On the morning of the Emmy nominations, Lost executive producer/co-creator Damon Lindelof excitedly learned his show had been nominated for Outstanding Drama series. He went to check out his Twitter feed only to read this entry:
"If outstanding means destroying a six-year series with one lame episode, then you guys are a shoo-in."
Lindelof knows there's plenty of fan -- and perhaps Emmy -- backlash after his show's controversial ending. And he's felt the sting of mad love for Mad Men, which is looking to grab its third Outstanding Drama Emmy.
When Lindelof accepted the Television Critics Award for Outstanding Achievement in Drama for Lost in July, he took the opportunity to joke about being shut out of the Emmys by Matthew Weiner's cable phenomenon.
"It's been a while since we've been able to give an acceptance speech," Lindelof said. "Is Matthew Weiner here tonight?"
Weiner might not have snagged a TCA award this season, but chances are good he'll be up giving an acceptance speech at the 2010 Emmy Awards. And this year looks good for freshman series that have bumped long-time favorites out of the top categories.
Outstanding Drama Series:
The Good Wife
And the winner is: Mad Men. While TV critics made the unprecedented decision this year to award a tie to Lost and Breaking Bad in the TCA drama category award, there's little doubt that Emmy voters will go for the sophisticated Mad Men for a three peat.
Potential Upset Winner: The Good Wife. In a category that has been dominated by cable, Emmy voters might want to reward a solid network drama.
Last Year's Winner: Mad Men
Outstanding Lead Actress, Drama
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer
Glenn Close, Damages
Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
January Jones, Mad Men
And the winner is: Julianna Margulies, who hands down is the favorite to take home the gold trophy. Her performance was universally embraced by critics and it gives the Emmy voters a chance at rewarding a broadcast network drama.
Potential Upset Winner: Kyra Sedgwick had a strong season on The Closer, and with Glenn Close already an Emmy winner there's little competition from the other nominees.
Last year's winner: Glenn Close, Damages
Outstanding Supporting Actress, Drama
Sharon Gless, Burn Notice
Rose Byrne, Damages
Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
And the winner is: Sharon Gless, who has a solid reputation among long-time Emmy voters. She won Emmys for her role on Cagney & Lacey and although Burn Notice is known as a lightweight drama, Gless' performances have been stellar.
Potential Upset Winner: Christina Hendricks had a great year on Mad Men and deserves to be rewarded for it. But with votes split between Hendricks and Moss, it might be a difficult win to pull off.
Last year's winner: Cherry Jones, 24
Outstanding Lead Actor, Drama
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights
Hugh Laurie, House
Matthew Fox, Lost
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
And the winner is: Michael C. Hall had one of his best years, and he also battled cancer. You can't overlook the emotional pull of a talented actor who has overcome a personal hurdle combined with a twisty, Emmy-worthy performance.
Potential Upset Winner: Bryan Cranston had another amazing season as his character switched gears to become a person with an even darker side slithering through what appears to be a decent human being.
Last Year's Winner: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Outstanding Supporting Actor, Drama
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Martin Short, Damages
Terry O'Quinn, Lost
Michael Emerson, Lost
John Slattery, Mad Men
Andre Braugher, Men of a Certain Age
And the winner is: Aaron Paul gave a nuanced performance as the conflicted drug dealer who draws the line at using kids in his line of work. Breaking Bad deserves some wins, and with a split vote for the great Lost performances and Andre Braugher in a series that gained little attention, Paul seems to have this one.
Potential Upset Winner: O'Quinn has done a remarkable job this season as two vastly different characters. Emerson took home gold last time, so perhaps Emmy voters will be inclined to send their votes O'Quinn's way.
Last Year's Winner: Michael Emerson, Lost
Outstanding Comedy Series:
Curb Your Enthusiasm
And the winner is: Modern Family by a mile. This hilarious comedy revitalized the genre this season with excellent execution by a list of actors dominating the supporting actor categories.
Potential Upset Winner: There's still a love affair going on between voters and the insider comedy 30 Rock, and you don't want to easily dismiss Glee after it proved what most voters feel in their hearts: a musical series can work on television if executed correctly.
Last year's winner: 30 Rock
Outstanding Lead Actress, Comedy
Lea Michele, Glee
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, The New Adventures of Old Christine
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Tina Fey 30 Rock
Toni Collette, United States of Tara
And the winner is: Tina Fey, who had a true comedy performance in a field that has more emphasis on the drama than the comedy. She was a front-runner last year, which gives her the edge this season.
Potential Upset Winner: Edie Falco was nothing short of amazing this season on Nurse Jackie, but there are still plenty of people out there questioning this role, and this series, as a comedy. It's more dark and disturbing than belly-laugh inducing. But that didn't stop voters from voting for last year's winner.
Last year's winner: Toni Collette, United States of Tara
Outstanding Supporting Actress, Comedy
Jane Lynch, Glee
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
Holland Taylor, Two and a Half Men
And the winner is: Put your cash on the favorite frontrunner Jane Lynch. There's no way she's going to get edged out as the winner in this category.
Potential Upset Winner: There's really no one even close to catching Lynch, although Julie Bowen has a strong following for her exceptional comedy series Modern Family.
Last year's winner: Kristin Chenoweth, Pushing Daisies
Outstanding Lead Actor, Comedy
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Matthew Morrison, Glee
Tony Shalhoub, Monk
Steve Carell, The Office
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
And the winner is: Jim Parsons, who has consistently turned in memorable comic turns as the irritating, and irresistible self-absorbed nerd Sheldon Cooper.
Potential Upset Winner: Alec Baldwin still bringing it home with his spot-on portrait of a network honcho, and voters can't seem to resist an established comic star playing a character they all know too well.
Last year's winner: Alec Baldwin
Outstanding Supporting Actor, Comedy
Chris Colfer, Glee
Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
Ty Burrell Modern Family
And the winner is: Eric Stonestreet, although Ty Burrell might also be able to snag the spot given both have the strongest performances in this category. Wouldn't a tie be nice?
Potential Upset Winner: Chris Colfer would be the youngest winner in this category, but his performance blends drama, comedy and a show tune -- and it will be tough for Emmy voters to pass on that combo.
Last year's winner: Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men