Emmy nominations: 4 things to watch for, including farewells and some Cookie

Emmy nominations: 4 things to watch for, including farewells and some Cookie
Jon Hamm as Don Draper in a scene from the series finale of "Mad Men." Hamm and the AMC series are expected to rack up Emmy nominations on Thursday morning. (Courtesy of AMC / AMC)

It's that time of year when the weekends of binge-streaming and/or dedicated appointment-viewing get some validation (or, in most cases, don't): The morning of Emmy nominations has arrived!

The year withstood a tsunami of scripted and reality-based programming across broadcast, basic and premium cable and streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. In fact, reflecting on the glut of shows paralyzing our DVRs , the Television Academy decided to expand the number of series that can be nominated in the comedy and drama categories from six to seven. 

And it's a good thing. There was a lot happening. We watched as a virgin got pregnant; a heel-struttin', dessert-named matriarch sought revenge; a mad man found peace;  a good wife became States Attorney, albeit briefly; a 70-year-old man was ready to be his true self as a woman; and the list goes on and on ... and on and on.


So, what are things to look for when nominations are announced later this morning? Here's our guess:

1) More Zzzs: We can't talk about this year's nominations morning without noting how grateful we are that our deep sleep stage won't be interrupted by work. Ditching tradition, the academy opted to move the nominations announcement from 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. (Pacific). That helps ensure presenters Uzo Aduba ("Orange Is the New Black") and Cat Deeley ("So You Think You Can Dance") won't stumble when announcing nominees. (We're still recovering from Gwen Stefani announcing "The Colbore Report" as a nominee.)

And, hey, if we're really lucky, it will reduce the number of times an actor or producer says he or she was asleep when nominations were announced (as if we believed them anyway!).

2) "Mad Men" send-off: The year saw a number of shows bid adieu -- "Mad Men," "Parks and Recreation," "Nurse Jackie," "Two and a Half Men," "Parenthood" and "Justified." When it comes time for nominations in the series category, "Mad Men" seems to be the only sure bet. Of course, though the show has been nominated every year that it has been on the air, it won for drama series for only its first four seasons. We'll have to wait until Sept. 20 to find out if it goes out with a bang.

3) More diversity: The 2014-15 TV season saw more diversity. Shows such as ABC's "black-ish," "How to Get Away With Murder" and "Fresh Off the Boat" rubbed elbows with Fox's "Empire" and CW's "Jane the Virgin." Many awards prognosticators have their money on Viola Davis and Taraji P. Henson stirring things up. Some also have their eyes on Gina Rodriguez, Constance Wu and Randall Park.

4) Outcries: Let's be honest -- most of the shows and actors we think deserve an Emmy nomination won't be getting one. There are a handful of slots and a gazillion shows (according to our calculations). We'll inevitably feel bitter about omissions and slam the Academy for being out of touch. But at least we won't be sleepy while doing it?

I tweet about TV (and other things) here: @villarrealy