Who Will Win Emmys? Amy Poehler? Lena Dunham? Breaking Bad?

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Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Getty Images)

The Emmys, television’s slightly-less-glitzy answer to the Oscars, are this Sunday, and we have some relatively uneducated guesses as to which of the nominees will bring home an oddly spiky statuette.

Best Actress in a Comedy nominees

Zooey Deschanel, New Girl

Lena Dunham, Girls 

Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie

Tina Fey, 30 Rock

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly

Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

This overstuffed category–seven nominees!–excluded two of last year’s nominees as well as the acclaimed and Golden Globe-winning Laura Dern performance on Enlightened, so each person here has a passionate base of support. Even so, it’s not hard to believe that Edie Falco and Tina Fey have already been rewarded amply, and Melissa McCarthy’s moment of big-screen fame after Bridesmaids contributed more to her win last year than any great love for Mike & Molly. That leaves four! Zooey Deschanel’s New Girl performance seems too controversial to gain broad support here, while Lena Dunham will get her reward elsewhere, in the writing category. Amy Poehler’s Parks and Recreation simply doesn’t seem as popular among Emmy voters–it failed to get a Best Comedy nomination–and Julia Louis-Dreyfus has won twice, for two different series. They like her any way they can get her, and she’ll win for being the star of a buzz-y, popular show.

Best Actor in a Comedy nominees

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

The last four years have seen only two men win in this category–Alec Baldwin and Jim Parsons. It’s between those two. With the explosive popularity of The Big Bang Theory one of the biggest stories of the TV season, and 30 Rock winding down, there’s no one standing in Jim Parsons’s way.
Best Actress in a Drama nominees
Kathy Bates, Harry’s Law
Glenn Close, Damages
Claire Danes, Homeland
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
With Claire Danes’s performance on the Showtime series so uniquely acclaimed for its balance of devotion and madness, this is the least close race of the night.
Best Actor in a Drama nominees
Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Damian Lewis, Homeland
Emmy voters tend to carve out a comfortable groove, and three-time winner Bryan Cranston would be the likeliest pick here–had he not been ineligible last year, breaking the habit. Now it seems wide open, and given that not a single actor from Mad Men has never won–and voters will want to throw it support somewhere given that its Best Drama win is far from assured–Jon Hamm could end up the lucky new winner.