This year’s Emmy awards, hosted by Jimmy Fallon on Sunday night (and which we’ll be live-blogging: see you there!), are shaping up to be a showdown between stalwarts (such as 30 Rock, Mad Men, Lost, Glenn Close, and Alec Baldwin) and first-timers (like Glee, Modern Family, The Good Wife, and Nurse Jackie). Can the standard-bearers hold it down? Will Glee or Modern Family rack up the most awards? Is it finally Jon Hamm’s year? Will Conan have his sweet revenge? Can anyone stop Sue Sylvester? Vulture predicts the future, in the slideshow.
Nominees: Curb Your Enthusiasm, Glee, Modern Family, Nurse Jackie, The Office, 30 Rock
Sure, 30 Rock could just win again, like it always does. But its quality was a little spotty last season, and this year the TV Academy has a pair of well-reviewed, high-rated freshmen to choose from. Modern Family may have revived the sitcom (and be the better show), but Glee is an inescapable cultural phenomenon — and the year’s most nominated series, which always helps.
Nominees: Breaking Bad, The Good Wife, Dexter, Mad Men, True Blood, Lost
If Lost’s final season had been better received, we might have a horse race here. But it wasn’t, so look for Mad Men to take this for the third year in a row.
Nominees: Steve Carell (The Office), Alec Baldwin (30 Rock), Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Matthew Morrison (Glee), Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory), Tony Shalhoub (Monk)
Does Alec Baldwin really need a third consecutive Emmy? He was great as always, but this season he neither played a Spanish general nor impersonated any members of Tracy Jordan’s family. Jim Parsons is due.
Nominees: Lea Michele (Glee), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (The New Adventures of Old Christine), Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie), Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation), Toni Collette (United States of Tara), Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Good news for Edie Falco: As Toni Collette proved last year, there’s no law against giving an Emmy to the star of a fledgling Showtime series (and the TV Academy might feel weird about giving Collette another one). Also, Falco’s great on Jackie, which she totally carries, and she’s also beloved by voters (she won three times for The Sopranos).
Nominees: Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Michael C. Hall (Dexter), Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Hugh Laurie (House), Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights), Matthew Fox (Lost)
This one could really go any of six ways: Hamm’s reveal of Don Draper’s real identity to Betty last season was one of his finest-ever moments as an actor; Laurie is beloved the world over but still Emmy-less; regardless of how you felt about the Lost finale, Fox was still pretty great in it; Chandler’s performance is the most inspirational of the bunch; and Cranston, the returning two-time champion, could just win this out of habit. But our money’s on Hall, who’s already won a Golden Globe and a SAG Award for his standout work in Dexter’s season-five finale.
Nominees: Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights), Glenn Close (Damages), Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: SVU), January Jones (Mad Men), Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife), Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer)
Though we’d love to see Connie Britton win for her performance as Friday Night Lights’ Mrs. Coach, the honor of a nomination will have to suffice, as this should be Julianna Margulies’s year. And that’s not a bad thing: The actress — who was nominated seven times, and won once, for ER — has already won a SAG award for her subtly powerful performance on CBS’s excellent, freshman series The Good Wife, which should be enough to put her over Glenn Close, last year’s winner.
Nominees: Ty Burrell (Modern Family), Chris Colfer (Glee), Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family), Neil Partrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother), Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family)
That there are three nominees from Modern Family in this stacked, gay-friendly category indicates just how much voters liked the show — so while it’s possible the trio, especially Stonestreet and Burrell, could split the vote, leaving room for last year’s winner, Jon Cryer, or, much more preferably, Glee’s Chris Colfer to slip in, the wonderfully goofy Burrell should be able to eke this one out.
Nominees:Julie Bowen (Modern Family), Jane Krakowski (30 Rock), Jane Lynch (Glee), Holland Taylor (Two and a Half Men), Sofia Vergara (Modern Family), Kristen Wiig (SNL),
Bummer for Sofia Vergara, who in almost any other year would have won an Emmy for her breakout performance on Modern Family, but who this year finds herself up against the unbeatable Sue Sylvester. Jane Lynch in a walk; just don’t expect any Mr. Schuester hair jokes in her acceptance speech.
Nominees: Andre Braugher (Men of a Certain Age), Michael Emerson (Lost), Terry O’Quinn (Lost), Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), Martin Short (Damages), John Slattery (Mad Men).
If the Emmys are going to honor Lost’s last season in the acting categories, it will likely be here, where the show has the most talent. Michael Emerson won last year, but this was a quieter season for Ben, especially compared to O’Quinn’s command performance as not-Locke. If neither can pull it out, we hope Aaron Paul can make like Bryan Cranston and win an Emmy for the little-watched Breaking Bad.
Nominees: Christine Baranski (The Good Wife), Rose Byrne (Damages), Sharon Gless (Burn Notice), Christina Hendricks (Mad Men), Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men), Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife)
Two nominees from The Good Wife face off with two nominees from Mad Men, and our money’s on the Mad Men ladies. Last season had Joan (Hendricks) was raped dealing with her husband’s failure as a surgeon and decision to go to Vietnam, but Peggy (Moss) still had more screen time. We could just about flip a coin: We’ll call Moss.
Nominees: The Colbert Report, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Saturday Night Live, Real Time With Bill Maher, Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien
Odds are The Daily Show will make it eight consecutive wins in this category, and it won’t be undeserved: Jon Stewart’s relentless attacks on Fox News have been totally brilliant. Our heart holds out a tiny bit of hope for Coco, since it would redefine the term “poetic justice” to have O’Brien accept the award on NBC’s air. If there were ever a year for O’Brien to finally win a Best Show Emmy, this is it.
Nominees: American Idol, The Amazing Race, Dancing With the Stars, Project Runway, Top Chef
Last year, it seemed like Top Chef had enough buzz and momentum to possibly end The Amazing Race’s ironclad grip on this category. But nope, TAR still won. Chef has cooled a bit this year, while TAR had a couple of more solid (if not particularly memorable) cycles. Since the Academy inexplicably failed to nominate Survivor during its tenth-anniversary year (and for a classic all-star season), it’s a safe bet to assume Jerry Bruckheimer and his boys will cross the finish line first for the eighth-consecutive year.
Nominees: Glee, Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, Ian Brennan; Modern Family, Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd; The Office, Greg Daniels, Mindy Kaling; 30 Rock, Matt Hubbard; 30 Rock, Tina Fey, Kay Cannon
This could be the consolation-prize category this year: Assuming 30 Rock’s Best Comedy winning streak comes to an end (and it should), voters might want to find another way to give Tina Fey some props — and let her make a speech — by rewarding the show’s still-solid writing. Of course, the runner-up theory could also apply to Modern Family or Glee, whichever one doesn’t win the Emmy for Best Comedy. The Office is a dark horse, though the moving Greg Daniels– and Mindy Kaling–penned Jim and Pam wedding episode could end up surprising.
Nominees:Friday Night Lights, Rolin Jones; The Good Wife , Michelle King, Robert King; Lost, Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse; Mad Men, Robin Veith, Matthew Weiner; Mad Men, Matthew Weiner, Erin Levy
There are plenty of sentimental choices the Academy could make here, like validating the series finale of Lost and awarding Darlton an Emmy for their last script, or finally showing some love to Friday Night Lights. More likely? Mad Men walks away with another carefully crafted win, probably for the season finale, “Shut the Door, Have a Seat.”