Watching the Emmy ceremony last year produced a nasty case of whiplash as the evening veered wildly between rewarding the expected winners ("Modern Family," Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jim Parsons) and delivering absolutely shocking surprises. Bobby Cannavale? Really? Jeff Daniels, not Kevin Spacey or Bryan Cranston? Huh. Merritt who? Wever? OK, then. Gotta go. Bye.
Wever didn't know how to react to her win, but she should have at least allowed for the possibility, as the Emmy acting categories are judged not for the whole season but for a single submitted episode. (At least that's how voters are directed to proceed.) Sometimes this methodology can produce some bizarre outcomes, though usually not as many as last year. Who might pull off an upset in 2014? Read on for our early predictions.
Should win: "Breaking Bad"
Will win: "Breaking Bad"
Analysis: "Breaking Bad" was in the middle of its final few episodes last year when, on its fourth try, it finally won the series Emmy. Based on the high quality and emotional payoff contained in that last hurrah, it was widely assumed then that this crew would repeat this time out. And it probably will, edging out the cosmically complex "True Detective."
Should win: Matthew McConaughey, "True Detective"
Will win: McConaughey
Analysis: As with series, this comes down to "True Detective" versus "Breaking Bad," pitting Bryan Cranston's indelible, iconic antihero against McConaughey's haunted truth-teller. This is the last chance to honor Cranston but the only opportunity to reward newly minted Oscar winner McConaughey. Given Cranston's four previous wins, give the slight edge to the Emmy newcomer.
Should win: Julianna Margulies, "The Good Wife"
Analysis: Claire Danes has won two years running for "Homeland" but has little chance to threepeat, as voters gave the show only two nominations. Kerry Washington was a popular pick last year, but her moment may have come and gone. Give the advantage to Wright for her modern Lady Macbeth, though Emmy favorite Margulies has a powerful, emotional episode with "Last Call." Close race.
DRAMA SUPPORTING ACTOR
Should win: Aaron Paul, "Breaking Bad"
Will win: Paul
Analysis: It's last call for both Paul and Josh Charles, who left "The Good Wife" on spectacular terms. And past winner Peter Dinklage has a fantastic Emmy episode, Tyrion's trial, in which he delivers the kind of stentorian, damn-you-all-to-hell speech that award voters love. Still, yo, Paul going ballistic after putting together the truth about the poisoning of the child Brock in the "Confessions" episode? Tough to top.
DRAMA SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Should win: Anna Gunn, "Breaking Bad"