The nominees include two generations of Baltimore-born-and-bred directors in Barry Levinson, Jason Winer and Bucky Gunts -- and Hollywood insiders say all three have excellent chances of leaving the Nokia Theatre, Emmys in hand.
Steve Lee Jones, one of the other executive producers on Levinson's HBO film, grew up in Pikesville, while another "Modern Family" nominee, Julie Bowen, was raised in Ruxton. Bowen is nominated as best supporting actress for her performance in the multi-generational comedy, which, along with "Glee," has re-charged the network sitcom.
"It's so rare that voters recognize someone whose performance is so effortless in facilitating the performances of others," says Winer, who is also an executive producer on the hit ABC series. "But that's what Julie does: She grounds the show."
Baltimore will also be front and center for Emmy's biggest award, best drama, with Matthew's Weiner's "Mad Men" going into the evening as the favorite to win. Weiner was born at Johns Hopkins Hospital, where his father was a professor and research scientist, and attended Park School before his family moved to Los Angeles when he was 11.
Weiner is also nominated for his work as a writer on the show. He and yet another Baltimore native, Robin Veith, are contenders for the episode they wrote, "Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency." Weiner has a second writing nomination as well for his work on another episode.
While Josh Charles didn't get an individual nomination, "The Good Wife," a CBS ensemble in which he plays a featured role, is a contender for best drama. And such nominations matter, Charles says, especially for network shows in a category dominated by cable productions like "Mad Men."
"If you look at our show, it's a network show, and we made 23 of them [episodes] last year," Charles explains. "And whatever nominations mean, it's a nice thing for the show, because all the other shows except " Lost," which only made 16 episodes as far as I know, are cable shows. And with them, you're looking at only 10 to 13 episodes a year, so it's not really fair fight. In that regard, getting the nomination is really nice."
Speaking of "Lost," long-time Maryland resident Terry O'Quinn is in the running as best supporting actor for his work in the last season of the genre-bending show.
That's a lot of nominations and talent from any one place that isn't New York or Los Angeles — and a lot of rooting interest for local viewers.
Even some of nominees, however, urge area fans not to be disappointed Sunday night if their rooting is not rewarded. Emmys are an unpredictable exercise that are often influenced by factors beyond the quality of the performance or show.
"It's certainly hard to invest in it heavily," Bowen says of her own emotional involvement in Sunday's outcome. "It's not something quantitative: Who's running this race faster."
Offering a reminder about the roles that "taste and opinion" play, Bowen adds, "Guess what, I'm not winning, Jane [Lynch] is. But it doesn't really make any difference. There's no 'best.'"
While "Modern Family" has proven to be an industry favorite in previous awards shows this year, so has "Glee," the show in which Lynch appears, a musical comedy about a group of high school misfit performers. Bowen will be a strong contender in terms of votes, but Lynch will win, Hollywood handicappers say.
"Jane Lynch is unstoppable in that category," says Tom O'Neil, author of the book "The Emmys" and an awards show prognosticator at TheEnvelope.com.
As high as O'Neil is on Bowen's work, he says it ultimately comes down to what episodes were submitted for the nominations, and Lynch has a blockbuster with an episode in which she was featured in re-staging of Madonna's 1990 "Vogue" video.
"Jane Lynch has the Madonna episode," O'Neil explains. "So, she's in every frame of a one hour episode, while Julie Bowen is in one-third of the frames of a half-hour episode — and she doesn't get the big show-stopping musical number like Lynch. Nobody beats Lynch this year."
The prospects of winning are much better for Winer, based on him taking the Directors Guild award for the same episode of "Modern Family."