Nominations for this year's Emmy Awards will be announced live from L.A. tomorrow, July 18, at 8:35 a.m ET/5:35 am PT. As we eagerly whittle down the next final 24 hours until the big reveal, here's which shows and actors we editors at Wetpaint Entertainment think should take home Emmy gold on September 22.
Rebecca: "Fortunately, my top picks are virtual locks for nominations: Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Homeland. After that, it's a toss-up."
Julia: "Nashville has a lot of promise, though I think it would make a better nominee than winner. If it were nominated, it could get more eyes on it so that the producers wouldn't have to create unbelievable drama to try and hook people. The music and acting is solid and the stories are largely good. The Americans is great, though hard to watch for some people. Lots of sex and violence, but the political elements are fascinating. And for the current generation of TV viewers, there's a bit of a history lesson element as well. Plus, Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys are excellent. Homeland is flawless. And it's incredible they could take the guy from the soul-suck that was Life (starring the hot chick from The L Word, Sarah Shahi), and make him a brilliant actor and character. And Claire Danes. I thought she was just gonna do 'vacant-eyed' for the rest of her career, so it was a nice surprise."
Alyse: "Though this category is brimming with fantastic potential nominees, the show that has captured America’s collective heart (and given it many attacks) is ABC’s Scandal. The fast-paced, complicated storylines and even quicker dialogue are impressive on paper, but the way the cast delivers each twist and turn is why it should be recognized. Sorry, Grey’s Anatomy — Shonda Rhimes’ latest is certainly the greatest."
Elisabeth: "Breaking Bad — Because it’s amazing and almost over."
Rebecca: "Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black. If I could magically guarantee a single person in any category a spot on the ballot, it would be Tatiana, whose unprecedented and extraordinary performance on Orphan Black risks going unacknowledged due to genre bias. The sci-fi thriller about clones and conspiracy would fall apart if Tatiana didn't inhabit each clone character so thoroughly that it's sometimes hard to remember they're all played by the same person."
Julia: "Connie Britton, Nashville (pictured). She has that hair and that singing and those faces and she's perfect in every way. And even though her singing isn't the best thing ever, it kind of is. Plus, those leather pants. Dayum. Keri Russell, The Americans. She has always been a very serious actress, other than that movie about pie I tried to wipe from my brain, and it's nice to see that her approach has grown with her through the years. If she was trying to play academic overthinker as a spy, it wouldn't work. But there's a rawness to her portrayal that is necessary for the character she plays. "
Alyse: "New shows aren’t as much of a shoo-in for Emmys as more established programming, but Tatiana Maslany deserves all of the awards for her jaw-dropping, intense, phenomenal, every-adjective-in the-dictionary portrayal of Sarah Manning (and her clones) on Orphan Black. In fear of spoiling those who haven’t watched — which you should jump on immediately — no further details about her incredible role will be dropped, but seriously. I don’t know where she came from, but she should sweep the 2013 Emmys."
Elisabeth: "Michelle Dockery of Downton Abbey — because Mary’s going to need all the love she can get post-Matthew’s death."
Chako: "Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones. At just 16 years old, actress Maisie Williams brings serious spice to her Game of Thrones character, Arya Stark, a female protagonist who has legions of fangirls (and boys) worshipping at her feet. She never ceases to surprise us with her go-get-'em badassery and a surprising smoldering intensity from one so young."
Alyse: "Oh, the tears. On a show as big as Parenthood, it is difficult to distinguish the blurred lines between lead and supporting actress, so if it was possible, she deserves Emmys in all categories. While storylines could get loss in such a big ensemble cast, (pictured) Monica Potter’s brave, heartbreaking, and accurate portrayal of the struggles of cancer had everyone in the world crying last season. Even one line — or sometimes one look — can send you over the edge, and she consistently delivers amazing performances, which will hopefully be happier in Season 5."
Chako: "Timothy Olyphant, Justified (pictured). Besides the fact that the actor emits some serious sex appeal, he brings a steely determination and laid-back country swagger to bad boy US Marshal Raylan Givens. Arrest me, please! Andrew Lincoln, The Walking Dead. First off, Andrew's American accent has gotten noticeably better since Season 1. The actor also does an amazing job of making Rick Grimes a very human and relatable hero. The stress and responsibility he bears — of being a leader and a family man in a time of zombie apocalypse — is made palpable by his acting ability and interactions with the environment and the cast. Can you believe this was the same guy who played the lovestruck sap in Love Actually?"
Julia: "Damian Lewis, Homeland. Like I mentioned before, he has really separated himself in his current role from previous ones. And I don't know how he does it, but he maintains a haunted look in his eyes so well. I hope he doesn't do anything drastic because it gets so dark. Like, for real."
Elisabeth: "Michael C. Hall of Dexter — Because his show is ending, too, and he deserves something to remind him of better days."
Alyse: "If there’s any year for Michael C. Hall to win, it is now. While there were a few bumps in the road throughout the show’s eight seasons, he has carried the show, completely immersing himself in Dexter to somehow become a lovable, charismatic serial killer. He will leave a void in not only this category, but in television as a whole, and is hands-down one of the most talented actors in cable history. If he had to lose to someone, it should be Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston, though."
Chako: "Walton Goggins, Justified. Walton does a freaking amazing job annihilating the caricature from the TV villain. He shows the complicated and conflicted side of criminal behavior (and how it all ties in with the justice system) in his portrayal of resilient and masterfully strategic criminal Boyd Crowder. Jack Huston, Boardwalk Empire. He plays the tallest, darkest, and most mysterious character on TV right now. Richard Harrow is the breakout star of HBO's lavish period drama series."
Rebecca: "Throwing out one last desperate cry for Game of Thrones' Nikolaj Coster-Waldau to squeeze into this category, over co-star (and previous winner) Peter Dinklage, if necessary. It's all about the bath scene."
Alyse:"Aaron Paul took home the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor last year and in 2010, and with the final episodes of Breaking Bad airing next month, it seems fitting that he nabs his third. Though it would be easy to sing his praises for five seasons of absolutely stellar, dramatic, and sometimes heartbreaking performances, it’s better to just tell it like it is — give Jesse Pinkman an Emmy, b—h!"
Chako: "Enlightened — though this may be more dramedy than comedy. I'd expect nothing less than more masterful writing (and acting) by Mike White. The series had an ethereal and dream-like quality on top of what would normally be a mundane and melancholy storyline. The highlight of this second (and final) season for me was Luke Wilson's Levi rehab episode. i can't wait to see what Mike White does next."
Rebecca: "Two vastly different shows that I'd love to see nominated: FX's Louie, for being a darkly humorous, deeply touching exploration of a single character; and New Girl, which was just plain the funniest thing on TV this year."
Alyse: "There are plenty of comedies out there, including other workplace, single-camera comedies, but none of them hold a candle — or 5,000 candles in the wind — to Parks and Recreation (pictured). There are hilarious jokes and heartfelt moments, but what really hooks us is how they intertwine anything in the show — and make it immediately amazing. Waffles? Check. Game of Thrones geekdom? Check. Claymation? Check. The list goes on and on, but instead of saying it all, just go treat yo’self to a DVD set."
Elisabeth: "New Girl. The whole cast just makes it work."
Elisabeth: "Amy Poehler (pictured) of Parks and Recreation. Heart and soul of that show, man. Heart and soul."
Chako: "Laura Dern, Enlightened. Laura had me crying and cringing while on the path to enlightenment with her conflicted trainwreck character, Amy Jellicoe. Laura's multilayered performance brought on a multitude of conflicting emotions from love to hate and hope to hopelessness and then back again. Through her passionate (and hilarious) performance, Laura elicited the undeniable notion that her character wanted to do good and better the world, which the best of us aspire to."
Julia: "Kerry Washington for her Scandal portrayal. It's hilarious. And the entire cast of Smash."
Alyse: "Amy Poehler knows how to make people laugh — that’s no secret. But to have a show like Parks and Recreation with such heart that can also make you sometimes literally roll on the floor laughing and cry in the same episode? That’s not easy to do. Whether it’s something as mundane as doing paperwork, as sad as mourning Lil’ Sebastian, or as ridiculous as making a “unity quilt,” she can do it. Or in her words, Knope She Can."
Rebecca: "Go On probablydidn't get the love or ratings to make this happen, but Julie White was a revelation as no-nonsense, crotchety, grieving Anne."
Alyse: "This is never going to happen, but Gillian Jacobs (pictured) is the unsung hero of Community. While the focus isn’t often on her comedic chops — if anything, the jokes are always at her expense — but she sneaks in with memorable scenes like ad-libbed pizza songs and impressive acrobatics as she escapes Troy’s apartment. Britta will never be recognized, and in turn, Gillian won’t, either, but I'll keep rooting for her."
Alyse: "There isn’t a better or crazier based-on-a-true-story show on TV right now. Hands down, Louis C.K. (pictured) [Louie] is the king of comedy, and we're just living in his world. Drop mic ... I'll always miss Party Down, but having Adam Scott on Parks and Recreation as Ben Wyatt, Leslie Knope’s grounding presence (and now husband!), is perhaps even better. From calzone-making to Batman-impersonating, Adam knows how to make us laugh, but he also made us sob when he proposed to Leslie, and he's the underdog we'll always cheer on. Together, Amy and Adam are the heart of the show, and I'd love nothing more than to see them both walk away with an Emmy this year."