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2014 Emmy predictions: Who will win?

Updated:

By Joyce Eng,

Can anyone defeat Matthew McConaughey? Scratch that — can anyone defeat Modern Family? We'll find out Monday at the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards (8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT). In the meantime, check out our picks for the top races and tell us yours.

Check out the Emmy nominations

DRAMA SERIES
Who will win:
Breaking Bad
After finally winning last year, Breaking Bad ought to go back-to-back. Few series have ended on such a riveting, near-perfect high — and even fewer are as buzzed-about almost a year after its series finale. The AMC drama has already picked up the top prizes at the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards this year, and it'd be the sixth show to win for its final season after The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Barney Miller, Everybody Loves Raymond and The Sopranos.
Watch out for: True Detective
Only Nic Pizzolatto's richly realized brainchild has matched Bad in chatter and acclaim. But will any voters resent the anthology series' category swap?

LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Who will win:
Matthew McConaughey, True Detective
This is the Group of Death — reigning Oscar winner vs. reigning Tony winner and former three-time Emmy winner vs. reigning Emmy winner vs. former Emmy winner and two-time Oscar nominee vs. two-time Oscar winner and six-time Emmy nominee vs. seven-time Emmy nominee — but it's all about the McConaissance. McConaughey's haunting, rambling Rust Cohle will make him the first man and fourth person to accept an Oscar and Emmy in the same calendar year after Liza Minnelli, Helen Hunt and Helen Mirren. (George C. Scott won both in 1971, but refused his Oscar.)
Watch out for: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
If it weren't for McConaughey, Cranston's tour de force in the seminal "Ozymandias," his episode submission, would make him a shoo-in for his fourth acting statuette, which would tie him with Dennis Franz for most wins in the category. Don't feel too bad for Cranston: He'd win an Emmy as a producer if Bad takes drama series, just like last year.

LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Who will win:
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Golden Globe champ Robin Wright (House of Cards) leveled the field when she eschewed the Claire-centric "Chapter 17," aka the CNN interview episode, for the far less bait-y season finale as her submission. Of course, she can still win, but we'll go with Margulies, who carried the resurgent Good Wife last season and returned after being dropped from the category. The Good Wife's snub in the series race could spur members to throw their support — and votes — to the 2011 champ.
Watch out for: Lizzy Caplan, Masters of Sex
Don't be stunned if Claire Danes picks up her third straight trophy for a subpar Season 3 of Homeland — Emmy voters are notorious creatures of habit after all — but Caplan's refreshingly modern Virginia Johnson is, well, a breath of fresh air in the staid '50s.

See all of our Emmy coverage


SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Who will win:
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Jesse was absent or monosyllabic for large chunks of Breaking Bad's final run, but Paul's submission, "Confessions," is one helluva showcase for him. The two-time champ runs the spectrum of emotions more so than any of the nominees, from his gut-wrenching goodbye with Walt to his turbulent rage after he realizes the truth about the ricin cigarette. He'd be the first to win this category three times.
Watch out for: Josh Charles, The Good Wife
A nominee in 2011, Charles did the hard part by getting invited back to the party after being part of two of the most talked-about TV moments last season. His dynamic, desk-clearing opening sequence in his tape, "Hitting the Fan," is superb, and like Paul, this is the last chance to reward him for this show. Also watch out for 2011 winner Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), who's got a towering speech in his back pocket.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Who will win:
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
If Gunn didn't crush your soul in "Ozymandias," her episode submission, then you are heartless. The defending champ would be the sixth person to win two trophies in this race.
Watch out for: Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
The only Good Wife regular to be nominated every season so far, Baranski has been knocking on the door of a win, and she's never been more deserving or had more juicy material than with Diane's roller coaster of a year last season.

COMEDY SERIES
Who will win:
Orange Is the New Black
That groan you hear is Modern Family winning again, which is completely not out of the question. This will be the true test of ModFam fatigue. Last year, there were no real strong alternatives stopping it from a fourth straight win, but there are two this year — Orange and Veep — which also could split votes and pave the way for a historic five-peat. (Only Frasier has achieved that in either series race.) But Orange is the hottest show around, made a big splash with 12 nods and had the benefit of fresh-out-of-the-oven Season 2 episodes during voting.
Watch out for: Veep
While Orange came out of the gates strong, Veep has been a slow burn at the Emmys, steadily increasing its nomination total each year (three to five to nine) and finally breaking into writing this year. It's coming off arguably its best season yet with Selina's ascension to the White House and its prestige appeal is far more up the academy's alley.

Emmys: snubs and surprises


LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Who will win:
Ricky Gervais, Derek
Gervais pulled off a shocker seven years ago when he triumphed for Extras (and wasn't even there to accept it — he took it back from Steve Carell the next year), so don't put it past the academy to award him for his simpleminded caretaker. This is a pretty weak category, and Gervais is heart-bracingly sweet, poignant and funny in his submission, the Season 2 finale, in which Derek loses his father and goes on his first date.
Watch out for: Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Never underestimate the three-time winner and defending champ. Parsons would join Michael J. Fox, Kelsey Grammer and Carroll O'Connor as four-time winners. There's also two-time Emmy champ William H. Macy, whose genre switch paid off in his first nod for Shameless.

LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Who will win:
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
The side-splitting bathroom scene — full of nosebleeds and tampons — in the four-time winner's tape, "Crate," is worth two Emmys, but one works just fine. (She'll have another one to pawn off!) JLD would be the first to three-peat here since Helen Hunt won four in a row.
Watch out for: Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
Taylor Schilling (Orange Is the New Black) has the buzz-y show, but unlike the Globes, the Emmys rarely go for young breakouts (America Ferrara most recently won here for the first season of Ugly Betty). Like Margulies and Charles, keep an eye out for a former winner/nominee who made it back in after a snub. McCarthy, who won in 2011 (what is it with that year?) with some help from Bridesmaids, packs laughs and warmth in her tape, "Mind Over Molly," which sees Molly come to terms with the death of her father.

SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Who will win:
Tony Hale, Veep
Hale ended Modern Family's three-year reign last year and there's no reason to think he cannot defend his crown. Besides, it'd be a crime to reward only half of the Selina and Gary Potty Humor Act.
Watch out for: Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
The Emmys didn't fall for Brooklyn Nine-Nine that much, but Braugher, an eight-time nominee and two-time winner, could be immune to the aversion, especially since his masterful deadpan is a nice departure from his usual dramatic fare.

Billy Crystal to lead Robin Williams tribute at Emmys


SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Who will win:
Allison Janney, Mom
Death, taxes and Allison Janney winning Emmys. A four-time winner for The West Wing, the Emmy darling scooped up her fifth trophy last week at the Creative Arts Emmys for her guest performance on Masters of Sex (she's the first actress to win all three drama races) and she should add her sixth for her tragicomic recovering substance abuser. Winning two Emmys in one year isn't unprecedented: Her West Wing co-star Stockard Channing most recently accomplished it in 2002.
Watch out for: Kate Mulgrew, Orange Is the New Black
Mulgrew deftly handled whatever Orange threw at her, making us fall in line and in love with Red. The first-time nominee gets veteran actor bonus points too.

REALITY-COMPETITON PROGRAM
Who will win:
The Voice
If The Voice can't beget huge stars, then it might as well win another Emmy. The reigning champ was only the second show to dethrone The Amazing Race, but unlike Top Chef, it stands a better chance at retaining the title. It's still slick, popular, top-rated and luring all sorts of A-list coaches.
Watch out for: The Amazing Race
Would you count out a nine-time winner? Race has reclaimed the trophy before and the show remains a mind-bogglingly massive undertaking with (some) real-world suspense not manufactured by judging panels or spinning chairs.

Who do you think will win?

The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards airs Monday at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on NBC.



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