Emmy Awards 2012: Precarious Predictions And Preferences

The 64th Primetime Emmy Awards presentation on Sunday brings with it one of the most exciting award-show cliffhangers in recent years: Will AMC’s “Mad Men” become the first dramatic series ever to receive five consecutive awards for Outstanding Drama Series?

There simply isn’t another category at this year’s Emmys that is generating so much interest or suspense. Putting aside the possibility of history being made by a series that is of particular interest to everyone who works in advertising or related media businesses, one need only look at the other nominees in its category to understand the excitement.

 Interestingly, to judge by industry buzz it would seem that the primary challenger to “Mad Men” is its AMC stable mate, “Breaking Bad.” If forced to choose, I would honor “Bad” over “Mad,” though I could be persuaded to go with the clear audience favorite in this category, “Downton Abbey.” Certainly, “Abbey” deserves special recognition for bringing millions of new viewers to PBS and making it hotter with young audiences than it has been since the ‘70s (when “An American Family” and “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” attracted teenagers and twenty-somethings in droves). Critics, meanwhile, assert that Showtime’s terrorist psychodrama “Homeland” could also take home the top prize.



The truth is there can be no complaining if any of these four deserving shows win. The surprise here is that the two HBO dramas in the competition – “Boardwalk Empire” and “Game of Thrones” – seem to be out of the running. Frankly, CBS’ “The Good Wife” should have been nominated ahead of either HBO show, but that’s a pointless complaint at this late date.

The second most interesting category of the night should be Outstanding Miniseries or Movie, primarily because one high-profile program that might readily be mistaken for an ongoing dramatic series – FX’s “American Horror Story” – is among the nominees. The wildly uneven “Horror Story” is wildly popular in the industry and thus a fearsome front-runner, but there is no denying the unexpected impact of History’s surprise success “Hatfields & McCoys,” which broke all basic cable viewing records for original scripted content. As in the drama series category, PBS has a high-profile entry here in “Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia,” so don’t count that one out. If movies were still a separate category, HBO’s “Game Change” would be a lock, but under this new system, who knows? The only certainties are that “Luther” and HBO’s “Hemingway & Gelhorn” do not have a chance.

The competition for Outstanding Comedy Series is far more difficult to call than the dramatic programs, and also far less interesting. Based on viewer interest, the contest would seem to come down to CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” and ABC’s two-time winner “Modern Family,” which is likely to make it a three-peat. The potential spoiler is HBO’s “Girls,” the freshest and most distinctive new comedy series of last season. The other entries here – NBC’s tired old “30 Rock” and HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Veep” – appear to be out of the running. I would argue that if this award went to the comedy series that was truly the funniest last season then it ought to go to “Curb” for the Michael J. Fox storyline alone. This also seems like the right place to complain that ABC’s “The Middle” and FX’s “Louie” should have been recognized over “30 Rock” and “Veep.”

For what it’s worth at a time when there is so much terrific television it hardly seems reasonable to expect anyone to single out individual programs or performers that are somehow superior to the rest, here are my predictions and preferences for the other major categories on Sunday night (along with a final few shout-outs to the egregiously overlooked).

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Prediction: Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad”

Preference: Damian Lewis, “Homeland”

Should Have Been Nominated: Kelsey Grammer, Starz’ “Boss”


Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Prediction: Claire Danes, “Homeland”

Preference: Claire Danes, “Homeland”

Should Have Been Nominated: Katey Sagal, FX’s “Sons of Anarchy”


Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Preference: Giancarlo Esposito, “Breaking Bad”

Prediction: Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones”

Should Have Been Nominated: Neal McDonough, “Sons of Anarchy”


Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Prediction:  Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey”

Preference: Christine Baranski, “The Good Wife”

Should Have Been Nominated: Regina King, TNT’s “Southland”


Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Prediction: Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory”

Preference: Louis C.K., “Louie”

Should Have Been Nominated: Joel McHale, NBC’s “Community”


Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Prediction: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”

Preference: Lena Dunham, “Girls”

Should Have Been Nominated: Laura Dern, “Enlightened”


Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Prediction: Ed O’Neill, “Modern Family”

Preference: Ed O’Neill, “Modern Family”

Should Have Been Nominated: Chris Colfer, “Glee”


Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

 Prediction: Mayim Bialik, “The Big Bang Theory”

Preference: Kathryn Joosten, “Desperate Housewives”

Should Have Been Nominated: Eden Sher, “The Middle”


Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie

Prediction: Clive Owen, “Hemingway & Gelhorn”

Preference: Woody Harrelson, “Game Change”


Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie

Prediction: Julianne Moore, “Game Change”

Preference: Julianne Moore, “Game Change”


Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie

Prediction: Ed Harris, “Game Change”

Preference: Ed Harris, “Game Change”


Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie

Prediction: Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story”

Preference: Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story”



1 comment about "Emmy Awards 2012: Precarious Predictions And Preferences".
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  1. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, September 21, 2012 at 1:23 p.m.

    When people say there is nothing good on TV, I don't get it. Then you asked them if they have ever seen the shows you mention and they answer no. OK

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