[PHOTOS] ‘Outlander’: 8 hottest Emmy Awards races include Best Drama, Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan

Last year Starz’s “Outlander” broke into the Emmy Awards derby with a nomination for Best Music Composition (Series) and now it’s poised to do much better considering it’s an established mega-hit with strong critical acclaim. But how much better? Scroll through our new photo gallery above highlighting its Top 8 hottest Emmy chances.

“Outlander” recently won top Critics’ Choice Awards (Most Exciting New Series and Most Bingeworthy Show) and People’s Choice Awards (Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Show and Actress), but the Emmys can be tougher. Voters are snobs, but they sometimes overcome their bias against “genre” programs when they want to — like when “Game of Thrones” romped last year.

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Instead of the old pattern of five nominations in the Best Drama Series category, there are now seven, but it’s still difficult for “Outlander” to break in because the race is too crowded with Emmy faves like “Game of Thrones,” “House of Cards,” “Downton Abbey,” “Homeland,” “Better Call Saul” and “Orange is the New Black” plus sexy newcomers like “Mr. Robot.”

As for the show’s heralded leading lady Caitriona Balfe, last year there were 75 contenders entered in the Best Drama Actress category, but about two-thirds of them didn’t really have a prayer of nabbing a nom. Balfe is now a serious contender after scoring a Golden Globe nom.

Sam Heughan‘s lusty profile may be a detriment at the Emmys if voters fail to look past his chiseled jaw to observe his fine acting chops. That may be what happened to him at the Golden Globes where he was mysteriously snubbed even though his costars Balfe and Tobias Menzies got in.

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