Five Races to Watch

2:19 AM PST 05/26/2011 by THR staff
Frank Ockenfels/Courtesy of AMC

Several Emmy categories are newly wide open thanks to some quirks of voting schedules.

Drama Series
Why? With AMC's Breaking Bad ineligible because of its late-July debut, there's room for another drama -- HBO's Boardwalk Empire? AMC's The Killing? NBC's Parenthood? Showtime's Shameless? -- to break Mad Men's (AMC) three-year win streak.

Drama Actor
Why? Bryan Cranston, three-time winner for Bad, is out, and the field is crowded with big names: Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk), William H. Macy (Shameless), Tom Selleck (CBS' Blue Bloods), Timothy Olyphant (FX's Justified) and Peter Krause (Parenthood).

Comedy Actress
Why? After Edie Falco's surprise win for the drama-heavy Nurse Jackie (Showtime) last year, anything can happen, including buzzy newcomer Laura Linney (Showtime's The Big C) or fan favorite Amy Poehler (NBC's Parks and Recreation) stealing Falco's statuette.

Miniseries/TV Movie
Why? For the first time in Emmy history, these categories are combined, pitting the likes of HBO's film Cinema Verite against its own miniseries Mildred Pierce. Will the cable giant cancel itself out and let Starz's mini The Pillars of the Earth reign supreme?

Drama Director
Why? Boardwalk's Academy Award-winning pilot director, Martin Scorsese, battles such fellow film helmers as Neil Jordan (Showtime's The Borgias) and John Dahl (Justified) in one of the most Oscar-esque drama director races in TV Academy history.

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