Don’t Change the Channel: Emmy Nominations and Predictions

By Karsten Burgstahler

As the new TV season begins, Hollywood will take a final reflection on the 2012-2013 season with this year’s Emmy awards. The slate is quite strong this year, and several categories are almost too close to call; voters have a much larger body of work to look at than Oscars voters. However if you need some help in your betting pool or unsure whether Jon Hamm will finally get recognized for Don Draper (Spoiler: he won’t.), here are my predictions for who will take home that coveted golden statue Sunday night.

Best Drama Series

Will Win: “Breaking Bad,” AMC


Should Win: “House of Cards,” Netflix

“Breaking Bad” has constantly been thrown to the side by network sibling “Mad Men.” The trade-off? Bryan Cranston has a track record of winning Best Actor in a Dramar, while “Mad Men”’s Jon Hamm is left out in the cold. The question is whether voters will wait until next year to award “Breaking Bad” for its final season or if they’ll give it recognition now. “Homeland”’s second season, while quite entertaining, was riddled with plot holes, so I would be surprised if they are a repeat performer. I think “Bad” has a pretty good chance of pulling through this year. However, my vote is for “House of Cards,” not only to reward the excellent drama but also to reward Netflix’s experiment success. “Cards” is proof that great drama doesn’t have to come from pay cable.

Best Comedy Series

Will Win: “Modern Family,” ABC

Should Win: “Veep,” HBO

Voters love “Modern Family” and have for quite some time. I don’t see any reason for thatto change this year, not even the end of “30 Rock.” “Girls” doesn’t have nearly the same push behind it as the first season, and while “The Big Bang Theory” has viewers I don’t see voters going with a conventional multi-camera sitcom over a different storytelling method. “Modern Family” will take the win, but “Veep” is a force to be reckoned with. “Veep” grew stronger in its second season through great guest turns from actors such as Gary Cole as well as stronger storylines.

Lead Actor in a Drama Series


Will Win: Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad”

Should Win: Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”

Before you get too upset about Spacey over Cranston, consider this: Cranston now has three Emmys for his turns as Walter White. Damien Lewis came out on top last year during a stellar show for “Homeland.” Lewis didn’t have as good of material to work with this season, so I don’t think he’ll get the same recognition. That puts Cranston in a prime position to take his fourth prize. Jeff Daniels is great on “The Newsroom,” but Emmy viewers aren’t too keen on the series. To the voters I say spread the love. I doubt “Cards” will take Best Drama, but Kevin Spacey — the show’s heart and soul — deserves the prize. His turn as Frank Underwood made the show binge-worthy, and this is the perfect opportunity to give “Breaking Bad” its due with its first Best Drama award and give “Cards” some recognition.

Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Will Win: Claire Danes, “Homeland”

Should Win: Claire Danes, “Homeland”

Even when “Homeland” was weak, Danes’ performance as Carrie Mathison, the CIA agent slipping farther into her obsession over Lewis’ Brody, was consistent. Even with seven category nominees, Danes is the strongest. Robin Wright was good on “Cards” but her performance isn’t as pitch-perfect as Danes.Neither is Vera Farmiga, even though she is certainly nomination worthy. Elisabeth Moss of “Mad Men” will garner quite a few votes but not enough to overthrow Danes, while Kerry Washington of “Scandal” and Connie Britton,of “Nashville” round out the category as the “we’re just happy to be nominated” contenders. “Homeland”’s best chance of taking home a statue Sunday lies in Mathison’s crazy gaze.

Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Will Win: Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock”

Should Win: Matt LeBlanc, “Episodes”

“Episodes” is an unconventional choice for Should Win, but I chose Leblanc because I wish would realize how great of a show “Episodes” is. Its airdates have been sparatic, and there haven’t been too many episodes yet, but LeBlanc plays a narcissistic version of himself to perfection. “Episodes” is also a scathing commentary about how Hollywood ceaselessly tinkers with good ideas. OK, I’ll stop my plug now. Baldwin will win the Emmy for “30 Rock’s” final season because voters are crazy about him and this is their final chance to award it to him. Jim Parsons has won several times, but I think “30 Rock” nostalgia will win out. It’s nice to see Jason Bateman in the mix for “Arrested Development,” but the revived series didn’t get strong enough reviews to really register for Emmy voters.

Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Will Win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”

Should Win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”

Louis-Dreyfus won last year for her turn as Vice President Selina Meyer and her performance was on par, if not a little better, than last year. She’s a good example of how comfortable these actors are getting in their White House alter egos’ skins. Look for Emmy darling Louis-Dreyfus to remain queen here. Tina Fey won’t get the same love as Baldwin for “30 Rock,” and Edie Falco is underappreciated as “Nurse Jackie” even though the show has lost quite a bit of its edge. Lena Dunham won’t be able to muster up the recognition “Girls” needs for a win, and Laura Dern for “Enlightened” is this category’s “happy to be nominated” victim. Amy Poehler rounds out the group for “Parks and Recreation.” This is a strong slate, but Louis-Dreyfus has it wrapped up.

Other Categories:

Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Will Win: Ty Burrell, “Modern Family”

Should Win: Bill Hader, “Saturday Night Live”

I hope voters gave Hader his due. He has consistently been the best SNL performer, whether it’s as city correspondent Stefon during Weekend Update, Democratic strategist James Carville or elderly newsman Herb Welch, Hader always gave 100 percent.

Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Will Win: Sofia Vergara, “Modern Family”

Should Win: Jane Krakowski, “30 Rock”

I’d like to see Krakowski be recognized for her “30 Rock” work as the series comes to an end. Fellow nominee Anna Chlumsky for “Veep” also deserves the award. Like Louis-Dreyfus, she has developed her character well over the second season.

Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Will Win: Mandy Patinkin, “Homeland”

Should Win: Mandy Patinkin, “Homeland”

Even though the show was weaker this season, Patinkin was still a strong link on “Homeland.” I think voters will resist the temptation and wait until next year to award Aaron Paul for “Breaking Bad,” so look for Patinkin to take the Emmy home for his portrayal of Saul Berenson.

Supporting Actress

Will Win: Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey”

Should Win: Morena Baccarin, “Homeland”

Smith has won before, and “Downton Abbey” is unlikely to find success elsewhere during the show, so I think this will be a repeat performance. Baccarin did a god job on “Homeland” this season, if not quite up to last season. Like Paul, Anna Gunn will most likely receive her due next year after “Breaking Bad’ takes its final bow.