Thursday, June 12, 2014

2014 Emmys Predictions: The Comedy Nominees

Despite its status as one of the best television comedies of all time, many don't realize that Seinfeld has not been nominated for an Emmy since 1998.

Here are my predictions for the comedy nominations for the 2014 Primetime Emmy Awards. You can read my drama predictions here. As always, these are my predictions for who will be nominated, not necessarily who I hope will be.

Outstanding Comedy Series:

Because "nerds are dorky" jokes deserve to be rewarded year after year.

My Predictions: 
The Big Bang Theory
Modern Family
Orange is the New Black

Brooklyn Nine Nine

Parks and Recreation
Nurse Jackie

This category is is interesting, in that the race for nominations is not all that competitive, but the race for the award itself probably will be (more on that to come after nominations are announced). Modern Family has won this award four times in a row, and while that streak could end this year, it's still the most certain bet for a nomination. Then, we have  The Big Bang Theory, Girls, Louie, and Veep-- all of which were nominated last year, and which have not done anything to indicate they will lose that status.

Since the other nominee from last year-- 30 Rock-- is now off the air, that means that there is one spot up for grabs. This is all but a lock for Orange is the New Black. The Netflix series is, bafflingly, entered in the comedy categories instead of the drama ones. Actually, it's not that baffling. Given that Breaking Bad is going to sweep the drama categories, the promising Orange is the New Black would not be able to have all that much success there. But, the comedy categories are much more open-- most people think that Modern Family's reign will come to an end this year, and Orange is the New Black probably has the best chance to take the crown. It makes sense to enter it here...but I think it will hurt the series in the long run, at least Emmys-wise, as the series clearly is a drama, and might not be able to compete here long-term as voters struggle to continue classifying it as a comedy. But, that's neither here nor there for right now-- it's a lock for a nomination and a strong contender for the win.

The only other new series which might crack the list of nominations and unseat a longstanding nominee is Brooklyn Nine Nine. I'm a huge fan of the series and certainly think it deserves a nomination over some of my predictions (cough cough Big Bang Theory cough cough Girls) but, as a new series, it took a while to really get on its feet and I can't see it overcoming the huge Emmy-love that the other nominees have. Brooklyn Nine Nine is a bit of a wildcard, though, and could have a surprising Emmy showing. Its surprising Golden Globes domination certainly helped its chances, so it might have a shot after all.

There are also some series which were once nominated here, but which I see as unlikely to find themselves back in the running. The critically-acclaimed but largely unwatched Episodes always garners a little bit of buzz thanks to its devoted fan base, but just doesn't have the numbers to make it. Nurse Jackie, of my list of "longshots" probably has the best chance of scoring a nomination-- Merritt Wever's surprise win last year might show that the series is still in the Emmys' good graces-- but I fear the field is just too competitive, and with Orange is the New Black, the category already has a "secretly-not-a-comedy" entry on its roster. Lastly, there is my beloved Parks and Recreation, which in a just world would receive all the awards. Although is looked primed to be an Emmys favorite at one point, its failure to score key nominations the past few years has really placed it out of the running. If the Emmys gives any love to a Mike Schur series, it will be Brooklyn Nine Nine.

Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series:
Sadly, Lincoln is not a real series and is, thus, ineligible.

My Predictions:
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Louis C.K., Louie
Johnny Galecki, The Big Bang Theory
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang theory 
Andy Samberg, Brooklyn Nine Nine

John Goodman, Alpha House
Jonathan Groff, Looking
William H. Macy, Shameless

Michael J. Fox, The Michael J. Fox Show
Robin Williams, The Crazy Ones

This category is truly up in the air, and is rife for a lot of surprises. Of the nominees, there are really only three true locks: Don Cheadle, Louis C.K., and last year's winner Jim Parsons are all securely going to be nominated here. But, everything else is up in the air, so half of the field is still free. Two of last year's nominees-- Alec Baldwin and Jason Bateman-- do not have series in contention this year and therefore, those spots are open. The fourth nominee, Matt LeBlanc, is likely to get a nomination again, but his position is far more tenuous than his fellow nominees, due only to the fact that so few people watch Episodes. But, given how up in the air this category is, I think he's safe to get nominated again, almost by default.

But, that still leaves two spots open and they could really go to anyone. I think that, because of this, Johnny Galecki will enter the field again because the Emmys inexplicably loves The Big Bang Theory. Galecki is kind of the nominee of convenience-- he's been nominated once before, and really gets thrown in just when there are no other real options, which is the case here. But, of the other possibilities, he's the only other previous nominee here, so that does give him an edge.

Then there's one spot left. There are some big names entered here-- movie stars like John Goodman and Robin Williams, beloved television favorites like Michael J. Fox, and Broadway star Jonathan Groff. The fact that Fox and Williams' shows were canceled doesn't bode well for their chances, so I see them as longshots. Goodman has a chance, but Alpha House failed to make the splash some thought it would, so if he gets it, it's on name alone. Meanwhile, Looking doesn't seem to have any Emmy buzz whatsoever, so I don't really see Groff pulling a nomination here, but I've seen him mentioned a few times, so I thought I'd put him on the list as a possibility-- it's just a slight one. So, I don't see these particular big names really making a huge impression.

Instead, I think the nomination will go to either Andy Samberg for Brooklyn Nine Nine or William H. Macy for Shameless. While Shameless has been on the air for a few seasons, it has submitted as a drama for the past few years, but switched to submitting as a comedy this year since it wasn't having any luck. Macy has starpower, and people have responded well to his performance, so this move might pay off for him and score him a nomination-- I wouldn't be surprised at all if this happens. But, then again, the genre switch might piss some people off and work against Macy. That means...and I can't believe I'm saying final nominee prediction is Samberg. I love Brooklyn Nine Nine, and Samberg is a lot of fun on it...but he's not really acting by any definition of the word. No one would watch this show and think he gives a tour de force performance, and I initially didn't really see him getting any awards consideration at all.'s the thing: he won the Golden Globe. That gives him a surprising air of credibility, and if Brooklyn Nine Nine can generate enough Emmys buzz, he's in the running here. Somehow.

Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series:
Veep and the V.P.
My Predictions:
Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Melissa McCarthy, Mike and Molly
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Taylor Schilling, Orange is the New Black

Zooey Deschanel, New Girl
Anna Faris, Mom

This category is a little bit more cut and dry-- of last year's six nominees, two are ineligible (Laura Dern and Tina Fey) but the other four are locks to repeat a nomination for this year. That means that Lena Dunham, Edie Falco, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Amy Poehler will definitely be nominated. Maybe This is Poehler's year to finally win? Please? She deserves it so much! Meanwhile, there are two spots open, and one will probably go to Taylor Schilling, who will ride the Orange is the New Black momentum to an Emmy nomination despite the fact that, while she does good work, her character is probably the least interesting on the show. Second least interesting. After Larry. Fuck Larry.

That means there's one spot that's open, and it will most likely go to a previous nominee who didn't get a nomination last year-- either Zooey Deschanel for New Girl or Melissa McCarthy for Mike and Molly. I give McCarthy the edge, as she actually won in the category before. If there is any upset, it will be for Anna Faris-- a new submission in this category for her show Mom. In any other category, I'd put Faris as a longshot, but when there are so few people with an actual shot of a nomination here, that only helps Faris' odds at an upset.

Outstanding Supporting Actor, Comedy:

I couldn't think of a funny caption. Something about penguins? Because they're in tuxes?
My Predictions:
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine Nine
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Adam Driver, Girls
Tony Hale, Veep
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family

Ed O’Neill, Modern Family

Michael J. Harney, Orange is the New Black
Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother
Taran Killam, Saturday Night Live

In a perfect world:
Keegan-Michael Key & Jordan Peele, Key & Peele

Last year, Modern Family's utter domination in the supporting performance categories came to an end, with Tony Hale and Merritt Wever defeating the horde of Modern Family nominees. I think this will happen again this year-- but Modern Family is still a huge force when it comes to nominations. My guess is that, of the four adult males submitted in this category for Modern Family, it will score three nominations. Of the four, I think O'Neill (who, in the show's first year, was the only adult cast member to not be nominated) is the one who will be out of the running-- given that Ty Burrell is too beloved, and it sounds like Jesse Tyler Ferguson and previous winner Eric Stonestreet (who surprised many by failing to get a nomination last year) had some very strong episodes written for them this year. O'Neill definitely has a shot of making it in, but I think of the four, he'll be the odd man out.

If Modern Family takes three of the spots, that means there are three left. One will clearly go to last year's winner, Hale. And Adam Driver, who got a nomination last year, will probably get one again. I feel pretty strongly that Andre Braugher will also score a nomination this year. He was nominated year after year for his work on the show Men of a Certain Age, which nobody watched, and I think he will be once again awarded for his work on a much more high profile show. As with any new series, it's uncertain how it will do when the nominations are announced, but Braugher has a good shot here.

There are, however, a few wildcards. Some of Hale's fellow Veep castmembers could make a play here-- but none have any real buzz, so I didn't include anyone specific on this list. Orange is the New Black is set to do very well at the Emmys, and while its predominantly female cast has the best chance of faring well, if any male cast member has a shot at a nomination, it's veteran character actor Michael J. Harney (Pablo "Pornstache" Schrieber submitted himself in the Guest Performer category). Meanwhile, last year's sixth nominee was Bill Hader for Saturday Night Live, and it's possible (although not exactly likely) that another SNL cast member will take his place. If anyone does, it would probably be Killam-- his Jebidiah Atkinson character is pretty fantastic. Although, if any performers from a sketch comedy show deserve a nomination, it's the titular stars of Key & Peele, who both submitted themselves in the supporting category. What I wouldn't give to see Keegan-Michael Key and/or Jordan Peele pull off an upset nomination in this category! Hell, Peele deserves it if only for the Continental Breakfast sketch.

At one time, I would have also put Neil Patrick Harris down as a good bet for a nomination. His portrayal of Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother won him lots of nominations in the past, and although he hasn't managed to get one in the past few years, the fact that it was How I Met Your Mother's final season could help him with Emmys voters an see him return to the contenders circle. But, then How I Met Your Mother made one of the worst finales in television history and it lost any chance of gaining any real Emmys love at all, including for Harris. Fun Fact-- the finale episode of How I Met Your Mother is submitted in the Outstanding Writing category. So...someone is either delusional, or just submitted it as a joke.

Outstanding Supporting Actress, Comedy:

Poussey and Taystee watch an episode of Girls and they are not happy about it.
My Predictions:
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Danielle Brooks, Orange is the New Black
Kate Mulgrew, Orange is the New Black
Laura Prepon, Orange is the New Black
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Merritt Wever, Nurse Jackie

Anna Chlumsky, Veep
Jane Lynch, Glee
Samira Wiley, Orange is the New Black

Margo Martindale, The Millers

Before you ask me why some of your favorites from Orange is the New Black are not here, relax. Many of the cast members-- including Uzo Aduba, Laverne Cox, Lea DeLaria, Natasha Lyonne, and Taryn Manning, submitted themselves in the guest performer category, where they all have a great shot at a nomination-- especially Aduba and Cox. Sadly, and a little perplexingly, Michelle Hurst did not submit herself for any awards consideration, which I think is a shame, considering what wonderful work she does as Miss Claudette. But, to be fair, she doesn't give anything even resembling a comedic performance, so maybe if this show had been submitted in the drama categories where it belongs, she would have been a presence here.

But, even with these performers in the guest performer categories, this category is crowded with Orange is the New Black nominees-- with four actresses having submitted themselves. I think many of them have a good shot...but they face an already really crowded category. It seems impossible to think that Orange is the New Black won't do well here, but which returning nominees will they knock out to earn a place at the table? Surely not last year's winner and expert speech-giver Merritt Wever, who probably won't win again, but is assured a nomination. And surely not Julie Bowen or Sofia Vergara, who will continue to ride the Modern Family nomination train. Mayim Bialik also seems to have a nomination pretty secured down. That leaves only two spots left for the four Orange is the New Black submissions to battle for against last year's nominees Anna Chlumsky and Jane Lynch. I think-- and I cannot say this with confidence-- that Chlumsky and Lynch are going to be left out of the running this year. As loved as Lynch is, Glee no longer has any other Emmys presence and Lynch might no longer be able to show up in such a competitive category. Chlumsky, meanwhile, does great work on Veep, but is not the standout star like her co-stars Dreyfus and Hale, so she might simply be outvoted here and left without a nomination.

That leaves two spots for Orange is the New Black, and I'm going to take a HUGE risk when it comes to Emmys predictions and say that this year, there will be seven nominees. This doesn't happen a lot, although it definitely can happen (and happened in this category last year, in fact). The way the Emmys nominations work are that voters fill out ballots with who they'd like to be nominated. Typically, only the top six vote-getters win, but if more than six people score a certain percentage of votes, then a seventh nominee will be added. Given how competitive this category is, I think that's what will happen, so I'm listing seven nominees, allowing me to predict three from Orange is the New Black. I've chosen Danielle Brooks, Kate Mulgrew, and Laura Prepon as my nominees. Mulgrew and Prepon are the more recognizable faces to Emmys voters, and Brooks' outlandish performance as Taystee could earn her lots of votes over Samira Wiley's slightly more subdued performance as Taystee's cohort Poussey. But, as I said at the beginning, these are my predictions for what I think will happen, not was I want to happen. In an ideal world, Taystee and Poussey will both be nominated. And both win. And get a spinoff where they travel the world and mock white people.

The only other person I see being in consideration here is Margo Martindale for The Millers. Martindale is considered by many to be one of the best actresses on television right now, and while I don't think The Millers is really showcasing her at her best, she's one of those names that just attracts Emmy voters. In another year, it would be enough to assure her a nomination, but given how competitive this category already is, I don't see it happening this year.

And, that's it! Those are my thoughts. We still have another month before the nominees are announced, and we'll see how accurate my predictions are. Please discuss in the comments-- I'd love to know your thoughts. Who will get a nomination? Who deserves one but won't get it? Let me know!

2014 Emmy Predictions: The Drama Nominees

Four for you, Glen Coco! You go, Glen Coco! Aaaaaand none for Dexter Morgan.
As much as I love the Oscars, the Emmys are perhaps my favorite awards ceremony out of all of the top awards in different artistic media. What makes them so fascinating is that, unlike the Oscars, it's not a completely new batch of nominees from year to year. This means that as a show remains on the air, you get to see new trends in how the Emmy voters view different shows. For example, a show like Weeds was an Emmys darling at the start of its run, before being completely shut out during its later seasons. I have a feeling that this has happened to another Showtime series-- Dexter, which used to be a consistent Emmy nominee, but failed to score long-held nominations last year and had what most considered to be an abysmal final season this past year. Other shows, meanwhile, grow in the Emmys' estimation. The Big Bang Theory was completely ignored when it first aired, but has-- for better or for worse (in my opinion, worse)-- since become a considerable Emmy threat. Last year, there was a lot of buzz for the acclaimed series The Americans, and it got almost completely shut out. Does it have a chance to break into the field this year? And then there's the question of how tried-and-true series which have been on the air for years stack up to newer seasons. Look no further than the Best Drama category this year, where most agree it will be a race between the last season of Breaking Bad and the first season of True Detective. It adds an extra element to the predictions game-- instead of looking at other awards ceremonies to make your predictions, you actually get to look at the Emmys themselves.

As always, this is not necessarily who I want to be the nominees-- it is simply who I think they will be. And I'm making these predictions a full month in advance so things could definitely change as the predictions near. But, for now, here are my predictions for the nominees in the major categories. Let's start with the drama categories.

Outstanding Drama Series:

Malcolm in the Middle had one of the weirdest finales ever.
My Predictions: 
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
Mad Men
True Detective

The Good Wife
Masters of Sex

The Americans
Boardwalk Empire

I already mentioned that this category will probably come down to a race between the last season of Breaking Bad and the first season of True Detective. I don't see how Breaking Bad won't come out on top, but regardless, both are shoo-ins for a nomination at least. Then, we have longtime Emmy darling Mad Men. While it was once the odds-on favorite to win this category every year, it has not won in the past two years, and will struggle to win again. Still, it's a pretty safe bet for a nomination. So is HBO epic Game of Thrones-- which was seen as a long shot for a nomination in its first year, but has proven itself as a consistent Emmy favorite. Netflix's House of Cards is also a lock.

This leaves one spot left, with a lot of shows competing for it. Downton Abbey and Homeland have both been nominated the past two years (with Homeland winning once) but have experienced diminishing critical returns with each season. This opens up the field for a new show to take this last spot. A good bet would be Masters of Sex, which has gotten a lot of attention but remains a bit of a wildcard given the competitiveness of the Drama categories. If any series is going to be crack this category from the previous nominees, it will be The Good Wife-- a previous nominee itself, which has not been nominated in this category for the past two years. But this last season was hailed as one of the series' best-- if it's going to get back into the Emmys' graces, this would have been the season to do it. Something tells me, though, that Downton Abbey will be nominated again after all. While a lot of people are not with me on this prediction, Downton Abbey  has been shown a disproportionate amount of Emmy love in each of its seasons. The Emmys LOVE this show, and it is hard for me to imagine it not being at play here.

This means that Boardwalk Empire-- another previous nominee in this category, which was once considered a favorite to win the award back in 2011-- is pretty much out completely. I don't see good odds for The Americans either, despite its high acclaim. It didn't manage to impress Emmy voters last year, and with True Detective at play, I think that the category has only gotten more competitive.

Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series:

But, like, actually, how the hell did Matthew McConaughey become one of the most acclaimed actors of our generation? How did this happen? When did this happen?
My Predictions:
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Matthew McConaughey, True Detective
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
Michael Sheen, Masters of Sex

Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Woody Harrelson, True Detective
Damian Lewis, Homeland
James Spader, The Blacklist

Mads Mikkelsen, Hannibal
Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Liev Schrieber, Ray Donovan

Another really tough category here. Bryan Cranston will definitely be nominated for his portrayal of Walter White in Breaking Bad's final season. And he will win. He has to win. He's been snubbed now for two years in a row (I'm STILL reeling from Jeff Daniels' perplexing surprise win in this category last year) and this year he will reclaim the award that is rightfully his. The only one who could possibly unseat him is Matthew McConaughey for True Detective, riding in on a wave of Oscar momentum. Many think Daniels will be left out this year, as more and more become disillusioned with both his performance and The Newsroom as a whole. But, as much as a I understand why he might fail to score a nomination here, he wasn't just nominated last year, he WON THE WHOLE THING. To not get nominated the next year would be a huge snub, and he clearly has a lot of fans who will vote for him blindly, so I do think he's a safe bet here. Another safe bet is Kevin Spacey, who portrays the character of evil Southern Kevin Spacey on House of Cards. I also think that Jon Hamm-- the perpetual bridesmaid of the Emmys-- will be nominated for his work on Mad Men. I call him a bridesmaid because this would be his 7th nomination in this category and he STILL has not won, but also because he's in the movie Bridesmaids.

Again, this leaves one spot open, with four people likely competing for it (and any of those four could knock out Hamm, or even Daniels). Those four are Damian Lewis, James Spader, Woody Harrelson, and Michael Sheen. Lewis is a previous winner in this category and of these four is the only nominee from last year, plus his character was killed off this season (um...spoilers. Sorry) which tends to help score a nomination. But, the poorer reviews of this season of Homeland imply that the show is not as much of a force to be reckoned with, and I see this as an indication that Lewis will be knocked out in favor of a bigger, newer name. Spader is certainly not completely new to the Emmys-- he has won several in years past-- so his Emmy darling status makes him a strong possibility for a nomination here. The only problem is that The Blacklist, while popular, really is not all that good. And while even the show's harshest critics agree that Spader is really good in it, the show's overall negative reaction will hurt Spader's chances in such a loaded category. A lot of people are predicting that McConaughey's co-star Harrelson will be the one to grab the nomination, and there's a good chance of this. But, given that McConaughey's name is the one being thrown around much more consistently, I think that Harrelson is going to end up playing second fiddle to his Oscar-winning co-star. This leaves one major contender for the sixth nomination: Michael Sheen for Masters of Sex. The acclaimed show might make a huge splash on Emmys night and garner multiple nominations, or it might end up with a disappointing premiere Emmys showing (a la The Americans last year). If the latter is the case, then I think Sheen is the show's best chance at a major nomination.

Regardless, previous nominees like Steve Buscemi and Hugh Bonneville are looking more and more like longshots as their shows have lost favor and bigger names have thrown their hat into the ring. It also means that Matthew Rhys and Mads Mikkelsen-- who both gained a bit of buzz last year and still have some this year-- are probably going to fail to be contenders for the second time. Of my longshots, the one with the best possibility of pulling an upset is Liev Schrieber for Ray Donovan, but he's in the same position as Spader, and between the two, Spader has the better shot.

Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series:

I haven't seen Scandal, and don't know much about it, but it sounds as if it's The West Wing but everyone is sleeping together. Accurate?

My Predictions:
Claire Danes, Homeland
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Kerry Washington, Scandal
Robin Wright, House of Cards

Connie Britton, Nashville
Lizzy Caplan, Masters of Sex
Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Elizabeth McGovern, Downton Abbey
Keri Russell, The Americans

There are four pretty certain locks here: Claire Danes, Elisabeth Moss, Kerry Washington, and Robin Wright. All were nominated last year and have a strong chance of getting nominated again (with many thinking that Washington will disrupt Danes' two-year winning streak). This means there are two spots left. Last year, due to the competitive nature of the category, there were actually seven nominees (the reason for this is complicated and might be the subject of another post-- if people are interested in the voting technicalities, let me know in the comments and I'll run through them). The other three nominees from last year-- Michelle Dockery, Connie Britton, and Vera Farmiga-- all have a chance of getting nominated again, and it's likely that at least one of them will, but it's highly unlikely, I think, that two of the three will gain nominations again. Of the three, I think Britton has the worst chance of repeating a nomination. Now that it's in its second season, Nashville has lost a lot of buzz, and Britton has with it. I think Dockery has the best chance of the three, given the aforementioned crush the Emmys has on Downton Abbey. If Dockery does grab the fifth nomination, that leaves one extra spot, which I think will be taken by a nominee we didn't see last year. Julianna Margulies has a great shot at this-- a previous winner in this category, Margulies has the benefit of a really strong season which could catapult her back into the running. But she faces some tough competition. Elizabeth McGovern has been nominated for her work on Downton Abbey, and is submitting herself in the leading actress category for the first time this year. Tatiana Maslany's work on Orphan Black is widely considered some of the best on television, and her exclusion last year was considered a major snub. Lizzy Caplan has gotten great reviews for her work on the new series Masters of Sex, and has a shot here. Lastly, many still hold out hope that the Emmys will recognize The Americans this year and are throwing Keri Russell's name around. This category is really up in the air and could be full of surprises when the nominations are announced in July.

Outstanding Supporting Actor, Drama:

Pictured: The most and the least bald male cast members of Breaking Bad
My Predictions:
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Josh Charles, The Good Wife
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Dean Norris, Breaking Bad
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad

Michael B. Jordan, Boardwalk Empire
Jeff Perry, Scandal                             
Peter Sarsgaard, The Killing
John Slattery, Mad Men
Jon Voight, Ray Donovan
Jeffrey Wright, Boardwalk Empire

For this award to go to Aaron Paul for his performance as a sad puppy dog, he first has to be nominated, and he will be. The next spot in this category will go to Peter Dinklage, who continues to be submitted in the supporting category despite everyone's belief that the show is really about him. Unlike the other categories, Dinklage and Paul are the only two real locks, so this category is a little bit more undecided, but  if there is a third sure bet, it's for Mandy Patinkin in Homeland.

This leaves four spots wide open. While his nomination is not as assured as it has been in previous years, I think Jim Carter is a pretty safe choice to be the fourth nominee. The Breaking Bad writers basically wrote the season in such a way that it would assure Dean Norris a nomination, so he will likely join the ranks of Giancarlo Esposito and Jonathan Banks as antagonists-to-Walter-White-who-get-nominated-once-after-their-characters-are-killed.

This leaves one more spot open-- one that had been filled by last year's winner Bobby Cannavale, who is not eligible this year. It's possible that this free spot will be filled by another actor from the star-studded Boardwalk Empire cast-- most likely Michael B. Jordan or Jeffrey Wright-- but I think it will more likely go to a previous nominee, one who just missed out on making it last time. That would mean either Josh Charles for The Good Wife or John Slattery for Mad Men, and as much as I love Slattery, I think Charles has the better shot.

The third option is that the free spot will go to someone completely new. The best chance of this is Jon Voight, who won the Golden Globe this year and has received several nominations from other awards. In fact, he's probably the safest bet to gain a nomination, but I put him down as just a possibility because...I just really don't see Ray Donovan doing all that well. It's not that people think it's the worst's just that it really doesn't have the substance to be a true Emmys contender. The smart money is on Voight, but I'm taking a risk and leaving him off of my list of nominees. Another possible newcomer to the category is Jeff Perry for Scandal, whose nomination could show a surge in Emmy attention towards the show.

Lastly, there's Peter Sarsgaard for The Killing. You have no idea how much I want this to happen. I have already spoken about how I feel this show is criminally underrated. And I think if the show has any shot at all of getting Emmys love for its exceptional third season, it's on Sarsgaard. He's a recognizable name, and he gave an INCREDIBLE performance. He certainly deserves it, and there has been a tiny bit of buzz surrounding him. Not much, but perhaps it will be enough for him to score a surprise nomination.

Supporting Actress: Drama:

Maggie Smith in the film Gosford Park, but you totally thought it was from Downton Abbey, didn't you?

My Predictions:
Morena Baccarin, Homeland
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Michelle Monaghan, True Detective
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife

Betsy Brandt, Breaking Bad

This category has the potential to be pretty up in the air. At one point, I would have put previous winner Archie Panjabi as a lock for a nomination-- but after she failed to score one last year, she might be out of luck. The supporting categories tend to be rife for upsets, so they become difficult to really predict. But, that means that when making predictions, the previous year's nominees become your best bet. And, sure enough, I think that all of last year's nominees have a chance to score a nomination again this year. But, there's a twist in the form of newcomer Michelle Monaghan, who seems like she has a great chance of winning for her work on True Detective. If Monaghan is in, though, it means that one of last year's nominees is going to be out, and I think the most likely is Emilia Clarke. That means, my predictions are Monaghan, plus last year's nominees Morena Baccarin, Christine Baranski, Anna Gunn, Christine Hendricks, and Maggie Smith.

If someone else breaks into the nominees (possibly unseating Baccarin? I don't know) then the best bet would be either Panjabi or Downton Abbey's Joanne Froggatt, who might join her co-star Smith. There has also been a little bit of buzz for Lena Headey to take Clarke's nomination as the representative for Game of Thrones.

The only wildcard here is Betsy Brandt for Breaking Bad. I honestly think that Brandt could have had a shot, but the writers didn't give Marie a specific standout episode like they did with, say, her husband Hank. Before the season aired, I thought that Brandt would be a surprise contender here, but after the season ended, I thought this wasn't as likely. Still, Brandt is getting a little bit of buzz, and if the Emmys decide to just shower Breaking Bad with all of the awards then Brandt could pull an upset and walk away with a nomination.

And, those are my thoughts on the drama nominees. Please discuss in the comments-- do you think my predictions are correct, or way off? Who deserves a nomination but won't get one? Let me know, and be sure to check out my predictions for the comedy categories.