Predicting Emmy winners is all in a day's guesswork

Breaking Bad, starring Bryan Cranston, would be a deserving Emmy winner.
Breaking Bad, starring Bryan Cranston, would be a deserving Emmy winner.

It's Emmy Awards time again — a time when TV people get dressed up and celebrate their art while conveniently forgetting this is the same medium that so cruelly subjected us to Smash and Season 2 of Revenge.

Predicting who the voters will honor is always a tough call. Just when you think they're stuck in a major rut ( The Amazing Race again?), they surprise you and bestow their love on a fresh face or two.

With that in mind, we've cautiously tiptoed through the Emmy minefield, broken down the major categories and targeted who we think should and will win.

If we blow it big time, you never read it here.


Outstanding drama series

The nominees: Breaking Bad (AMC); Downton Abbey (PBS); Game of Thrones (HBO); Homeland (Showtime); House of Cards (Netflix); Mad Men (AMC).

Should win: Breaking Bad. TV's most buzzed-about show, nearing its series finale on Sept. 29, is also its best.

Will win: Breaking Bad

Lead actor, drama

The nominees: Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey; Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad; Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom, HBO; Jon Hamm, Mad Men; Damian Lewis, Homeland; Kevin Spacey, House of Cards.

Should win: My sentimental choice in this incredibly competitive category is Hamm, who is long overdue. (Inexplicably, no Mad Men actor or actress has won an Emmy.)

Will win: Spacey, because Cranston already has three trophies, and the TV academy loves movie stars.

Lead actress, drama

The nominees: Claire Danes, Homeland; Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel, A&E; Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey; Robin Wright, House of Cards; Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men; Connie Britton, Nashville, ABC; Kerry Washington, Scandal, ABC.

Should win: Danes was the top drama queen last year and is still crushing it.

Will win: Washington. Something tells us she has momentum — and buzz — on her side.

Outstanding comedy series

The nominees: The Big Bang Theory (CBS); Girls (HBO); Louie (FX); Modern Family (ABC); 30 Rock (NBC); Veep (HBO).

Should win: Louie. It's time to jump off the Modern Family bandwagon and give the shiny prize to a truly offbeat, daringly brilliant and original piece of work.

Will win: The Big Bang Theory because it's TV's No. 1 comedy — and the safer choice.

Lead actor, comedy

The nominees: Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock; Jason Bateman, Arrested Development, Netflix; Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory; Matt LeBlanc, Episodes, Showtime; Louis C.K., Louie; Don Cheadle, House of Lies, Showtime.

Should win: Louis C.K. The melancholy do-it-yourself funny man is in a league of his own.

Will win: Parsons, because voters so often favor someone who has won before.

Lead actress, comedy

The nominees: Tina Fey, 30 Rock; Laura Dern, Enlightened, HBO; Lena Dunham, Girls; Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie, Showtime; Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation, NBC; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep.

Should win: Poehler. It's about time that Emmy acknowledges her brilliant turn as Pawnee, Ind.'s irrepressible Leslie Knope.

Will win: Louis-Dreyfus. She's a worthy choice and an Emmy darling.

Miniseries or movie

The nominees: American Horror Story: Asylum (FX); Behind the Candelabra (HBO); The Bible (History Channel); Phil Spector (HBO); Political Animals (USA); Top of the Lake (Sundance Channel).

Should win: Top of the Lake. Jane Campion's seven-part saga was raw, provocative and absolutely riveting.

Will win: Behind the Candelabra. It's hard to beat the glitter, the glitz and the star power of this Liberace saga.

And the Emmy should also go to ...

Lead actor, movie or miniseries: Michael Douglas, Behind the Candelabra.

Lead actress, movie or miniseries: Elisabeth Moss, Top of the Lake.

Supporting actor, drama: Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad.

Supporting actress, drama: Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad

Supporting actor, comedy: Adam Driver, Girls.

Supporting actress, comedy: Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory.

Variety series: Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC)

Reality program: Shark Tank (ABC)

Reality competition: Top Chef (Bravo)

Reality host: Tom Bergeron, Dancing With the Stars, ABC


65th Primetime Emmy Awards

When: 8 p.m. Sept. 22 on CBS