by Albert Rodriguez -
SGN A&E Writer
August 27 at 5 p.m. PDT
The shows we love. The series we follow week to week, episode to episode. The heroes we adore, the villains we loathe. Those scenes we can't shake out of our heads.
An entire season of riveting drama, belly-aching comedy, shocking cliffhangers, plot twists, breakups, weddings, murders, hookups, meth dealers, female prisoners and sneaky politicians comes to a close when the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards are given out on Monday, August 27.
Among those vying for TV's top prize are several LGBT actors and directors, such as Jim Parsons ('The Big Bang Theory'), Sarah Paulson ('American Horror Story: Coven'), Matt Bomer ('The Normal Heart'), Ryan Murphy ('The Normal Heart,' 'American Horror Story: Coven'), Jodie Foster ('Orange is the New Black') and Paris Barclay ('Glee').
With 16 nominations total, the AIDS-themed HBO film 'The Normal Heart' is the strong favorite to win Outstanding Television Movie, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a TV Miniseries or Movie (Julia Roberts) and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a TV Miniseries or Movie (Parsons, Bomer, Alfred Molina, or Joe Mantello).
Seth Myers is this year's emcee and the list of presenters includes Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Viola Davis, Sofia Vergara, Halle Berry, Gwen Stefani, Andy Samberg, Kerry Washington, Adam Levine, Amy Poehler, Debra Messing and Jimmy Fallon, to name a few.
Here's a closer look at some of the key categories with expected winners and my personal picks:
Outstanding Lead Actress, Drama: Michelle Dockery ('Downton Abbey'), Claire Danes ('Homeland'), Robin Wright ('House of Cards'), Lizzy Caplan ('Masters of Sex'), Kerry Washington ('Scandal'), Juliana Margulies ('The Good Wife').
'Homeland' didn't have a strong enough season to give Danes a third consecutive statuette. This will either go to Washington or Margulies, who had a stellar year and dealt with a major loss at the end. My vote: Margulies.
Outstanding Lead Actor, Drama: Bryan Cranston ('Breaking Bad'), Kevin Spacey ('House of Cards'), Jon Hamm ('Mad Men'), Jeff Daniels ('The Newsroom'), Woody Harrelson ('True Detective'), Matthew McConaughey ('True Detective').
It's between Cranston and newly minted Oscar champ McConaughey. Each is deserving, but it'll be difficult for Emmy voters to resist a bona fide Hollywood star who's at the peak of his success. My vote: Cranston (by a sliver).
Outstanding Supporting Actress, Drama: Anna Gunn ('Breaking Bad'), Maggie Smith ('Downton Abbey'), Joanne Froggatt ('Downton Abbey'), Lena Heady ('Game of Thrones'), Christina Hendricks ('Mad Men'), Christine Baranski ('The Good Wife').
In order for Gunn to repeat her 2013 triumph, and she's got a good shot after submitting the episode 'Ozymandias' to voters, she'll have to topple Froggatt, whose character was raped last season, and Heady, who played both an evil queen and grieving mother in 'GOT's season four. My vote: Gunn.
Outstanding Supporting Actor, Drama: Aaron Paul ('Breaking Bad'), Jim Carter ('Downton Abbey'), Peter Dinklage ('Game of Thrones'), Mandy Patinkin ('Homeland'), Jon Voight ('Ray Donovan'), Josh Charles ('The Good Wife').
Charles has the best storyline and a tragic exit; therefore he's considered the favorite. Perennial nominees and previous winners Paul and Dinklage are always deserving. My vote: Charles.
Outstanding Lead Actress, Comedy: Lena Dunham ('Girls'), Melissa McCarthy ('Mike & Molly'), Edie Falco ('Nurse Jackie'), Taylor Schilling ('Orange is the New Black'), Amy Poehler ('Parks and Recreation'), Julia Louis-Dreyfuss ('Veep').
Unless the Emmy-less Poehler can finally get called to the podium, or the upstart Schilling scores an upset, it'll be Louis-Dreyfuss victorious yet again. My vote: Schilling.
Outstanding Lead Actor, Comedy: Ricky Gervais ('Derek'), Matt LeBlanc ('Episodes'), Don Cheadle ('House of Lies'), Louis C.K. ('Louie'), William H. Macy ('Shameless'), Jim Parsons ('The Big Bang Theory').
Macy is exceptional as a dysfunctional, alcoholic and heartless father. If he doesn't go home with the winged statue, expect Parsons to accept his fourth prize, a consolation for losing out in the talent-packed Supporting Actor-TV or Mini-Series race. My vote: Macy.
Outstanding Supporting Actress, Comedy: Julie Bowen ('Modern Family'), Allison Janney ('Mom'), Kate Mulgrew ('Orange is the New Black'), Kate McKinnon ('Saturday Night Live'), Mayim Bialik ('The Big Bang Theory'), Anna Chlumsky ('Veep').
An impressive list with no slackers. Emmy folks love Janney, who already won a guest acting Emmy last weekend, and Chlumsky could ride the Veep-mobile onto the podium, while Bialik is overdue. But keep your eye on Mulgrew, the infectious 'Red' from 'Orange.' My vote: Bialik or Mulgrew.
Outstanding Supporting Actor, Comedy: Andre Braugher (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Adam Driver (Girls), Ty Burrell (Modern Family), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family), Fred Armisen (Portlandia), Tony Hale (Veep).
I suspect Hale is the frontrunner, especially since he submitted 'The Crate' episode to Emmy voters, and the only possible spoiler is the much-beloved Braugher for a comedy that's more hype than actually funny. My vote: Driver.
Outstanding Drama Series: 'Breaking Bad,' 'Downton Abbey,' 'Game of Thrones,' 'House of Cards,' 'Mad Men,' 'True Detective.'
'Breaking Bad' should have this in the bag, but 'True Detective' is going to give it a run for its money. The second half of the meth dealing drama's final season was riveting; completely mind-blowing. Back-to-back wins seems appropriate for one of TV's finest programs in history, but stranger things have happened at the Emmys. My vote: 'Breaking Bad.'
Outstanding Comedy Series: 'Louie,' 'Modern Family,' 'Orange is the New Black,' 'Silicon Valley,' 'The Big Bang Theory,' 'Veep.'
'Modern Family' is probably being dethroned this year, but by whom? 'Big Bang' is long overdue, 'Orange' is the cool new kid on the block and 'Louie' is a critical darling. 'Veep,' however, is a favorite across the board and a show that is most likely to draw a consensus. My vote: 'Orange is the New Black' (but, 'Big Bang' is long overdue - just sayin').
Outstanding Lead Actress, Miniseries or Movie: Jessica Lange ('American Horror Story: Coven'), Sarah Paulson ('American Horror Story: Coven'), Helena Bonham Carter ('Burton and Taylor'), Minnie Driver ('Return to Zero'), Kristin Wieg ('The Spoils of Babylon'), Cicely Tyson ('The Trip to Bountiful').
The legendary Tyson will benefit from a Coven vote-split, which will result in her winning both an Emmy and Tony for portraying the same role. My vote: Lange.
Outstanding Lead Actor, Miniseries or Movie: Chiwetel Ejiofor ('Dancing on the Edge'), Martin Freeman ('Fargo'), Billy Bob Thornton ('Fargo'), Idris Elba ('Luther'), Benedict Cumberbatch ('Sherlock: His Last Vow - Masterpiece'), Mark Ruffalo ('The Normal Heart').
It's a loaded category with Thornton and Cumberbatch ahead of the pack, with a slight possibility of Ruffalo slipping through. My hunch, though, is that the mystery inside the envelope belongs to 'Sherlock.' My vote: Ruffalo.
Outstanding Supporting Actress, Miniseries or Movie: Angela Bassett ('American Horror Story: Coven'), Frances Conroy ('American Horror Story: Coven'), Kathy Bates ('American Horror Story: Coven'), Allison Tolman ('Fargo'), Ellen Burstyn ('Flowers in the Attic'), Julia Roberts ('The Normal Heart').
Here's another great performance-jammed race, although the real battle pits two Best Actress-Oscar winners against each other, Bates vs. Roberts. Because of the likelihood that Bassett will siphon votes from her co-star, my money's on the Pretty Woman to pull ahead. My vote: Bates or Bassett.
Outstanding Supporting Actor, Miniseries or Movie: Colin Hanks ('Fargo'), Martin Freeman ('Sherlock: His Last Vow - Masterpiece'), Jim Parsons ('The Normal Heart'), Joe Mantonello ('The Normal Heart'), Alfred Molina ('The Normal Heart'), Matt Bomer ('The Normal Heart').
Could there be a four-way split between the 'Normal' men, allowing Freeman to get it? Yes, but similarly in 2004 a quartet of Angels in America actors were in the running for this same award and Jeffrey Wright beat them all out (and William H. Macy) for the Emmy. If it happens again, look for Bomer to be singled out. My vote: Bomer.
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