It's that special time of the year again. A magical time when creative geniuses are rewarded for their work, awful jokes are told, and Michael Moore can pretend that he's still relevant. It's awards season.
Sunday's Emmy Awards, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, promise to be particularly exciting, as many great performances and shows have been nominated. Here are our predictions about which shows and actors will rule Sunday night.
1. Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series
Who Will Win
Kevin Spacey, for his role as House Majority Whip Frances Underwood on Netflix's House of Cards. (There should be a category for "acclaimed British television shows turned into almost identical acclaimed American television shows," at this point.) Spacey is a two-time Academy Award winner, and it was clear from the moment that he was cast in the show that he was going to give an amazing performance. He portrays a cold, manipulative, calculating man who would stop at nothing to become president, but repeatedly breaks the fourth wall without making it a gimmick. Spacey is the man.
The dashing and dastardly Don Draper might be able to swoop in and win his first Emmy Award. While it would be nice for the Emmys to acknowledge Jon Hamm's awesomeness, I'm still strongly in favor of Spacey. In the end, it's like judging Liev Schreiber and Hugh Jackman in a Ruggedly Handsome Contest. Both are solid choices.
2. Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Who Will Win
This one's going to Claire Danes, no question about it. Her performance on Homeland only improves as the seasons progress, and she's clearly the best part of the show. Danes has come a long way since Romeo+Juliet, and she's only gotten better with age. Her portrayal of mental illness is the best on television, and she deserves any awards that she can get.
This is a long shot, but Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss is owed some attention for her role as Peggy Olson. I think it's more likely that she'll get her due next year, but she does have a chance.
3. Outstanding Drama Series
Who Will Win
Are you kidding? This is going to Breaking Bad. It's not even a close matchup. Breaking Bad at the Emmys is the equivalent of Daniel Day-Lewis at the Oscars: a guaranteed win. Why? Because Breaking Bad has set the bar for great television, and until it's off the air, no one can surpass it.
I love you, Game of Thrones, but you don't stand a chance.
4. Outstanding Miniseries or Movie
Who Will Win
Starring Matt Damon, Michael Douglas, Scott Bakula, and Parks and Recreation's Rob Lowe, HBO's Behind the Candelabra truly captures the life of entertainment legend Liberace. Bold and brash, the biopic gave real insight into the life and love of Liberace and Scott Thorson. It is also notable for making Douglas feel the need to validate his masculinity.
Creepy, beautiful, and wild — but mostly creepy — American Horror Story: Asylum is also a strong contender for the award. Starring Evan Peters, Jessica Lange, and Spock — err, Zachary Quinto, American Horror Story does scary the right way, and never fails to shock and amaze. It has an almost equal chance at winning, but in the end, I have to give it to Behind the Candelabra.
5. Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Who Will Win
Although Julia Louis-Dreyfus won this award in 2012, she's poised to win it again. If you haven't seen HBO's Veep, then you need to stop reading this article, drop everything on your schedule, and watch both of its seasons back-to-back. Once you've done that, you will understand why Louis-Dreyfus, as Vice President Selina Meyer, is the obvious choice for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. Louis-Dreyfus could have retired after Seinfeld ended, and still been known as a comedy legend. However, she has only gotten funnier since her days as Elaine. Meyer is the character that Louis-Dreyfus was born to play: crass, quick-witted, clever, petty, intelligent, brave, manipulative, and hilarious. Louis-Dreyfus the perfect package (and looks jaw-dropping-ly amazing at 52).
(Warning: NSFW Language)
The Emmys love to award strong, hardworking women, and Tina Fey is the ultimate strong, hardworking woman. Fey has the chance to win Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her many years as the delightful Liz Lemon on 30 Rock.
6. Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Who Will Win
Arrested Development may have gotten shafted in the Outstanding Comedy Series category, but Jason Bateman will win Outstanding Lead Actor for his role as Michael Bluth. Michael is the glue that holds the selfish, greedy, manipulative Bluth family together, but he's not faultless himself. Bateman gave a strong return performance in Netflix's continuation of Arrested Development. While he continued to act as a foil for G.O.B., Tobias, and the rest of the Bluths, he also added depth to his character, and finally made Michael just as despicable as everyone else. Arrested Development was an Emmy favorite back in it's original run (it won six total), and it's sure to be an Emmy favorite in (fingers crossed) seasons to come.
If Tina Fey and 30 Rock don't win in another category, I predict that Alec Baldwin will snatch this prize away from Bateman. After all, 30 Rock has to win something. That's not to say that Baldwin couldn't win on his own merit for his role as Jack Donaghy— he totally could — it's just that Bateman gave an absolutely stellar performance. This race will be close, and will come down to the wire for these two fine comics.
The Obvious Choice That I Am Omitting Because Of Denial
There's a good chance that Jim Parsons will win the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy series, but I'm tired of him winning, and I believe that Bateman and Baldwin are far more deserving of the award. Parsons' Sheldon Cooper hasn't evolved since the first season, and first episode, of Big Bang Theory. Bateman and Baldwin have created layered and multifaceted performances, and created truly iconic and complex characters. While Parsons may win the award, Bateman and Baldwin deserve it.
7. Outstanding Comedy Series
Who Will Win
As much as I love Girls and Veep, Louis C.K.'s Louie will take down the house on Sunday. Louie is the comedy equivalent of Mad Men or Breaking Bad. C.K. has only grown as a comedian sine Louie began, and this last season was his best yet. Louie will remain unstoppable until the day that C.K. quits.
The Emmys may decide to honor the late, great 30 Rock, which needs to be commemorated for something. I could see Liz Lemon and company getting the award, but I wouldn't bet on it.
8. Honorable Mentions
I believe, from the bottom of my heart, that the hilarious Adam Driver should win Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, Julie Bowen will win Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, Jonathan Banks (I love you Mike!) will win Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, and Maggie Smith will win Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (marking her third consecutive Emmy win).
At the end of the day, no one can be certain about who will win the Emmys (except when it comes to Breaking Bad), but I'm willing to stake my reputation as a TV fanatic and a box set of The Sopranos that I'm right about most of these categories.
If you think that you can do better, let me know in the comments below, or on Twitter!