Sunday's Emmys may well test the adage that any publicity is good publicity. This year's crop of nominees certainly got people talking when they were announced; most of that chatter, though, was of the "What the hell?" variety.
As the ceremony approaches, that thought is still in my mind, though the anger has subsided. Now, I'm thinking more along the lines of, With so many presumed favorites -- your "Losts" and your Edie Falcos and your Hugh Lauries and your "Desperate Housewives" stars -- not in the running, who the hell is going to win?
As repetitive as the Emmys can sometimes seem to be, there are almost always some out-of-left-field winners, which makes trying to handicap the ceremony a crapshoot. That won't stop us from trying, though: Here are our thoughts on who will get to thank their agents, lawyers, managers, saviors and families at Sunday's ceremony (it's on NBC), along with what you, the Zap2it readers, have been saying in our Emmy polls.
Outstanding Drama Series
The Nominees: "24," "Grey's Anatomy," "House," "The Sopranos," "The West Wing"
Will Win: "Grey's Anatomy." Of the five shows in this category, none had more buzz this season, and the fact that "Grey's" is both critically well-liked and enormously popular should give it the edge over a strong season of "24."
Should Win: "House." No other show on this list was as consistently strong this year, thanks in large part to the brilliant and criminally un-nominated Hugh Laurie, but also to the show's writers and supporting cast, who collectively upped their game considerably.
You Say: In a close vote, "24" (38.9 percent as of Friday morning) over "Grey's" (34.4 percent).
Outstanding Comedy Series
The Nominees: "Arrested Development," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "The Office," "Scrubs," "Two and a Half Men"
Will Win: "The Office." "Arrested Development" and "Scrubs" were as funny this season as they've ever been, but "The Office" truly blossomed this season into its own creation and not an imitation of the British show on which it's based. It's also probably the hippest of the nominees and has crazy critical love.
Should Win: "The Office." Just watch the "Booze Cruise" episode. Or "Michael's Birthday." Or the season finale. Or ...
You Say: With 38.7 percent of the vote, you give to the folks from Dunder Mifflin. "Arrested" is second at 21.3 percent.
Lead Actor in a Drama
The Nominees: Peter Krause, "Six Feet Under"; Denis Leary, "Rescue Me"; Christopher Meloni, "Law & Order: SVU"; Martin Sheen, "The West Wing"; Kiefer Sutherland, "24"
Will Win: Sheen. He's never won for "The West Wing," and my gut feeling is Emmy voters will give him the equivalent of a career-achievement award here -- despite the fact that he was less of a presence on the show this season.
Should Win: Close call between Leary and Sutherland. "Rescue Me" affords Leary the most range of any performer here, and Sutherland continues to bring some small nuances to Jack Bauer that cut through the relentless intensity of "24."
You Say: Sutherland in a rout -- he gets more than 58 percent of your votes.
Lead Actress in a Drama
The Nominees: Frances Conroy, "Six Feet Under"; Geena Davis, "Commander In Chief"; Mariska Hargitay, "Law & Order: SVU"; Allison Janney, "The West Wing"; Kyra Sedgwick, "The Closer"
Will Win: Janney or Hargitay, both of whom had big showpiece episodes to show to Emmy voters.
Should Win: Sedgwick. What might otherwise be just another crime show is elevated immeasurably by her quirky, sexy, riveting performance. And her submission -- an episode called "Dream Date" -- was no slouch either.
You Say: In a battle of TV cops, Hargitay (33.9 percent) by a nose over Sedgwick (30.8 percent).
Lead Actor in a Comedy
The Nominees: Steve Carell, "The Office"; Larry David, "Curb Your Enthusiasm"; Kevin James, "The King of Queens"; Tony Shalhoub, "Monk"; Charlie Sheen, "Two and a Half Men"
Will Win: Carell. Shalhoub has a lot to work with as the obsessive-compulsive Monk, but Carell does just as much with the blithely out-of-touch Michael Scott.
Should Win: Carell. He's utterly fearless as Michael, and no one has delivered more fall-off-the-couch moments this year.
You Say: It's not even close: Nearly 54 percent of you favor Carell.
Lead Actress in a Comedy
The Nominees: Stockard Channing, "Out of Practice"; Jane Kaczmarek, "Malcolm in the Middle"; Lisa Kudrow, "The Comeback"; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "The New Adventures of Old Christine"; Debra Messing, "Will & Grace"
Will Win: This is maybe the most wide-open category, especially since only one nominee's (Louis-Dreyfus) show will be returning this fall. Though I couldn't stand "The Comeback," I think there's a strong chance Kudrow will win. Her performance, while not to my taste, was hard to turn away from.
Should Win: Kaczmarek, and not just because she's long overdue for playing Lois on "Malcolm," but because she was still really funny in the show's final season.
You Say: With 27.8 percent of your votes, Messing wins a close race over Kaczmarek (24.2 percent), Louis-Dreyfus (19.8 percent) and Kudrow (19.7 percent).
Outstanding Reality/Competition Show
The Nominees: "The Amazing Race," "American Idol," "Dancing with the Stars," "Project Runway," "Survivor"
Will Win: Even though it wasn't as compelling as some past seasons, it's hard to bet against three-time winner "Amazing Race."
Should Win: "American Idol." There's a reason it's the No. 1 show on TV, you know.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times