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Matthew Gilbert’s Emmy predictions

One critic’s view of Emmy snubs and sure things.

You’ve heard it before: We’re smack in the middle of a golden age of TV. That means there are always episodes of great shows awaiting you on your viewing device of choice. And it means there is no shortage of strong material competing in this year’s Emmy Awards ceremony, which airs Monday night on NBC. The live event will be crammed with worthy contenders and — cough, “Killing Kennedy,” cough — a few not so worthy. Will “True Detective” spoil what could easily be a huge farewell party for the great “Breaking Bad”? Will “Orange Is the New Black” be the new “Modern Family”? There are a few mysteries heading into this year’s Emmy Awards. And that’s a good thing. No one wants to watch a competition that doesn’t contain a few tight races. (Winners highlighted)
Drama
Actor Drama
Actress Drama
Sup. Actor Drama
Sup. Actress Drama
Comedy
Actor Comedy
Actress Comedy
Sup. Actor Comedy
Sup. Actress Comedy
Miniseries
TV Movie
Actor Minis.-TV Movie
Actress Minis.-TV Movie
Drama Series
Breaking Bad
AMC
Downton Abbey
PBS
Game of Thrones
HBO
House of Cards
Netflix
Mad Men
AMC
True Detective
HBO
Will Win
Breaking Bad
“Breaking Bad” is considered one of the best series ever made, one of the rare dramas that didn’t let up in quality throughout its run. And it has only one drama-series win. The competition is fierce in this category, with “True Detective” and “Game of Thrones” coming up from behind, but “Breaking Bad” will have a second statue to bookmark the series.
Should Win
Breaking Bad
I hope “Game of Thrones” wins one of these years. It’s quite a stunning achievement. The Television Academy isn’t fond of genre shows — see: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Battlestar Galactica,” and “Orphan Black” — even though many sci-fi and fantasy series are broader than their genre implies. But this year, “Breaking Bad” went out on top and deserves the prize.
Was robbed
Three of the best shows of the year were FX’s “The Americans,” CBS’s “The Good Wife,” and History’s “Vikings.” The “Downton Abbey” slot rightfully belongs to one of them.
Lead Actor, Drama
Bryan Cranston
Breaking Bad
Kevin Spacey
House of Cards
Jon Hamm
Mad Men
Jeff Daniels
The Newsroom
Woody Harrelson
True Detective
Matthew McConaughey
True Detective
Will Win
Matthew McConaughey
I’m afraid McConaughey fever is going to infect Emmy voters. Just as his work in “True Detective” helped McConaughey win an Oscar, his Oscar for “Dallas Buyers Club” will bring him an Emmy. I’m in the minority who think he overacted on the HBO series, delivering a stylized performance without much emotional impact. If it’s not McConaughey, it’ll be Cranston, although voters will recall that he has already won three times for his brilliant turn as Walter White.
Should Win
Woody Harrelson
I was blown away by Harrelson, who was as naturalistic and believable as McConaughey wasn’t. He was the best reason to watch what ended up being a rather pretentious cop series.
Was robbed
Travis Fimmel is remarkable in “Vikings,” with his all-knowing smirk and Zen leadership style. Michael Sheen is the repressed center of “Masters of Sex,” Matthew Rhys brings an electric energy to “The Americans,” and Demian Bichir is a melancholy hero on “The Bridge.”
Lead Actress, Drama
Michelle Dockery
Downton Abbey
Claire Danes
Homeland
Robin Wright
House of Cards
Lizzy Caplan
Masters of Sex
Kerry Washington
Scandal
Julianna Margulies
The Good Wife
Will Win
Julianna Margulies
Wright stands a chance, because she is the best thing about “House of Cards.” But I think Margulies and her bottled-up character will take the day, after a juicy arc this season. Enthusiasm for “Homeland” has subsided, as the show’s careful plotting has grown absurd, which may taint Danes, who has won the past two years.
Should Win
Lizzy Caplan
Caplan can be mannered and overly precise in her diction. But she has built a complex character, both sexually aware and intellectually aspirational, who is believably ahead of her time. I’d like to see her win.
Was robbed
Tatiana Maslany from “Orphan Black,” of course. And Elisabeth Moss of “Mad Men,” who has given Peggy one of TV’s most nuanced across-seasons journeys.
Supporting Actor, Drama
Aaron Paul
Breaking Bad
Jim Carter
Downton Abbey
Peter Dinklage
Game of Thrones
Mandy Patinkin
Homeland
Jon Voight
Ray Donovan
Josh Charles
The Good Wife
Will Win
Jon Voight
These were all strong performances, particularly Dinklage, Paul, and Charles, whose broken but unbowed Will Gardner was murdered. But Voight will win, and not just for his long Hollywood history. He is the Boston thug who keeps “Ray Donovan” interesting.
Should Win
Jon Voight
Voight fits this role like a glove. There’s not a false note in his performance.
Was robbed
Jeffrey Wright was a potent addition to “Boardwalk Empire,” as the intellectual Harlem gangster. And Dean Norris deserved a final nod for his complex work on “Breaking Bad.”
Supporting Actress, Drama
Anna Gunn
Breaking Bad
Maggie Smith
Downton Abbey
Joanne Froggatt
Downton Abbey
Lena Headey
Game of Thrones
Christina Hendricks
Mad Men
Christine Baranski
The Good Wife
Will Win
Anna Gunn
Gunn will take this one, for her mind-blowingly good work in her submitted episode, “Ozymandias.” She was under-acknowledged until last year, when she won; there’s no denying her now.
Should Win
Anna Gunn
Baranski was top-notch this season, as she lost her friend and partner Will and opened up her heart to Alicia. And Headey was chilling. But still, Gunn was the best.
Was robbed
Two “Americans” actresses stood out — Alison Wright as the deceived Martha and Annet Mahendru as the profoundly conflicted Nina.
Comedy Series
Louie
FX
Modern Family
ABC
Veep
HBO
Silicon Valley
HBO
Orange is the New Black
Netflix
The Big Bang Theory
CBS
Will Win
Orange is the New Black
“Orange Is the New Black” will break up the four-year winning streak of “Modern Family.” Some voters may think the Netflix show belongs in the drama categories, and they would be right. But it’s the best of the lot.
Should Win
Orange is the New Black
I’m a huge fan of “Veep,” and the third season was pure dynamite. But “Orange” has an emotional grounding and a social consciousness that gives it an edge.
Was robbed
"Shameless” jumped into the comedy categories this year, which is ridiculous. But it’s one of TV’s best series — last season was arguably its best — and it deserves recognition no matter what slot it gets put into.
Lead Actor, Comedy
Ricky Gervais
Derek
Matt LeBlanc
Episodes
Don Cheadle
House of Lies
Louis C.K.
Louie
William H. Macy
Shameless
Jim Parsons
The Big Bang Theory
Will Win
Jim Parsons
I have a feeling Parsons is going to win his fourth Emmy for this role. And he has created an indelible and endearing character and reinvented geek clichés.
Should Win
William H. Macy
But... none of the actors in this category comes close to Macy, who, like Voight in “Ray Donovan,” fully inhabits his character. He gives a performance for the ages as the childish, selfish, slippery alcoholic. C.K. was better than ever this season in an ongoing story line that showed his vulnerability. But: Macy.
Was robbed
Andy Samberg is winning in “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” both childlike and charming. His chemistry with Andre Braugher is impressive. I’d have given him the Cheadle slot.
Lead Actress, Comedy
Lena Dunham
Girls
Melissa McCarthy
Mike and Molly
Edie Falco
Nurse Jackie
Taylor Schilling
Orange is the New Black
Amy Poehler
Parks and Recreation
Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Veep
Will Win
Julia Louis-Dreyfus
If anyone but Louis-Dreyfus wins, it will be Schilling, who was the solid center of “OITNB.” But Louis-Dreyfus will take her third statue for this role.
Should Win
Julia Louis-Dreyfus
And Louis-Dreyfus deserves every inch of that statue. She has gone from TV strength to TV strength in the years since “Seinfeld,” and her work on “Veep” is a culmination of all her experience and comic expertise. I love Poehler, and Falco is awesome. But no one makes me laugh like Louis-Dreyfus.
Was robbed
Laurie Metcalf was a laugh riot as a doctor on HBO’s small, twisted “Getting On.” And Emmy Rossum had her best season so far on “Shameless,” which is saying a lot.
Supporting Actor, Comedy
Andre Braugher
Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Adam Driver
Girls
Ty Burrell
Modern Family
Jesse Tyler Ferguson
Modern Family
Fred Armisen
Portlandia
Tony Hale
Veep
Will Win
Andre Braugher
Braugher is so enjoyable on this show, he will persuade voters. His seriousness is seriously funny.
Should Win
Andre Braugher
Braugher has finally broken away from his history of heavy roles. His perfect comic timing is surprising, and delightful.
Was robbed
As the delinquent who came out of the closet this season on “Shameless,” Noel Fisher was pitch-perfect. And Timothy Simons, as the creepy Jonah on “Veep,” delivered zingers like nobody’s business.
Supporting Actress, Comedy
Julie Bowen
Modern Family
Allison Janney
Mom
Kate McKinnon
Saturday Night Live
Mayim Bialik
The Big Bang Theory
Ann Chlumsky
Veep
Kate Mulgrew
Orange is the New Black
Will Win
Allison Janney
Emmy voters love Janney, as they ought to. At last week’s creative arts Emmy ceremony, she won a guest actress prize for “Masters of Sex.” She’ll have a two-fer this year.
Should Win
Kate Mulgrew
Mulgrew was one of the revelations of “OITNB” as a woman whose passions run high and whose memory is unforgiving.
Was robbed
Last year’s winner, Merritt Wever, had a great season on “Nurse Jackie,” as the empowered Zoey tried to save her mentor.
Miniseries
American Horror Story
FX
Bonnie & Clyde
Lifetime
Fargo
FX
Luther
BBC America
The White Queen
Starz
Treme
HBO
Will Win
Fargo
“Fargo” took the Coen brothers movie and broke it wide open. It will win.
Should Win
Fargo
And it ought to win, for its expertly twisted comic tone, its gorgeous cinematography, and a set of performances strong enough to get us to forget the original.
Television Movie
Killing Kennedy
National Geographic Channel
Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight
HBO
Sherlock: His Last Vow
PBS
The Normal Heart
HBO
The Trip To Bountiful
Lifetime
Will Win
The Normal Heart
“The Normal Heart,” with its all-star cast and historically important AIDS theme, is inevitable.
Should Win
The Normal Heart
And indeed, it was a powerful film that captured the complexities of AIDS activism in the 1980s.
Lead Actor, Miniseries or TV Movie
Chiwetel Ejiofor
Dancing on the Edge
Martin Freeman
Fargo
Billy Bob Thornton
Fargo
Idris Elba
Luther
Benedict Cumberbatch
Sherlock: His Last Vow
Mark Ruffalo
The Normal Heart
Will Win
Mark Ruffalo
Cumberbatch is beloved, but “The Normal Heart” is probably going to sweep. So I’m thinking Ruffalo’s the winner.
Should Win
Martin Freeman
Ruffalo was excellent indeed, but I had so much fun watching Freeman get dragged into murder — or was he? He was truly extraordinary.
Lead Actress, Miniseries or TV Movie
Jessica Lange
American Horror Story
Sarah Paulson
American Horror Story
Helena Bonham Carter
Burton and Taylor
Minnie Driver
Return to Zero
Kristen Wiig
The Spoils of Babylon
Cicely Tyson
The Trip to Bountiful
Will Win
Cicely Tyson
How absurd to see Wiig’s spoofery up against Tyson’s acting. Tyson’s the one.
Should Win
Cicely Tyson
And it’s hard to quibble with that, especially since Lange has already been honored for her work on “American Horror Story.”

DATA: Television Academy

Chiqui Esteban / Globe Staff

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