TV's Most Critical Moment

Ken Regan/Showtime

Five prominent pundits reveal their hopes and prognostications for who will take home gold in the most hotly contested races.


Eric Deggans, St. Petersburg Times: "It should be Game of Thrones for sheer scope and granular quality, but it will be Mad Men. Thrones' only hope is that academy members have gotten tired of hearing Men's theme song play during the ceremony."

Linda Holmes, "Boardwalk Empire. The period/HBO sparkle will unseat Mad Men. But it should go to Friday Night Lights. I usually don't like victory-lap awards, but damn it, the show shouldn't go down without a win."

Todd VanDerWerff, The Onion's AV Club: "So long as Dexter doesn't win, it's hard to go wrong in this category. Boardwalk has a shot, but Emmy isn't going to lose interest in Don Draper this quickly."


Deggans: "It's hard to have a more consistent, sidesplitting season than ABC's ace comedy Modern Family had last year. Always wringing new complications from a freakishly talented cast; small wonder nearly everyone from the show is nominated in acting categories. But The Office may be the only series that could throw a monkey wrench in the Family juggernaut, mostly because its emotional sendoff for Steve Carell poked fun at TV's biggest doofus while exposing his humanity in a note-perfect farewell." 

Holmes: "This is not a close category for me: Parks and Recreation should win. Rarely does a show fire as consistently and skillfully across the board. But Modern Family is perfect for Emmy -- good ratings and just cool enough."

Melanie McFarland, "Would be great to see Parks get some love here, though I'd be happy as a lark in springtime to see any show besides Glee win. Modern Family has the perfect balance of sharp wit and soft heart."


Deggans: "If I were God of the Emmys, four women would split this award: Connie Britton, Julianna Margulies, Elisabeth Moss and Mireille Enos. It's tempting to say Kathy Bates will win -- she's the name voters might know best. But I'm thinking that Britton's ace work in the final season of Friday Night Lights will conquer all." 

Joanne Ostrow, The Denver Post: "Julianna Margulies should and will win. She continues to exhibit deeper pain and sly knowingness as the story ratchets up the tension of Alicia Florrick's conflicting loyalties. Unless the fond farewell of Friday Night Lights tilts sympathies toward Connie Britton, it's Margulies' year."

McFarland: "The Good Wife portrays the difficulty of navigating politics at work and at home with an intelligence unavailable anywhere else in primetime. But it should be Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss. Behind every great Jon Hamm is the woman who hit it out of the park. She's his finest enabler."


Ostrow: "The major competitor, Jon Hamm, looks better in costume but lacks the emotional range of Steve Buscemi, who pulled off a leading-man role with eye-catching flourish in Boardwalk."

McFarland: "Steve Buscemi did a fine job creating a balance between pathos, paranoia and cruelty. But Nucky Thompson's no Don Draper. This would be a just win for Jon Hamm, who peeled back Draper's mysterious glow to reveal the drunk, sweaty, weeping mess roiling just under his skin."

VanDerWerff: "That Jon Hamm doesn't have an Emmy is a travesty, even if he's lost to the equally amazing Bryan Cranston all three times. But in my little world, Hamm's got more Emmys than he can shake a stick at, so we'll give this to the amazing Timothy Olyphant for a season when he made his Raylan Givens the one somewhat good man in a world gone to seed."


Holmes: "I hate this category. Comedic actresses are crowded out by partly comedic actresses like Edie Falco. I think Laura Linney will continue the trend, though Amy Poehler was peerless."

Ostrow: "Laura Linney will win, though the category is broken with players in non-comedies like The Big C competing with those in old-fashioned sitcoms, like Mike & Molly star Melissa McCarthy. McCarthy is a true comedian and hot off Bridesmaids -- that kind of success is contagious."

McFarland: "Linney makes Big C worth watching, but outrageously funny she ain't. It should be Poehler, who veered between several aspects of Leslie Knope's personality within her very funny episode submission, 'Flu Season.' "


Deggans: "It should be Louis C.K. He bravely looks for laughs in life's most mundane, often depressing moments." 

Ostrow: "Last year's winner, Jim Parsons, continues to delight along with Big Bang Theory castmate Johnny Galecki. Either one would make a fitting winner. That said, the desire to give Steve Carell a warm sendoff will outweigh other considerations."

VanDerWerff: "Louis C.K. He is essentially the entire operation behind Louie. And it was unlike any other show on the air last year. But I think it's finally Carell's year. If not him, then probably Alec Baldwin, as reigning champ Parsons will likely split the vote with Galecki."