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Is clock ticking towards Emmy wins for ‘24’?

Though it’s virtually impossible to move beyond the glacial-sized gaffes the Emmy voters have made for this year’s nominations — no Hugh Laurie, no James Gandolfini, no “Lost,” a nomination for 14 seconds of work — hello, anybody home? — let’s put it behind us, make amends and move on.The best way to get even with the TV Academy is to read their closed, little minds and anticipate
/ Source: msnbc.com contributor

Though it’s virtually impossible to move beyond the glacial-sized gaffes the Emmy voters have made for this year’s nominations — no Hugh Laurie, no James Gandolfini, no “Lost,” a nomination for 14 seconds of work — hello, anybody home? — let’s put it behind us, make amends and move on.

The best way to get even with the TV Academy is to read their closed, little minds and anticipate which way the Emmy winds will blow come the big night.

Supporting actress in a drama

Candice Bergen, “Boston Legal”

Blythe Danner, “Huff”

Sandra Oh, “Grey’s Anatomy”

Jean Smart, “24”

Chandra Wilson, “Grey’s Anatomy”

Danner won last year for “Huff,” the recently canceled series that most people, except Emmy voters, aren’t even familiar with. So assuming that won’t happen again, here’s thinking Candice Bergen will take this race. If William Shatner and James Spader can win from tired “Boston Legal,” then Emmy fave and five-time winner Bergen has as good a chance as anyone.

Supporting actor in a drama

Alan Alda, “The West Wing”

Michael Imperioli, “The Sopranos”

Gregory Itzin, “24”

Oliver Platt, “Huff”

William Shatner, “Boston Legal”

Voters will have to, in some way, acknowledge the incredible run by “The West Wing.” Four best drama wins over seven years is impressive, and though the show certainly wasn’t as good in its final season as in its first few, the cast and crew can stand proud. An Emmy for Alda, who already has more than a handful for “M*A*S*H,” seems an appropriate and well-earned sendoff.

Supporting actress in a comedy

Cheryl Hines, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”

Megan Mullally, “Will & Grace”

Elizabeth Perkins, “Weeds”

Jaime Pressly, “My Name Is Earl”

Alfre Woodard, “Desperate Housewives”

Supporting actor in a comedy

Will Arnett, “Arrested Development”

Bryan Cranston, “Malcolm in the Middle”

Jon Cryer, “Two and a Half Men”

Sean Hayes, “Will & Grace”

Jeremy Piven, “Entourage”

If anyone besides Piven or Cranston wins this, immediately turn off the TV, drive to the nearest multiplex and go see “Little Miss Sunshine,” “Talladega Nights” or anything else to get your mind to a better place. Piven has turned his angry-but-driven agent into an art form and Cranston has never been given his proper due as the underrated Hal on “Malcolm,” which started out strong but ended up on nobody’s must-watch list.

Lead actress in a drama

Frances Conroy, “Six Feet Under”

Geena Davis, “Commander in Chief”

Mariska Hargitay, “Law & Order: SVU”

Allison Janney, “The West Wing”

Kyra Sedgwick, “The Closer”

Did voters not see the first three episodes of “The Sopranos”? As Tony lay near death in the hospital, Edie Falco has to deal with the possible loss of her husband, her son flunking out of college and her mob family not wanting to pay up on what’s due her and Tony. But, alas, Falco isn’t even included, so here’s a nod to Conroy, who has now been nominated four times with no wins. She was terrific in “Six Feet Under’s” stellar closing season and the last episode — where each of the characters meets death — might’ve been one of the greatest sendoffs in TV history.

Lead actor in a drama

Peter Krause, “Six Feet Under”

Denis Leary, “Rescue Me”

Christopher Meloni, “Law & Order: SVU”

Martin Sheen, “The West Wing”

Kiefer Sutherland, “24”

If Jack Bauer can save the world, can’t Sutherland, at least, win an Emmy? Never mind that he’s been nominated every year “24” has been on the air; Sutherland is a good guy too, and has overcome some mid-career troubles that could’ve permanently derailed him. Leary is great as a smarmy, womanizing and drunken firefighter, but he hasn’t put in his acting dues the way Sutherland has.

Lead actress in a comedy

Stockard Channing, “Out of Practice”

Jane Kaczmarek, “Malcolm in the Middle”

Lisa Kudrow, “The Comeback”

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “The New Adventures of Old Christine”

Debra Messing, “Will & Grace”

“Out of Practice”? How about out of their minds? That voters didn’t choose Mary-Louise Parker of “Weeds” over Channing is more than slightly ridiculous. Channing was perfectly competent with her one-line zingers, but far from Emmy-worthy in this generic, by-the-numbers sitcom that was yanked before season’s end. Though “The Comeback” was detested by some, one has to hand it to Kudrow for her uncompromising take on the needy and charmless Valerie Cherish. That’s not enough, though, to take this one away from Kaczmarek, who screamed at her on-screen kids for seven seasons on “Malcolm” and deserves something for that — besides cough drops.

Lead actor in a comedy

Steve Carell, “The Office”

Larry David, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”

Kevin James, “The King of Queens”

Tony Shalhoub, “Monk”

Charlie Sheen, “Two and a Half Men”

Hard to say what voters saw in season eight of “The King of Queens” that wasn’t apparent in seasons one through seven. Maybe James turned on the charm a bit more, or changed his wardrobe ever so slightly. With two wins already, even Shalhoub is getting a bit embarrassed by his success and “Monk’s” best days seem behind it. Combing subtlety with slapstick on “The Office,” there may be no hotter comedian than Carell right now — be it on TV or in movies — so if voters want to be relevant in any way, he would make the logical choice.

Drama series

“24”

“Grey’s Anatomy”

“House”

“The Sopranos”

“The West Wing”

Not sure how one nominates “House” without also tabbing Hugh Laurie, who is House, but that’s quibbling. “The Sopranos” continues to deliver quality on a weekly basis but even its strongest advocates will admit the show’s best days are behind it. “Grey’s” fans were in a McDreamy-filled bliss last season, and there’s probably no hotter show — ‘cept, of course, for “American Idol.” But followers of “24” will proclaim to the masses that this was the best season ever, and in a world where evil pops up way too often, it’s nice to see the good guys win once in a while. So consider this Jack’s greatest accomplishment: a drama series win.

Comedy series

“Arrested Development”

“Curb Your Enthusiasm”

“The Office”

“Scrubs”

“Two and a Half Men”

Taking nothing away from the laughs these shows have brought, this might be one of the least appealing comedy fields in years. “Arrested” isn’t even on the air anymore, “Curb” has only just been officially renewed, “Scrubs” has been so schedule-abused by NBC that it’s seeing a therapist, and “Two and a Half Men” — the only traditional three-camera, studio audience comedy of the lot — has lots of viewers but has never been a critical fave. So, almost by default, the smart and witty “The Office” seems best positioned to take the prize. Perhaps Carell and company will order extra paper to celebrate.

Stuart Levine is a senior editor at Variety. You can reach him at stuart.levine@variety.com.