Emmys cliffhanger: Are we underestimating ‘Downton Abbey’ again?

Last year, we failed to predict just how well “Downton Abbey” would do when it came to racking up Emmy nominations in major categories. Yes, we did forecast that Maggie Smith would contend again for her scene-stealing role as the Dowager. After all, that part had won her prizes for the first and second seasons of the show. 

However, we had this Brit hit pegged at just eighth place in the Drama Series race but it reaped a third consecutive bid in that top category. And we missed that repeat nomination for leading lady Michelle Dockery, having ranked her down in the 10th spot. Likewise, we did not predict that two of the featured players in the ensemble cast — Joanne Froggatt and Jim Carter — would contend again, slotting them in seventh and eight place respectively. It was the third straight nod for Carter and marked the return of Froggatt, who had also contended in 2012. (Check out all of our predictions for last year’s Emmy nominations HERE.)

Are we heading down the wrong path again this year? 

It looks like we have learned our lesson to some degree. We are predicting Smith to prevail again in Drama Supporting Actress after losing for two years running to Anna Gunn (“Breaking Bad”). And we have the period piece in fifth place on our collective odds for Best Drama Series. Likewise for Carter in Drama Supporting Actor. Hwever, we are not forecasting return engagements for Dockery or Froggatt. 

The former contends in the highly competitive Drama Actress category. Indeed, that field is so rich this year that we don’t foresee Dockery and two of last year’s other nominees — Lizzie Caplan (“Masters of Sex”) and Kerry Washington (“Scandal”) — making the cut. We expect their spots to go to the stars of three freshman hits: predicted winner Viola Davis (“How to Get Away with Murder”), Taraji P. Henson (“Empire”) and Golden Globes champ Ruth Wilson (“The Affair”).

And we don’t forecast that Froggatt will be back either. Besides Smith, we predict that three of last year’s other also-rans — Christina Hendricks (“Mad Men”), Christine Baranski (“The Good Wife”) and Lena Headey (“Game of Thrones”) —  to be in the running again this year. And we expect that last year’s Comedy Guest Actress champ Uzo Aduba will reap a bid here now that she is a series regular on the reclassfied drama. Also likely to contend is Oscar champ Sissy Spacek (“Coal Miner’s Daughter”) for her freshman series “Bloodline.” 

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