The 64th annual Primetime Emmys air Sunday night, and at a time where there’s some kind of awards show just about every weekend, it’s one of the few we actually care about. More than the Grammys or the Oscars, the Emmys actually seem to recognize quality. Just take this year’s Outstanding Drama Series nominees: Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, Homeland, and Mad Men — great shows, all. Since we’ve got several horses in this race, we’ve hazarded some guesses about which series and actors will take home an Emmy in the awards’ highest-profile categories, along with our own picks for who should win. Take our predictions to task in the comments, but don’t get too upset — with so much stellar programming to celebrate this year, everybody wins.
Outstanding Drama Series:
Game of Thrones
Pick: Breaking Bad. This show has never won an Outstanding Drama Series Emmy, but its fourth season topped everything that came before it. Studded with stellar episodes, bursting with excellent performances, propelled by Walter White’s mad lust for power and vicious self-preservation instinct, and punctuated by one of the most memorable TV deaths of all time, its only competition quality-wise is the nearly perfect debut season of Homeland.
Prediction: Mad Men had a more uneven season than we’re used to, but the highs (Roger’s life-redefining acid trip, Joan’s decision to sleep with a client in exchange for a share of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce) were transcendent. So, since it’s taken home the Emmy in this category every year since it first became eligible, the inconsistency probably won’t be enough to dissuade Academy members who apparently love the show. The only possible spoiler is Downton Abbey, which basically swept the Miniseries or TV Movie category last year. Despite critics’ disappointment with the second season, Emmy voters clearly have a soft spot for World War I-era British aristocrats, too.