2014 Emmy Awards Predictions

Television's best will be celebrated tonight at the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards (8pm ET on NBC). Below you'll find my predictions (in the probable order they'll be announced). The Emmys can either award the same performers and shows relentlessly for years on end or it can be notoriously difficult to predict just what they might like in any given year, so take these with a grain of salt (or several grains of salt surrounding a margarita glass filled with tequila). 

CineMunch will be live-tweeting our thoughts throughout the evening, so don't forget to follow along with us on Twitter @CineMunch.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series 
Fred Armisen, "Portlandia" 
Andre Braugher, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" 
Ty Burrell, "Modern Family"
Adam Driver, "Girls"  
√ Jesse Tyler Ferguson, "Modern Family" 
Tony Hale, "Veep"

     Hale won last year and the last few minutes of his episode submission are tear-inducingly hilarious, so he might have a leg up. Braugher is well liked and Burrell could take it again, but I think it'll be his co-star Ferguson winning his first. Just a random hunch.

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series 
"Episodes" -- "Episode 305" (David Crane) 
"Louie" -- "So Did The Fat Lady" (Louis C.K.) 
√ "Orange Is the New Black" -- "I Wasn't Ready" (Jenji Kohan and Liz Friedman) 
"Silicon Valley" -- "Optimal Tip-To-Tip Efficiency" (Alec Berg) 
"Veep" -- "Special Relationship" (Simon Blackwell, Tony Roche and Armando Iannucci)

     I expect "Orange" to take several key awards this evening, starting with this one for the pilot.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series 
Mayim Bialik, "The Big Bang Theory" 
Julie Bowen, "Modern Family" 
Anna Chlumsky, "Veep"
√ Allison Janney, "Mom" 
Kate McKinnon, "Saturday Night Live" 
Kate Mulgrew, "Orange is the New Black" 

     Janney is a national treasure who will likely add to the Emmy she won last weekend for Guest Actress in a Drama Series for "Masters of Sex" (not to mention the four she won for "The West Wing"). I'm pulling for Mulgrew who I think is the spoiler, but this category tends to surprise often so it really could be anyone.

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series 
"Episodes" -- "Episode 309" (Iain B. MacDonald)
"Glee" -- "100" (Paris Barclay)
"Louis" -- "Elevator, Part 6" (Louis C.K.)
"Modern Family" -- "Vegas" (Gail Mancuso)
√ "Orange Is the New Black" -- "Lesbian Request Denied" (Jodie Foster)
"Silicon Valley" -- Minimum Viable Product" (Mike Judge)

     The two-time Oscar winner for acting has the edge here, but Mancuso (who won last year in this category) is just as likely.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series 
Louis C.K., "Louie" 
Don Cheadle, "House of Lies" 
Ricky Gervais, "Derek" 
Matt LeBlanc, "Episodes" 
William H. Macy, "Shameless" 
√ Jim Parsons, "The Big Bang Theory"

     They say the easiest way to win an Emmy is to have won an Emmy before... so look for Parsons to take this tragically weak category for a record-tying fourth time. If not, Gervais could upset.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series 
Lena Dunham, "Girls" 
Edie Falco, "Nurse Jackie" 
√ Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep" 
Melissa McCarthy, "Mike & Molly" 
Amy Poehler, "Parks and Recreation" 
Taylor Schilling, "Orange is the New Black"

     I'll be rooting for Amy Poehler to have an Emmy of any kind every single year for the rest of time, but Louis-Dreyfus will (deservingly) win her third consecutive trophy for "Veep." McCarthy apparently has a strong episode and Schilling could ride a wave of "Orange" support, but I don't think either has enough to overcome JL-D.

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program 
"The Amazing Race" (CBS) 
"Dancing with the Stars" (ABC) 
"Project Runway" (Lifetime) 
"So You Think You Can Dance" (FOX) 
"Top Chef" (Bravo) 
√ "The Voice" (NBC)

     Besides a win by "Top Chef" in 2010 and "The Voice" winning last year, "The Amazing Race" has won every year of this category's existence. I'll stick with last year's victor repeating, but I'd cast a vote for "Project Runway."

Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special 
"American Horror Story: Coven" -- "Bitchcraft" (Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk) 
"Fargo" -- "The Crocodile's Dilemma" (Noah Hawley) 
"Luther" (Neil Cross) 
√ "The Normal Heart" (Larry Kramer) 
"Sherlock: His Last Vow" (Steven Moffat) 
"Treme" -- "...To Miss New Orleans" (Eric Overmyer and David Simon)

     "Fargo" and "The Normal Heart" will sweep most of the Miniseries/Movie categories, and they are your frontrunners here. I think heart will trump head here and Larry Kramer will edge out Noah Hawley, though it'll be close.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie 
Angela Basset, "American Horror Story: Coven"
Kathy Bates, "American Horror Story: Coven"
Ellen Burstyn, "Flowers in the Attic"
Frances Conroy, "American Horror Story: Coven"
√ Julia Roberts, "The Normal Heart"
Allison Tolman, "Fargo"

     It's down to the movie star (Roberts) vs. the newcomer (Tolman), and, again, "The Normal Heart" vs. "Fargo". Roberts gets a big, emotional speech that will overshadow the understated, though great, work Tolman does in anchoring "Fargo."

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie 
√ Matt Bomer, "The Normal Heart" 
Martin Freeman, "Sherlock: His Last Vow" 
Colin Hanks, "Fargo" 
Joe Mantello, "The Normal Heart" 
Alfred Molina, "The Normal Heart"
Jim Parsons, "The Normal Heart" 

Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special 
"American Horror Story: Coven" -- "Bitchcraft" (Alfonso Gomez-Rejon) 
"Fargo" -- "The Crocodile's Dilemma" (Adam Bernstein) 
"Fargo" -- "Buridan's Ass" (Colin Bucksey) 
"Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight" (Stephen Frears) 
√ "The Normal Heart" (Ryan Murphy) 
"Sherlock: His Last Vow" (Nick Hurran)

     I think the direction of "The Normal Heart" is one of its weakest components, but I think the two "Fargo" directors will split votes and clear the path for Murphy to win.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie 
Benedict Cumberbatch, "Sherlock: His Last Vow"
Chiwetel Ejiofor, "Dancing On The Edge" 
Idris Elba, "Luther" 
Martin Freeman, "Fargo" 
√ Mark Ruffalo, "The Normal Heart" 
Billy Bob Thornton, "Fargo" 

     Again, I think the "Fargo" guys cancel each other out and clear the path for Ruffalo (who I generally really like, but not this performance). My vote would go to Freeman.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie 
Helena Bonham Carter, "Burton And Taylor" 
Minnie Driver, "Return To Zero" 
Jessica Lange, "American Horror Story: Coven" 
Sarah Paulson, "American Horror Story: Coven" 
√ Cicely Tyson, "The Trip To Bountiful"
Kristen Wiig, "The Spoils Of Babylon" 

     Tyson should add to the Tony Award she won for the same role just last year.

Outstanding Miniseries 
"American Horror Story: Coven" (FX) 
"Bonnie & Clyde" (Lifetime) 
√ "Fargo" (FX) 
"Luther" (BBC America) 
"Treme" (HBO) 
"The White Queen" (Starz)

Outstanding Television Movie 
"Killing Kennedy" (National Geographic) 
"Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight" (HBO) 
√ "The Normal Heart" (HBO) 
"Sherlock: His Last Vow" (PBS) 
"The Trip to Bountiful" (Lifetime)

Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special 
"The Beatles: The Night That Changed America" 
"Billy Crystal: 700 Sundays" 
√ The 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards 
"Sarah Silverman: We Are Miracles" 
67th Annual Tony Awards

     There has to be a reason they've pushed the writing/directing for a variety special categories to the main broadcast (in place of the same awards for variety series which were awarded last weekend). A win for the Globes would honor the dynamic duo of Tina Fey & Amy Poehler, though I wouldn't say they're the frontrunners here.

Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special 
"The Beatles: The Night That Changed America" (Gregg Gelfand) 
√ The Kennedy Center Honors (Louis J. Horvitz) 
The Oscars (Hamish Hamilton) 
"Six By Sondheim" (James Lapine) 
"The Sound Of Music Live!" (Beth McCarthy Miller)
67 Annual Tony Awards (Glenn Weiss)

Outstanding Variety Series 
√ "The Colbert Report" (Comedy Central) 
"The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" (Comedy Central) 
"Jimmy Kimmel Live!" (ABC) 
"Real Time with Bill Maher" (HBO)
"Saturday Night Live" (NBC)
"The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" (NBC) 

     "Colbert" finally stopped "The Daily Show" train last year after 10 consecutive wins, and I suspect that will happen again. Fallon could take it for a well-respected transition to the "Tonight Show" desk.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series 
Jim Carter, "Downton Abbey" 
Josh Charles, "The Good Wife" 
Peter Dinklage, "Game of Thrones" 
Mandy Patinkin, "Homeland" 
√ Aaron Paul, "Breaking Bad" 
Jon Voight, "Ray Donovan"

     Paul would be the first actor to win this category three times and I give anyone and everyone associated with "Breaking Bad" good odds to take trophies for the show's final season, but he's by no means safe. Dinklage and Charles are right on his heels.

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series 
√ "Breaking Bad" -- "Ozymandias" (Moira Walley-Beckett) 
"Breaking Bad" -- Felina" (Vince Gilligan) 
"Game of Thrones" -- "The Children" (David Benioff and D.B. Weiss) 
"House of Cards" -- "Chapter 14" (Beau Willimon) 
"True Detective" -- "The Secret Fate of All Life" (Nic Pizzolatto)

     Many of the drama awards will come down to "Breaking Bad" vs. "True Detective."

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series 
Christine Baranski, "The Good Wife" 
Joanne Froggatt, "Downton Abbey"
√ Anna Gunn, "Breaking Bad"  
Lena Headey, "Game of Thrones" 
Christina Hendricks, "Mad Men"
Maggie Smith, "Downton Abbey" 

     A lock?

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series 
"Boardwalk Empire" -- Farewell Daddy Blues" (Tim Van Patten) 
"Breaking Bad' -- "Felina" (Vince Gilligan) 
"Downton Abbey" -- "Episode 1" (David Evans) 
"Game Of Thrones" -- "The Watchers on the Wall" (Neil Marshall) 
"House Of Cards" -- "Chapter 14" (Carl Franklin) 
√ "True Detective" -- "Who Goes There" (Cary Joji Fukunaga)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series 
Lizzy Caplan, "Masters of Sex" 
Claire Danes, "Homeland" 
Michelle Dockery, "Downton Abbey" 
Julianna Margulies, "The Good Wife" 
√ Kerry Washington, "Scandal" 
Robin Wright, "House of Cards"

     Possibly the toughest category of the night to predict. Dockery would shock (though stranger things have happened with the Emmys), but any one of the other five actresses could win without surprise. Danes might be the safe choice for me (given the range she shows in her submitted episode and her previous Emmy wins), but I have a suspicion Washington will narrowly beat out Margulies.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series 
√ Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad" 
Jeff Daniels, "The Newsroom" 
Jon Hamm, "Mad Men" 
Woody Harrelson, "True Detective" 
Matthew McConaughey, "True Detective" 
Kevin Spacey, "House of Cards"

     Voters sometimes can't resist a movie star, and McConaughey is arguably the frontrunner, hoping to add an Emmy to the Oscar he won earlier this year. Instead, I think Cranston will get a proper send-off in Walter White's final year of eligibility here.

Outstanding Comedy Series 
"The Big Bang Theory" (CBS) 
"Louie" (FX) 
"Modern Family" (ABC) 
√ "Orange is the New Black" (Netflix) 
"Silicon Valley" (HBO) 
"Veep" (HBO)

     A win for "Modern Family" would tie the record set by "Frasier," but the streak must end eventually. "Orange" has the buzz and critical cache to overtake it, though "The Big Bang Theory" could be rewarded for being the most watched comedy on TV or "Veep" for being the smartest.

Outstanding Drama Series 
√ "Breaking Bad" (AMC) 
"Downton Abbey" (PBS) 
"Game of Thrones" (HBO) 
"House of Cards" (Netflix) 
"Mad Men" (AMC) 
"True Detective" (HBO)

     Only "True Detective" could spoil the "Breaking Bad" lovefest, but that seems unlikely (and undeserving).