OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
All of the nominees, with the exception of True Blood have a genuine shot to win this category, but Mad Men will most likely prevail for the third time in a row. And even though this may really deserve to go to AMC's other gem, Breaking Bad, you can't really say that it would be a travesty for Mad Men to take this category again because it still remains one of the best things on television.
WILL WIN: Mad Men
SHOULD WIN: Breaking Bad
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Whenever I have tried to make a prediction for this year's leading I feel like a schizophrenic. As soon as I start leaning towards predicting someone, these voices start going off in my head telling me to reconsider because of all the other factors with the other nominees. Honestly, this category is going to be the most exciting of the evening. Each contender brings great acting with a good episode to the table and could reasonably be the winner. Chandler submitted a good episode and DirecTV sent the entire season to voters but this nomination may be enough of a reward. Cranston has won for the past two years and even with a weaker episode, like this year's submission, his status could get him back on stage. Fox carried the entire finale of Lost but his nod is another instance of the nomination being enough of a reward. Hall has been on a high streak winning both the Globe and the SAG Award and submitted this year's shocking finale. Hamm has submitted his best episode yet that brings Don Draper somewhat out of his shell and Laurie submits the two-hour season premiere that's all about him in an institution. While my heart is with both Hamm and Fox, I'm going to take the safe route and pick Hall to win, though anyone else would not suprise me at all.
WILL WIN: Michael C. Hall, Dexter
SHOULD WIN: Jon Hamm, Mad Men
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Julianna Margulies is coming off winning both the Golden Globe and SAG Award for this character and has all the buzz. But she slipped slightly with submitting the episode "Threesome" as opposed to a character powerhouse like the pilot. Combine this with the episode Kyra Sedgwick submitted, "Maternal Instincts", which is her best yet as well as her overdue factor and all of a sudden this has become a real horse race. But with Margulies still submitting a decent episode, she should still finish first.
WILL WIN: Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
SHOULD WIN: Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Slattery and Short are not going to win and Emerson's episode doesn't have the ferocity that we usually expect of Ben Linus, even though his performance is great. That leaves Braugher, O'Quinn and Paul. All submitted great episodes for their characters and while Paul always delivers a superb quality of acting I have a feeling O'Quinn's portrayal of two characters (Locke & MIB) will make him the first actor to have a repeat win in this category in 15 years. The last was Ray Walston for Picket Fences in 1994 and 1995.
WILL WIN: Terry O'Quinn, Lost
SHOULD WIN: Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
The two strongest contenders are Emmy veteran, Sharon Gless and young ingenue Christina Hendricks. Gless has the plus of an episode where she gets to be very emotional while Hendricks's episode is filled with subtle and restrained emotion, as is expected with Mad Men. This category has normally favored veterans in the past like Blythe Danner, Dianne Weist and Tyne Daly. But younger ones have won here before like Drea de Matteo and Katherine Heigl. But with Burn Notice not grabbing any other major nods, that signals a reluctance in the Academy to want to acknowledge the show and that would allow Hendricks to take this one. Baranski is one to watch out for though as well.
WILL WIN: Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
SHOULD WIN: Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
OUTSTANDING GUEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
In any other year, this would go to Gregory Itzin without question for his deliciously evil portrayal of former President Charles Logan. But because it's this year it will go to John Lithgow's unbelievable role in Dexter.
WILL WIN: John Lithgow, Dexter
SHOULD WIN: Gregory Itzin, 24
OUTSTANDING GUEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
While the performers may be good in this category, the submissions are very weak. Lily Tomlin should be able to win this one easily.
WILL WIN: Lily Tomlin, Damages
SHOULD WIN: Elizabeth Mitchell, Lost
OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A DRAMA SERIES
This one will go to Lost since no other episode is made quite like this one.
WILL WIN: Lost, "The End", Directed by Jack Bender
SHOULD WIN: Lost, "The End", Directed by Jack Bender
OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A DRAMA SERIES
Having just reviewed the nominated episodes of Mad Men, the standout of the bunch is the season three finale, "Shut the Door. Have a Seat."
WILL WIN: Mad Men, "Shut the Door. Have a Seat.", Written by Matthew Weiner and Erin Levy
SHOULD WIN: Mad Men, "Shut the Door. Have a Seat.", Written by Matthew Weiner and Erin Levy