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Gold Standard: Early predictions for Emmy Awards

Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) and Walter White (Bryan Cranston) in Season 5 of "Breaking Bad."
(Frank Ockenfels / AMC)

Will “Breaking Bad” finally win a series Emmy? Will “Modern Family” ever lose one? Are voters ready to go all in on Kerry Washington and Louis C.K.? We offer some answers and thoughts, but since it’s early (very early), these predictions will likely be tweaked before the Emmys are awarded on Sept. 22. Because in our heart of hearts, we think “Breaking Bad” deserves that tip of the (porkpie) hat and find it hard to believe that everyone just doesn’t agree.

DRAMA SERIES

The nominees:

“Breaking Bad” (AMC)

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“Downton Abbey” (PBS)

“Game of Thrones” (HBO)

“Homeland” (Showtime)

“House of Cards” (Netflix)

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“Mad Men” (AMC)

Should win: “Breaking Bad”

Will win: “House of Cards”

Analysis: “Homeland” had too many detractors this season to repeat. “Mad Men” won’t return for, by its standards, a weak season. Time for voters to finally give “Breaking Bad” its due? Yes, but they might save that thought for next year with the show’s last season. We’ll go with “House of Cards.” For now.

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FULL COVERAGE: Emmys 2013

DRAMA LEAD ACTOR

The nominees:

Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad”

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Hugh Bonneville, “Downton Abbey”

Damian Lewis, “Homeland”

Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”

Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”

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Jeff Daniels, “The Newsroom”

Should win: Cranston

Will win: Spacey

Analysis: Yes, Cranston has won three times, but newcomer Spacey — a two-time Oscar winner in a showy role — might prove hard to resist.

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TIMELINE: Emmy winners through the years

DRAMA LEAD ACTRESS

The nominees:

Vera Farmiga, “Bates Motel”

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Michelle Dockery, “Downton Abbey”

Claire Danes, “Homeland”

Robin Wright, “House of Cards”

Elisabeth Moss, “Mad Men”

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Connie Britton, “Nashville”

Kerry Washington, “Scandal”

Should win: Farmiga

Will win: Washington

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Analysis: Danes would be a safe pick to repeat. Washington, though, feels like she’s delivered something that has transcended the show and performance itself, taking on a momentum of its own.

VIDEO: Kerry Washington, Jenna Fischer and more talk Emmys 2013

DRAMA SUPPORTING ACTOR

The nominees:

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Bobby Cannavale, “Boardwalk Empire”

Jonathan Banks, “Breaking Bad”

Aaron Paul, “Breaking Bad”

Jim Carter, “Downton Abbey”

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Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones”

Mandy Patinkin, “Homeland”

Should win: Patinkin

Will win: Patinkin

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Analysis: Paul won last year, even with fellow “Breaking Bad” nominee Giancarlo Esposito on the ballot. It’s possible that such a scenario could repeat, with the deserving Banks winning. But we sense a split vote giving Patinkin the Emmy.

EMMYS 2013: Full coverage | Top nominees | Complete list | Recap

DRAMA SUPPORTING ACTRESS

The nominees:

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Anna Gunn, “Breaking Bad”

Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey”

Emilia Clarke, “Game of Thrones”

Christine Baranski, “The Good Wife”

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Morena Baccarin, “Homeland”

Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men”

Should win: Gunn

Will win: Gunn

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Analysis: Dame Margaret has won twice for this role, and you have to believe some voters are feeling a small amount of fatigue with the performance. Gunn has never won, and this year she’ll submit an amazing episode (“Fifty-One,” in which Skyler walks into the pool) that should put her over the top.

EMMYS 2013: Nominee reactions | Snubs & surprises | Winners timeline | Emmy hosts

COMEDY SERIES

The nominees:

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“30 Rock” (NBC)

“The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)

“Girls” (HBO)

“Louie” (FX)

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“Modern Family” (ABC)

“Veep” (HBO)

Should win: “Louie”

Will win: “Modern Family”

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Analysis: “Modern Family” takes its fourth straight Emmy as the consensus pick. There’s too much overlap among fans of “Louie” and “Girls” and “Veep” for one of those shows to end its reign.

FULL COVERAGE: Emmys 2013

COMEDY LEAD ACTOR

The nominees:

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Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock”

Jason Bateman, “Arrested Development”

Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory”

Matt LeBlanc, “Episodes”

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Don Cheadle, “House of Lies”

Louis C.K., “Louie”

Should win: C.K.

Will win: C.K.

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Analysis: Comics playing fictionalized versions of themselves — Larry David, Jerry Seinfeld — have been nominated but never taken this category, unless you count Ray Romano. But C.K. took his acting to another level this season with the three-episode “Late Show” arc and the “New Year’s Eve” finale. We’ll give him a slight edge over Parsons, though Jon Cryer’s win last year gives us pause with that pick.

TIMELINE: Emmy winners through the years

COMEDY LEAD ACTRESS

The nominees:

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Tina Fey, “30 Rock”

Laura Dern, “Enlightened”

Lena Dunham, “Girls”

Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie”

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Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation”

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”

Should win: Louis-Dreyfus

Will win: Louis-Dreyfus

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Analysis: It’s hard to argue against Fey, as sentiment will be on her side for “30 Rock’s” terrific farewell season. But Louis-Dreyfus took her “Veep” character to a deeper level this season, establishing an emotional connection to go along with the comic pratfalls. She has never been better.

VIDEO: Kerry Washington, Jenna Fischer and more talk Emmys 2013

COMEDY SUPPORTING ACTOR

The nominees:

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Adam Driver, “Girls”

Ty Burrell, “Modern Family”

Jesse Tyler Ferguson, “Modern Family”

Ed O’Neill, “Modern Family”

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Bill Hader, “Saturday Night Live”

Tony Hale, “Veep”

Should win: Driver

Will win: Burrell

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Analysis: With the exclusion of last year’s winner, Eric Stonestreet, “Modern Family” is down to a trio here. We thought Burrell would win last year, and we’ll go with him again, though “Veep’s” Hale could pull off a small surprise.

COMEDY SUPPORTING ACTRESS

The nominees:

Jane Krakowski, “30 Rock”

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Mayim Bialik, “The Big Bang Theory”

Jane Lynch, “Glee”

Julie Bowen, “Modern Family”

Sofia Vergara, “Modern Family”

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Merritt Wever, “Nurse Jackie”

Anna Chlumsky, “Veep”

Should win: Krakowski

Will win: Krakowski

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Analysis: Bowen isn’t going to win this three times running, so voters will probably take this last opportunity to honor four-time nominee Krakowski.

MOVIE/MINISERIES

The nominees:

“American Horror Story: Asylum” (FX)

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“Behind the Candelabra” (HBO)

“The Bible” (History)

“Phil Spector” (HBO)

“Political Animals” (USA)

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“Top of the Lake” (Sundance)

Should win: “Top of the Lake”

Will win: “Behind the Candelabra”

Analysis: It’s a bushel full of apples and oranges with star-driven HBO movies (“Candelabra,” “Spector”) competing against a populist miniseries (“The Bible”), a low-rated miniseries that couldn’t scare up a second order (“Political Animals”), a dreamy Jane Campion seven-parter (“Lake”) and “American Horror Story,” the TV series that still qualifies as a miniseries. Who wins? The one with the most glitter, of course.

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MOVIE/MINISERIES LEAD ACTOR

The nominees:

Matt Damon, “Behind the Candelabra”

Michael Douglas, “Behind the Candelabra”

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Toby Jones, “The Girl”

Benedict Cumberbatch, “Parade’s End”

Al Pacino, “Phil Spector”

Should win: Douglas

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Will win: Douglas

Analysis: It’s Michael Douglas playing Liberace. What else do you need to know?

MOVIE/MINISERIES LEAD ACTRESS

The nominees:

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Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story: Asylum”

Laura Linney, “The Big C: Hereafter”

Helen Mirren, “Phil Spector”

Sigourney Weaver, “Political Animals”

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Elisabeth Moss, “Top of the Lake”

Should win: Moss

Will win: Moss

Analysis: The fact that “Horror Story” led the field with 17 nominations makes us take a long look at Lange, who won this category last year playing a different character on the show. But this would be a perfect spot to finally give an Emmy to Moss, who has been nominated four times for “Mad Men” without winning (she’s competing again this year for that show too) and superbly conveyed a complex range of emotions as “Lake’s” troubled police investigator.

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glenn.whipp@latimes.com


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