Hollywood salutes the best in television from the past year with the 64th Prime Time Emmy Awards this Sunday on ABC (starting on the Red Capet at 7pm).  Time to predict what may happen this weekend, and we'll start with the Drama categories.

Network television was for the most part shut out by the strength of cutting edge cable shows that can push the boundaries, and nobody will argue the strength in these categories.  Predicting will be hard, but here is a look at the drama categories for the Emmy Awards (and a chance to hold these picks against me at a later date):

Lead Actor in a Drama

Steve Buscemi -- Boardwalk Empire (HBO), Bryan Cranston -- Breaking Bad (AMC), Michael C. Hall -- Dexter (Showtime), Hugh Bonneville -- Downtown Abbey (PBS), Jon Hamm -- Mad Men (AMC), Damien Lewis -- Homeland (Showtime)

SHOULD WIN: Lewis   WILL WIN: Hall

This is Buscemi's 5th Emmy nomination of his career, and he is way past due for this honor, but it also Hall's 5th nomination and he is Emmy-less.  Tough call here, but I lean toward Hall for this season's past discovery that has blown the doors off this show.  Cranston has won 3 times for playing Walter White - he has enough for now.  Lewis is losing out in a payback of sorts, and he is going to win in the future, but it has to be Michael C. Hall's turn.

 

Lead Actress in a Drama

Kathy Bates -- Harry's Law (NBC), Glenn Close -- Damages (DirecTV), Claire Danes -- Homeland (Showtime), Michelle Dockery -- Downtown Abbey (PBS), Julianna Marguilles -- The Good Wife (CBS), Elisabeth Moss -- Mad Men (AMC)

SHOULD WIN: Danes   WILL WIN: Danes

It is hard to imagine that Glenn Close will lose out on an Oscar and an Emmy in the same year, which is why I hedge my bets here.  Close is a 12-time Emmy nominee and a 6-time Oscar nominee.  Any other year her portrayal as a man in Albert Nobbs would have finally earned her that Academy Award, but her category was the strongest it has been in many years.

Bates would be a fun win because her show got cancelled, and never really got the shot it deserved.  She deserves this nomination, and another network to look into this quirky drama.

The problem this year is Homeland has to win somewhere, and Danes has been excellent as Carrie Mathison.  Her characters trials and tribulations to prove a terrorist plot, and the personal hell she continues to fight shows layers that gives this former teen star her just due.

 

Supporting Actor in a Drama

Jim Carter -- Downtown Abbey (PBS), Brendan Coyle -- Downtown Abbey (PBS), Peter Dinklage -- Game of Thrones (HBO), Giancarlo Esposito -- Breaking Bad (AMC), Jared Harris -- Mad Men (AMC), Aaron Paul -- Breaking Bad (AMC)

SHOULD WIN: ?????   WILL WIN: Dinklage

4 of the 6 nominees have earned their first ever Emmy nomination, and the other 2 are former winners (Paul in 2010, Dinklage in 2011).  This seems to be a cancelling out effect for Carter and Coyle (both from the same show), plus Paul and Esposito (de ja vu).  Dinklage is from N.J., and finally getting the credit he has richly deserved as a stellar actor who stands so much taller than his 4'5" frame.

 

Supporting Actress in a Drama

Christine Baranski -- The Good Wife (CBS), Joanne Froggart -- Downtown Abbey (PBS), Anna Gunn -- Breaking Bad (AMC), Christina Hendricks -- Mad Men (AMC), Archie Panjabi -- The Good Wife (CBS), Maggie Smith -- Downtown Abbey (PBS)

SHOULD WIN: Hendricks   WILL WIN: Smith

3 times should be the charm for Hendricks.  She is due, and deserving.  Smith is acting royalty, and won the Emmy last year when the show was considered a Mini Series.  Sadly the odds are that Hendricks will wait another year, but don't be shocked if the 2 Downtown Abbey nominees cancel each other out.

 

Outstanding Drama Series

Breaking Bad / Boardwalk Empire / Downtown Abbey / Game of Thrones / Homeland / Mad Men

SHOULD WIN: Downtown Abbey   WILL WIN: Downtown Abbey

6 nominees in the acting categories - most of any drama.  This show just seems to win acclaim and awards - Sunday night will be no different.

 

Part 2 tomorrow as we look at Comedy.