It’s officially Emmy weekend, folks, with the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards broadcasting live at 8PM EST (5PM PST) this Sunday on NBC. There are a lot of questions to be answered: Can Mad Men pull off a threepeat? Will Hugh Laurie finally be recognized for six seasons of brilliance on House six seasons? How will the presenters of Supporting Actress pronounce Archie Panjabi?
After the jump, Ethan Anderton and I take a look the major drama categories at decide which nominees have the best chance of winning, as well as who we think is the most deserving regardless of the results. (Check our comedy picks here.)
Here’s the basic format. After listing the nominees, I argue the case for my favorite nominee under “Should win.” I try to determine who the Emmy voters like best with “Will win.” And because Ethan’s opinions are categorically more insightful than my own, I sought his help for this column: his thoughts are denoted by “Ethan’s Pick.”
SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA
Aaron Paul – “Breaking Bad”
Martin Short – “Damages”
Terry O’Quinn – “Lost”
Michael Emerson – “Lost”
John Slattery – “Mad Men”
Andre Braugher – “Men of a Certain Age”
Should win: Aaron Paul. I almost want to give yet another statue to Braugher, but have you seen Breaking Bad? Dude can monologue.
Will win: Terry O’Quinn. This is the category where any Lost nostalgia is most likely to arise, where Emerson and O’Quinn have won two out of the last three. O’Quinn gets the nod because he got to play two different characters in the final season — always a great showcase if you seek an Emmy.
Ethan’s Pick: Terry O’Quinn or Michael Emerson. Both of these guys deserve all the awards they can collect for their turns on Lost, but this final season brought it to a whole new level. Can we just give it to both of them?
SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
Sharon Gless – “Burn Notice”
Rose Byrne – “Damages”
Archie Panjabi – “The Good Wife”
Christine Baranski – “The Good Wife”
Christina Hendricks – “Mad Men”
Elisabeth Moss – “Mad Men”
Should win: Elisabeth Moss. During the first season of Mad Men, I kept thinking, That’s President Bartlett’s meek daughter from The West Wing. I’m so far beyond that now. Hendricks deserves credit for making Joan my favorite Mad Men character, but Moss is brilliant.
Will win: Sharon Gless. I have literally no idea who will win. But Gless has both the most Emmy nominations (10) and wins (2), and it’s a fun pick, so why not?
Ethan’s Pick: Christina Hendricks. Her character grew more than ever during the third season of Mad Men, and this voluptuous beauty has the acting talent to back up the assets that her form-fitting attire always accentuates.
LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA
Bryan Cranston – “Breaking Bad”
Michael C. Hall – “Dexter”
Kyle Chandler – “Friday Night Lights”
Hugh Laurie – “House”
Matthew Fox – “Lost”
Jon Hamm – “Mad Men”
Should win: Kyle Chandler. After four seasons of astounding work, Chandler’s inclusion seems like such a fluke. I want him to get a win on the books before FNL signs off after next season.
Will win: Hugh Laurie. Honestly, I’m just putting all six names into a hat, taking Chandler’s name back out, and picking at random. Hall had a strong season opposite John Lithgow’s Emmy-winning role, plus public sympathy due to his battle with cancer. Cranston has maintained the path of greatness that earned him wins in 2008 and 2009. Fox could benefit from a wave of Lost nostalgia. And the voters are aware they’ll need to honor Hamm before the end of Mad Men. Laurie has a tremendous submission episode (season premiere “Broken”), and gets the edge by virtue of being “Most Overdue.”
Ethan’s Pick: Bryan Cranston. This is Cranston’s award to lose, but the competition from Huge Laurie (House M.D.) and Jon Hamm (Mad Men) is quite staggering. The third season of AMC’s drama brought Hamm’s best performances yet, and Laurie just continues to impress every season as Dr. Gregory House slowly but surely grows up. However, Cranston is a tour de force on Breaking Bad.
LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
Kyra Sedgwick – “The Closer”
Glenn Close – “Damages”
Connie Britton – “Friday Night Lights”
Julianna Margulies – “The Good Wife”
Mariska Hargitay – “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”
January Jones – “Mad Men”
Should win: Connie Britton. I’m not equipped to judge this one fairly, as I only watch FNL and Mad Men. But the reasoning behind the Chandler pick above applies here as well.
Will win: Glenn Close. Marguiles will give her a run for her money, but Close’s “five-time-Oscar-nominee” trump card should still have enough pull with Emmy voters for the threepeat.
Ethan’s Pick: Julianna Marguiles. This is the category in which I’m the least familiar with the work nominated (with the exception of Jones), but it sounds like Marguiles is a lock for this award.
“The Good Wife”
Should win: Breaking Bad. It’s the best show on television. I really mean that. No other show, not even Mad Men, reaches the heights that Breaking Bad does each week.
Will win: Mad Men. Mad Men does come really close, to the heights of Breaking Bad. The third season was just as great as the first two that won Emmys: I don’t see voters disembarking the Mad Men train just yet.
Ethan’s Pick: Lost. While there might be some dissension amongst the ranks, I really think the final season of Lost contains some of the best television I’ve seen. What could stop this win is a somewhat lukewarm reception to the finale episode and the fact that the first and arguably best season already won Outstanding Drama in 2005. On a sidenote, I wouldn’t be upset if this award ended up going to Mad Men again which had one hell of a third season.