Monday, September 10, 2012

2012 PRIMETIME EMMYS PREDICTIONS, THOUGHTS, AND PREFERENCES!

One of the first blogs I wrote last year was this one, my Primetime Emmy Awards predictions! Hopefully, I'll be more accurate this year than last. This time, I chose to wait until a few weeks and think about some of the category and nominees, to give myself the illusion that it'll make me a better predictor this year, instead of denying the fact that it's just as random a crapshoot as it was when the nominees first were announced. I also talked about how much I truly do love and appreciate Award shows. Well, some Award shows. The Primetime Emmys, I most definitely love, because they truly represent the best achievement in the newest and best art form, and most of the time, they tend to, if not get it right, they usually at least make reasonable selections. Although, I'm still pissed the year "Lost" won. But thankfully, no mistake that drastic looks even probable this year.

We're gonna go category by category, unfortunately, I am behind on many of the cable shows, still, which I haven't caught up to, but I can't do anything about that yet. Maybe next year, I'll get cable, and only be a little behind. In the meantime, these are my official Emmy predictions, signed, sealed, and delivered!

(Lawyer's Note: David Baruffi reserves the right to change any/all of these picks at any time prior to, during and/or after the 2012 Emmy Awards broadcast, from now until the end of time.)

OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES
The Big Bang Theory-CBS
Curb Your Enthusiasm-HBO
Girls-HBO
Modern Family-ABC
30 Rock-NBC
Veep-HBO

Last year was noteworthy in that not one cable series got into this category. This year, it's starting to look the opposite, as network only got three nominees with "30 Rock", "Modern Family" and "The Big Bang Theory", while HBO got in for the returning "Curb Your Enthusiam", and new series "Girls," and "Veep". I haven't seen the new HBO series yet, but I gotta tell, the biggest snub by far this Emmy season, was not nominating "Parks and Recreation" for Best Comedy Series. I'm glad they finally came to their senses on "Glee," and while I disagree with the snub for "The Office," in every category, I understand it, but there's no excuse for not including "Parks and Recreation"; it was easily the best series on TV this year, not one bad episode, the best story arc, the funniest.... It really was the best year so far, in what had already been a great series; this Award is forever tainted, whomever wins. That said, and partly because of it, the Award is now tougher to predict than normal. "Modern Family"'s won two in a row, never lossed, had a good season, but so did "30 Rock," which won the previous three years before that.
PREDICTION: "Girls"
PREFERENCE: I really can't pick "Parks and Recreation"? Alright, I'll go with "The Big Bang Theory" because "30 Rock"'s won before.

LEAD ACTRESS-COMEDY SERIES
Zooey Deschanel-"New Girl"-FOX
Lena Dunham-"Girls"-HBO
Edie Falco-"Nurse Jackie"-SHOWTIME
Tina Fey-"30 Rock"-NBC
Julia Louis-Dreyfus-"Veep"-HBO
Melissa McCarthy-"Mike & Molly"-CBS
Amy Poehler-"Parks and Recreation"-NBC

I think with 7 nominees, it marks a record in this category. I guess if there's a surprise, it might be Lena Dunham, whose show "Girls", was a critical and cult hit that the Emmys, much to their credit, took notice. (I haven't seen the show, but if it's half as good as her film "Tiny Furniture" was, I can it'd be really good) Julia Louis-Dreyfus, also in, not a new name, but a new show, with her "Veep", also on HBO. Amazingly, you can still argue a few names left off like Mary-Louise Parker for "Weeds", and nominees last year, Martha Plimpton and Laura Linney for "Raising Hope" and "The Big C" respectively. (I think Laura Linney should've been in btw) Melissa McCarthy won last year, in what I still claim to be an award given to her because of her work in "Bridesmaids," because they knew her performance was unlikely to win the Oscar for that. I'll admit, that she carries "Mike & Molly", but that show struggles to be watchable for me. Zooey Deschanel is the "New Girl", and I had to throw that line in.
PREDICTION & PREFERENCE: Amy Poehler-"Parks and Recreation
I may be going heart over head on this one, but this really was her year, and she should win this. There's no terrible nominee here, but if they're screwing "P&C" out of Best Series, they better give her something. (She's also nominated for writing, so there is multiple chances here.)

LEAD ACTOR-COMEDY SERIES
Alec Baldwin-"30 Rock"-NBC
Louis C.K.-"Louie"-FX
Don Cheadle-"House of Lies"-SHOWTIME
Jon Cryer-"Two and a Half Men"-CBS
Larry David-"Curb Your Enthusiasm"-HBO
Jim Parsons-"The Big Bang Theory"-CBS

I guess the really intriguing nomination here would be Jon Cryer, not only because of everything that's been going on with "Two and a Half Men," for the last two years, but because now, he's got a rare chance to win an acting Emmy in both the Lead and Supporting category, for the same show. (I think the last people to accomplish that was Michael J. Fox for "Family Ties",  and Allison Janney for "The West Wing," but don't quote me on that, I have to look it up.) The nomination for Louis C.K., whose show, while wildly critically acclaimed wasn't nominated for best Comedy, she, like Amy Poehler, did get acting and writing nominations this year. In fact, Louis C.K. set a record, get seven individual Emmy nominations total. (He was also nominated for his stand-up specials in multiple categories) It's nice to see Larry David up there, again, although he's never won. He suffers from that "Is it acting if he's playing himself?" dilemma, that has left people like Roseanne, Jerry Seinfeld, and Bill Cosby Emmy-less over the years. (Although Ray Romano's past win was an interesting exception to that) Louie C.K. might suffer from that as well.  Baldwin was the perennial winner, until two years ago, when Jim Parsons, started winning, he's won it two years in a row. I love Don Cheadle, but I haven't seen "House of Lies" yet, always most reviews I heard of it were mixed.
PREDICTION: Jim Parsons-"The Big Bang Theory"
PREFERENCE: Larry David-"Curb Your Enthusiasm"
No real reason, I'd just like to see him win, but if Jim Parsons wins it for the next five or ten years, it would be completely deserved.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS-COMEDY SERIES
Mayim Bialik-"The Big Bang Theory"-CBS
Julie Bowen-"Modern Family"-ABC
Kathryn Joosten-"Desperate Housewives"-ABC
Sofia Vergara-"Modern Family"-ABC
Merritt Weaver-"Nurse Jackie"-SHOWTIME
Kristen Wiig-"Saturday Night Live"-NBC

Well obviously, the sentimental choice is Kathryn Joosten for "Desperate Housewives", who passed away earlier this year. She was an amazing actress. I certainly am most fond of her for playing Mrs. Landingham on "The West Wing," the President's secretary for the show's first two seasons. She's won 2 Guest actress Emmys for Mrs. McClusky on "Desperate Housewives," and she's been in dozens of other things as well, and always terrific, particularly sad and ironic that her character on the show, also died this past season, which was "Desperate Housewives" last, and that's a little sad. I know the show jumped the shark after season 3, but it was special when it originally debuted, kinda sad to see it go out with a flutter like this, and to see only Felicity Huffman, as the only lead to win on the show, it's disappointing. However, my favorite, nomination, is in the category to, for Mayim Bialik for "The Big Bang Theory". I thought not nominating her last year, was the Emmys biggest screw-up last year. Also happy to see Merritt Weaver, up for "Nurse Jackie," a very astute and smart choice there. I would've like to have seen Jane Krakowski, Cynthia Nixon, Aubrey Plaza and/or Cobie Smolders get in here, but t'was not to be. Julie Bowen won last year, and "Modern Family" is getting tough to beat in these Supporting acting categories, although, Kirsten Wiig is a sentimental vote as well. Her last season on "SNL", and like McCarthy last year, was nominated, but didn't win an Academy Award.
PREDICTION: Sofia Vergara-"Modern Family"
PREFERENCE: Mayim Bialik-"The Big Bang Theory"

SUPPORTING ACTOR-COMEDY
Ty Burrell-"Modern Family"-ABC
Jesse Tyler Ferguson-"Modern Family"-ABC
Max Greenfield-"New Girl"-FOX
Bill Hader-"Saturday Night Live'-NBC
Ed O'Neill-"Modern Family"-ABC
Eric Stonestreet-"Modern Family"-ABC

It says something about how tough this category is when the names that don't sneak into this list include, Neil Patrick Harris, Ed Helms, Nick Offerman, Rob Lowe, Oliver Platt, Tracy Morgan, Jack McBrayer, Simon Hedburg... this is one of those rare categories, where it is an honor to just be nominated, and it's still overloaded without "Modern Family" taking up the nominees, I don't even know what to say, and there were still two suprising nominations. Bill Hader, continuing this strange "SNL" trend that's been going on for a couple years now. His Stefan character alone, probably got him the nomination, but he is an overall great talent, glad to see him up there. I gotta say, the Max Greenfield nomination for "New Girl," nobody saw that coming, but I gotta be honest, I don't get it. I've tried watching "New Girl," many times, partly because I have a deep blind spot for anything Zooey Deschanel does, and it's gotten some Emmy love in a few category, including a directing nomination, but every episode I watch of that show, it just screams inconsistency. I literally can't laugh loudly at one scene, and the next scene, the joke can fail badly that I have to change the channel. I don't really see much different between the three guys on the show, and I honestly find it hard to care about any of them, I feel chemistry on the show. It has it's moments, I'll grant that, but they're erratic, and fleeting at best. I don't see what was special about Greenfield's Schmidt character, and I certainly think, when you compare the names and performances of those who, didn't get nominated, I don't get this nomination, at all. Anyway, presuming those two are longshots, and unless proved otherwise, it looks like the Emmys are trying to give everybody one for "Modern Family" eventually, so Stonestreet and Burrell, who've won the last two year, might be out-of-the-running this year, and they spread the wealth.
PREDICTION & PREFERENCE: Ed O'Neill-"Modern Family"
It's a bit of sentimental vote, but with the career Ed O'Neill's had, this is long overdue. Jesse Tyler Ferguson can wait 'til next year. (Wouldn't be shocked if Eric Stonestreet wins again though)

DIRECTING-COMEDY SERIES
Curb Your Enthusiasm-Robert B. Weide-HBO
Girls-Lena Dunham-HBO
New Girl-Jake Kasdan-FOX
Louie-Louis C.K.-FX
Modern Family-Steven Levitan-ABC
Modern Family-Jason Winer-ABC

You ever remember a time where there's so many people on TV, who were also just as talented, behind the camera? It's been awhile, but there's been a trend of finding writers and directors, especially in comedy, who can perform and giving them the space to do what they want. Louie C.K. and Lena Dunham's contracts are examples A & B of that. They have more control over their shows than anybody does, and their work is surely being appreciated here. Jake Kasdan's name is interesting too, he's the son of the great filmmaker Lawrence Kasdan, who's got about three kids who've starting directing films and TV. Nice to see his name show up here. If it's going "Modern Family"'s was all night, this will be the categories to notice if they are.
PREDICTION: "Girls"-Lena Dunham
PREFERENCE: Robert B. Weide-"Curb Your Enthusiasm"

WRITING-COMEDY SERIES
Community-Chris McKenna-NBC
Girls-Lena Dunham-HBO
Louie-Louis C.K.-FX
Parks and Recreation-Amy Poehler-NBC
Parks and Recreation-Michael Schur-NBC

Yeah, sorry "Community" fans. I know you're a loud bunch, especially you TV critics about it, but I gotta be frank, you guys are second tier to some of these shoes. I do like the show, but not it's way overrated. Strange to see three people nominated for acting categories also nominated in this category. Also strange though, how four of the five nominations, are for show that didn't get Best Comedy Series nominations? (Particularly weird that "Parks and Rec..." got 2 writing noms, but not Best Comedy Series, huh?) Typically, it's not unusual for two or even one show, rack up all the nominations in the category, usually the one that wins best series, so it's peculiar. No "Modern Family" is a particularly telling sign too. They've won it the last two years. No "30 Rock" either, strange year.
PREDICTION: Lena Dunham-"Girls"
PREFERENCE: Amy Poehler-"Parks and Recreation"

GUEST ACTRESS-COMEDY SERIES
Elizabeth Banks-"30 Rock"-NBC
Kathy Bates-"Two and a Half Men"-CBS
Margaret Cho-"30 Rock"-NBC
Dot-Marie Jones-"Glee"-FOX
Melissa McCarthy-"Saturday Night Live"-NBC
Maya Rudolph-"Saturday Night Live"-NBC

Once upon a time, the "SNL" hosts would get shoved along with talk show hosts, Award show hosts, and random musical acts, into a catch-all category called "Individual Performance..." but for some reason they got rid of the Award recently, and suddenly, hosts, as well as some of their more common spot walk-ons, have been placed into this category, and a couple have been winning. (Tina Fey for her Sarah Palin won, and Justin Timberlake has won twice in the actor category for it.) I think I would've prefered Maya Rudolph sneak into the Supporting Actress-Comedy category for her work in the underrated "Up All Night," but she and Melissa McCarthy were particularly good hosts. Also, kudos for finally nominating Margaret Cho for playing Kim Jong-Il on "30 Rock", that's an awesome nomination. I didn't see Kathy Bates play Charlie Harper, but just based on the concept alone, I'd say she deserved a nomination.
PREDICTION: Maya Rudolph-"Saturday Night Live"
PREFERENCE: Margaret Cho-"30 Rock"

GUEST ACTOR-COMEDY SERIES
WIll Arnett-"30 Rock"-NBC
Bobby Cannavale-"Nurse Jackie"-SHOWTIME
Jimmy Fallon-"Saturday Night Live"-NBC
Michael J. Fox-"Curb Your Enthusiasm"-HBO
Jon Hamm-"30 Rock"-NBC
Greg Kinnear-"Modern Family"-ABC

Can't ask for a better troupe of actors than that. Uh, I have a feeling Michael J. Fox might have a better shot in the Guest Actor-Drama category than this one. Be nice to see Jon Hamm win something, if he doesn't get dramatic actor again. I didn't see Fox's or Bobby Cannavale's performance yet, but he's as great an actor alive. He can do anything. I'm a little surprised Jimmy Fallon got into this category for his hosting gig, but I guess it was one of the better ones this past year.
PREDICTION: Greg Kinnear-"Modern Family"
PREFERENCE: Will Arnett-"30 Rock"

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
Boardwalk Empire-HBO
Breaking Bad-AMC
Downton Abbey-PBS
Game of Thrones-HBO
Homeland-SHOWTIME
Mad Men-AMC

Well, there's a couple interesting things here that have made this category completely unpredictable. First off, last year it was reported that "Mad Men," wouldn't be eligible this Emmy season, as their next season was the season wasn't going to air before the deadline. (This isn't hyper-unusual for cable shows. "The Sopranos" famously skipped years between season, and last year, "Breaking Bad", wasn't eligible.) That obviously changed, so that's number one. Number two, "Downton Abbey," choosing to enter the Drama Series category, as oppose to last year, when it was entered and damn-near swept the TV Movie/Miniseries category, and has only grown in popularity since, has made it an unpredictable wildcard, across the entire Drama Series spectrum. Nobody knows what any nominees for this show will do. Thank goodness for "Downton Abbey," because if it wasn't there, all free basic TV would've probably been left out. This is the golden age of TV dramas, but people without cable aren't seeing it. No show from the Big 4, got nominated, the first time that's ever happened. This year, it's throw a dart at a board to pick the winner, but if that dart is once again "Mad Men," it will set the record for being the first Drama Series to win the Emmy for five consecutive years. Right now, it's tied with four along with "The West Wing" and "Hill Street Blues".
PREDICTION: Eeney, Meenie... Miney Moe! "Homeland"
But it's an absolute guess.
PREFERENCE: "Breaking Bad"
For being one of those rare shows that continues to not only get better and better each season, but sets the bar higher than ever, and continues to hop over it.

LEAD ACTRESS-DRAMA SERIES
Kathy Bates-"Harry's Law"-NBC
Glenn Close-"Damages"-DirecTV
Claire Danes-"Homeland"-SHOWTIME
Michelle Dockery-"Downton Abbey"-PBS
Julianna Margulies-"The Good Wife"-CBS
Elisabeth Moss-"Mad Men"-AMC

I should confess here that I actually haven't gotten to "Downton Abbey" yet. I know, I know, but it's on my Netflix, and library waitlist. I'll get to it soon, I should watch it, but it's on against "Family Guy" half the time, it's hard to get me away from that.Same goes for "Homeland" by the way, same deal, Netflix and library, but while I don't know enough about Michelle Dockery to judge her, I don't need any convincing that Claire Danes is probably exceptional in that show. On her worst day, she's exceptional, so I'm sure she's good. Tough category though. Last year's winner Julianna Margulies, doesn't look like a favorite this year, as "The Good Wife," really fell from Emmy's grace this year, as did all of Network TV really. I can't really argue against Kathy Bates's second straight nomination, for the now-cancelled "Harry's Law", even with this second year, really pushing the show into unwatchable territory (2 years early by David E. Kelley's normal standards too. He's slipping, and that's unfortunate), but she was good on the show. Glenn Close is also an unpredictable nominee here. Her show "Damages" wasn't eligible last year, and was actually cancelled from FX, but similar to "Friday Night Lights" last year, was picked up by DirecTV. She previously won the Emmy three times before, and this year's she's coming off another Oscar nomination. Tough category again.
PREDICTION: Claire Danes-"Homeland"
PREFERENCE: Elisabeth Moss-"Mad Men"

LEAD ACTOR-DRAMA SERIES
Hugh Bonneville-"Downton Abbey"-PBS
Steve Buscemi-"Boardwalk Empire"-HBO
Bryan Cranston-"Breaking Bad"-AMC
Michael C. Hall-"Dexter"-SHOWTIME
Jon Hamm-"Mad Men"-AMC
Damien Lewis-"Homeland"-SHOWTIME

The big omission this year was Hugh Laurie, who was not nominated for for his role on "House," which is unfortunate, because he had never won the Award, and because it was the show's final year. I think most people thought that similar to Kyle Chandler's Emmy in the category last year, they were gonna start giving it to actors on their last legs this year, that was shockingly not-to-be. Once again, a tough category though. Some new names like Lewis and Bonneville mixing in here with some of TV's most iconic of characters in recent years. We still strangely have a defending champion in the category as "Breaking Bad" wasn't eligible last year, temporarily ending Bryan Cranston's strangehold on the Award, as he'd won it the show first three seasons. "Breaking Bad," isn't slowing down either. Four years in, and it's still increasing it's number of nominations with each year. On the other hand, Michael C. Hall got "Dexter"'s only nomination this year, shocking considering how they were Emmy darlings for the last few years. (And should've won at least once by now) Until somebody proves they can beat Bryan Cranston in this category, it's dangerous to vote against him.
PREDICTION: Bryan Cranston-"Breaking Bad"
PREFERENCE: Jon Hamm-"Mad Men"
While I wish they gave it to Michael C. Hall already, (and by already, I'm counting all those years he wasn't nominated most of the time for "Six Feet Under", which he should've been) gotta go with the show that's currently still on top.Although, I would not want to be against Bryan Cranston in any battle of acting skills.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS-DRAMA SERIES
Christine Baranski-"The Good Wife"-CBS
Joanne Froggatt-"Downton Abbey-PBS
Anna Gunn-"Breaking Bad-AMC
Christina Hendricks-"Mad Men"-AMC
Archie Panjabi-"The Good Wife"-CBS
Maggie Smith-"Downton Abbey"-PBS

It's certainly no surprise for Maggie Smith to be in something British on TV and then get an Emmy nomination. Her name usually always pops up in the TV Movie/Miniseries categories for whatever Masterpiece Theatre thing she was in, and in many no exception here, just a different category. Hope she shows up this time, she has a habit of missing the Emmys. Other than her and Joanne Froggatt for "Downton Abbey", the other surprise nomination went to Anna Gunn, her first nomination for "Breaking Bad", and I think that one was overdue actually. This is the one category where "The Good Wife," remained strong in too with Baranski and Panjabi, picking up their usual nominees here. Panjabi won two years ago though, and Baranski's won numerous Emmys in the past already, so I'm putting them in the unlikely category, although Panjabi is the last of the nominees to have won in the category. Last year's winner Margo Martindale, for "Justified", well her character didn't make this season, and "Justified" was strangely forgotten almost completely by the Emmys this year.
PREDICTION: Maggie Smith-"Downton Abbey"
PREFERENCE: Christina Hendricks-"Mad Men"

SUPPORTING ACTOR-DRAMA SERIES
Jim Carter-"Downton Abbey"-PBS
Brendan Coyle-"Downton Abbey"-PBS
Peter Dinklage-"Game of Thrones"-HBO
Giancarlo Esposito-"Breaking Bad"-AMC
Jared Harris-"Mad Men"-AMC
Aaron Paul-"Breaking Bad"-AMC

Here's a rarity, two defending champions in the category. Aaron Paul won two years ago, but again, "Breaking Bad," was not eligible last year, and he's up against last year's winner, the great Peter Dinklage for "Game of Thrones". Dinklage is one of the best actors alive, and he certainly is that show's best and most interesting character (Although I do think "Game of Thrones", at least based off of the first season, was slightly overrated, but it got better as it went along). "Breaking Bad" got a second nomination in this year too, with Giancarlo Esposito, who's one of my all-time favorite, but most people probably never knew his name until now. He's been a favorite of Spike Lee for years, and he's played every kind of role imaginable; he's just amazing and brilliant. A bit of a surprise "Mad Men," nomination and omission as Jared Harris got his first nomination for the show, while perennial nominee and former winner John Slattery was curiously missing from the ballot. Odd to see that kind of change. (Speaking of "Mad Men", why hasn't Vincent Karthesian ever gotten nominated? I wonder if it's because nobody can spell or pronounce his name, which I think I just did here?)  Walton Coggins, also missing from "Justified", as "Downton Abbey" takes up the last two nominees.
PREDICTION & PREFERENCE: Giancarlo Esposito-"Breaking Bad"
Seriously, this is an actor, whose name, everybody should know, and if an Emmy helps with that....

DIRECTING-DRAMA SERIES
Boardwalk Empire-Tim Van Patten-HBO
Breaking Bad-Vince Gilligan-AMC
Downton Abbey-Brian Percival-PBS
Mad Men-Phil Abraham-AMC
Homeland-Michael Cuesta-HBO

Well, there's good directors here, although no Martin Scorsese to tips the scales like last time around. It's weird how last year, half the audience, myself included though "Boardwalk Empire" was gonna overthrow "Mad Men," and now it's looking like an also-ran. Boy, when "Boardwalk Empire" is an also-ran, there must be some good shows on TV. Brian Percival, I believe was nominated last year for "Downton Abbey", and he might have won too. It seems like whomever wins this category should take Best Drama Series logically, but "Mad Men" has a habit, of sweeping in and getting Drama Series, despite underperforming in other categories. Tough call.
PREDICTION: Michael Cuesta-"Homeland"
PREFERENCE: Vince Gilligan-"Breaking Bad"

WRITING-DRAMA SERIES
Downton Abbey-Julian Fellowes-PBS
Homeland-Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon and Gideon Raff
Mad Men-Semi Chellas and Matthew Weiner-AMC
Mad Men-Semi Chellas and Matthew Weiner-AMC
Mad Men-Andre Jacquemetton & Maria Jacquemetton-AMC

In case you're wondering why Sami Chellas and Matthew Weiner's names shows up twice, they're nominated for writing two different episodes. With all the writing and directing nominees, they have the episodes that they're nominated for on the Emmys.com site, and normally I write down the episodes along with everything else, but I'm being lazy today. My computer's acting crappy lately, and I decided to go without some of the normal bells and whistles of this. (I know some of you must be thinking, "You're kidding, you're leaving stuff out," but yes, I am) It's tired, I'm passed my own deadline for this blog, computer, sucks, yada, yada, yada. Anyway, the two episodes they're nominated for are "The Other Woman" and "Far Away Places". Julian Fellowes won for writing "Downton Abbey" in the Miniseries/Movie category last year, so he's a threat to win as well. This is the category though, that really makes it look like "Mad Men" might just take it again.
PREDICTION: Semi Chellas and Matthew Weiner-"Mad Men" (for "The Other Woman")
PREFERENCE: Andre Jacquemetton & Maria Jacquemetton-"Mad Men"

GUEST ACTRESS-DRAMA SERIES
Joan Cusack-"Shameless"-SHOWTIME
Loretta Devine-"Grey's Anatomy"-ABC
Julia Ormand-"Mad Men"-AMC
Martha Plimpton-"The Good Wife"-CBS
Jean Smart-"Harry's Law"-NBC
Uma Thurman-"Smash"-NBC

Loretta Devine won this award last year for her work on "Grey's Anatomy". Believe it or not, it's actually not unusual at all for Guest Actors to win multiple times for the same series. Kathryn Joosten recently won Guest Actress Awards twice for "Desperate Housewives", and in the Guest Actor-Comedy, Mel Brooks once won four years in a row for "Mad About You". Joan Cusack was nominated for "Shameless" last year as well. A saw a couple of these performance. I'm happy that they recognized Uma Thurman's work in "Smash", which I liked, I know a lot of people shit on the show, but for network television last year, it was easily one of the Top 3, most watchable dramas. Plimpton and Smart were good in their parts too, and both of them have a history of winning Guest Actor Awards.
PREDICTION: Loretta Devine-"Grey's Anatomy"
PREFERENCE: Martha Plimpton-"The Good Wife"
I'm tempted to go with Thurman, but if I'm judging the acting, I think I gotta go with Plimpton, but it's close.

GUEST ACTOR-DRAMA SERIES
Dylan Baker-"The Good Wife"-CBS
Jeremy Davies-"Justified"-FX
Ben Feldman-"Mad Men"-AMC
Michael J. Fox-"The Good Wife"-CBS
Mark Margolis-"Breaking Bad"-AMC
Jason Ritter-"Parenthood"-NBC

Man, first appearance of "Justified" this year; what happened? That show had a lot of nominations last year, now, just Guest Actor. Things can change rapidly at the Emmys from one year to the next. Having just gotten through the 4th season of "Breaking Bad" on DVD, Mark Margolis's performance is still fresh in my mind, and I'm a fan of his work to begin with. I didn't know "Parenthood" was still on the air, honestly, so I'm amazed enough people caught a Jason Ritter performance on it to get him a nomination. It's a bit of a tough call for me. I still have to see "Jestifed and "Mad Men", so I'm having a little trouble judging these nominees.
PREDICTION: Michael J. Fox-"The Good Wife"
PREFERENCE: Mark Margolis-"Breaking Bad"

OUTSTANDING VARIETY SERIES
The Colbert Report-Comedy Central
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart-Comedy Central
Jimmy Kimmel Live!-ABC
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon-NBC
Real Time with Bill Maher-HBO
Saturday Night Live-NBC

Alright, let's be honest, we all know Jimmy Kimmel's getting this nomination, probably over "Conan" because he's hosting this year. I'm not gonna argue it, he is good, I like Kimmel fine, I just don't rank him above Conan, or I think the underrated one lately has been Craig Ferguson, but I mean, we know "The Daily Show..." gonna win again, so in reality, we know it doesn't matter, but, nice to see him get in I guess. I think there's something subliminal here too about how Leno and Letterman, have become more and more absent from the Emmys over the years, or maybe it's not-so-subliminal.
PREDICTION: "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart"
PREFERENCE "Real Time with Bill Maher"
I know Maher isn't winning, but he's been nominated, 20 some-odd times over the years, and he hasn't won yet. If not this Award, this should give him a Lifetime Achievement or something by now, because he's becoming Susan Lucci at these things.

DIRECTING-VARIETY SERIES
The Colbert Report-James Hoskinson-Comedy Central
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart-Chuck O'Neill-Comedy Central
The Late Show with David Letterman-Jerry Foley-NBC
Portlandia-Jonathan Krisel-IFC
Saturday Night Live-Don Roy King-NBC

Man, I keep seeing "Portlandia" on my Netflix recommendations, but I never get around to it. Well, it showed up surprisingly in the directing and writing Variety categories. I didn't even know it was a Variety Show, but then again, do any of these shows, other than "SNL" really count as Variety? And even "SNL" is stretching it a bit. Oh well. Not important.
PREDICTION & PREFERENCE: James Hoskinson-"The Colbert Report"

WRITING-VARIETY SERIES
The Colbert Report-Head Writer: Barry Julien, et. al-Comedy Central
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart-Head Writer: Tim Carvell, et. al.-Comedy Central
Portlandia-Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, Jonathan Krisel and Karey Dornetto-IFC
Real Time with Bill Maher-Bill Maher, et. al.-HBO
Saturday Night Live-Seth Meyers, et. al-NBC

Occasionally, since everybody knows "The Daily Show..." is gonna get the big prize, they'll give this Award to a different show, just to honor another show that they like as well, and admire. Not always, but occasionally they do that. With such an opposing juggernaut out there, it's hard to compete. Will that happen here? I doubt it. It's nice to see though that with "Portlandia," they have so few writers, I could actually write all their names out. Haven't had that pleasure since "Chappelle's Show" was nominated.
PREDICTION & PREFERENCE: "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart"

OUTSTANDING REALITY-COMPETITION PROGRAM
The Amazing Race-CBS
Dancing with the Stars-ABC
Project Runway-Lifetime
So You Think You Can Dance?-FOX
Top Chef-Bravo
The Voice-NBC

I've been saying, all year long, and multiple times how "The Voice" is beyond a doubt better than "American Idol," and multiple that by 10, and "The Voice," is that much better than "The X-Factor". Now, it's become clear I'm not the only one to think tha, as "American Idol," did not get nominated, and for the first time, "The Voice," jumps into this category, and I think it's got a good shot at winning. Now, it's not a guarantee, especially with 8x champion "The Amazing Race," and the only show to beat "The Amazing Race", "Top Chef" still here as usual (How has "Project Runway" never won this btw?), it's got tough competition, and FOX is blowing it on "So You Think You Can Dance?" too. That should really be in the progress of replacing "Idol" and "X-Factor" as FOX's leading reality show, but they're just not picking the ball up on that one. It's definitely the best dance show on TV, and the caliber of talent they attract, is far above what their other shows get. As for "Dancing with the Stars" continuing to get nominated, eh, that I can't explain. That show's just unwatchable. Maybe next year, "Market Warriors" will sneak in, but until then.....
PREDICTION & PREFERENCE: "The Voice"
I've been pushing it all year, I'm not gonna stop now.

REALITY SHOW HOST
Tom Bergeron-"Dancing with the Stars"-ABC
Cat Deeley-"So You Think You Can Dance?"-FOX
Phil Keoghan-"The Amazing Race"-CBS
Ryan Seacrest-"American Idol"-FOX
Betty White-"Betty White's Off Their Rockers"-NBC

Well, a couple oddities occurred in this category. First off, the "Survivor" host Jeff Probst, who had won the Award every year since it's creation, suddenly, didn't get nominated. Not that I ever understood why he kept winning it, but that's thru everyone off. Replacing Probst, the lovely Miss Betty White, for her show "Off Their Rockers". Well, at least they've stopped pretending that her work on "Hot in Cleveland" was Supporting Actress nomination-worthy, but we do still love her anyway. It shouldn't be too surprising though. One of Betty White's Emmys is actually for Game Show Hosting. She was the first female to win the Award for the short-lived game show "Just Men". (I think Meredith Viera has won it since, but she was the only female for awhile). So, I guess there's no bad nomination here, although I would've like to have seen names like Padma Lakshmi or Heidi Klum on here. Or actually, a name that gets way overlooked in this and many categories, Mark L. Wahlberg, for his work hosting "Antiques Roadshow", would've been a cool creative choice here.
PREDICTION: Tom Bergeron-"Dancing with the Stars"
This'll probably be a career win for him. He really does host everything well.
PREFERENCE: Eh, (Coin flippd) heads, then Cat Deeley-"So You Think You Can Dance?"
Although, Phil Keoghan, is quite good as well.

OUTSTANDING REALITY PROGRAM
Antiques Roadshow-PBS
Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution-ABC
Mythbusters-Discovery Channel
Shark Tank-ABC
Undercover Boss-CBS
Who Do You Think You Are?-NBC

Alright, so they give this, and a few of these other Awards I'm discussing, away a week early at the Creative Arts Emmys, but I think it's more-than-relevant to deserve discussion. Also, honestly, one of the toughest TV choices I had to make this year, was the Friday 8pm slot, where NBC has "Who Do You Think You Are?" on, while ABC had "Shark Tank". It's pretty clear to me that ABC has gotten the hint on "Shark Tank" and similar to how they turned "Wipeout" into a year-long event, they've starting putting "Shark Tank" on in the Fall, with new episodes, and it's gonna be pushed all year-long, which is good because "Who Do You Think You Are?" is a better limited series, with only a few stories a year, it's a rare win-win lineup spot, something you didn't find much of on network TV last year. Most of the other nominees are solid too, although "Undercover Boss", is too sentimental at times, and gets tiresome to me, but I understand it being nominated. Jamie Oliver's show, I don't get at all. Also noteworthy, this is the first time in years where Kathy Griffin's name doesn't show up in this category. Her show, "Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List," was the Best Reality Program of all-time, but she chose to end it last year. I'll miss that.
PREDICTION: "Mythbusters"-Discovery Channel
PREFERENCE: "Shark Tank"-ABC

ANIMATED PROGRAM
American Dad-FOX
Bob's Burgers-FOX
Futurama-Comedy Central
The Penguins of Madagascar: The Return of the Revenge of Dr. Blowhole-Nickelodeon
The Simpsons-FOX

You ever play that game, (sing-songy) "One of these thing is not like the other, one of these things just doesn't...."- ah, never mind. In case some of you are wondering where "Family Guy" is, I think they started putting their name in the Best Comedy Series category, which I believe makes competing in this a rules violation. I think. I don't know, I'm just guessing. "The Cleveland Show", and "South Park" aren't here either. ("Robot Chicken" I believe is in their own Short-Form Animation category) Besides, "Futurama" won last year, which is amazing considering they were cancelled for five years, even longer than "Family Guy"'s fabled cancellation. Anyway, this category also only considers a single episode, not a full season, so it's anybody guess.
PREDICTION: "Futurama"
PREFERENCE: "American Dad"

VOICE-OVER PERFORMANCE
Hank Azaria-"The Simpsons"-FOX
Maurice LaMarche-"Futurama"-Comedy Central
Dan Povernmire-"Disney Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension"-Disney Channel
Rob Riggle-'Disney Prep and Landing: Naughty vs. Nice"-ABC
Brenda Strong-"Desperate Housewives"-ABC
Kristen Wiig-"The Looney Tunes Show"-Cartoon Network

Hey, there's some really talented people that do a lot of voice-over work. It's not as easy as it looks either. You still have to act, you still have to give a great performance, and you still have to play a convincing character (or in some cases, multiple characters), and then it has to be in sync, with the image on screen. It's more relaxing then other kinds of acting for the actors, that's for sure, but there's a reason a lot of the same people get voice-over work. People as varied as Dan Castellaneta (Homer Simpson) to Anne Hathaway have won this Award, it's nothing to sneeze at, especially in today's television landscape.
PREDICTION: Maurice LaMarche-"Futurama"
PREFERENCE: Brenda Strong-"Desperate Housewives". Alright, I kinda want to see her win one for the show. It's her last chance, it'd be nice.

OUTSTANDING MINISERIES OR MOVIE
American Horror Story-FX
Game Change-HBO
Hatfields & McCoys-HISTORY
Hemingway & Gellhorn-HBO
Luther-BBC America
Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia (Masterpiece)-PBS

I chose to wait 'til the end to discuss the Miniseries or Movie categories (and how sad is it that there's not enough miniseries anymore to warrant it's own category), because I really would be flying blind a bit, as I haven't seen many or most of the programs. A lot of them are on my Netflix or library waitlists, although actually I did see "Luther", and I highly recommend it, but it's hard for me to judge these. I might not have a lot of preferences in these categories because of it, but there's always some interesting and famous names in the acting, writing, and lately, the directing nominations. Anyway, the big news with this category though, is "American Horror Story," which surprised a lot of people, by entering their name in the Miniseries or Movie category, instead of Drama Series, as many predicted. It's almost like "AHS" and "Downton Abbey", switched categories this year, so there's that interesting dynamic.
PREDICTION: "American Horror Story"
PREFERENCE: "Luther"
Only because I saw it.

LEAD ACTRESS-MINISERIES OR MOVIE
Connie Britton-"American Horror Story"-FX
Ashley Judd-"Missing"-ABC
Nicole Kidman-"Hemingway & Gellhorn"-HBO
Julianne Moore-"Game Change"-HBO
Emma Thompson-"The Song of Lunch (Masterpiece)"-PBS

Told ya there was some big names in these categories. Look at this, there's like 2 Oscars, 10 nominations or so, and five of the best actresses alive in the category. Hey, Hollywood, if TV's making more interesting projects to attract your movie stars, what's that tell ya? Anyway, how to predict the categories. Well, in the lead categories, it's either gonna be, whomever is the absolute legend in the business, or who played the biggest and more infamous role of the year, among the categories, usually. So...
PREDICTION & PREFERENCE: Julianne Moore-"Game Change"

LEAD ACTOR-MINSERIES OR MOVIE
Kevin Costner-"Hatfields & McCoys"-HISTORY
Benedict Cumberbatch-"Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia (Masterpiece)-PBS
Idris Elba-"Luther"-BBC America
Woody Harrelson-"Game Change"-HBO
Clive Owen-"Hemingway & Gellhorn"-HBO
Bill Paxton-"Hatfields & McCoys"-HISTORY

In case you thought that previous category was a fluke, the actor category is really full too. There's a good mixture of great stars of the past, present, and future, as well as some of the greatest all-around actors of our time mixed into this category. My gut tells me that it's either Costner or Paxton, for HISTORY's runaway hit "Hatfields & McCoys". Personally, anything that makes them not talk about Hitler for a few hours, I must presume to be for the common good in general. Still, it's a bit of a crapshoot here.
PREDICTION & PREFERENCE: Bill Paxton-"Hatfields & McCoys"
I think it's gonna be partially a make-up for Paxton never winning for "Big Love", but it'd be worth it.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS-MINISERIES OR MOVIE
Frances Conroy-"American Horror Story"-FX
Judy Davis-"Page Eight (Masterpiece)-PBS
Jessica Lange-"American Horror Story"-FX
Sarah Paulson-"Game Change"-HBO
Mare Winningham-"Hatfields & McCoys"-HISTORY

Huh. I almost wrote "Six Feet Under" next to Frances Conroy's name. Again, great actresses. I actually did see "Page Eight", and Judy Davis was good in it, although, I wouldn't have particularly thought to nominate her for it. As some of you have noticed by now, "American Horror Story," really racked up a lot of these nominations. Jessica Lange is probably the big star choice in the bunch, and she won a Golden Globe for her work earlier in the year. Consider her a favorite.
PREDICTION: Jessica Lange-"American Horror Story"
PREFERENCE: Sarah Paulson-"Game Change"- as a belated Emmy for the one she should've won for "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip"

SUPPORTING ACTOR-MINISERIES OR MOVIE
Tom Berenger-"Hatfields & McCoys"-HISTORY
Martin Freeman-"Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia (Masterpiece)-PBS
Ed Harris-"Game Change"-HBO
Denis O'Hare-"American Horror Story"-FX
David Strathairn-"Hemingway & Gellhorn"-HBO

Nice to see Martin Freeman's name show up. He played the character John Krasinski plays on the original British version of "The Office", but he hasn't had a lot of the luck since. I saw his show "Meet the Robinsons" once, boy was it bad. Glad that's over. Another good talented bunch here. I guess Ed Harris is the sentimental vote. I'm pretty sure it's looking like "Game Change", "Hatfields & McCoys" and "American Horror Story" are gonna be battling for most of these awards. It's looking like it anyway, and they were the biggest and most widely -acclaimed of the nominees. Tough call.
PREDICTION & PREFERENCE: Ed Harris-"Game Change"
Because you never see him accept an Award, and it seems like he should've accepted five or ten by now.

DIRECTING-MINISERIES, MOVIE OR DRAMATIC SPECIAL
Game Change-Jay Roach-HBO
Hatfields & McCoys-Kevin Reynolds-HISTORY
Hemingway & Gellhorn-Philip Kaufman-HBO
Luther-Sam Miller-BBC America
Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia (Masterpiece)-Paul McGuigan-PBS

Well, this category has been slightly full with notable directors names in recent year, and this is no different. Jay Roach and especially Philip Kaufman are the immediate notables. Roach usually directs a lot of comedies in Hollywood, but on HBO, he's their go-to guy for serious political fact-based thrillers, apparently. He had previously been nominated, and I think he won previously for "Recount". Kaufman's been making great films for year. "The Right Stuff", "The Unbearable Lightness of Being", to name a couple. I have doubts about him winning in this category, as "Hemingway & Gellhorn" was only really, moderately successful among critics. (It went to cable, after it couldn't find theatre distribution). It didn't get much else, outside of acting and Best Movie/Miniseries, might be a bad sign.
PREDICTION: Paul McGuigan-"Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia (Masterpiece)
PREFERENCE: Philip Kaufman-"Hemingway & Gellhorn"

WRITING-MINISERIES, MOVIE OR DRAMATIC SPECIAL
Game Change-Danny Strong-HBO
Hatfields & McCoys (Part 2)-Story by Ted Mann and Bill Kirby; Teleplay by Ted Mann and Ronald Parker-HISTORY
The Hour-Abi Morgan-BBC America
Luther-Neil Cross-BBC America
Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia (Masterpiece)-Stephen Moffat-PBS

Strange that "American Horror Story," suddenly doesn't show up in this category or in the directing category? Well, at least the UK gets recognized. Two BBC America shows, and Stephen Moffat, the pen behind the latest Dr. Who shows, and "Coupling", as well as a few big-time Hollywood films lately. I'm wondering if the screenplay for "Hatfields & McCoys" is gonna be as appreciated as a feature-length film would, compared to just a part of a miniseries. It could happen, but usually, it has to be a legendary miniseries like "Roots" or "Band of Brothers" or something like that. Not quite sure this fits.
PREDICTION: Danny Strong-"Game Change"
PREFERENCE: Stephen Moffat-"Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia (Masterpiece)"

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