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Emmys 2012: Tim Goodman Picks Who Will Win (and Who Should)

THR's TV critic names Sunday's most-deserving nominees -- and the ones who will actually take home the prize.

Clare Danes Bryan Cranston Julie Bowen Split - H 2012
Nadav Kander/SHOWTIME; Frank Ockenfels/AMC; ABC/BOB D'AMICO

A lot of what fuels chatter about the Emmys is critics complaining about what should have won and griping even more about what did win. This year? Some of the categories have the best and most legitimate competition in years, so it would be difficult to get it too wrong. But that's not going to stop the annual will win/should win column. You know the drill. Let's do this.

COMEDY SERIES

  • Should Win: 30 Rock. Not even its best season, but the sheer genius of verbal, physical and sight-gag humor can't be stopped.
  • Will Win: Modern Family.

PHOTOS: 'Mad Men,' 'Downton Abbey' and More Emmy Nominees

DRAMA SERIES

  • Should Win: Breaking Bad. Absolutely incredible work. And yet, any series but Downton Abbey could be completely justified and worthy.
  • Will Win: Mad Men. For the record books.

LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

  • Should Win: Don Cheadle, House of Lies. Brilliant, emotionally varied and impossible to take your eyes off of.
  • Will Win: Cheadle.

LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

  • Should Win: Lena Dunham, Girls. Fearless, funny and also the writer of her own lines and often the director of her own performance.
  • Will Win: Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation, who also completely deserves it. Yay!

PHOTOS: What the Emmy Nominated Stars and Execs Are Saying

LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

  • Should Win: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad. Hard to see how he wouldn't, but the competition is amazing.
  • Will Win: Cranston.

LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES

  • Should Win: Claire Danes, Homeland. And, in all seriousness with no disrespect intended, not even close.
  • Will Win: Danes. (If not, watch out for my head shrapnel.)

SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

  • Should Win: Ty Burrell, Modern Family. He's never, ever been bad.
  • Will Win: Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family.

PHOTOS: 15 Biggest Emmy Snubs

SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

  • Should Win: Julie Bowen, Modern Family. She's so underappreciated on this show.
  • Will Win: Bowen. Hey, how about that?

SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

  • Should Win: Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad. Wow. That's all you can say for a fourth straight season.
  • Will Win: Paul. That's putting a lot of faith in the Emmys, but they've done it before, and they can do it again.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES

  • Should Win: Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad. This would be a bit overdue, by the way.
  • Will Win: Christina Hendricks, Mad Men. And who is going to complain about that?