by Albert Rodriguez -
SGN A&E Writer
September 22, 8 p.m.
The so-called 'Golden Age of TV' has been with us for about five to seven years, and it continued in 2013 with an excellent array of sitcoms and dramas that had Americans and global viewers tuning in by record numbers. Sunday night's Primetime Emmy Awards aim to recognize the highest credible talent on the boob tube, though you can expect a few undeserving surprises to abound. Our Gay man to the rescue, Neil Patrick Harris, will hopefully add a touch of excitement to what otherwise may be a rather dull telecast -as he's done with the Tonys -and Elton John will be on hand to fete piano maestro Liberace. Memorial segments for James Gandolfini and Cory Monteith are planned, Carrie Underwood is singing a Beatles tribute, and many of the top categories feature too-close-to-call races.
Yes, the Super Bowl of TV awards lands on Sunday, and here are my best guesses as to who'll take home the gold (although it's a toss-up each year) and my personal picks in the major acting categories. Note: Each nominee selects an episode during the past season to submit for voters' consideration, as referred to below.
Nominees: Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, Homeland, House of Cards, Mad Men
Will win: House of Cards. Emmy voters often lean toward freshman series and this Netflix-only political drama appeases a broad range of interest.
Should win: Breaking Bad. It's criminal, really, that one of TV's all-time best dramas has never been awarded the top prize. This isn't to say that previous winners Mad Men or Homeland weren't worthy -they're both outstanding in their own right -but, c'mon, Breaking Bad is, simply put, genius.
OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES
Nominees: 30 Rock, Girls, Louie, Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory, Veep
Will win: Modern Family. The only viable threat to Modern Family's continued streak is Veep because it's politically themed and that's usually enough to woo older white men, who make up the majority of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS) membership.
Should win: The Big Bang Theory. I'll go on record to say that TBBT is funnier than Modern Family -at least for the past two seasons -and it deserves a piece of the Comedy Series pie.
Nominees: Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel), Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey), Claire Danes (Homeland), Robin Wright (House of Cards), Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men), Connie Britton (Nashville), Kerry Washington (Scandal)
Will win: Danes or Washington. There's serious momentum for Washington, but Danes might prove unbeatable, especially after choosing 'Q&A' for her submitted episode.
Should win: Danes. Moss is long overdue, but Danes has a meatier role and more screen time.
Nominees: Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey), Damian Lewis (Homeland), Kevin Spacey (House of Cards), Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom)
Will win: Spacey. This category is stacked with talent -even the overshadowed Bonneville earned his spot on the lineup. But movie stars-turned-TV actors are coveted at the Emmys, so it's Spacey's to lose.
Should win: Hamm. Cranston was a little show-offy in the first half of Season 5, while Hamm kept Don Draper complicated, arrogant, and unpredictable. If Cranston triumphs again, you'll still find me celebrating.
Nominees: Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad), Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey), Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones), Morena Baccarin (Homeland), Christina Hendricks (Mad Men), Christine Baranski (The Good Wife)
Will win: Smith. She's an acting icon and delivers all the best lines on DA. How can you go wrong with Dame Maggie Smith?
Should win: Gunn. The real scene-stealer is Gunn, who since Season 2 of BB has been a pistol of a housewife-turned-manipulative co-conspirator. Kudos to 'Mother of Dragons' Clarke for making the cut -she's irresistible to watch on GOT.
Nominees: Bobby Cannavale (Boardwalk Empire), Jonathan Banks (Breaking Bad), Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), Jim Carter (Downton Abbey), Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), Mandy Patinkin (Homeland)
Will win: Patinkin. He wasn't even nominated last year -a huge snub -and he's a true TV veteran. Plus, all of his scenes with Danes are memorable.
Should win: Paul. Yes, two-time winner Paul is that good. Seriously.
Nominees: Tina Fey (30 Rock), Laura Dern (Enlightened), Lena Dunham (Girls), Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie), Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep)
Will win: Louis-Dreyfus. Funny, likeable, and she submitted a great episode, 'Running,' for consideration. But this finally could be the year for Poehler, who chose a two-part episode for her submission.
Should win: Dern. I love a great dysfunctional, batshit-crazy character, and Dern presses all the right (i.e., wrong) buttons.
Nominees: Alec Baldwin (30 Rock), Jason Bateman (Arrested Development), Matt LeBlanc (Episodes), Don Cheadle (House of Lies), Louis C.K. (Louie), Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)
Will win: Louis or Parsons. Baldwin could be tough to beat for 30 Rock's final season, but the race is actually between two-time champ Parsons and critical favorite Louis.
Should win: Parsons. After six seasons, I still find Sheldon Cooper to be one of the funniest sitcom characters ever.
Nominees: Jane Krakowski (30 Rock), Jane Lynch (Glee), Julie Bowen (Modern Family), Sofia Vergara (Modern Family), Merritt Wever (Nurse Jackie), Mayim Bialik (The Big Bang Theory), Anna Chlumsky (Veep)
Will win: Vergara. Back-to-back winner Bowen isn't Vergara's only competition -Bialik and first-time nominee Chlumsky have solid shots. But I do feel like it's time for Gloria Delgado-Pritchett to walk away with a winged statuette.
Should win: Vergara or Bialik. I'll shed no tears if Bialik gets it, but I'll be just a wee bit happier if Vergara is called to the podium.
Nominees: Adam Driver (Girls), Ed O'Neill (Modern Family), Ty Burrell (Modern Family), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family), Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live), Tony Vale (Veep)
Will win: O'Neill or Ferguson. With Eric Stonestreet completely out of the picture and Burrell already a winner, the best chance for either of Modern Family's other male co-stars is now.
Should win: Driver. I'll cheer for the underdog because I'm a fan of him and the show, and Girls should take home something.
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