July 16--Emmy nominations will be announced in the wee small hours of the morning on Thursday: What does that mean? Well, first, that a lot of sitcom actors can sleep in.
Once again, there's no point in asking "what's so funny" on TV because the answer comes back: Not much.
If you scratch your head about why a decent but creatively coasting show like "Modern Family" walks away with so many statuettes year after year, it's because there's not much competition.
The popular shows among Emmy voters are things like "Parks and Recreation," "New Girl" and "2 Broke Girls." The TV academy is wary of supporting offbeat stuff like "Wilfred," or even "Raising Hope," although they'll feel safe enough voting for "Louis," "The Mindy Project" or "Girls."
This year, Emmy could nominate "Arrested Development," which bowed on Netflix within the award time-frame, but is the academy too afraid of what new content platforms like Netflix are doing to the TV landscape? "The Middle" gets overlooked too often, and though it doesn't try to reinvent sitcom, it's beautifully written and acted week after week. It's also possible that "30 Rock" will take a valedictory lap. Not feeling that way about "The Office," though: A lot of people felt "The Office" stayed open one too many seasons.
Make it two too many.
"Veep" is brilliant and could be a contender. I wish "Enlightened" had a chance but I don't see it.
My own "no chance in hell but it deserves it" category would include "Legit" on FX, and the now canceled "The New Normal." Yes, it was that good.
Predicting drama nominations is actually more difficult because TV gets drama right more often than comedy. Expect best drama series nominations for "Breaking Bad," "Mad Men," "Homeland," and "Game of Thrones." "House of Cards" should be in there, but what would get bumped to make room? Believe it or not, I can almost see "Mad Men" getting squeezed out because there was enough griping about the latest season. Other possibles: "Downton Abbey," "The Good Wife," "The Americans," and "Boardwalk Empire." "Sons of Anarchy" merits a nomination but isn't likely to get one. Ditto "Justified" and "The Walking Dead."
Emmy has shown little love for the now canceled "Southland," but if I ruled the world, it would get a nomination. Hell, if I ruled the world, it would win, dammit.
If the category weren't so competitive, I'd see "Nashville" as a wild card possibility too, as well as "Revolution." There are other terrifically fun dramas like "Grimm," "Elementary," "Person of Interest" and "Scandal," which could get an actress nomination for Kerry Washington, but for a drama nom, I'd say they're in my wild card category.
Anyway, here is my "it's 3 a.m. and the bar closed an hour ago" completely unreliable thoughts about what else might get nominated and what should get nominated when Hollywood sets it's alarm clock for Thursday morning:
Best actor, drama: Strong possibilities: Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad"; Steve Buscemi, "Boardwalk Empire"; Jon Hamm, "Mad Men"; Damian Lewis, "Homeland"; Matthew Rhys, "The Americans." Maybe Michael C. Hall for "Dexter" and Timothy Olyphant for "Justified." Kevin Spacey has a chance for "House of Cards." My wild card wishes: Michael Cudlitz, "Southland"; William H. Macy, "Shameless"; Charlie Hunnam, "Sons of Anarchy"; Kelsey Grammer of the canceled "Boss"; and Jonny Lee Miller for "Elementary."
Best actress, drama: Claire Danes, "Homeland"; Elisabeth Moss, either for "Mad Men" or "Top of the Lake"; Tatiana Maslany, "Orphan Black"; Kerry Washington, "Scandal"; Connie Britton, "Nashville." Maybe Michelle Dockery for "Downton Abbey," but the show's recent season was kinda blah, and Julianna Margulies, "The Good Wife."
Wild cards: Robin Wright, "House of Cards"; Anna Gunn, "Breaking Bad"; and Romola Garai for the canceled "The Hour."
Best actor, comedy: Oh, any of the men on "Modern Family," but it's getting so old. Whose turn is it this year? Jesse's? Has the kid won yet? Is there a dog on the show? And is it male? Neutered is OK.
Others: Maybe Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock," if he hasn't pissed off gay Emmy voters too much and every other group he's managed to insult in the past year; Jim Parsons, "Big Bang Theory"; Louis C.K. of "Louis"; and everyone else is iffy but probably has as much chance as the next guy because no one cares: Jon Cryer on "Two and a Half Men" because he stayed and Charlie didn't, Neil Patrick Harris just because "How I Met Your Mother" will finally get out of Dodge next season, maybe Matthew Perry from the canceled "Go On." Wild card wishes: Andrew Rannells from the also canceled "New Normal," Elijah Wood from "Wilfred," Garrett Dillahunt from "Raising Hope."
Best actress, comedy: Again, "Modern Family" -- I think Sofia's up. Others: Mindy Kaling from "The Mindy Project," Amy Poehler of "Parks and Recreation," Lena Dunham of "Girls," Julia Louis-Dreyfus of "Veep," Patricia Heaton of "The Middle." Zooey Deschanel from "New Girl" is still too "adorkable" for my tastes, but she has an outside chance. I honestly can't think of any wild cards except Martha Plimpton for "Raising Hope." And maybe the horse from "2 Broke Girls."
It's too complicated to go into all the miniseries-made for TV movie categories, but look for a nominations for "American Horror Story: Asylum," and for both Michael Douglas and Matt Damon from "Behind the Candelabra." Helen Mirren and Al Pacino are probably ripe for "Phil Spector" noms too.
Nominations for the 65th annual prime time Emmys will be announced at 5:35 a.m. Pacific time on Thursday.
What shows and actors would you want to see nominated on Thursday? Go to www.sfgate.com to weigh in at http://blog.sfgate.com/dwiegand.
David Wiegand is The San Francisco Chronicle's executive features editor and TV critic. E-mail: email@example.com Twitter: @WaitWhat_TV
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