2012 Emmy Award Predictions from Experts & Users

  • Publish Date: September 20, 2012
  • Comments: ↓ 0 user comments

Updated 9/23 at 10:30a with even more experts and picks; all predicted winners remain the same, with the exception of the outstanding drama category, where Mad Men has opened up a slight lead over Breaking Bad.

Who are the favorites heading into Sunday's big ceremony?

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Sunday night, Jimmy Kimmel hosts the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards, which will be broadcast live coast-to-coast on ABC beginning at 8p ET / 5p PT. This year's nominees include usual suspects like Modern Family and Mad Men as well as newcomers such as American Horror Story and Homeland.

Which of these shows will be busy collecting trophies on Sunday evening? To get an idea of the likely winners in each of 22 categories, we have tabulated the predictions of over 30 professional "experts," including awards show followers, television writers, and critics. Earlier this summer we also asked our users to make their own picks, and results from their nearly 2,400 votes are also included below. For what it's worth, neither group was very reliable last year; the top expert had a 63% accuracy rate, while the user consensus was wrong slightly more often than it was right. Perhaps this year will be different.

The experts included in our survey this year are: Cory Barker (TV.com), Chuck Barney (Contra Costa Times), Robert Bianco* (USA Today), Jesse Carp (Cinema Blend), Eric Deggans (Tampa Bay Times), Lynn Elber* (Associated Press), Joyce Eng (TV Guide), Maria Elena Fernandez (The Daily Beast), Daniel Fienberg (HitFix), Maggie Furlong* (Huffington Post), Verne Gay (Newsday), Tim Goodman (The Hollywood Reporter), Elena Howe* (Los Angeles Times), Jace Lacob (The Daily Beast), Oliver Lyttelton (The Playlist), Daniel Manu* (Television Without Pity), Bruce Miller (Sioux City Journal), Tom O'Neil (Gold Derby), Joanne Ostrow (Denver Post), Vinnie Penn (MSN TV), Gail Pennington (St. Louis Post-Dispatch), Rick Porter* (Zap2It), Ray Richmond (Deadline), Matt Roush* (TV Guide), Maureen Ryan* (Huffington Post), Alan Sepinwall (HitFix), Jill Serjeant* (Reuters), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), Alex Strachan (Postmedia News), Ken Tucker* (Entertainment Weekly), Kristi Turnquist (The Oregonian), and Glenn Whipp (The Envelope/Los Angeles Times).

* Predictions made at goldderby.com
Note that some experts did not make predictions in every category. Click on any link above to view individual predictions.

Comedy nominees

While it seems obvious to most observers that Modern Family will take home its third consecutive Emmy for best comedy series, deciding which of that show's actors will get rewarded this year is a dicier proposition (in that you may as well roll some dice to pick which ones will win this time). Both experts and users give Louis C.K. a slight edge in the lead actor competition, thinking, perhaps, that Emmy voters will use the award as a consolation prize for failing to nominate his show (Louie) for best comedy series. (He also has a fighting chance in the directing and writing categories.) While users feel that Amy Poehler will finally get rewarded for her excellent work on Parks and Recreation, experts know that Emmy voters cannot resist Julia Louis-Dreyfus; if the latter wins, it will be for the third time, across three different shows.

Outstanding Comedy Series   Experts   Users
30 Rock
NBC
    0%     7% bar
The Big Bang Theory
CBS
    0%     13% bar
Curb Your Enthusiasm
HBO
    0%     9% bar
Girls
HBO
    3% bar   14% bar
Modern Family
ABC
Image   97% bar   54% bar
Veep
HBO
    0%     3% bar
 
Comedy Lead Actor   Experts   Users
Alec Baldwin
30 Rock
    0%     11% bar
Don Cheadle
House of Lies
    9% bar   4% bar
Louis C.K.
Louie
  47% bar   46% bar
Jon Cryer
Two and a Half Men
    0%     3% bar
Larry David
Curb Your Enthusiasm
    3% bar   7% bar
Jim Parsons
The Big Bang Theory
    41% bar   30% bar
 
Comedy Lead Actress   Experts   Users
Zooey Deschanel
New Girl
    6% bar   21% bar
Lena Dunham
Girls
    3% bar   12% bar
Edie Falco
Nurse Jackie
    0%     4% bar
Tina Fey
30 Rock
    0%     12% bar
Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Veep
  72% bar   16% bar
Melissa McCarthy
Mike & Molly
    3% bar   5% bar
Amy Poehler
Parks and Recreation
  16% bar   30% bar
 
Comedy Supporting Actor   Experts   Users
Ty Burrell
Modern Family
  32% bar   35% bar
Jesse Tyler Ferguson
Modern Family
    0%     10% bar
Ed O'Neill
Modern Family
  43% bar   19% bar
Max Greenfield
New Girl
    7% bar   13% bar
Bill Hader
Saturday Night Live
    4% bar   13% bar
Eric Stonestreet
Modern Family
    14% bar   9% bar
 
Comedy Supporting Actress   Experts   Users
Mayim Bialik
The Big Bang Theory
    11% bar   16% bar
Julie Bowen
Modern Family
  36% bar   18% bar
Kathryn Joosten
Desperate Housewives
    18% bar   5% bar
Sofia Vergara
Modern Family
    14% bar   27% bar
Merritt Wever
Nurse Jackie
    0%     4% bar
Kristen Wiig
Saturday Night Live
  21% bar   28% bar
 
Comedy Writing   Experts   Users
Community
"Remedial Chaos Theory" by Chris McKenna
  0%     31% bar
Girls
"Pilot" by Lena Dunham
  56% bar   21% bar
Louie
"Pregnant" by Louis C.K.
    22% bar   27% bar
Parks and Recreation
"The Debate" by Amy Poehler
    11% bar   17% bar
Parks and Recreation
"Win, Lose, or Draw" by Michael Schur
  11% bar   4% bar
 
Comedy Directing   Experts   Users
Curb Your Enthusiasm
"Palestinian Chicken" dir. by Robert B. Weide
  25% bar   12% bar
Girls
"She Did" dir. by Lena Dunham
    0%     12% bar
Louie
"Duckling" dir. by Louis C.K.
  63% bar   35% bar
Modern Family
"Baby On Board" dir. by Steven Levitan
  13% bar   20% bar
Modern Family
"Virgin Territory" dir. by Jason Winer
  0%     11% bar
New Girl
"Pilot" dir. by Jake Kasdan
    0%     9% bar

Drama nominees

While Mad Men has owned the outstanding drama series category in recent years, it faces even tougher competition this time as it goes for its fifth straight victory. Both experts and users suggest that the ever-building buzz for Breaking Bad might finally tempt Emmy voters to switch their votes to that show, while the additions of Downton Abbey (previously eligible in the miniseries category) and Homeland serve as additional wildcards. The lead acting categories seem set—Bryan Cranston should collect his fourth trophy in four tries for Breaking Bad, while if anyone other than Claire Danes wins in her category, it'll be a major upset—and if the experts are correct, there is little suspense in the supporting categories, too (though our users think otherwise).

Outstanding Drama Series   Experts   Users
Boardwalk Empire
HBO
    0%     2% bar
Breaking Bad
AMC
  31% bar   51% bar
Downton Abbey
PBS
    13% bar   6% bar
Game of Thrones
HBO
    0%     13% bar
Homeland
Showtime
    19% bar   10% bar
Mad Men
AMC
  38% bar   18% bar
 
Drama Lead Actor   Experts   Users
Hugh Bonneville
Downton Abbey
    3% bar   3% bar
Steve Buscemi
Boardwalk Empire
    0%     6% bar
Bryan Cranston
Breaking Bad
  81% bar   74% bar
Michael C. Hall
Dexter
    0%     3% bar
Jon Hamm
Mad Men
    6% bar   9% bar
Damian Lewis
Homeland
    9% bar   7% bar
 
Drama Lead Actress   Experts   Users
Kathy Bates
Harry's Law
    0%     3% bar
Glenn Close
Damages
    3% bar   4% bar
Claire Danes
Homeland
  91% bar   60% bar
Michelle Dockery
Downton Abbey
    3% bar   8% bar
Julianna Margulies
The Good Wife
    3% bar   8% bar
Elisabeth Moss
Mad Men
    0%     17% bar
 
Drama Supporting Actor   Experts   Users
Jim Carter
Downton Abbey
    0%     2% bar
Brendan Coyle
Downton Abbey
    0%     3% bar
Peter Dinklage
Game of Thrones
  4% bar   33% bar
Giancarlo Esposito
Breaking Bad
  67% bar   33% bar
Jared Harris
Mad Men
    15% bar   6% bar
Aaron Paul
Breaking Bad
    15% bar   23% bar
 
Drama Supporting Actress   Experts   Users
Christine Baranski
The Good Wife
    0%     4% bar
Joanne Froggatt
Downton Abbey
    0%     3% bar
Anna Gunn
Breaking Bad
    4% bar   30% bar
Christina Hendricks
Mad Men
    21% bar   30% bar
Archie Panjabi
The Good Wife
    4% bar   3% bar
Maggie Smith
Downton Abbey
  71% bar   30% bar
 
Drama Writing   Experts   Users
Downton Abbey
"Episode 7" by Julian Fellowes
  50% bar   13% bar
Homeland
"Pilot" by Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, and Gideon Raff
  30% bar   40% bar
Mad Men
"Commissions And Fees" by Andre Jacquemetton and Maria Jacquemetton
  0%     12% bar
Mad Men
"Far Away Places" by Semi Chellas and Matthew Weiner
  0%     16% bar
Mad Men
"The Other Woman" by Semi Chellas and Matthew Weiner
  20% bar   18% bar
 
Drama Directing   Experts   Users
Boardwalk Empire
"To The Lost" dir. by Tim Van Patten
    10% bar   8% bar
Breaking Bad
"Face Off" dir. by Vince Gilligan
  20% bar   58% bar
Downton Abbey
"Episode 7" dir. by Brian Percival
    10% bar   8% bar
Homeland
"Pilot" dir. by Michael Cuesta
  60% bar   14% bar
Mad Men
"The Other Woman" dir. by Phil Abraham
  0%     12% bar

Movie and miniseries nominees

While users give a slight edge to UK import Sherlock, many experts suggest that the topicality of the election-themed Game Change (as well as its HBO-ness, of course) would win the day. Two of the latter's stars seem locks in their acting categories, while the former's Benedict Cumberbatch is favored by experts and users alike to win his first Emmy in his first attempt.

Outstanding Movie or Miniseries   Experts   Users
American Horror Story
FX
    8% bar   29% bar
Game Change
HBO
  50% bar   15% bar
Hatfields & McCoys
History
    25% bar   13% bar
Hemingway & Gellhorn
HBO
    0%     4% bar
Luther
BBC America
    4% bar   8% bar
Sherlock: Scandal In Belgravia
PBS
  13% bar   31% bar
 
Movie / Miniseries Lead Actor   Experts   Users
Kevin Costner
Hatfields & McCoys
    29% bar   15% bar
Benedict Cumberbatch
Sherlock
  47% bar   33% bar
Idris Elba
Luther
    0%     20% bar
Woody Harrelson
Game Change
    18% bar   17% bar
Clive Owen
Hemingway & Gellhorn
    6% bar   8% bar
Bill Paxton
Hatfields & McCoys
    0%     6% bar
 
Movie / Miniseries Lead Actress   Experts   Users
Connie Britton
American Horror Story
    0%     26% bar
Ashley Judd
Missing
    0%     6% bar
Nicole Kidman
Hemingway & Gellhorn
    0%     16% bar
Julianne Moore
Game Change
  100% bar   45% bar
Emma Thompson
The Song of Lunch
    0%     7% bar
 
Movie / Miniseries Supporting Actor   Experts   Users
Tom Berenger
Hatfields & McCoys
    0%     12% bar
Martin Freeman
Sherlock
  7% bar   35% bar
Ed Harris
Game Change
  93% bar   32% bar
Denis O'Hare
American Horror Story
    0%     16% bar
David Strathairn
Hemingway & Gellhorn
    0%     5% bar
 
Movie / Miniseries Supporting Actress   Experts   Users
Frances Conroy
American Horror Story
    0%     12% bar
Judy Davis
Page Eight
    0%     7% bar
Jessica Lange
American Horror Story
  100% bar   56% bar
Sarah Paulson
Game Change
    0%     15% bar
Mare Winningham
Hatfields & McCoys
    0%     11% bar
 
Movie / Miniseries Directing   Experts   Users
Game Change
dir. by Jay Roach
  83% bar   24% bar
Hatfields & McCoys
dir. by Kevin Reynolds
    17% bar   20% bar
Hemingway & Gellhorn
dir. by Philip Kaufman
    0%     9% bar
Luther
dir. by Sam Miller
    0%     13% bar
Sherlock
dir. by Paul McGuigan
  0%     35% bar

Other shows

Another year, another victory for The Amazing Race and The Daily Show? The latter is going for its 10th straight win, while the former can win its ninth trophy in 10 tries, and it seems like there is little standing in the way of either show.

Outstanding Reality Competition   Experts   Users
The Amazing Race
CBS
  84% bar   42% bar
Dancing with the Stars
ABC
    0%     7% bar
Project Runway
Lifetime
    0%     6% bar
So You Think You Can Dance
Fox
    5% bar   7% bar
Top Chef
Bravo
    5% bar   16% bar
The Voice
NBC
    5% bar   22% bar
 
Outstanding Variety Series   Experts   Users
The Colbert Report
Comedy Central
    0%     16% bar
The Daily Show w/ Jon Stewart
Comedy Central
  93% bar   47% bar
Jimmy Kimmel Live
ABC
    7% bar   8% bar
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
NBC
    0%     10% bar
Real Time with Bill Maher
HBO
    0%     4% bar
Saturday Night Live
NBC
    0%     16% bar

After the ceremony

On Monday morning, we'll return with a full list of winners, and a look at which experts and users had the most accurate predictions. We'll also sample the responses from TV critics to this year's broadcast.

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