“Breaking Bad,” AMC
“Downton Abbey,” PBS
“Game of Thrones,” HBO
“House of Cards,” Netflix
“Mad Men,” AMC
Will win: “Breaking Bad” is one of the best dramas ever made, and still no Emmy? I think the Academy will rectify that this year. After all, “The Sopranos” didn’t win until its fifth season. The show is nominated for last summer’s episodes, but the current finale obsession has surely added to the voting momentum.
Should win: “Breaking Bad,” no question. “Homeland,” last year’s winner, quickly embedded itself in our culture, in op-eds and a “Saturday Night Live” parody. But season two was a “24”-like mess, largely because there was no character continuity with Carrie. Her hatred of Brody turned to undying love too quickly. “Game of Thrones,” “House of Cards,” and four-time winner “Mad Men” were strong, but “Breaking Bad” was the tops.
Was robbed: That “Downton Abbey” slot belongs to “Southland,” “The Americans,” or “Orphan Black.”
LEAD ACTOR, DRAMA
Hugh Bonneville, “Downton Abbey,” PBS
Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad,” AMC
Jeff Daniels, “The Newsroom,” HBO
Jon Hamm, “Mad Men,” AMC
Damian Lewis, “Homeland,” Showtime
Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards,” Netflix
Will win: Cranston. He’s tremendous as Walter White, which is why he has won three Emmys for the role so far. Two-time Oscar winner Spacey may be the surprise, though, if voters are ready to embrace Netflix so quickly; they have an old-fashioned TV-shame response to movie stars, and Spacey’s performance is showy goodness.
Should win: The Academy has never given a statue to a “Mad Men” performer. But Hamm really ought to win for his fifth nomination. The guy is profoundly good as the deeply scarred ad exec who hit bottom last season (we hope). Don’s response to Sally’s discovery of his affair is devastating, and so is his eye contact with her in the finale. Unforgettable work.
Was robbed: Timothy Olyphant of “Justified,” William H. Macy of “Shameless,” Matthew Rhys of “The Americans,” and Travis Fimmel of “Vikings.”
LEAD ACTRESS, DRAMA
Connie Britton, “Nashville,” ABC
Claire Danes, “Homeland,” Showtime
Michelle Dockery, “Downton Abbey,” PBS
Vera Farmiga, “Bates Motel,” A&E
Elisabeth Moss, “Mad Men,” AMC
Kerry Washington, “Scandal,” ABC
Robin Wright, “House of Cards,” Netflix
Will win: Danes and her cry face will take the night, although it’s possible Washington will win in an upset. “Scandal” has become an It Show.
Should win: I think Moss had a subtly authoritative season. She showed us Peggy’s internal power struggles, without losing sight of her meek beginnings.
Was robbed: Keri Russell of “The Americans” and Emmy Rossum of “Shameless.” But Tatiana Maslany was the glaring and shameful omission here, for her spectacular work as clones in “Orphan Black.”
SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA
Bobby Cannavale, “Boardwalk Empire,” HBO
Jonathan Banks, “Breaking Bad,” AMC
Aaron Paul, “Breaking Bad,” AMC
Jim Carter, “Downton Abbey,” PBS
Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones,” HBO
Mandy Patinkin, “Homeland,” Showtime
Will win: Patinkin will win. He’s great as the paternal Saul, and he atoned in The New York Times for his bad behavior on his previous shows. It’s possible, though, that Paul, deserving winner of two, will swoop in for a third.
Should win: Journeyman actor Banks personified “Breaking Bad” with his calm but intense focus. He was the man Jesse might have become. If he wins, I will cheer.
Was robbed: The list of the snubbed in this category is long, including John Slattery of “Mad Men,” Michael Cudlitz of “Southland,” Nikolaj Coster-Waldau of “Game of Thrones,” and Dean Norris of “Breaking Bad.”
SUPPORTING ACTRESS, DRAMA
Anna Gunn, “Breaking Bad,” AMC
Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey,” PBS
Emilia Clarke, “Game of Thrones,” HBO
Christine Baranski, “The Good Wife,” CBS
Morena Baccarin, “Homeland,” Showtime
Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men,” AMC
Will win: Ugh, Smith. Don’t get me wrong; she’s great on “Downton,” but her zinger-slinging is shtick at this point. Maybe the “Downton” backlash after Matthew’s death will lead voters to Gunn.
Should win: Gunn. It’s time. Her nominated episode — in which the depressed Skyler tells Walt she’s waiting for him to die — is a perfect example of her ability to stun. Her character has changed as profoundly as Cranston’s and Paul’s.
Was robbed: It would have been sweet to see Kiernan Shipka of “Mad Men” on this list, as well as J. Smith-Cameron as the torn mother of an ex-convict on “Rectify.”
“The Big Bang Theory,” CBS