On Sept. 18, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences will select which shows and stars deserve TV’s top honors -- or rather, which ones the voting body decides to give top honors to -- for the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards.
But what do they know?
OK, actually, they know quite a bit, as the academy is made up of performers, writers, directors and other venerable TV types, but that’s not the point. The point is that the only real qualifications one needs to pick the small screen's best of the best are a television set and a whole lot of primetime hours to spare.
In other words, we’re more than qualified to make calls.
Outstanding Comedy Series
- “The Big Bang Theory”
- “Modern Family”
- “The Office”
- “Parks and Recreation”
- “30 Rock”
Ree: Outstanding comedy series? Oh, this one is easy! The always-hilarious “Community” is by far the best of the bunch — oh, wait! That’s right. Despite remarkable quick-witted writing, critical acclaim and a devoted, if not enormous, fan following, the academy has once again overlooked this gem. Sigh.
As for a pick that actually earned a nomination in this category, I’d have to go with “Parks and Recreation.” The show started off with a strong first season, followed that up with a successful sophomore run, and season three, for which it received this nod, turned out to be the best yet and worthy of some recognition.
That’s my pick, not my prediction.
The winner will likely come down to a toss-up among three favorites — the ratings powerhouse that is “Modern Family,” the recently boss-free “Office” or Chuck Lorre’s least controversial sitcom, “The Big Bang Theory.”
Anna: I'm with Ree on this one. Why are the shows that actually make me laugh out loud never on this list? I refuse to make a pick unless "South Park" is recognized! "$%$#@ you guys, I'm going home." Oh, wait. That's right. There's an animated program award. And "South Park" lost to "The Cleveland Show." Hmph.
OK, comedy series featuring living, breathing humans. I'm going with "Big Bang Theory." Team Galecki!
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
- Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper on “The Big Bang Theory”
- Johnny Galecki as Leonard Hofstadter on “The Big Bang Theory”
- Matt LeBlanc as Matt LeBlanc on “Episodes”
- Louis C.K. as Louie on “Louie”
- Steve Carell as Michael Scott on “The Office”
- Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy on “30 Rock”
Ree: I’m going to have to go with “Community’s” Joel McHale — oh, wait! “Community” wasn’t simply snubbed in the comedy category. The show’s ace talent, led by McHale, was shut out as well. Not cool, Emmy Old Guard. Not cool.
So, once again limiting myself to the options at hand, I have to admit I’m torn. On the one hand, I’d have a hard time not giving this one to Alec Baldwin every single year. After all, the man can deadpan a comedic delivery like no other. But Matt LeBlanc is a strong contender with his return to funny form.
But once again, I’m not banking on my calls. In fact, I’d be shocked if anyone other than Steve Carell walks away with this one. Carell’s farewell season of “The Office” is just the sort of sentimental pick the academy loves.
Anna: Clearly, that big-boned brat Cartman isn't going to be properly recognized in this category, since he's not living and breathing. (Discrimination!) Ah well. As I said earlier, Team Johnny Galecki! But Ree has a good point regarding Carell's adios. *sniffle*
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
- Laura Linney as Cathy Jamison on “The Big C”
- Melissa McCarthy as Molly Flynn on “Mike & Molly”
- Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton on “Nurse Jackie”
- Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope on “Parks and Recreation”
- Martha Plimpton as Virginia Chance on “Raising Hope”
- Tina Fey as Liz Lemon on “30 Rock”
Ree: Move over, my perennial pick, Tina Fey. This time your stiffest competition is none other than your pal Amy Poehler, who can largely take credit for that aforementioned best season of “Parks and Recreation” to date.
In this case, at least, I think the Emmy suits might even agree with me.
Anna: What?! Ree, you're nuts. Tina Fey all the way!
Outstanding Drama Series
- “Boardwalk Empire”
- “Friday Night Lights”
- “Game Of Thrones”
- “The Good Wife”
- “Mad Men”
Ree: It’s virtually impossible to go wrong with any pick from this category. Each show is coming off of a particularly strong season, and the only obvious edge is that two of them impressed with their premiere seasons. Because of that, I’m favoring “Boardwalk Empire” and “Game of Thrones," and since these awards rarely end in a tie, I’m going with my favorite between the two, the icy medieval fantasy that is “Thrones.”
Anna: Oh man this is a tough one. "Dexter" was amazing thanks to the lovable serial killer finally being able to reveal his Dark Passenger to a kindred soul. And "Game of Thrones"? Holy moly. I'm tearing up just remembering certain scenes. Plus, the HBO drama kept me on the edge of my seat during the entire all-too-brief 10-episode season.
But something tells me that Emmy favorite "Mad Men" is going to pull out yet another win in this category. If I had my way, it'd be "Thrones."
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
- Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson on “Boardwalk Empire”
- Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan on “Dexter”
- Kyle Chandler as Eric Taylor on “Friday Night Lights”
- Hugh Laurie as Gregory House on “House”
- Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens on “Justified”
- Jon Hamm as Don Draper on “Mad Men”
Ree: Here’s my personal policy when it comes to any list featuring Jon Hamm — pick Jon Hamm.
Anna: It's a travesty that Sean Bean wasn't nominated for his fantastic portrayal of Ned Stark on "Game of Thrones"! And yes, Jon Hamm had a great season on "Mad Men," but I gotta throw my vote behind Michael C. Hall, whose Dexter made my heart ache -- again. (I hate it when serial killers do that.)
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
- Connie Britton as Tami Taylor on “Friday Night Lights”
- Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick on “The Good Wife”
- Kathy Bates as Harriet "Harry" Korn on “Harry’s Law”
- Mireille Enos as Sarah Linden on “The Killing”
- Mariska Hargitay as Olivia Benson on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”
- Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson on “Mad Men”
Ree: While I think Julianna Margulies is the one to beat in this category. And given her performance on the second season of “The Good Wife,” that makes sense. But I’m going to err on the side of another “Mad Men” star and go with the multitalented Elisabeth Moss. If Moss isn’t the one to give Margulies a run for the Emmy, maybe “SVU’s” Mariska Hargitay has it in her.
OK, truth be told, I feel like Mirelle Enos, Kathy Bates and Connie Britton deserve props here, too. How’s that for covering all my bases? If anyone wins, I totally called it!
Anna: Totally agree with Ree that it's Julianna Margulies' category. That said, I'm rooting for Hargitay, who plays soft and hard oh so well. Tough-as-nails detective who keeps unstable Stabler (mostly) in check at work and shows victims helpful sympathy? Yup! Loving foster mom after hours? You got it! Emmy win? Yes, please!
Outstanding Reality – Competition Program
- “The Amazing Race”
- “American Idol”
- “Dancing With The Stars”
- “Project Runway”
- “So You Think You Can Dance”
- “Top Chef”
Ree: Ooh, this is a tough one. Emmy has long favored “The Amazing Race” in this category. In fact, in the nine years since the category's inception, “Race” has earned a nomination every single time. More impressive still is the fact that the show actually won seven of those times.
But assuming another show stands a chance, and assuming it’s not “American Idol,” for reasons obvious to anyone who watched it last season, each of the other contenders seems equally worthy. Still, one must pick, so I’m making my call for “Dancing With the Stars”— after all, Tom Bergeron was robbed in the already-awarded host category (sorry, Jeff Probst!), so a show win here might just begin to make up for it.
Anna: Finally, a category where the academy and I are in agreement. Of course, the trouble with that is that each of my favorite competition shows is included. But which is my Ultimate No. 1? Is it "Dancing With the Stars," which features the most beautiful man (Hello, Maks!) and most entertaining judges on television? "Project Runway," with the wise, kind and amazingly dressed Tim Gunn? "Top Chef," which always makes me drool and wish for Smell-O-Vision TV?
OK, let's knock one off that list. Sorry, "Runway," but I'm still angry over Wretchen's -- err, I mean, Gretchen's win over the ubertalented Mondo in season eight. (Granny panties are NOT fashion forward, OK?) As for "DWTS" vs. "Chef," well, much as I adore Maks (and judges Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli), I think I'm going to have to go with "Top Chef." At least I don't have to sit through 55 minutes of filler each week to get the elimination results. "Top Chef" gives me top action for the full hour!
Ree: OK, Anna, you just about convinced me to change my mind about "Dancing." Those filler-filled results shows are the worst. Still, for host Tom Bergeron's sake (and Maks', too!) I'll stick with the ballroom bash — at least the performance shows.
What do you think of our picks? Who do you believe will walk away with the trophies? Share your thoughts and your Emmy picks on our Facebook page!