Tv critic Hal Boedeker give his Emmy predictions and things to watch for.
The main reasons to watch, however, may be host Neil Patrick Harris, the best choice for that job these days, and TV legend Bob Newhart, who will present. Newhart recently won his first Emmy ever. He was named top guest star for "The Big Bang Theory," and the audience's reaction could be very poignant.
The Emmy telecast will feature performances by Elton John (saluting Liberace) and Carrie Underwood (honoring 1960s music). The In Memoriam segment offers Edie Falco paying tribute to "Sopranos" co-star James Gandolfini and Rob Reiner recalling the remarkable Jean Stapleton of "All in the Family."
The awards will start at 8 p.m. Sunday on CBS.
The main prizes are the series awards. "Breaking Bad," riding a wave of affection not seen since "The Sopranos" ended, is likely to be named best drama, even as it offers its penultimate episode at 9 p.m. Sunday on AMC. The other nominees are HBO's "Game of Thrones," Netflix's "House of Cards," PBS' "Downton Abbey" and previous winners "Mad Men" on AMC and "Homeland" on Showtime.
The comedy race is between three-time winner "Modern Family" on ABC and CBS' "Big Bang Theory," the most popular sitcom going. Could Emmy voters finally want to spread the wealth and honor "Big Bang"? It's about time. The other nominees are HBO's "Veep" and "Girls," FX's "Louie" and NBC's "30 Rock."
HBO's "Behind the Candelabra," a dazzlingly original biopic of Liberace, seems a sure winner for best TV movie or miniseries. The movie collected eight Emmys in technical categories. The other nominees are FX's "American Horror Story: Asylum," History's "The Bible," HBO's "Phil Spector," USA's "Political Animals" and Sundance Channel's "Top of the Lake."
"Candelabra" collected 15 nominations in all and could possibly win 13 in the end. Michael Douglas seems a certain winner for a shrewd performance as Liberace. The other nominees for best movie actor are "Candelabra" co-star Matt Damon, Al Pacino of "Phil Spector," Toby Jones of HBO's "The Girl" and Benedict Cumberbatch of HBO's "Parade's End."
In the movie/mini actress race, Sigourney Weaver probably has the edge for playing a Hillary Clinton-like figure in "Political Animals." But Elisabeth Moss of "Top of the Lake" is a strong contender. The other nominees are Jessica Lange of "American Horror Story: Asylum," Laura Linney of Showtime's "The Big C: Hereafter" and Helen Mirren of "Phil Spector."
The wide respect for "Breaking Bad" means that Bryan Cranston probably will win his fourth Emmy for playing Walt White. The other hopefuls for lead drama actor are Jon Hamm of "Mad Men," Kevin Spacey of "House of Cards," Jeff Daniels of HBO's "The Newsroom," Hugh Bonneville of "Downton Abbey" and Damian Lewis of "Homeland," who won last year.
For lead actress in drama, Kerry Washington of "Scandal" may reach the podium for playing Olivia Pope because the ABC drama is just so addictive for many people. Other nominees are Elisabeth Moss of "Mad Men," Connie Britton of ABC's "Nashville," Michelle Dockery of "Downton Abbey," Vera Farmiga of A&E's "Bates Motel," Robin Wright of "House of Cards" and Claire Danes of "Homeland," last year's winner.
For lead comedy actor, Louis C.K. of "Louie" seems the man of the moment. The race features previous winners Alec Baldwin ("30 Rock") and Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory") as well as Matt LeBlanc of Showtime's "Episodes, Jason Bateman of Netflix's "Arrested Development" and Don Cheadle of Showtime's "House of Lies."
Amy Poehler of "Parks and Recreation" hasn't won lead comedy actress. It feels like her year. (Don't discount the gut in these matters.) The other nominees are previous winners Tina Fey ("30 Rock"), Edie Falco (Showtime's "Nurse Jackie") and Julia Louis-Dreyfus ("Veep") as well as Laura Dern of HBO's "Enlightened" and Lena Dunham of "Girls."
CBS' oft-decorated "Amazing Race" will probably repeat for best reality contest. It's just so well produced. The other nominees are ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," Lifetime's "Project Runway," Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance," Bravo's "Top Chef" and NBC's "The Voice."
Comedy Central's "Daily Show With Jon Stewart" will probably win again in the variety series category. The other nominees are Comedy Central's "Colbert Report," ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live," NBC's "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon," HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" and NBC's "Saturday Night Live." Sure, it would be nice to see Stephen Colbert win, but the academy can't quit Jon Stewart.
In the supporting acting categories, I predict the veterans should do well. In comedy, I'm going with Ed O'Neill of "Modern Family" and Mayim Bialik of "The Big Bang Theory." In drama, I pick Mandy Patinkin of "Homeland" and Maggie Smith of "Downton Abbey." Smith, another repeat winner, had her best season yet as the dowager countess on the PBS drama.
What do you think?