Before the curtain rises on the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, we have a lot of questions. Will Breaking Bad finally get the recognition it deserves? Is this Hugh Laurie's year? Will 30 Rock four-peat? Will Glee or Modern Family sweep? Check out the list of nominees and then see if our predictions line up with your picks. If they don't, be sure to tell us all about it in the comments section below.
Mickey's Pick: Sure, people felt conflicted about the ending of Lost, but it can't be an accident that the academy changed its own rules to allow for the two-and-a-half-hour series finale to be submitted. We're guessing that episode's emotional tone will move enough Emmy voters to reward the show for six innovative seasons. (Only Season 1 received academy attention, when it won this award in 2005.)
Joyce's Pick: Coming off arguably its strongest season yet, Breaking Bad delivered unsettling, entertaining twists for all its characters as Walt continued his moral descent. The show isn't returning until July 2011 (the annual Emmy eligibility period ends May 31), so the academy will have to wait two years for another chance to recognize it.
Watch Out For: You can never count out the two-time defending champ Mad Men, especially after its revelatory and game-changing Season 3. If it triumphs again, it will be the first drama to three-peat since The West Wing, which claimed not just three but four trophies in a row (2000-03).
Freshman series Glee, Modern Family dominate Emmy nominations
Mickey's Pick: Sure, it's basically a musical, but Glee manages to sing, dance and make us laugh. No other show transitions among genres so effortlessly. It's no surprise that the academy recognized it, but nominations for cast members Lea Michele, Matthew Morrison, Jane Lynch and Chris Colfer might foreshadow a sweep.
Joyce's Pick: Clever, zany and laugh-'til-your-belly-hurts funny, Modern Family has earned nearly unanimous critical and commercial praise. Part throwback to the family sitcoms of yesteryear and part 21st-century mockumentary, the show feels familiar and fresh all at once. With five acting nominations for its regular cast and three wins at the Creative Arts Emmys last weekend — the most for any prime-time series — Family is clearly popular with the academy.
Watch Out For: 30 Rock has been an Emmy darling since its inception, so a four-peat is not totally out of the question. Helping the cause: It submitted the episode in which Tracy tries to achieve an EGOT (win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony). Voters will love the nudge-nudge-wink-wink of it all.
See Hugh Laurie's greatest roles
LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Mickey and Joyce's Pick: This is the race of the night, hands down. Hugh Laurie gets the slightest of edges for two reasons: He's way overdue for a win, and he submitted House's two-hour season premiere, in which the cranky doc detoxes from Vicodin at a psychiatric hospital. He displayed incredible range in the episode as the typically misanthropic House acted charming, funny, vulnerable and — gasp — likable.
Watch Out For: Michael C. Hall's on-screen foe, John Lithgow, just won the guest actor Emmy for Dexter, so it seems feasible that Hall might win for his heartbreaking performance in the Season 4 finale. He's already pocketed a Golden Globe and SAG this year, so he has momentum. Only one drama actor has swept the Golden Globe, SAG and Emmy awards in a calendar year: James Gandolfini for The Sopranos in 2000.
LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Mickey and Joyce's Pick: Compelling and sympathetic as the jilted and multilayered wife of a two-timing politician on The Good Wife, Julianna Margulies has the buzz, goodwill (she's the only ER regular to have won an Emmy) and industry support (Golden Globe, SAG and Television Critics Association award wins) to take home another statuette. The Good Wife's good showing in the big races — a drama series nomination and two supporting actress nominations — doesn't hurt, either.
Watch Out For: Kyra Sedgwick is the Hugh Laurie of the drama actresses: five nominations and zero wins. Her commanding presence and confessional-scene fireworks on The Closer could score her a victory.
Check out all the lead drama acting nominees
SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Mickey's Pick: Terry O'Quinn had the challenge of retooling his Lost character mid-series when John Locke became the Man in Black. He handled the switch with aplomb, imbuing the bad guy with a depth and strength of purpose that made him a formidable adversary. Plus: He won this award in 2007, and his work in the final season is arguably stronger.
Joyce's Pick: After two straight wins for Bryan Cranston in lead actor, it's time to spread the Breaking Bad wealth and honor Aaron Paul, who played Jesse Pinkman with heart-wrenching anger, tension, anguish, and fear as he struggled to sober up, only to relapse in the face of tragedy.
Watch Out For: Andre Braugher nabbed a surprise nomination for his flawed, stressed-out Owen Thoreau on Men of a Certain Age. He's an Emmy favorite, having won twice in five previous nominations.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Mickey's Pick: The academy loves eight-time nominee Christine Baranski for her comedy (she won for Cybill). But as a tough-as-nails law partner on The Good Wife, she manages to convey Diane's power without resorting to nastiness.
Joyce's Pick: In her Mad Men episode submission — the lawnmower episode — Christina Hendricks goes from sassy and strong to sweet and sad. She saves the day after Guy MacKendrick's horrific injury, but then packs her things and leaves. Devastating.
Watch Out For: Veterans do very well in this category — recent winners include Stockard Channing, Tyne Daly, Blythe Danner, Dianne Wiest and Cherry Jones — and who's a bigger veteran this year than 10-time Emmy nominee and two-time winner (and Burn Notice scene-stealer) Sharon Gless?
See Jim Parsons' greatest roles
Mickey's Pick: Two-time defending champion Alec Baldwin has wrung hilarious corporate satire from Jack Donaghy with his digs at NBC, GE and network news. Further, his romantic arc with guest stars Julianne Moore and Elizabeth Banks was charming and funny.Joyce's Pick: Jim Parsons' submission for The Big Bang Theory, "The Pants Alternative," features a half-dressed Sheldon drunkenly accepting an award. So what if he wins an Emmy? "I don't think I will drop my pants!" Parsons told TVGuide.com last month.Watch Out For: Three-time winner Tony Shalhoub closed up Monk with a touching, if not ha-ha-funny finale. He's a sentimental favorite.
LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Mickey and Joyce's Pick: Edie Falco, a three-time Emmy winner for The Sopranos, used careful modulation to find the comedy in her character's darker impulses on Nurse Jackie. If Falco wins, she will be the second person to win lead acting Emmys in comedy and drama, following Carroll O'Connor (All in the Family and In the Heat of the Night).
Watch Out For: Amy Poehler took Parks and Recreation's noble, misguided public servant from ridiculous to grounded (yet still funny) in the space of one season. Bonus points: She also wrote the episode she submitted. Were enough people watching for it to make a difference?
Check out all the lead comedy acting nomineesSUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Mickey's Pick: Neil Patrick Harris let Barney's guard down a bit this season on How I Met Your Mother. His episode submission, "Girls vs. Suits," showed off the actor's substantial song-and-dance chops. Oh, and the academy loves him. It already gave him two awards last weekend. If the three Modern Family nominees split the vote, this award should be his.Joyce's Pick: In the hands of a lesser actor, Modern Family's melodramatic Cameron would be a clichéd headache, but Eric Stonestreet strikes a perfect balance between broad comedy and restrained effervescence. Also, one word: Fizbo.Watch Out For: Jon Cryer won last year, but with Charlie Sheen's personal problems, Two and a Half Men's star has faded. Can he weather the storm?
SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Mickey and Joyce's Pick: This is Jane Lynch's to lose. She's no Broadway baby, but her draconian, vicious Sue Sylvester got into the Glee spirit with a Madonna tribute that was both competent and hilarious. Besides, who doesn't want to hear her acceptance speech?Watch Out For: Jane Krakowski's nutty comedic work is often overlooked among the embarrassment of riches that is the 30 Rock ensemble. Barring a Glee sweep, she might have a shot.REALITY-COMPETITION PROGRAM
Mickey's Pick: The old-timey, mainstream appeal of Dancing with the Stars is unstoppable. The Amazing Race can only win for so many years. Will Dancing's fifth nomination be the charm?Joyce's Pick: There's a reason The Amazing Race is the seven-time defending champ (not to mention the only show to have won the category since it was created in 2003): Its scope and production values are simply unparalleled.
Watch Out For: Top Chef has ignited a culinary lust in even non-gourmand audiences. The academy might recognize its highbrow appeal.
Mickey and Joyce's Pick: This category is all about politics. The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien's nomination for the show's final hour proves that. O'Brien — who hosted the Emmys in 2002 and 2006 and has won for writing on Late Night with Conan O'Brien — obviously has tremendous industry support. His beleaguered last two weeks on the job represented some of the most exhilarating TV of the year, as he unabashedly and cathartically did whatever the hell he wanted, keeping us all on our toes — as the best TV does. O'Brien faces seven-time defending champ Daily Show with Jon Stewart, but he's dethroned Stewart before: Late Night ended the Daily Show's four-year win streak in the writing category in 2007.Watch Out For: Saturday Night Live, by its nature, is always hit or miss, but a strong episode starring Betty White put it back on the radar.Who do you think is going to win on Sunday night?Watch our Emmys Red Carpet with Chris Harrison starting Sunday, Aug. 29 at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT on TV Guide Network, and check out the Live Red Carpet Fashion Cam on TVGuide.com.