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TV Emmy Winner Predictions 2011

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This Emmy Predictions List covers my best guess as to who will walk away with the night's biggest awards. See

2011 Emmy Award nominees were announced on July 14th, 2011. HBO led the back with over 100 combined nominations. The most nominated shows included AMC's "Mad Men," HBO's "Game of Thrones" and "Boardwalk Empire" and NBC's "Saturday Night Live" and "30 Rock." An interesting theme of this year's comedy nominations: both Louis CK and Matt LeBlanc are up (for "Louie" and "Episodes," respectively) for playing versions of themselves. The nominees were announced by Joshua Jackson ("Fringe") and Melissa McCarthy (a nominee for "Mike and Molly.")

The 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards will air on September 18th on Fox. The host will be actress Jane Lynch of "Glee!" fame.
1

Outstanding Drama Series


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Nominees:

- "Boardwalk Empire," HBO
- "Dexter," Showtime
- "Friday Night Lights," DirecTV
- "Game of Thrones," HBO
- "The Good Wife," CBS
- "Mad Men," AMC

PREDICTED WINNER: "Mad Men"

Feels like this year is going to belong to Matt Weiner's "Mad Men." With usual competition like "Breaking Bad" out of the way, there aren't a lot of other shows that can really stack up to "Mad Men's" combination of hype and praise. (Two strong, well-reviewed HBO shows are in the running, but are both in their debut seasons. They may need more time to marinate in viewer's minds before grabbing the top prize.)

Possible Dark Horses: HBO's "Boardwalk Empire" and "Game of Thrones." Debut seasons, but both hot and popular shows with talented ensembles and a lot of esteem.
2

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series


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Nominees:

- Steve Buscemi, "Boardwalk Empire"
- Michael C. Hall, "Dexter"
- Kyle Chandler, "Friday Night Lights"
- Timothy Olyphant, "Justified"
- Jon Hamm, "Mad Men"

PREDICTED WINNER: Jon Hamm, "Mad Men"

Hamm has never won for his portrayal of iconic '60s ad man Don Draper. He's consistently nominated and then beaten out by AMC-mate Bryan Cranston of "Breaking Bad." But due to scheduling, Cranston's not nominated this year, opening the door for Hamm to take the prize for what is arguably "Mad Men's" finest season to date. This season showed Draper hitting rock bottom and then starting to piece his life back together, and demanded a tremendous amoutn of range and subtle emotion from Hamm. (Honestly, he should win for the episode titled "The Suitcase" alone.)

Possible Dark Horse: Steve Buscemi (for "Boardwalk Empire"). "Empire" had a big first year, was quickly renewed for another season and revolved largely around Buscemi's complex portrayal of crooked politician Nucky Thompson. If "Boardwalk" looks to sweep on Emmy Night, Buscemi could easily walk away with the top prize.
3

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series


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Nominees:

- Connie Britton, "Friday Night Lights"
- Julianna Margulies, "The Good Wife"
- Kathy Bates, "Harry's Law"
- Mareille Enos, "The Killing"
- Mariska Hargitay, "Law and Order: SVU"
- Elisabeth Moss, "Mad Men"

PREDICTED WINNER: Julianna Margulies, "The Good Wife"

Perennial favorite Margulies has already won a Golden Globe and a SAG Award for her work as Alicia Florrick in "The Good Wife," and she was nominated for the Emmy the previous year. (She lost to the currently un-nominated Kyra Sedgwick in "The Closer."

Possible Dark Horse: Connie Britton, "Friday Night Lights." This was the final season for critically-lauded "Friday Night Lights." Britton was already nominated last year. She could get the votes from viewers sorry to see the show go off the air.
4

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series


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Nominees:

- Peter Dinklage, "Game of Thrones"
- Josh Charles, "The Good Wife"
- Alan Cumming, "The Good Wife"
- Walton Goggins, "Justified"
- John Slattery, "Mad Men"
- Andre Braugher, "Men of a Certain Age"

PREDICTED WINNER: John Slattery, "Mad Men"

Roger Sterling has always been one of the audience favorite characters in "Mad Men,' but this year, he really got to spread his wings and make the character more three-dimensional (and also far more pathetic.) In particular, an episode in which Sterling is the lone holdout against taking on the Japanese Honda account showed the darker, damaged man behind the icy witticisms.

Possible Dark Horse: Peter Dinklage, "Game of Thrones." Pretty much universally agreed to be the best character on the HBO fantasy hit "Game of Thrones," Dinklage's Tyrion Lannister gets the lion's share of great dialogue, and becomes at times the audience's way in to the crazily complex world created by George R R Martin.