As is usually the case, the nominations for the 2013 Primetime Emmys delivered a fair share of snubs, surprises and predictably safe choices. When it comes to picking the big winner in each category, the same is likely to follow, and rarely do fans, critics and Emmy voters agree on who that winner should be.
Ahead of Sunday's big show, here is how the race is shaping up in the drama division:
"Breaking Bad" Conventional Wisdom, Critics Choice, Fan Favorite
"Game of Thrones"
"House of Cards"
Critics call "Breaking Bad" the best drama on TV so consistently you could etch it stone. And one look at Twitter on a Sunday night proves that its final season has exceeded expectations (though only the first half is up for consideration). And since the show has never won Outstanding Drama trophy, it looks like Emmy voters will have to deliver an award that both critics and fans agree on, for once.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama
Connie Britton, "Nashville"
Claire Danes, "Homeland"
Michelle Dockery, "Downton Abbey"
Vera Farmiga, "Bates Motel"
Elisabeth Moss, "Mad Men" Critics Choice, Conventional Wisdom
Kerry Washington, "Scandal" Fan Favorite
Robin Wright, "House of Cards"
Claire Danes could grab this trophy for a second time, despite the second season of "Homeland" being such a mess. Elisabeth Moss on the other hand has never been rewarded for "Mad Men," and her character had the strongest storylines during its most recent season. "Scandal" has a fan following like no other, but may be just a little too "oh my, did they just go there?" (a quality critics actually praise) for the Emmy sensitivities.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama
Hugh Bonneville, "Downton Abbey"
Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad" Fan Favorite
Jeff Daniels, "The Newsroom"
Jon Hamm, "Mad Men" Critics Choice
Damien Lewis, "Homeland"
Kevin Spacey, "House of Cards" Conventional Wisdom
While fans are certainly enjoying the wild ride they're on with Walt, Bryan Cranston has already won three times for "Breaking Bad" and only the first half the season – which was great but not the "OMG" spree the show is currently on – is being considered. The flashy movie guy will likely win instead. Critics will cry foul that Jon Hamm, like Moss, has never won for "Mad Men." This season, for all its "mehness," presented a crucial turning point for Don Draper, which Hamm delivered masterfully.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama
Anna Gunn, "Breaking Bad" Critics Choice, Conventional Wisdom
Maggie Smith, "Downton Abbey" Fan Favorite
Emilia Clarke, "Game of Thrones"
Christine Baranski, "The Good Wife"
Morena Baccarin, "Homeland"
Christina Hendricks, "Mad Men"
Fans may have turned on Skyler White, but critics say that it's even more proof that Anna Gunn has given a top-notch performance. Having never won for the role, Emmy voters also have a Jon Hamm problem on their hands with her. Everybody loves Maggie Smith, but she, nor anyone else in this category, comes close to Gunn's level.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama
Bobby Cannavale, "Boardwalk Empire"
Jonathan Banks, "Breaking Bad" Critics Choice
Aaron Paul, "Breaking Bad"
Jim Carter, "Downton Abbey"
Peter Dinklage, "Game of Thrones"
Mandy Patinkin, "Homeland" Fan Favorite, Conventional Wisdom
While Aaron Paul and Peter Dinklage had fine runs on their shows' recent seasons, both have won before, and critics point out that the selection of acting Jonathan Banks put forth for consideration is as good as it gets on "Breaking Bad." Nevertheless, fans will be cheering for Mandy Patinkin, whose Saul was the shining light of sanity and sympathy on the troubled second season of "Homeland" (and Patinkin played him just ambiguously enough to inspire all sorts of conspiracy theories). Having snubbed Patinkin for the far stronger Season 1, Emmy voters may just have to follow suit.
- A Q&A with Anna Gunn
- How a PR Maven Turned "Scandal" in a Television Success
- Is "House of Cards" Too Cynical About Politics?