Who will win the Emmys?

  • Check out our Live Blog of the 2012 Emmy Awards from 9am Monday AET

This Sunday (well, Monday our time) is the big day as far as American TV is concerned, as the Emmy awards are announced in Los Angeles, awarding bragging rights to actors that will last until next year/The Golden Globes/the next ratings are in.

While last weekend's Creative Arts Emmy Awards might imply this weekend is left for the residual, non-creative categories, these Primetime Emmy Awards are the gongs most sought after by the television talents of Hollywood, and their agents who are seeking to get them better deals.

Game of Thrones was the big winner last Saturday with six gongs, so who will win and which show will dominate the headlines on Monday? The Emmys categorises shows, almost arbitrarily, into drama, comedy and mini-series and telemovies. And so shall we!

DRAMA

Outstanding Drama Series nominees
Boardwalk Empire
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Homeland
Mad Men

Won Last Year: Mad Men
Will Win This Year: Mad Men
Dark Horse: Downton Abbey

If Mad Men wins this category it will become the most honoured drama at the Emmys of all time. The show started out with 17 nominations, however the Creative awards weren’t kind, as all eight categories it was nominated in went to other shows. Downton Abbey can’t be ignored, having cleaned up when classed as a mini-series last year, while Homeland might provide some competition despite only being in its first season. The chance to be a part of history should prove too much for the voters and Mad Men must be considered a firm favourite.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series nominees
Damages • Glenn Close as Patty Hewes
Downton Abbey • Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley
The Good Wife • Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick
Harry's Law • Kathy Bates as Harriet Korn
Homeland • Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison
Mad Men • Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson

Won Last Year: Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Will Win This Year: Claire Danes, Homeland
Dark Horse: Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife

Kathy Bates got an award last week for playing Charlie Sheen, and none of these actresses can be ignored, but Claire Danes is the favourite here with Homeland, as the show received rave reviews around the US. That said, Julianna Margulies has a habit of winning this category.

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series nominees
Boardwalk Empire • Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson
Breaking Bad • Bryan Cranston as Walter White
Dexter • Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan
Downton Abbey • Hugh Bonneville as Robert, Earl of Grantham
Homeland • Damian Lewis as Nicholas Brody
Mad Men • Jon Hamm as Don Draper

Won Last Year: Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights
Will Win This Year: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Dark Horse: Jon Hamm, Mad Men

Breaking Bad missed out with eight nominations at the Creative awards and will likely miss out in the major categories at the main event ... except here. Bryan Cranston, who Hollywood is falling over itself to cast in everything and anything at the moment, is a strong favourite. Jon Hamm and Damian Lewis provide the strongest competition.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series nominees
Breaking Bad • Anna Gunn as Skyler White
Downton Abbey • Maggie Smith as Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham
Downton Abbey • Joanne Froggatt as Anna
The Good Wife • Archie Panjabi as Kalinda Sharma
The Good Wife • Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart
Mad Men • Christina Hendricks as Joan Holloway Harris

Won Last Year: Margo Martindale, Justified
Will Win This Year: Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Dark Horse: Christina Hendricks, Mad Men

If one Downton Abbey winner from last year is likely to transition seamlessly to the more competitive category it is Dame Maggie Smith. While arguably Joanne Froggatt works harder as Anna, Smith continues to steal every scene. Hendricks has some support in Hollywood for her tireless work in Mad Men, but sentiment probably won’t be enough to get her over the line.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series nominees
Breaking Bad • Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman
Breaking Bad • Giancarlo Esposito as Gustavo 'Gus' Fring
Downton Abbey • Brendan Coyle as John Bates
Downton Abbey • Jim Carter as Mr. Carson
Game Of Thrones • Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister
Mad Men • Jared Harris as Lane Pryce

Won Last Year: Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Will Win This Year: Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Dark Horse: Giancarlo Esposito, Breaking Bad

For plot-based (and spoiler-esque) reasons, Esposito is a strong shout for this award for his efforts on Breaking Bad, however it’s hard to look past the efforts of Dinklage, particularly as Game of Thrones is unlikely to grab many other crowns tonight.

Outstanding Directing For A Drama Series nominees
Boardwalk Empire • To The Lost, Tim Van Patten, Director
Breaking Bad • Face Off, Vince Gilligan, Director
Downton Abbey • Episode 7, Brian Percival, Director
Homeland • Pilot, Michael Cuesta, Director
Mad Men • The Other Woman, Phil Abraham, Director

Won Last Year: Boardwalk Empire
Will Win This Year: Homeland
Dark Horse: Breaking Bad

The absence of a certain Martin Scorsese from the Boardwalk Empire nomination form this year has to work against it. Instead the efforts of an otherwise unrecognised show such as Homeland or Breaking Bad likely to be rewarded, with the Homeland pilot a masterstroke of technical artistry.

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series nominees
Downton Abbey • Episode 7
Homeland • Pilot
Mad Men • The Other Woman
Mad Men • Commissions And Fees
Mad Men • Far Away Places

Won Last Year: Friday Night Lights
Will Win This Year: Downton Abbey, Julian Fellowes
Dark Horse: Homeland

This sadly looks like being a classic case of the favourite show splitting its vote with Mad Men unlikely to successfully channel all its support behind one episode and the other two shows very serious competitors. Ultimately Downton Abbey is likely to get this as a bit of a consolation prize; plus Fellowes won the writing award for movie or mini-series last year for the same show.

COMEDY

Outstanding Comedy Series nominees
The Big Bang Theory
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Girls
Modern Family
30 Rock
Veep

Won Last Year: Modern Family
Will Win This Year: Modern Family
Dark Horse: Can I say Modern Family again?

With every actor, animal and pot plant that appeared in Modern Family nominated somewhere, this is one of the safest bets of the night.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series nominees
Girls • Lena Dunham as Hannah Horvath
Mike & Molly • Melissa McCarthy as Molly Flynn
New Girl • Zooey Deschanel as Jess Day
Nurse Jackie • Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton
Parks And Recreation • Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope
30 Rock • Tina Fey as Liz Lemon
Veep • Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer

Won Last Year: Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
Will Win This Year: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Dark Horse: Zooey Deschanel, New Girl

Yes there are seven nominees in this category, for the first time in 30 years, and they all deserve to be there. Oddly, last year’s winner Melissa McCarthy is a long shot as is previous winner Edie Falco. Sadly Amy Poehler is likely to continue her run of fruitless nominations as this race comes down to new girl Lena, New Girl’s Zooey and renewed girl Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Lena is possibly going to be punished for being so good in so many roles on new show Girls. “Yes she was a great actress, but we’ll just give her the writing award,” they’ll say.

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series nominees
The Big Bang Theory • Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper
Curb Your Enthusiasm • Larry David as Himself
House Of Lies • Don Cheadle as Marty Kaan
Louie • Louis C.K. as Louie
30 Rock • Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy
Two And A Half Men • Jon Cryer as Alan Harper

Won Last Year: Jim Parsons, Big Bang Theory
Will Win This Year: Louis C.K., Louie
Dark Horse: Jim Parsons, Big Bang Theory

It may be the year that Jim Parsons is knocked off his OCD throne as Louie had another very strong season and Sheldon became far more of an ensemble character in the most recent series of The Big Bang Theory. That said Louis C.K. could get the same punishment as Lena Dunham for being too good behind the camera as well.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series nominees
The Big Bang Theory • Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler
Desperate Housewives • Kathryn Joosten as Karen McCluskey
Modern Family • Julie Bowen as Claire Dunphy
Modern Family • Sofia Vergara as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett
Nurse Jackie • Merritt Wever as Zoey Barkow
Saturday Night Live • Kristen Wiig as various characters

Won Last Year: Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Will Win This Year: Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Dark Horse: Sofia Vergara, Modern Family

This is genuinely a five horse race (sadly Merritt Wever is the one who didn’t make it out of the gates). Bowen gets the nod based on her win last year, but both Sofia Vergara and Kristen Wiig are very popular and could grab the gong, while there could be a sentimental argument for an award for Desperate Housewives on its final series combined with the posthumous acknowledgment for Joosten, who died in June.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series nominees
Modern Family • Ed O'Neill as Jay Pritchett
Modern Family • Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mitchell Pritchett
Modern Family • Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy
Modern Family • Eric Stonestreet as Cameron Tucker
New Girl • Max Greenfield as Schmidt
Saturday Night Live • Bill Hader as various characters

Won Last Year: Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Will Win This Year: Someone from Modern Family (Ed O’Neill if I must)
Dark Horse: Someone else from Modern Family

Max and Bill, relax, there’s probably no need to write a speech this year as the Modern Family juggernaut has arrived. While splitting the vote will be a concern, there is just so much support for this show and this cast that it really is just a matter of which one will win. Eric Stonestreet won it the year before Burrell, so it’s probably Ed’s turn – I imagine they draw straws on set to work it out.

Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series nominees
Curb Your Enthusiasm • Palestinian Chicken
Girls • She Did
Louie • Duckling
Modern Family • Virgin Territory
Modern Family • Baby On Board
New Girl • Pilot

Won Last Year: Modern Family
Will Win This Year: Girls
Dark Horse: Louie

There’s likely to be a desire to reward both Louis C.K. and Lena Dunham for their outstanding work behind and in front of the cameras with Louie and Girls respectively. This could be Dunham’s category, although the Modern Family juggernaut shouldn’t be ruled out.

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series nominees
Community • Remedial Chaos Theory
Girls • Pilot
Louie • Pregnant
Parks And Recreation • The Debate
Parks And Recreation • Win, Lose, Or Draw

Won Last Year: Modern Family
Will Win This Year: Louie
Dark Horse: Girls

That’s right, it’s the comedy category without Modern Family. It could go any way really, but there is a lot of love for Louis C.K. and his comedy. This is Community’s only nomination and Parks and Recreation have two nods, but as the awards traditionally ignore both of these shows, why start rewarding them now!

MINI-SERIES OR MOVIE

A bit of a catch-all category, last year it had Downton Abbey competing with the more traditional mini-series and telemovies, but this year the show has moved to the drama category. Both American Horror Story and Sherlock have been included this time, to continue the comparing-oranges-to-orangutans tradition. Still, many expect Game Change to sweep this field.

Outstanding Miniseries or Movie nominees
American Horror Story
Game Change
Hatfields & McCoys
Hemingway & Gellhorn
Luther
Sherlock: A Scandal In Belgravia

Won Last Year: Downton Abbey
Will Win This Year: Game Change
Dark Horse: Hatfields & McCoys

The Sarah Palin story, Game Change, was a massive hit and ticks all the boxes for a winner with recognisable characters, stand-out performances and, depending upon your point of view perhaps, one character who is just a little bit crazy. Traditionally Democrat-leaning Hollywood will eat it up. Of course they could go the reverse and give the red necks a nod with Hatfields & McCoys.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Miniseries Or A Movie nominees
American Horror Story • Connie Britton as Vivien Harmon
Game Change • Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin
Hemingway & Gellhorn • Nicole Kidman as Martha Gellhorn
Missing • Ashley Judd as Rebecca Winstone
The Song Of Lunch (Masterpiece) • Emma Thompson as She

Won Last Year: Kate Winslet, Mildred Pierce
Will Win This Year: Julianne Moore, Game Change
Dark Horse: Nicole Kidman, Hemingway & Gellhorn

If Game Change is going to get one award it is this. Julianne Moore took up Tina Fey’s gauntlet and continued the tradition of extraordinary performances in the role of the former Alaskan Governor. Nicole is in with a shout for her age-spanning effort as Hemingway’s lover, but it feels like a race for second here. She could be Vice Outstanding Lead Actress perhaps?

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie nominees
Game Change • Woody Harrelson as Steve Schmidt
Hatfields & McCoys • Kevin Costner as 'Devil' Anse Hatfield
Hatfields & McCoys • Bill Paxton as Randall McCoy
Hemingway & Gellhorn • Clive Owen as Ernest Hemingway
Luther • Idris Elba as John Luther
Sherlock: A Scandal In Belgravia (Masterpiece) • Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes

Won Last Year: Barry Pepper, The Kennedys
Will Win This Year: Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock
Dark Horse: Kevin Costner, Hatfields & McCoys

Another vote split is likely to harm the chances of Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton in the tale of the southern hillbilly rivalry. Cumberbatch was extraordinary in his role as Sherlock Holmes, though both Clive Owen and Woody Harrelson need to be considered. A wide field.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or A Movie nominees
American Horror Story • Frances Conroy as Moira
American Horror Story • Jessica Lange as Constance Langdon
Game Change • Sarah Paulson as Nicolle Wallace
Hatfields & McCoys • Mare Winningham as Sally McCoy
Page Eight (Masterpiece) • Judy Davis as Jill Tankard

Won Last Year: Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Will Win This Year: Jessica Lange, American Horror Story
Dark Horse: Judy Davis, Page Eight

Possibly the best shot for an Australian to grab a gong, for Davis to have been nominated out of the otherwise unrecognised Page Eight says a great deal about her performance and her chances. However, Jessica Lange has such pedigree and sentiment behind her that it is hard to see her getting beaten for her chilling, kleptomaniac turn in American Horror Story.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie nominees
American Horror Story • Denis O'Hare as Larry Harvey
Game Change • Ed Harris as John McCain
Hatfields & McCoys • Tom Berenger as Jim Vance
Hemingway & Gellhorn • David Strathairn as John Dos Passos
Sherlock: A Scandal In Belgravia (Masterpiece) • Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson

Won Last Year: Guy Pearce, Mildred Pierce
Will Win This Year: Ed Harris, Game Change
Dark Horse: Martin Freeman, Sherlock

Another competitive category is likely to go to Ed Harris for his excellent impersonation of presidential candidate John McCain. A strong character with a relatively small number of scenes is the perfect formula for a supporting gong success.

Outstanding Directing For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Dramatic Special nominees
Game Change
Hatfields & McCoys
Hemingway & Gellhorn
Luther
Sherlock: A Scandal In Belgravia
(Masterpiece)

Won Last Year: Downton Abbey
Will Win This Year: Game Change
Dark Horse: Sherlock

Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special nominees
Game Change
Hatfields & McCoys
The Hour
Luther
Sherlock: A Scandal In Belgravia (Masterpiece)

Won Last Year: Downton Abbey
Will Win This Year: Game Change
Dark Horse: Hatfields & McCoys

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop