The months of December, January and February are overloaded with awards shows. It’s no mystery as to why; it’s the perfect time to reward works from the year that just passed. Yet many industry observers have complained about the oversaturation of these awards shows. It used to be just the Oscars, the Grammys and the Golden Globes. Now there are countless critics organizations and guilds that hold their own ceremonies as well. But after the Oscars put on their show at the end of February, that’s pretty much a wrap. There are some minor awards ceremonies peppered throughout the rest of the year, but the season really doesn’t pick back up until the next holiday season.
Late September is the exception however, as the television half of Hollywood throws their big ceremony: The Emmys. The 64-year-old ceremony coincides with the start of a new television season, and is set this year for September 23. Here are predictions for who and what will win in the top nine categories.
Best Comedy Series : “30 Rock” once had a stranglehold on this category. That was back when it was good. Really good. Now, the show has gone stale, and its nomination feels nothing more than vestigial. Even with exceptional new shows in the mix like “Girls” and “Veep,” count on the hit ABC show “Modern Family” to pick up its third consecutive win, just like “30 Rock” back in the day.
Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Out of the six nominees, three have previously won Emmys for their respective roles. This category has been known to find a winner and stick with that guy for a couple of years running. Louis C.K., who has not won before, is a looming threat for his stellar work on his innovative FX show “Louie.” But old habits die-hard: Count on Emmy voters to give it to Jim Parsons for his consistently hilarious work on “The Big Bang Theory” for the third year in a row.
Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Julia-Louis Dreyfus is something of an Emmy darling. She has won trophies for two different shows, “The New Adventures of Old Christine” and “Seinfeld.” Given her track record, and the rave reviews she has earned for her work on the show “Veep,” it’s likely that Dreyfus will win for a third show, a rare achievement. If anyone can topple her, it will be Zooey Deschanel for “New Girl.”
Best Drama Series: Many critics have noted that this slate of nominees is about as good as it’s ever been. Shows like “Breaking Bad,” “Downtown Abbey” and “Homeland” would have a legitimate shot in any other year. But four time champion “Mad Men” is coming off one of its best seasons yet, and the show is clearly adored by Emmy voters. There’s no reason to suspect Don Draper and crew will surrender their crown.
Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series : Despite the success “Mad Men” has become accustomed to at the Emmys, star Jon Hamm has yet to win a trophy for his incisive work as Don Draper. One would think the voters will get to rewarding him at some point, but Martin Sheen never won for “The West Wing,” another show adored by the Emmys. Look for “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston to win his fourth award for playing science teacher cum meth kingpin Walter White.
Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series : If there was any show last year that really broke out from the rest of the freshman pack, it was Showtimes’s riveting military drama “Homeland.” The universal rave reviews for the show consistently praised star Claire Danes for her performance as Carrie Mathison, a CIA operative determined to prevent a homegrown terrorist attack. The raves she earned are likely to carry over to the Emmy ballot box.
Best Miniseries/Movie : The miniseries/movie categories are always a little rougher to call, given the lack of a track record. Even still, it’s safe to say that no nominee not named “American Horror Story” or “Game Change” has a s hot here. While “American Horror Story” is produced by one of modern television’s most beloved figures in Ryan Murphy, “Game Change” has a stellar movie star cast and a weighty story. This one will be close, but the story of a losing campaign will probably be the winner here.
Best Lead Actor in a Miniseries/Movie : Of the top categories, this one is probably the hardest to call. There are really no standout nominees. Despite Benedict Cumberbatch’s highly acclaimed turn as Sherlock Holmes in the BBC miniseries “Sherlock,” it’s probably safer to go with star power when available. Kevin Costner earned outstanding reviews for his performance in the History Channel’s miniseries “Hatfields & McCoys.” His celebrity should help him out here. Though co-star Bill Paxton could just as easily take the prize.
Best Lead Actress in a Miniseries/Movie: Whereas the male category is one of the toughest categories to predict for the night, the female category is the exact opposite. If anyone wins other than Julianne Moore for her lauded performance as Sarah Palin in “Game Change,” it will be the biggest upset of the night.
The Emmy Awards have been known to provide some upsets though. No one would have predicted that Alec Baldwin and Steve Carell would have lost to Ricky Gervais a few years back for his turn on the little seen show “Extras.” We will see if any such upsets are in store this September 23rd.