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This story first appeared in the Aug. 16 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Downton Abbey, PBS/Masterpiece
Julian Fellowes‘ smash hit first won in 2011 as a miniseries when it beat HBO’s buzzy entry Mildred Pierce. It would be the first erstwhile miniseries contender to take home gold for drama series since the similarly themed Upstairs, Downstairs did so in 1977.
ACTOR > DRAMA
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
Spacey already has made Emmy history by being the first lead drama actor to be nominated for a web-streaming series. But he also would be the first performer to have won two Oscars (The Usual Suspects, American Beauty) in advance of his Emmy win.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS > DRAMA
Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
ACTOR > COMEDY
Larry David has earned five noms for playing Larry David on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm but never has made a trip to the podium. LeBlanc would be the first scripted-series actor to win for playing (a hilariously crude version of) himself.
Lena Dunham, Girls
The usually mostly male directing races boast a record five women this year (including Breaking Bad‘s Michelle MacLaren and Homeland‘s Lesli Linka Glatter). A win for Dunham, 27, would make her the youngest winner and only the second woman since Betty Thomas (Dream On) in 1993 to prevail.
GUEST ACTOR > COMEDY
Bob Newhart, The Big Bang Theory
Few TV icons are as beloved as Newhart, whose titular series (The Bob Newhart Show, Newhart) were awards darlings in their days. The wry actor-writer never won for his efforts, and a victory here for his endearing TBBT cameo would be his first.
ACTRESS > DRAMA
Debbie Allen (Fame) and Regina Taylor (I’ll Fly Away) both earned nominations in this category, but Washington would be the first black actress to win for playing the lead role in an ongoing drama series.
WRITING > DRAMA
Henry Bromell, Homeland
Several posthumous nominations and statuettes have been awarded to performers over the years, but a win for the Homeland writer — who died in March — would be the first time a deceased drama series scribe would be honored with an Emmy.
Before 30 Rock and Modern Family ruled the comedy roost, the most recent cable series in this category to win was HBO’s Sex and the City in 2001. If Louie takes the top prize this year, it would be the first basic cable comedy ever to edge out its competition.
ACTRESS > COMEDY
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Louis-Dreyfus has surpassed Lucille Ball with a record 14 Emmy noms and is the only actress to have won for three comedy series (Seinfeld, The New Adventures of Old Christine). A second Veep win would make her the first with two comedy prizes for HBO.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS > COMEDY
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Vergara already is the first Latina to earn four straight Emmy noms for her work in a comedy series. If this is her year to win, she’ll be the first native Spanish speaker to take home supporting actress gold.
MINISERIES OR TV MOVIE
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