Will the meth dealer again trump the ad guy?
Can an inept vice president snatch victory from the hands of an "adorkable" rival?
And will a spy drama perform the ultimate covert operation and steal away a trunk full of trophies?
We'll all find out when ABC airs the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards Sunday at 8 p.m. (on WCVB, Ch. 5).
TV nerd and late-night host Jimmy Kimmel presides over the medium's most self-congratulatory night.
Will this show be able to top the off-kilter humor of the beauty pageant skit improvised by the comedy actress nominees last year?
As you might recall, winner Melissa McCarthy was crowned with a tiara before being handed her fancy door-stopper.
So who this year is worthy of gold and who should be grateful for the chance to dress up in some designer duds? Let's consider the major nominees -- and one in which Emmy better not get it wrong.
Cast your own Emmy votes on the Herald's Emmy ballot.
Outstanding Drama Series
--"Boardwalk Empire" (HBO)
--"Breaking Bad" (AMC)
--"Downton Abbey" (PBS)
--"Game of Thrones" (HBO)
--"Mad Men" (AMC)
And the Emmy should go to: "Homeland." The Showtime series captured a nerve-rattling battle of wills between a sleeper agent and a bipolar CIA operative and was the most riveting drama here. Last year's winner "Mad Men" didn't have its best season. Last year's miniseries winner, "Downton Abbey," is outclassed in this category.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
--Hugh Bonneville, "Downton Abbey"
--Steve Buscemi, "Boardwalk Empire"
--Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad"
--Michael C. Hall, "Dexter"
--Jon Hamm, "Mad Men"
--Damian Lewis, "Homeland"
And the Emmy should go to: Lewis, who was so restrained in his performance that right up until the season finale some viewers questioned his character's loyalty. No argument that Hamm has been criminally overlooked in this category, but a happy Don Draper with a trophy wife ("Zou Zou Bisou!") does not equal Emmy gold. Three-time winner Cranston is the real threat here.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama
--Kathy Bates, "Harry's Law"
--Glenn Close, "Damages"
--Claire Danes, "Homeland"
--Michelle Dockery, "Downton Abbey"
--Julianna Margulies, "The Good Wife"
--Elisabeth Moss, "Mad Men"
And the Emmy should go to: Danes. In a field of fantastic women, Danes rose above with her harrowing portrait of an obsessive CIA agent unraveling mentally. Moss should scoot back to the supporting category. While last year's winner Margulies could repeat, if Danes does not win, the Emmys simply have no credibility.
Outstanding Comedy Series
--"30 Rock" (NBC)
--"The Big Bang Theory" (CBS)
--"Curb Your Enthusiasm" (HBO)
--"Modern Family" (ABC)
And the Emmy should go to: "Girls." Risque, raw and utterly uncomfortable, the HBO show, in its own way, is the most groundbreaking comedy since "All in the Family." That's probably why it won't win. Look for the overrated "Modern Family" to three-peat.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
--Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock"
--Louis C.K., "Louie"
--Don Cheadle, "House of Lies"
--Jon Cryer, "Two and a Half Men"
--Larry David, "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
--Jim Parsons, "The Big Bang Theory"
And the Emmy should go to: Parsons, who deserves to three-peat for his hilarious anti-social nerd. An upset is possible: Louis C.K. is having the best year of his career, and Cheadle's movie-star-to-TV transition is the kind of move Emmy voters like to reward.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy
--Zooey Deschanel, "New Girl"
--Lena Dunham, "Girls"
--Edie Falco, "Nurse Jackie"
--Tina Fey, "30 Rock"
--Melissa McCarthy, "Mike & Molly"
--Amy Poehler, "Parks and Recreation"
--Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep"
And the Emmy should go to: Dunham, who not only stars but writes and directs her caustic comedy. Her humor, though, is probably too blue for the stuffy Emmy folks. Deschanel's dork just got grating as the season wore on. Louis-Dreyfus, an Emmy favorite, is more likely to take home the statuette.
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