Predicted Nominees: Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Homeland, Game of Thrones, House of Cards
Wishful Thinking: The Sundance Channel's lyrical, elegiac, mysterious series Rectify was unlike anything else on television this season.
Ugh, Modern Family. There is no doubt that Modern Family will be up for its gazillionth award, and will probably win it. Beyond that, things get a bit more interesting. The new, retooled, and not exactly beloved Arrested Development is another Netflix hopeful, though I think it has less of a chance than Cards. But it certainly would be interesting to see a show nominated nine years after it won the prize — and seven years after it was canceled. The younger Emmy voters may want to reward Netflix's innovation, and older voters still love that nice Ron Howard boy, so it could happen. HBO's pair of witty, urbane comedies, Girls and Veep, will likely be on the list. Ending its seven-season run on a high note as it did, 30 Rock will probably get up there too. (It could even win the whole thing.) Comedy is almost as crowded as drama, with other great series like Louie and Parks and Recreation (well, is P&R really great anymore?) vying for a spot against juggernaut Big Bang Theory and sleeper hit New Girl. Comedy is still where the broadcast networks have some footing, so it'd be a boon for them if something like New Girl could edge out the hip cable stuff. It probably won't, though.
Predicted Nominees: 30 Rock, Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory, Veep, Girls
Wishful Thinking: Louie is just so damn good, guys. But is it a comedy? That's the tricky thing.
Best Actor, Drama
Men! So many upset, taciturn, angry men. Bryan Cranston has become a straight-up evil monster on Breaking Bad. Damian Lewis is a terrorist/isn't a terrorist/is a terrorist/isn't on Homeland. And Don Draper is always a nightmare. Joining those jerks are new jerks on the block Will McAvoy, Jeff Daniels's narcissistic headcase character on The Newsroom, and Kevin Spacey's Frank Underwood, the lead devious mind on House of Cards. And then of course there's Steve Buscemi's murderer guy on Boardwalk Empire and Michael C. Hall's murderer guy on Dexter and Timothy Olyphant as a guy who catches murderers (sometimes he kills them) on Justified. It's a real rogues gallery. My guess is that Daniels will be nominated as a way of wanly honoring Sorkin's entire show, and Kevin Spacey's Respected Movie Actor sheen will endear him to the Academy.
Predicted Nominees: Kevin Spacey, House of Cards; Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad; Damian Lewis, Homeland; Jon Hamm, Mad Men; Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
Wishful Thinking: Olyphant deserves some serious recognition for anchoring the complex and knotty Justified with such cool grace.
Best Actress, Drama
With as much attention as her show got this year, I'd be surprised to not see Kerry Washington on the list this year. Scandal is more soap than anything else, but, hell, so is Downton Abbey, and Michelle Dockery is probably going to get a nomination again. Obviously Claire Danes will repeat this year — though Homeland was an uneven mess in its second season, her elastic-faced craziness was consistently compelling throughout. Though Mad Men doesn't really have a lead woman role (or any lead role except for Don), Elisabeth Moss will likely be a double nominee this year, for the miniseries Top of the Lake and for her sturdy work as adwoman Peggy. Past that, Robin Wright could sneak in for her icy, elegant House of Cards performance, and then network divas Connie Britton and Julianna Margulies will be left to battle it out for a spot.