Dave on Demand: Exquisitely erroneous

"Breaking Bad" star Bryan Cranston (left) with Aaron Paul. Cranston is favored to win the Lead Actor Emmy, but the show is having its best season, and that's the kiss of death. Maybe it will be "Downton Abbey's" night. Or not.
"Breaking Bad" star Bryan Cranston (left) with Aaron Paul. Cranston is favored to win the Lead Actor Emmy, but the show is having its best season, and that's the kiss of death. Maybe it will be "Downton Abbey's" night. Or not. (GREGORY PETERS)

 

Posted: September 23, 2012

Before I detail my picks for Sunday night's Emmy Awards, you should know that my Emmy-handicapping skills are unrivaled.

No one who watches TV for a living - and I mean no one - is able to consistently predict the results as erroneously as I am.

But I am reliable. So if you're an actor I pick to win in your category (congrats, Louis C.K.), don't bother memorizing that acceptance speech.

And away we go. . . .

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. Right off the bat, I have issues here. The two most deserving guys - Joel Kinnaman from The Killing and Jason Isaacs from Awake - aren't even nominated. And it's rather heightist to foist Game of Thrones' Peter Dinklage off as a supporting actor.

Bryan Cranston is favored to resume his winning streak as Breaking Bad's Walter White, after not being eligible last year. The sentimental choice is the long-spurned Jon Hamm. If only there was a Best Hair category!

In a sane world, Damian Lewis would waltz away with the statuette for his performance on Homeland. But your winner here will be Hugh Bonneville for Downton Abbey, because Academy members hope he will class up the joint.

That's also why Downton's Maggie Smith will win for supporting actress. They're hoping for an elegant acceptance speech.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama. Critics across the country have anointed Claire Danes as the night's surest lock for Homeland. I'm not buying it. Entirely too sensible.

All the other nominees have the disqualification of talent, leaving Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss, who is neither a lead on the show nor much of an actress.

Outstanding Drama Series. The easy call would be for perennial winner Mad Men, because as we all know, the Emmys tend to repeat, like a bad linguiƧa pizza.

But if you wanted to win your fifth in a row, you shouldn't have made January Jones fat. Breaking Bad is running on its best season, and that's the kiss of death. Game of Thrones, see above.

Even though I think this will turn out to be Downton Abbey's night, my pick here is Boardwalk Empire, primarily because HBO shoots a shorter season and pays extravagantly. Less work, more money? The academy is eager to encourage that approach.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy. You would think Larry David would have a shot for Curb Your Enthusiasm. But he's Emmy-jinxed. Nominated seven times as writer on Seinfeld, he won only once, for "The Contest." (Who, after all, doesn't love a good masturbation episode?)

But the Hollywood producers who do the voting don't see anything amusing about David's carefully nurtured neuroses. Obsessing over the smallest slights is a perfectly reasonable response to life; it's not something to be mocked.

But that guy from Louie, now he's crazy. That's some funny stuff. Louis C.K. in a landslide.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy. This is the night's toughest call. Mathematically, at least. For unknown reasons, the field has been widened to seven nominees.

(I guess it would have been remiss to exclude Edie Falco in that Shavian farce Nurse Jackie.)

Hard to rule anyone out, except Lena Dunham of Girls, who I think scares the electorate, and Parks and Recreation's Amy Poehler, who goes over their heads.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus of Veep is the obvious choice, but I'm going with Zooey Deschanel of New Girl, who wins strictly out of curiosity.

I think the voters want to hear her name announced from the stage so they can finally learn how it's pronounced.

Outstanding Miniseries or Movie. This is obviously an amorphous category. FX's American Horror Story has somehow sneaked in here, and last year's winner, Downton Abbey, has been shifted over to Drama Series.

Lots of sterling work on display in this group (the Emmy bylaws require me to say that), but there can be only one winner: Hatfields & McCoys. It's an essentially American saga that has been framed in settings from Abbott and Costello to The Flintstones, but never as pungently as when Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton slapped on the hillbilly hats.


Contact David Hiltbrand at 215-854-4552 or dhiltbrand@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @daveondemand_tv.

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