The Emmys air Monday, but no need to check your calendars. It's not September. You can still throw that Labor Day barbecue and gear up for the NFL season kickoff next week. Football, our national religion, is the reason the Emmys come so early this year.
NBC, which is airing the show, wants to avoid conflicts with its “Sunday Night Football,” even in pre-season. So we're here on a Monday night in late August.
And, really, what else were you going to do?
Here are our final predictions for the key categories:
Yes, it feels like Netflix's "Orange Is the New Black" owns the momentum. Many voters have probably already devoured the recently released second season, which was even better than the nominated debut year. It's fresh and groundbreaking in the empathetic way it tells the stories of its female-dominated ensemble. But ... broadcast networks have won this category 61 times in its 62-year history. (HBO's "Sex and the City" took it in 2001.) "The Larry Sanders Show" came up empty, as did "Curb Your Enthusiasm"and, most recently, "Girls" and "Veep." That's going to change plenty in the near future, but we're betting "Modern Family" has one more win left in the tank. It will prevail for the fifth straight time, tying "Frasier's" series record.
There's been some industry griping about HBO putting "True Detective" here instead of in the miniseries category. That decision might reverberate into the psychosphere of some voters' minds, and all things being equal, give the edge to "Breaking Bad," which delivered a final batch of episodes that satisfied on multiple levels.
LEAD ACTOR COMEDY
Have you seen Rickey Gervais on Netflix's "Derek"? His holy fool title character is a superbly nuanced comic creation, and Gervais' Emmy submission (and, remember, voters look only at one episode and not the season as a whole) contains a beautifully written, sentimental speech that could win him the Emmy just like Jeff Daniels' "Newsroom" state-of-America rant did the trick last year. Prepare to be shocked.
LEAD ACTRESS COMEDY
If the Emmys were the Oscars and sentiment played a strong factor, Amy Poehler would finally win for "Parks and Recreation." But Emmy voters rarely do a make-good when a show nears the end of its run, which means that Julia Louis-Dreyfus will vacuum up yet another award for her impeccable work on "Veep."
SUPPORTING ACTOR COMEDY
This is a wide-open race pitting defending champ Tony Hale ("Veep") against newcomer Andre Braugher("Brooklyn Nine-Nine") and "Modern Family's" Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Ty Burrell. We're betting that voters find Braugher's oh-so-serious precinct commander irresistible, giving the two-time Emmy winner his first award for comedy.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS COMEDY
Our hearts say Kate Mulgrew for the way she's transformed her career playing the Russian prison den mother on "Orange Is the New Black." But Allison Janney, who already picked up an Emmy last week for her guest turn on "Masters of Sex," is well-liked by voters, and she plays the mom on "Mom." And for whatever reason, this category almost always seems to go the maternal route. Julie Bowen, Jean Smart,Doris Roberts ... the list goes on. Add Janney to it.
LEAD ACTOR DRAMA
As with series, this comes down to "True Detective" versus "Breaking Bad," pitting Bryan Cranston's indelible, iconic antihero against Matthew McConaughey's haunted truth-teller. This is the last chance to honor Cranston but the only opportunity to reward newly minted Oscar winner McConaughey for his performance in this anthology series. Given Cranston's four previous wins, give the slight edge to the Emmy newcomer.
LEAD ACTRESS DRAMA
Claire Danes won the last two years for "Homeland," and even with the (somewhat) unfair impression that the show slipped this season, she could pull off a three-peat for the heartbreaking episode where Carrie bids a final goodbye to Brody. But we're going to give the nod to another actress playing a character coming to terms with a tragic loss — Julianna Margulies in "The Good Wife." It's a more subdued turn, but no less affecting.
SUPPORTING ACTOR DRAMA
It's last call for both "Breaking Bad's" Aaron Paul and Josh Charles, who left "The Good Wife" on spectacular terms. And past winner Peter Dinklage has a fantastic Emmy episode, Tyrion's trial, in which he delivers the kind of stentorian, damn-you-all-to-hell speech that awards voters love. Still, yo, Paul going ballistic after putting together the truth about the poisoning of the child Brock in the "Confessions" episode of "Breaking Bad"? Tough to top.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS DRAMA
Anna Gunn's Emmy submission, "Ozymandias," for "Breaking Bad," is peerless. You don't bet against a mother protecting her child, particularly if she's brandishing a kitchen knife. Make it back-to-back wins.