by Albert Rodriguez -
SGN A&E Writer
When the Emmy nominations for primetime TV are announced on July 19, the list of deserving no-shows could overwhelm those who do make the cut. I'm confident the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, which doles out the awards yearly for the small screen's best programming, will include the familiar and worthy - Mad Men, Bryan Cranston, Michael C. Hall, Modern Family, Sofia Vergara - but I'm worried that some of the great newcomers from last season, like Girls and American Horror Story, will be ignored. LGBT actors such as Jim Parsons, Jane Lynch, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Matt Bomer should all be in the running. The June 2011-to-May 2012 eligibility period offered TV viewers a feast of intense dramas, smart comedies, and original movies. Here's how the nominations might look on Thursday morning.
Guaranteed: Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Homeland, Downton Abbey
Mad Men is going for its fifth and unprecedented Emmy win, but the slick drama faces strong competition from fellow AMC series Breaking Bad. Both shows had stellar seasons in the past 12 months. Interestingly, Showtime's freshman contender, Homeland, will make it a thrilling three-way race. The popularity of Downton Abbey undoubtedly clinches a spot as a first-time nominee.
Possible: Game of Thrones, The Good Wife, Justified, Boardwalk Empire, The Killing
The Good Wife is the only serious contender from a major network and will probably nab one of the two remaining openings. Boardwalk Empire is still good enough to make the final six, while Game of Thrones continues to gain support and new followers. The Killing (set in Seattle) could surprise here.
Not that there aren't any other great dramas. The Walking Dead, True Blood, Damages, Boss, and even the canceled Luck are all better than decent, yet they're not the same caliber as those mentioned above. Shameless is, but it is probably too low-profile at this point.
Guaranteed: Modern Family, 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation
Can anyone knock Modern Family from its pedestal? Probably not.
Possible: Glee, Louie, Veep, The Office, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Big Bang Theory, The New Girl
Glee's third season was better than its second, but that might not be enough to compete with some newer sitcoms. Veteran shows The Office and Curb Your Enthusiasm didn't have outstanding seasons, but will likely get in by default.
Longshots: Girls, Enlightened, Raising Hope, The Middle
Should HBO's wonderful new comedy Girls get ignored, it'll remind us that Emmy voters are too stuffy to embrace trendier trends. Laura Dern's acting receives most of the credit for Enlightened, though the show itself is fun to watch and is co-created by openly Gay writer Mike White.
LEAD ACTRESS, DRAMA
Guaranteed: Claire Danes, Elisabeth Moss, Julianna Margulies
Danes is the one to beat, and although Moss was excellent in turning Peggy Olson into a '60s heroine, the Homeland frontwoman is assured her second Emmy (she earned her first for Temple Grandin).
Possible: Glenn Close, Mireille Enos, Elizabeth McGovern, Mariska Hargitay, Kathy Bates
I'm not sure why Hargitay keeps getting nominated, but she's in the running again. Ditto for Bates, who appears in a terrible series. Close is always amazing and Enos was terrific in a controversial second season of The Killing. McGovern, meanwhile, could (and should) land a first-time nod for her role on Downton Abbey.
Longshots: Emmy Rossum, Jessica Pare
Rossum's gritty potrayal of a tough, pushed-to-the-limit older sibling on Shameless will likely go unnoticed, but Pare is a toss-up. She sizzled on Mad Men, yet rarely does the academy nominate two leads from the same show.
LEAD ACTOR, DRAMA
Guaranteed: Bryan Cranston, Jon Hamm, Damian Lewis, Kelsey Grammer
Kyle Chandler took home the statuette in 2011 for the now-gone Friday Night Lights, which opens the door slightly for Hamm and Grammer. But even though Cranston has won this always-tough category three times, his brilliance on Breaking Bad's fourth season places him in the frontrunner seat again. Lewis is assured a nomination and could score an upset.
Possible: Steve Buscemi, Hugh Laurie, Michael C. Hall, Dustin Hoffman, Timothy Olyphant
You know it's an extremely talented field of lead actors when five time-nominee Hall isn't a shoo-in, though he's certainly a contender. Laurie might sneak in for the last time, since House was canceled. Olyphant made the cut a year ago, but Hoffman and/or Buscemi might edge him out this time around.
Longshots: Jon Bernthal, Andrew Lincoln
The Walking Dead completed a phenomenal sophomore season, yet still retains cult status. This severely hurts the chances of its co-leads - especially Bernthal, who was wickedly captivating to the very end.
LEAD ACTRESS, COMEDY
Guaranteed: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Laura Dern, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey
Louis-Dreyfus is the best thing in the overrated Veep, though I'm rooting for Golden Globe winner Dern in HBO's fun-to-watch dramedy.
Possible: Zooey Deschanel, Edie Falco, Laura Linney, Martha Plimpton, Melissa McCarthy
Deschanel will probably nab a nomination, and I wouldn't object. McCarthy, 2011's surprise winner, suffers from being funny in an unfunny show.
Longshots: Lena Dunham, Patricia Heaton
Somebody please toss a bone to Dunham and/or Heaton, superb in Girls and The Middle, respectively.
LEAD ACTOR, COMEDY
Guaranteed: Alec Baldwin, Jim Parsons, Louis C.K.
The recently out-of-the-closet Parsons, a two-time consecutive champ in this category, is headed for more gold. Ditto for perennial favorite Baldwin. Comedian C.K. should have no problem being among the lucky six.
Possible: Larry David, Johnny Galecki, Jon Cryer, Don Cheadle
Cryer now competes in the lead category, where he'll probably make a dent. I'm more confident with Cheadle and Galecki getting in.
Longshots: Will Arnett, Joel McHale
Seattle native McHale is likely to be passed over once again (wah-wah).
SUPPORTING ACTRESS, DRAMA
Guaranteed: Joan Hendricks, Maggie Smith, Archie Panjabi
The legendary Smith seems unsinkable, but Hendricks and previous winner Panjabi will be up for the challenge.
Possible: January Jones, Christine Baranski, Kelly Macdonald, Rose Byrne, Morena Baccarin, Anna Gunn, Anjelica Huston
If Emmy voters overlook Gunn, I'll scream at the top of my lungs. Jones, a former lead actress nominee, is hoping to make the cut for supporting this time.
Longshots: Sarah Wayne Callies, Jennifer Carpenter
Carpenter mysteriously gets omitted year after year, thus she's still considered a dark horse. Callies, who displays a wide range of conflicting emotions on The Walking Dead, barely has a ghost of a chance.
SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA
Guaranteed: Giancarlo Esposito, John Slattery, Aaron Paul, Peter Dinklage, Mandy Patinkin
Talk about a crowded field - this category could easily boast 10 worthy nominees. Esposito and Paul are no-brainers, both ruthless in Breaking Bad. Patinkin, an Emmy winner for Chicago Hope, is definitely a contender for his performance on Homeland.
Possible: Walton Goggins, Josh Charles, Vincent Kartheiser, John Goodman
I'd hate to see Goggins brushed aside, though I'd be leaping with delight if Kartheiser (Mad Men's slimy and often unintentionally comical Pete Campbell) got the last slot. Goodman and Charles are wildcards.
Longshots: William H. Macy, Cameron Monaghan
Macy plays such a believable, messy drunk on Shameless that I actually pity him. His co-star, Monaghan, is equally great in the role of a Gay teenager exploring his newfound sexuality.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS, COMEDY
Guaranteed: Julie Bowen, Sofia Vergara, Kristin Wiig
Can Vergara finally win this year? Fingers crossed.
Possible: Jane Lynch, Betty White, Diane Ladd, Cloris Leachman, Kathryn Joosten, Jane Krakowski
Joosten, who died shortly after Desperate Housewives wrapped up its final episode, is upgraded from guest actress to the supporting category. Ladd and Leachman are more deserving than the over-hyped White, loveable outside the very dull Hot in Cleveland. Lesbian actress Lynch might squeeze through.
Longshots: Eden Sher, Zosia Mamet, Naya Rivera
Rivera shined last season on Glee as a high school student who finally embraces her sexual identity. And how I'd love to see Sher and Mamet, two actresses who play geeks marvelously, get recognized.
SUPPORTING ACTOR, COMEDY
Guaranteed: Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ty Burrell, Eric Stonestreet
Modern Family's hilarious trio are unstoppable. Burrell and Stonestreet have each won, which spells good news for Gay actor Ferguson to finally take home the award.
Possible: Ed O'Neill, Nick Offerman, Max Greenfield, Neil Patrick Harris, Chris Colfer, Tony Hale
Two more openly Gay actors - Harris and Colfer - are contending for the prize, yet each is vulnerable to fresher competition.
Longshots: Darren Criss, Atticus Shaffer, Danny Pudi
As much as I like Colfer on Glee, his co-star Criss, who portrays TV boyfriend Blaine, has the better chops.
You might notice that SAG and Golden Globe recipient Jessica Lange is MIA from the Supporting Actress-Drama list, and that's because American Horror Story has been submitted in the Movie/Miniseries field, where she's definitely a frontrunner. She'll go heel-to-heel with Julianne Moore, who played Sarah Palin in Game Change. Matt Bomer, who publicly came out within the past year, will probably be singled out in the Guest Actor-Comedy roster for his role as Blaine's big brother on Glee. Julia Ormond is sure to make the guest-star cut for her work on Mad Men, and hopefully she will be joined by Joan Cusack for her portrayal of an agoraphobic housewife on Shameless.
The 64th Primetime Emmy Awards will be telecast September 23 on ABC-TV.
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