I have no crystal ball to peer into the future. I have no psychic powers to peer into the minds of voters of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (and I'm not sure I'd have the mental fortitude to withstand that anyway). I do have a heart that has its favourites, a head that processes what more knowledgeable critics think, and a random number generator. I figure that last one is just as accurate a predictor as trying to apply rationality to an irrational process, so join me as my heart, head, and computer attempt to predict the unpredictable Emmy awards.
- Boston Legal
- Mad Men
Heart: House will always have a piece of my heart. But this season wasn't its strongest, plus …
Head: I think Mad Men is a lock. Though I'm not as sold as all the salivating critics, but I don't think it would be undeserved, either.
Random Number Generator: 1, Boston Legal. Right out of the gate, I hate the random number generator. I don't hate the show, but I don't get it as anything other than a guilty pleasure, either.
Actor in a Drama Series
- Gabriel Byrne, In Treatment
- Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
- Michael C. Hall, Dexter
- Jon Hamm, Mad Men
- Hugh Laurie, House
- James Spader, Boston Legal
Heart: Hugh Laurie definitely has my heart. For the Emmy Award, I mean.
Head: Laurie is overdue, and Michael C. Hall and Bryan Cranston were amazing, too, but my head's going with Jon Hamm. Mad Men has the buzz and the momentum, and Hamm brings nuance to a role where so much is below the surface. I have turned into a pessimist and have come to think that one day, when House is limping along in its 10th season, voters will finally realize they haven't yet given it to Laurie and reward him when someone else has had stronger material. As long as James Spader doesn't win, I think I can deal with the disappointment. But I don't want to test that theory.
Random Number Generator: 1, Gabriel Byrne. I haven't seen In Treatment but he's no slouch as an actor.
Actress in a Drama Series
- Glenn Close, Damages
- Sally Field, Brothers & Sisters
- Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
- Holly Hunter, Saving Grace
- Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer
Heart: These aren't shows I watch, but I've gotta go with Glenn Close, a powerhouse actress in a strong field.
Head: Close is an Academy Award nominated movie star, and the Emmys are seduced by big names, so she's got a great chance for a role that apparently uses her talents very well.
Random Number Generator: 3, Mariska Hargitay. I can't stand her show, so this is the one pick I'm rooting against.
Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
- Ted Danson, Damages
- Michael Emerson, Lost
- Zeljko Ivanek, Damages
- William Shatner, Boston Legal
- John Slattery, Mad Men
Heart: Another tough field for me. I do watch Mad Men and have always like Slattery, but this isn't a performance I'd want to see beat out even non-nominee Robert Sean Leonard of House, so I can't make myself wish for him to win. I'll take a leap by going with Michael Emerson, representing the under-nominated cast of Lost in a role I've heard good things about.
Head: My head will go with Slattery, because I think the Academy is mad for Mad Men.
Random Number Generator: 1, Ted Danson. I haven't seen him in this, but he's best known for his comedic work and getting awards for this, so I have newfound respect for Random Number Generator.
Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
- Candice Bergen, Boston Legal
- Rachel Griffiths, Brothers & Sisters
- Sandra Oh, Grey's Anatomy
- Dianne Wiest, In Treatment
- Chandra Wilson, Grey's Anatomy
Heart: Another field where my heart is silent except to shriek at any mention Grey's Anatomy (a show I used to love). Rachel Griffiths is always solid and does good work on Brothers & Sisters, so I'm leaning towards her.
Head: Sandra Oh, which would not make me shriek too loudly.
Random Number Generator: 3. We agree.
Writing in a Drama
- Battlestar Galactica, "Six Of One," Written by Michael Angeli
- Damages, "Pilot," Written by Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler, Daniel Zelman
- Mad Men, "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes (Pilot)," Written by Matthew Weiner
- Mad Men, "The Wheel," Written by Matthew Weiner, Robin Veith
- The Wire, "30," Teleplay and story by David Simon, Story by Ed Burns
Heart: The Wire, no question. It's pathetic that this is the only nomination the show received in its final season – only the second nomination ever, after a previous writing nomination. I hate to think of a writing award as a consolation prize, but the Academy should be embarrassed that one of the best television series ever went so unnoticed for five stellar seasons.
Head: Because the Emmys have no shame, I don't think they will reward The Wire. It won't really be shameful if, as I believe, the Mad Men pilot wins this one. As well as meticulously setting up the show's world, it's got a great backstory as a previously rejected labour of love for former Sopranos writer Matthew Weiner.
Random Number Generator: 1, Battlestar Galactica. Aw, Random Number Generator, you're so cute. Don't ever change. Haven't you heard that's a sci-fi show? The Emmys aren't going to reward it like that.
- Curb Your Enthusiasm
- The Office
- 30 Rock
- Two and a Half Men
Heart: Of my two favourites, The Office had too many drearily padded episodes at the beginning of the season, so I'm rooting for 30 Rock.
Head: 30 Rock is in an odd position of being both the incumbent and probably the favourite while still also being an underdog due to its dismal ratings.
Random Number Generator: 4, 30 Rock. Unanimous!
Actor in a Comedy Series
- Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
- Steve Carell, The Office
- Lee Pace, Pushing Daisies
- Tony Shalhoub, Monk
- Charlie Sheen, Two and a Half Men
Heart: Lee Pace, though it's tough to compare his often poignant performance in a dramedy versus the more comedic performances of some of the others in this category.
Head: My heart would also accept my head's choice – Alec Baldwin steals the show, especially in his episode submission where he channels Tracy's father, mother, Hispanic neighbour, Tracy himself, the white dude his mom left his dad for, and Jimmie Walker … all in about 2 minutes.
Random Number Generator: 1, Baldwin as well.
Actress in a Comedy Series
- Christina Applegate, Samantha Who?
- America Ferrera, Ugly Betty
- Tina Fey, 30 Rock
- Julia Louis-Dreyfus, The New Adventures of Old Christine
- Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds
Heart: Christina Applegate shook off Kelly Bundy and proved she has warmth along with comedic talent (again – she was the best part of the mediocre and long-forgotten sitcom Jesse). Not to mention she went public with her breast cancer, making a win for her a feel-good story.
Head: I think Applegate has a good chance, and not out of sympathy (her health news broke after voting occurred anyway).
Random Number Generator: 1, Applegate. Another unanimous category.
Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
- Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
- Kevin Dillon, Entourage
- Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother
- Jeremy Piven, Entourage
- Rainn Wilson, The Office
Heart: Neil Patrick Harris has to win for this role, and the clock could be ticking for the constantly on-the-bubble series.
Head: Neil Patrick Harris. It's a risky choice but I think he's due.
Random Number Generator: 4, Jeremy Piven. It wasn't Entourage or Ari's finest season, but since when does that matter to the Emmys?
Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
- Kristin Chenoweth, Pushing Daisies
- Amy Poehler, Saturday Night Live
- Jean Smart, Samantha Who?
- Holland Taylor, Two and a Half Men
- Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty
Heart: Kristin Chenoweth is a delight in Pushing Daisies, and her musical numbers are poignant and hilarious. She should win for those alone.
Head: My head agrees.
Random Number Generator: 5, Vanessa Williams. I can see that happening, but I got over Ugly Betty quickly after the first season and it merely irritates me now.
Writing in a Comedy Series
- 30 Rock, "Rosemary's Baby," Written by Jack Burditt
- 30 Rock, "Cooter," Written by Tina Fey
- Flight Of The Conchords, "Yoko," Written by James Bobin, Jemaine Clement, Bret McKenzie
- Pushing Daisies, "Pie-Lette," Written by Bryan Fuller
- The Office, "Dinner Party," Written by Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky
Heart: Pushing Daisies' "Pie-lette" was one of the best pilots – best episodes, actually – I've ever seen, and the title is one of my hands-down favourites too.
Head: The Emmys love 30 Rock, and I loved the "Cooter" episode, so I'll go with that.
Random Number Generator: 1, "Rosemary's Baby." Not actually my favourite episode of 30 Rock but still a fine choice in an entire list of fine choices.