[WATCH] Emmy nominations predictions slugfest: Mano a mano battle over 16 top races

Emmy Awards nominations are hours away and according to Gold Derby editor Marcus James Dixon and myself you can expect to be surprised … by seeing no real surprises. (Watch our predictions slugfest above.) We both think last year’s drama and comedy series champs “Game of Thrones” and “Veep” will repeat for HBO and the only real suspense in each category lies with which shows could sneak in for the first time.

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On the Comedy side, with both “Louie” and “Parks and Recreation” no longer around, Dixon and I both think that ABC’s “Black-ish” will earn its first Comedy Series nomination for its sophomore season. We also agree that last year’s nominated series — “Modern Family,” “Veep,” “Transparent,” “Silicon Valley” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” — will return. Where we differ is on what will take the final spot and neither of us is that convincing.

“Could it be ‘Mozart in the Jungle’?” I wonder. “Could it be ‘Catastrophe’? Could it be ‘Masters of None’? So I said screw ’em all, I’m going to go with my sentimental pick and go with ‘Jane the Virgin’ in there.” Dixon is even more torn, admitting, “I have ‘Mozart in the Jungle,’ but I just don’t know. I had ‘Last Man on Earth’ in there because it was a big nomination-getter in its first season last year, but it could go down in nominations. I just don’t know.”

Emmy Awards nominations predictions by program: ‘The Good Wife,’ ‘SNL,’ ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ will clean up

On the Drama side we have “Game of Thrones,” “Orange is the New Black,” “Homeland,” “Downton Abbey,” “Better Call Saul” and “House of Cards” back in the race. We also agree that USA will score its first Drama Series nomination with its Golden Globe-winning series “Mr. Robot.”

As for the biggest competitor for “Game of Thrones,” I say it’s Netflix drama “House of Cards” with help from the current election cycle. But Dixon is quick to counter, “I think you’re wrong on what will be second place. I think ‘Downton Abbey’ could surprise. It has a broad appeal, it’s the final season push and I think it’s going to get a lot of actors back in who have been snubbed before.”

Emmy Awards cliffhanger: Which Golden Globe winners will be snubbed?

The Limited Series and TV Movie acting categories are arguably the most challenging this year but we’re at least confident that FX’s “The People v. O.J. Simpson” and HBO’s “All The Way” will respectively take their program category races.

We’re both all over the map everywhere else though, especially in the race for Movie/Mini Actor where I believe Courtney B. Vance‘s acclaimed role as real-life O.J. Simpson’s defense attorney Johnnie Cochran in “The People v. O.J. Simpson” will snag him his first Emmy and Dixon is going with multiple Emmy winner Bryan Cranston for his role as President Lyndon Johnson in HBO’s “All The Way” … or is he? “I’m switching now. I’m switching to Vance,” Dixon declares live in the video.

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To find out what other switches we make right on air and to hear our other sometimes-safe and sometimes-outlandish predictions, be sure to watch our slugfest above.

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