Prognostication is a bold person’s game. Willing to stick one’s neck out and choose the winners before the envelopes have been opened all while opening yourself up to the ‘Monday Morning Quaterbacks’ to mock your now oh-so-wrong picks. Well, I’m not a bold person but I’m Emmy prognosticating anyway. And as the Prognosticator (picture Johnny Carson’s Carnac the Magnificent with an unkempt beard), I have focused my pervasive powers of prediction on most of tonight’s major categories that celebrate the best that TV had to offer last year. All the nominees are surely deserving but, if Highlander taught us anything, there can be only one!

I know a thing or two about television so don’t be surprised if a lot of the picks below turn out to be correct, however, I don’t recommend using mine as the basis for your home pools. Mostly because I don’t want to hear about it in the comments. You got to be your own person, go your own way and besides I have no business pretending to be the authority on a few of these awards (Outstanding Reality-Competition Program is not in my field of expertise and sounds like an oxymoron) but I do have an ace up my sleeve... when in doubt, go British. Here are my ‘Will Win, Should Win and Dark Horse’ picks for the 64th Annual Emmy Awards. Oh, and Futurama lost? For shame! Anyway...

Outstanding Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory • CBS
Curb Your Enthusiasm • HBO
Girls • HBO - Dark Horse
Modern Family • ABC - Will Win/Should Win
30 Rock • NBC
Veep • HBO

There is little reason to think that ABC’s award machine Modern Family won’t make it three in a row, just look at the nomination domination with all six adults receiving acting nods. Girls is the dark horse pick because it seems so radically different than the other nominees and frankly, any of the HBO comedies (Veep and Curb lack the ‘heart’ that voters love) walking away with the prize would be satisfying but I’d look for the threepeat.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series
Lena Dunham as Hannah Horvath - Girls • HBO - Dark Horse
Melissa McCarthy as Molly Flynn - Mike & Molly • CBS
Zooey Deschanel as Jess Day - New Girl • FOX
Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton - Nurse Jackie • Showtime
Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope - Parks And Recreation • NBC - Will Win
Tina Fey as Liz Lemon - 30 Rock • NBC
Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer - Veep • HBO - Should Win

McCarthy’s win last year was probably the result of her Bridesmaids momentum and I don’t think she’ll repeat. It does, however, open the door for a change before Fey takes it home for her 30 Rock final season making Poehler, a usual suspect, the perfect (and deserving) choice. Louis-Dreyfus was the funniest but there will be (should be) seasons to come that will afford her another chance. My reasoning for Dunham as the dark horse is much the same as above, she’s doing something different than the crowd.

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series
Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper - The Big Bang Theory • CBS - Will Win
Larry David as Himself - Curb Your Enthusiasm • HBO
Don Cheadle as Marty Kaan - House Of Lies • Showtime
Louis C.K. as Louie - Louie • FX Networks - Should Win
Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy - 30 Rock • NBC - Dark Horse
Jon Cryer as Alan Harper - Two And A Half Men • CBS

I’m not a fan of Parsons’ performance as Sheldon, it seems like a less nuanced version of Danny Pudi’s Abed on Community, but millions and millions of people, are and he’ll probably be getting his third consecutive trophy. Louis C.K. not only has the best show of the nominees (House of Lies, are you kidding?) but delivers a cringe winning turn as a version of himself. Baldwin always has a chance but I’d look for him to take it next year.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series
Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler - The Big Bang Theory • CBS - Dark Horse
Kathryn Joosten as Karen McCluskey - Desperate Housewives • ABC
Julie Bowen as Claire Dunphy - Modern Family • ABC
Sofia Vergara as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett - Modern Family • ABC
Merritt Wever as Zoey Barkow -Nurse Jackie • Showtime
Kristen Wiig as various characters - Saturday Night Live • NBC - Will Win/Should Win

The Modern Family cast have all been deemed supporting characters, and there would have been no reason to think that their wins wouldn’t continue (Bowen or Vergara) except that Kristen Wiig left SNL. Wiig carried the sketch comedy series on her shoulders for years and should have probably won the award several times before, but now that it’s her last chance I’m looking for her to finally be rewarded. The Emmys love Jim Parsons’ Sheldon Cooper so why not spring for the female version as the dark horse challenger?

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series
Ed O'Neill as Jay Pritchett - Modern Family • ABC
Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mitchell Pritchett - Modern Family • ABC
Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy - Modern Family • ABC - Will Win/Should Win
Eric Stonestreet as Cameron Tucker - Modern Family • ABC - Dark Horse
Max Greenfield as Schmidt - New Girl • FOX
Bill Hader as various characters - Saturday Night Live • NBC

This is a different story than Supporting Actress. There are no final seasons to worry about. One of the Modern Family cast members will win the Emmy and I’m putting all my money on Ty Burrell simply because he’s the most deserving. Phil Dunphy is hilarious and the standout on the series, too bad we didn’t get to see him go up against some other shows’ scene stealers, like Pudi or Ted Danson or Adam Pally. BORING.

Outstanding Drama Series
Boardwalk Empire • HBO
Breaking Bad • AMC
Downton Abbey • PBS Will Win
Game Of Thrones • HBO
Homeland • Showtime Dark Horse Mad Men • AMC - Should Win

Matthew Weiner and those Mad Men must have shit a brick when it was announced that PBS’ cross-the-pond hit would compete in the ‘Drama Series’ category this year. The previous ‘Outstanding Miniseries or Movie’ winner will not only provide Weiner with more competition than he wants - Homeland is as deserving as any, not to mention that the other three are no slouches - but probably walk away with the trophy. I’m not a Downton man, so I feel all the other five are more worthy, especially MM which is trying for its fifth straight.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series
Glenn Close as Patty Hewes - Damages • DirecTV
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley - Downton Abbey • PBS
Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick - The Good Wife • CBS
Kathy Bates as Harriet Korn - Harry's Law • NBC
Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison - Homeland • Showtime - Will Win/Should Win
Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson - Mad Men • AMC - Dark Horse

If Claire Danes doesn’t win, something is seriously amiss. Her performance as a psychologically shattered CIA Agent on Homeland is the best in all the acting categories regardless of genre or gender. While Bates may be a sentimental favorite since her show got the axe, the real dark horse this year is Moss because Mad Men might make up for the ‘Drama’ loss with acting wins. Of course, Margulies is a former winner as well and then there’s Downton. The British are coming! Sorry.

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series
Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson - Boardwalk Empire • HBO
Bryan Cranston as Walter White - Breaking Bad • AMC - Will Win/Should Win
Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan - Dexter • Showtime
Hugh Bonneville as Robert, Earl of Grantham - Downton Abbey • PBS
Damian Lewis as Nicholas Brody - Homeland • Showtime
Jon Hamm as Don Draper - Mad Men • AMC - Dark Horse

Hamm’s had a rough go of it. He reminds me of (now retired) tennis star Andy Roddick, someone who would have won many titles if Roger Federer didn’t happen to also be playing. And while the door was open last year with three time champion Cranston out of the mix, sentimental favorite Kyle Chandler waltz in and stole the show. Well, Cranston is back and should return to the podium but, following the same logic used for Moss, the ‘Mad Man’ could finally be the bride and not the bridesmaid.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series
Anna Gunn as Skyler White - Breaking Bad • AMC - Dark Horse
Maggie Smith as Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham - Downton Abbey - Will Win
Joanne Froggatt as Anna - Downton Abbey • PBS
Archie Panjabi as Kalinda Sharma - The Good Wife • CBS
Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart - The Good Wife • CBS
Christina Hendricks as Joan Holloway Harris - Mad Men • AMC - Should Win

Another Mad Men and Downton Abbey showdown, the ‘Supporting Actress’ category could also easily start Breaking Bad. The last time the AMC series was in contention, Aaron Paul joined his leading man as a trophy winner and I wouldn’t be surprised if Gunn did the same. That being said, it’s still Smith or Hendricks award to lose and I really hope that the later is rewarded for turning in such a fantastic season. And seeing her take the stage is just a bonus.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series
Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman - Breaking Bad • AMC - Dark Horse
Giancarlo Esposito as Gustavo 'Gus' Fring - Breaking Bad - AMC
Brendan Coyle as John Bates - Downton Abbey • PBS
Jim Carter as Mr. Carson - Downton Abbey • PBS
Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister - Game Of Thrones • HBO - Will Win
Jared Harris as Lane Pryce - Mad Men • AMC - Should Win

Like the Oscars, ‘Supporting Actor’ is often the tightest of all the categories. In many ways, there are two returning champions this year with Paul once again eligible and Dinklage back in contention for his work on Game Of Thrones. Dinklage will win again (and I’d be hard pressed to say he doesn’t deserve it) but Jared Harris delivered a consistently special performance and I’d like to see him win. By the way, Lena Headey needs to be nominated in the ‘Actress’ category next year if Dinklage is going to keep winning the male equivalent.

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