Emmy cheat sheet: Writing, directing categories
EmptyWRITING FOR A DRAMA SERIES
Rolin Jones, "Friday Night Lights," ("The Son")
Pro: His second writing nomination (2005, "Weeds") scored an emotional touchdown in its raw exploration of grief.
Con: Victory may be too late in the series' four-year run to beat the buzzier "Lost," "The Good Wife" or "Mad Men."
Michelle King and Robert King "The Good Wife," ("Pilot")
Pro: The first-time (married) nominees set a deft dramatic pace for the season's only drama breakout hit.
Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, "Lost" ("The End")
Pro: Artful, emotional wrap-up to a six-year odyssey from a five-time nominated writing duo.
Con: A lot of finale backlash from fans who craved more closure.
Robin Veith and Matthew Weiner, "Mad Men" ("Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency")
Pro: Revelations, humor and a freak run-in with a John Deere riding mower -- all in one episode from the oft-nominated team.
Con: They're up against what was essentially "Lost: The Movie."
Matthew Weiner and Erin Levy, "Mad Men" ("Shut the Door, Have a Seat")
Pro: The Emmy-winning writer and first-time nominee ushered out the third season with equal parts wrap-ups and cliffhangers.
Con: The lesser dynamic of the two "Mad" episodes here, it could suffer from a split vote.
WRITING FOR A COMEDY SERIES
Greg Daniels and Mindy Kaling, "The Office" ("Niagara")
Pro: An Emmy winner (2007) and a writing nomination newbie struck the perfect balance between sentimentality and humor in this long-awaited wedding episode.
Con: In six seasons, the show has only won once (2007) for writing.
Tina Fey and Kay Cannon, "30 Rock" ("Lee Marvin vs. Derek Jeter")
Pro: Emmy-winner Fey and first-time nominee Cannon crafted a hilarious and sweet love triangle between Jack (Alec Baldwin), Nancy (Julianne Moore) and Avery (Elizabeth Banks).
Con: "Rock" has won two years in a row here and "Glee" and "Modern Family" have way more buzz.
Matt Hubbard "30 Rock" ("Anna Howard Shaw Day")
Pro: A winner here last year, Hubbard nailed Liz Lemon's single-woman angst in this wonderfully goofy send-up of Valentine's Day.
Con: Could suffer from a "Rock" split-vote and the new-kid buzz.
Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd, "Modern Family" ("Pilot")
Pro: A veteran Emmy-winning writing team ("Frasier") scored the most refreshing sitcom reboot in recent memory.
Con: "Glee" requires twice as much script and is a bona fide pop-culture phenomenon.
Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan, "Glee" ("Pilot -- Director's Cut")
Pro: A prior nominee for "Nip/Tuck," Murphy and his team wrote an attention-grabbing pilot that reinvented the high school comedy.
Con: Many feel the show is less comedy than hourlong muscial. And "Family" had way more traditional laughs.
DIRECTING FOR A DRAMA SERIES
Jack Bender, "Lost" ("The End")
Pro: The three-time nominee made the show's swan song 2010's most-anticipated TV event. The episode was as cinematic as television can get.
Con: He and the "Lost" team are still getting flack for the finale's lack of closure.
Michelle MacLaren, "Breaking Bad" ("One Minute")
Pro: Riveting Hitchcockian horror ride helmed by a first-time nominee, this episode gave supporting actor Dean Morris his meatiest work yet.
Con: She's a brand new name to voters.
Steve Shill, "Dexter" ("The Getaway")
Pro: First-time nominee oversaw the series' most devastating, blood-soaked episode yet. Killing off a lead character is major lure for votes.
Con: The show's nightmare-ish imagery (dead mom in a tub, baby sitting on a bloody floor) might be too much for voters' stomachs.
Lesli Linka Glatter, "Mad Men" ("Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency")
Pro: The veteran helmer ("ER," "The West Wing") and first-time nominee tackled the gore-meets-camp episode with sharp aplomb, while never losing the show's signature quiet pace.
Con: Could be a casualty of "Mad" fatigue and still-simmering "Lost" finale nostalgia.
Agnieszka Holland, "Treme" ("Do You Know What It Means -- Pilot")
Pro: The first-time Emmy nominee and established feature-film director lent a unique documentary feel to David Simon's love-letter to post-Katrina New Orleans.
Con: The pilot's snail-pace at times felt more PBS than HBO.
Paris Barclay, "Glee"( "Wheels")
Pro: The Emmy vet ("NYPD Blue," "The West Wing") pulled heartstrings in the series' ninth episode where a disabled student accepts his fate. And there's a killer sing-off of the "Wicked" anthem "Defying Gravity" between nominees Lea Michele and Chris Colfer.
Con: If "Glee" gets a directing nod, it will likely go to Murphy for the pilot.
Allen Coulter, "Nurse Jackie" ("Pilot")
Pro: His years spent directing "The Sopranos" and "Damages" served the veteran nominee well in helming his first (black) comedy.
Con: Falco's bravura performance could eclipse Coulter's chance for another "Jackie" win.
Ryan Murphy, "Glee" ("Pilot -- Director's Cut")
Pro: Tons of showy musical numbers. And directing a bunch of young actors is no easy feat.
Con: "Modern Family's" sharp mockumentary-sitcom blend may have a wider appeal among older voters.
Don Scardino, "30 Rock" ("I Do Do")
Pro: The first-time nominee helmed a fourth season finale with big names (Matt Damon!) and even bigger plot twists (Jack Donaghy could be a dad!).
Con: "Rock" is generally a sure thing, but that was before "Glee" and "Family" moved into the neighborhood.
Jason Winer "Modern Family" ("Pilot")
Pro: The first-time nominee made the mockumentary format fresh again.
Con: "Glee's" Murphy had a lot more to do directing-wise with all those song and dance numbers.