Matthew McConaughey, "True Detective"
Prime contenders: Michael Sheen, "Masters of Sex"; Jeff Daniels,
For your consideration: We know everyone has jumped off the "Homeland" bandwagon, but it'd be a shame if voters didn't send Lewis, playing the late, great Nicholas Brody, out in style. Yes, the Venezuela drug house scenes didn't move the needle, but that changed when the action moved to Iran. The man will always have a star on our Emmy memorial wall.
Analysis: Room must be made for the "True Detective" partners, which will probably be bad news for a trio of 2013 nominees — Daniels, Lewis and Bonneville. And while "The Blacklist" doesn't deserve a place among TV's great dramas, it does afford Spader, a three-time Emmy winner, the chance to devour acres of scenery. The question: With Spacey a sure bet to return, is there room enough for a couple of great hams from patently ridiculous shows?
Prime contenders: Keri Russell, "The Americans";
For your consideration: There was justifiable gnashing of teeth last year when Emmy voters shut out the Cold War spy drama "The Americans." The show was even better this season, with Russell's hard-core Commie turning into one of television's great antiheroes. Hey, somebody has to replace Walter White, right?
Analysis: This is the deepest of all the Emmy acting categories, and come nomination morning, there will be plenty of reasonable cries of "snubbed" surrounding deserving contenders such as Caplan, Russell, Farmiga and Maslany. Who knows? Maybe, like last year, there will be room for seven. It's hard to see either Dockery or Britton returning, which should provide a little wiggle room for some worthy choice. But there's such an embarrassment of riches here, it's impossible to make anything approaching a definitive call. So we'll just go with one of our favorites: Caplan.
Aaron Paul, "Breaking Bad"
Mandy Patinkin, "Homeland"
For your consideration: How has Norris never been nominated for "Breaking Bad"? Now that it's over, it doesn't seem possible that "Bad's" true hero never received his due, but that will likely change this year (it will, right?) with all the high drama that happened after Hank, sitting on the toilet, discovered Walt's epic betrayal by way of "Leaves of Grass."
Analysis: Last year, the Emmy went to
Anna Gunn, "Breaking Bad"
Christine Baranski, "The Good Wife"
Joanne Froggatt, "Downton Abbey"
Prime contenders: Bellamy Young, "Scandal";
For your consideration: It's not too late to give Potter the nomination she deserved last year for her fantastic work as the oh-so-relatable mom on "Parenthood." Her character didn't have to battle cancer this year, but Potter delivered plenty of fine, four-hankie moments. (We're tearing up just thinking of that car ride with Max.) Make it right, Emmy voters.