5 top Emmy Award battles to watch

There is no award show that can throw a curve ball like the Emmys, which makes it the most exciting to predict and to watch. Here are the top five races:

1. Oscar vs. Tony winner smackdown:
In one corner we have the A-lister movie star hot off his Oscar win, Matthew McConaughey (“True Detective”). In the other corner we’ve got journeyman actor hot off his Tony Award victory, Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”). Cranston has triumphed three times before and the“Breaking Bad” buzz has shown no signs of waning, but McConaghey is fresh and he’s got the prestige. My hot tip: Don’t count out Woody Harrelson, who also has the “True Detective” shine, a meaty performance and he’s a past Emmy winner himself (“Cheers”). Perhaps he’ll score the biggest upset of the night, taking down two heavyweights in one blow.

2. Early start to the “Late Night” race:
Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert won’t go head to head in network ratings until sometime next year. However they will be lining up at the Emmys on Monday. Can Fallon’s celebrated and historic takeover of the “Tonight Show” beat David Letterman’s heir to the “Late Night” throne who took out the top prize last year and has shown no signs of slowing?

Best Emmy predictions: Gold Derby or Screen Verdict?

3. Trying to strike out Parsons:
Jim Parsons (“The Big Bang Theory”) may seem invincible since he won three times in the past four years, but four strong contenders are trying to strike him out. With the best shot is Ricky Gervais, who has upset here before and he delivers an empathetic and impactful performance in “Derek” of the likes we haven’t seen from him before. I’ve been predicting him since the nominations came out, but don’t rule out William H. Macy from “Shameless.” He has industry cred.

4. Drama Actress free-for-all:
There is no true frontrunner here as all six ladies have a claim to the trophy. Claire Danes (“Homeland”) has won the last two years. Lizzy Caplan gives a layered performance is the fresh “Masters of Sex.” Kerry Washington would be historic (first African-American to win this category) and gives a showy performance in the popular “Scandal.” Robin Wright is in the cool “House of Cards” and is an industry heavyweight. Juliana Margulies is a past winner with possibly her best season of “The Good Wife.” Michelle Dockery gives an emotionally wrenching turn in the latest “Downton Abby.”

 

5. “Breaking Bad” trying to hold the title:
I’ve already written about the comedy race in my “Veep” piece, so I thought it was worth having a word on the top drama prize. In the past 16 years, only 8 series have managed to repeat in this category and it’s an impressive list of shows that includes “The Practice,” “The West Wing,” “The Sopranos” and “Mad Men.” “Breaking Bad” looks in a good position, but “True Detective” and “House of Cards” probably have some life left in them.

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