[WATCH] Emmy Awards predictions slugfest: ‘Game of Thrones’ over ‘Mr. Robot,’ ‘House of Cards’ …

Gold Derby Executive Editor Paul Sheehan and I got together to debate the Emmy’s top drama races, with reference to what we learned from the guild awards and why they are important as Emmy precursors (watch above).

“The guild awards get a bad rap because they take place half a year away from the Emmys,” I explain.  “People say, ‘how they can possibly influence the Emmys?’ But it’s not about influencing the Emmys; it is just about how you have the same voters for both awards.”

Apples-to-apples comparisons are difficult with most of the guild awards because they typically use January to December as their eligibility period, instead of June to May like the Emmys. The Producers Guild is one of two — the other is the Casting Society — that does share the Emmy’s eligibility period, and its correlation is staggering. All five of the incumbent PGA nominees for Best Drama Series reaped equivalent Emmy nominations for the same season and both groups had the same winner. By comparison, the Television Critics Association only matched two nominees and awarded a drama that the Emmys has never nominated (“The Americans”). The Critics’ Choice Awards also honored “The Americans” and despite seven slots, only matched three nominees.

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We expect “Game of Thrones” to dominate the Emmys again after last year’s record haul. I caution against expecting too much for “House of Cards,” as the Emmys suddenly snubbed it in three key races last year: Best Writing, Directing and Editing. “It’s an older show at this point — it’s in its fourth season, so this is about the time where the Emmys might drop it, even if they still like it,” I add.

Beyond the other usual suspects like “Downton Abbey” and “Homeland,” Paul and I agree that “Mr. Robot” will break into the category at the expense of “Orange is the New Black.” Paul rounds out his predictions with “Underground,” which recently scored a TCA nomination for Best New Program. He explains, “Emmy voters are aware of #OscarSoWhite and it’s a really well-regarded show. It’s about an interesting story that most of us don’t know a lot about.”

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We then veered into the acting categories, with specific attention to the prospects of Caitriona Balfe (“Outlander”), Christine Baranski (“The Good Wife”), Bobby Cannavale (“Vinyl), Laura Carmichael (“Downton Abbey”), Carrie Coon (“The Leftovers”), Damian Lewis (“Billions”), Keri Russell (“The Americans”) and Robin Wright (“House of Cards”).

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