season where nearly everyone started anew and was highlighted by the sublime episode "The Suitcase."
Watch out for: Boardwalk Empire
Nipping at Mad Men's heels with 18 nods — and already seven wins at the Creative Arts Emmys — the fresher prestige period piece stands the best chance at dethroning the ad drama. The Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter pedigree doesn't hurt either.
Who will win: Modern Family
It's hard to bet against a show that garnered acting nominations for its entire adult cast and 17 in total. The defending champ continues to wring plenty of laughs out of the most simple and relatable circumstances and most importantly, unlike its competitors, it has the most populist appeal.
Watch out for: 30 Rock
The spectacular Parks and Recreation probably should win, but it has tepid support within the academy, earning three nominations. Its network-mate, three-time champ and eternal Emmy darling 30 Rock, however, received 13. Should it win, it would be the third series, after All in the Family and Cheers, to win four.
LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Who will win: Jon Hamm, Mad Men
The stars are aligning perfectly for Hamm's first victory — not to mention the show's first acting win. Three-time defending champ Bryan Cranston is out of the running and Hamm gives a career performance in his episode submission, "The Suitcase," completely deconstructing Don Draper to reconstruct him later. It's irresistible Emmy bait, and frankly, if he can't win with this, he may never win.
Watch out for: Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
A respected veteran, Buscemi already snagged the Golden Globe and SAG, and the academy has clearly fallen for his show in a big way. If he does win, you've got to feel for Hamm, Hugh Laurie and Michael C. Hall, who would have patiently watched Cranston win for three years only to see a newbie come in and take it in his absence.
Look back on last year's Emmy fashions
LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Who will win: Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Margulies seemed to be a lock last year and lost (to Kyra Sedgwick, who was snubbed this year), but we don't expect that to happen again when the show is better and buzzier than ever and Margulies keeps churning out one powerhouse performance after another. Also thing working in her favor: The episode she submitted, in which she confronts and separates from Peter, is a knockout tape — full of sympathy, impact and range — that is only rivaled by Elisabeth Moss' "The Suitcase" from Mad Men.
Watch out for: Kathy Bates, Harry's Law
Under normal circumstances, we'd say Moss, but hear us out. There is no one the Emmys love more than David E. Kelley, who remains the only person to win Best Drama Series (The Practice) and Best Comedy Series (Ally McBeal) in the same year (1999) and is responsible for more than two dozen Emmy-winning performances. At the Creative Arts Emmys, Paul McCrane won for his guest appearance on Harry's Law, which could bode well for Bates, who's on her ninth nomination with zero wins.
SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Who will win: John Slattery, Mad Men
Slattery's work may have been too subtle in the past, but the four-time nominee shows plenty of range in his submission, in which Roger learns that Joan is pregnant and loses Lucky Strike as a client before finally cracking. Fun fact: With defending champ Aaron Paul ineligible, this will be the 15th straight year without a repeat winner in this category.
Watch out for: Alan Cumming, The Good Wife
Voters were onboard the Eli Gold bandwagon last year, when they nodded Cumming for guest actor, and after even more screen time for him this year — not to mention a showcase story line opposite America Ferrera — a win is not out of the cards.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Who will win: Margo Martindale, Justified
Stranger things have happened, but Martindale should cruise to a victory with her villain for the ages — a backwoods demon all at once vile, shrewd and sympathetic. And she sings too. If Martindale doesn't win, voters can expect some of Mags' "apple pie."
Watch out for: Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife
A surprise winner last year, Panjabi has even better material this time around. Case in point: Her tape features her heartrending elevator breakdown after Alicia confronts Kalinda about Peter.
LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Who will win: Steve Carell, The Office
Emmy voters have never been a sentimental bunch — remember, Angela Lansbury and Bob Newhart have zero Emmys — but expect it to reign here since it's their sixth and final chance to reward Carell for playing such an iconic character in Michael Scott. That's not to say Carell doesn't deserve it for his work — he was, as usual, hilarious, kooky and sweet as he finally got engaged to Holly and bid a fond farewell to Scranton, punctuating a pitch-perfect arc for Michael.
Watch out for: Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Parsons could easily defend his crown now that his show has gotten extra Emmy love, breaking into the series race and snagging a second lead actor nomination for Johnny Galecki. But there is a price to pay for playing the straight man to Sheldon Cooper — Parsons steals the show in Galecki's tape, which could help him eke out a second win.
Mad Men, Modern Family, Boardwalk Empire dominate Emmy nominations
LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Who will win: Laura Linney, The Big C
Linney should make it a hat trick for Showtime in this category (United States of Tara's Toni Collette and Nurse Jackie's Edie Falco won the past two years). Her tragic-comic work veers more on the drama side than that of her competitors, but she handles it all so skillfully. She's also an Emmy favorite, having never lost in her previous three bids.
Watch out for: Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
If the academy's tired of dark comedy and is looking for a gut-buster, Poehler's daft and delightful Leslie Knope ought to do the trick. Her show being nominated as well certainly doesn't hurt; The Big C, on the other hand, was not nominated.
SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Who will win: Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Don't look at the four Modern men being up against each other as vote-splitting; look at it rather as them helping each other out since they would all benefit from being seen in each other's tapes. But even without that advantage, Burrell is great enough to win on his own, when Phil so riotously tries his hand at being the mean parent. Plus, we could see a West Wing-type situation happening here where the Modern guys rotate wins in the next few years. (Eric Stonestreet won last year.)
Watch out for: Chris Colfer, Glee
Colfer hardly brought the laughs last season, let alone in his submission "Grilled Cheesus," but his work has been consistently stellar and he is the only other Glee regular besides shoo-in Jane Lynch to earn a second nomination this year. Should he triumph, at 21, he would be the youngest winner in this category.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Who will win: Jane Lynch, Glee
Like Colfer, Lynch went dramatic in her tape, "Funeral," in which Sue shows a different, softer side after her sister dies. But unlike Colfer, she gets to show off her comedic chops as well — in Kristen Wiig's Saturday Night Live submission, which was the episode Lynch hosted. If she wins, she would be the first host to win while hosting in three years.
Watch out for: Betty White, Hot in Cleveland
White's doing her best Sophia Petrillo on Cleveland, but would anyone be surprised if she won?
Who will win: The Amazing Race
Race saw its seven-year streak as the only victor in this category end last year when Top Chef walked away with the trophy. But its breadth and production are still incomparable, and it got to flaunt it even better last season when the show aired in high-definition for the first time.
Watch out for: Top Chef
Season 6 remains its Emmy-winning peak, but you can't count out the defending champ, which served up a heartstrings-tugging submission with its Ellis Island episode.
What are your picks?