Credit: Showtime © CBS Broadcasting Inc/Frank Ockenfels/AMC ©2011 American Movie Classics Photo: Homeland, Mad Men, and Breaking Bad

The Emmy 2012 nominations will be announced on July 14 and you know what that means: It's time to get our prediction on!

To start, we'll take a look at which shows we think are likely to snag one of the six spots on the ballot for Best Series, Drama. (For comparison, we've starred last year's nominees.) Enjoy!

Shoe-Ins

Mad Men, AMC*

Why it's a lock: Mad Men has won the Best Series trophy four years in a row (AKA every year it's been on air) and many people think Season 5 was its best yet.

Working against it: Literally nothing. This is the show to beat, and there is no way it won't get nominated.

Breaking Bad, AMC

Why it's a lock: Like Mad Men, Breaking Bad has been nominated every year it's been on (it wasn't eligible in 2011), and if it weren't for its AMC brethren it probably would have won once or twice by now. Plus, it has an unbeatable crowning jewel: Bryan Cranston, who is practically guaranteed the Best Actor win.

Working against it: It's been nominated three times, but it hasn't won yet. However, that won't stop it from getting a nomination, and its stellar fourth season might finally be enough to knock Mad Men out of the top spot.

Homeland, Showtime

Why it's a lock: Homeland is the most critically acclaimed new drama of the season, and it's built around the kind of intense psychological portraits Emmy voters love. Add in an early win with the Critics Choice Awards and Claire Danes' frontrunner status in the Best Actress race, and you have yourself a nomination.

Working against it: It's new, so maybe Emmy voters won't be as familiar with it. But it's new with a ton of (well deserved) buzz. We will be shocked if Homeland doesn't easily get a nomination, and, depending on what kind of momentum it can build, we think it's one of the few shows that might be able to usurp Mad Men.

 

Other Strong Contenders

Game of Thrones, HBO*

Working for it: Game of Thrones drew an even bigger audience in its second season than its first, and, being a spring show, this epic is on everyone's mind right now. On top of that, Peter Dinklage won Best Supporting Actor last year, and will almost certainly be nominated again.

Working against it: The academy is notoriously iffy on fantasy shows, and Game of Thrones' fantastical elements were on full display this season. We think it's still highly likely to grab a nom, but a win is probably not in the cards for Westeros and its dragons.

Downton Abbey, PBS

Working for it: This PBS Masterpiece production won last year when it was in the Mini-Series or Movie category, and the critical buzz surrounding it reached soaring heights during its second season. Plus, masterful cinematography and big names like Maggie Smith make Downton perfect awards bait.

Working against it: Despite the love, Downton's second season failed to achieve the same storytelling success as the first. If Emmy voters were as turned off by the melodrama as some fans, it could miss out on a nomination in this uber-competitive category

The Good Wife, CBS*

Working for it: The Good Wife was nominated for its first two seasons, and its third was as strong as ever.

Working against it: At its heart, The Good Wife is a network procedural in a category where every other major contender is a cable serial. It might be too much the odd man out this time, especially with Homeland and Breaking Bad in the running.

Boardwalk Empire, HBO*

Working for it: Boardwalk Empire was nominated in 2011 for its first season, and basically everyone in the world agrees Season 2 was much stronger. Plus, it's on HBO, which is a point in any show's favor come awards season.

Working against it: Breaking Bad, Homeland, and Downton Abbey weren't contenders in this category last year. Breaking Bad is clearly taking up one spot, and Homeland will probably take another. That doesn't leave a lot of room, and if voters decide that Downton is the better period piece Boardwalk Empire could easily be squeezed out.

 

Other Possibilities

Dexter, Showtime*

Working for it: Dexter has been nominated every year since 2008, and old habits die hard.

Working against it: The world is kind of over this show. We're thinking the number of other, stronger contenders will finally overcome inertia in this category.

Boss, Starz

Working for it: Kelsey Grammer is a familiar name, and Boss did snag a Golden Globe win for Best Actor, and a nod for Best Drama.

Working against it: Does anyone really care about Boss? We'd put our money on a nomination for Kelsey Grammer, but not for the show itself.

Justified, FX

Working for it: Justified remains critically beloved, and Margo Martindale's win for Best Supporting Actress last year may have raised its profile a bit.

Working against it: Margo Martindale is gone, and if the show couldn't secure a nom with her around, it's highly unlikely to manage it this year.

Luck, HBO

Working for it: Never underestimate the power of big, familiar names on the Emmy ballot. The combo of HBO + Dustin Hoffman + Nick Nolte means you can't count Luck out yet.

Working against it: Luck premiered to a lukewarm reception, and that's before it was cancelled because horses kept dying on set. That doesn't exactly leave a sparkling impression.

 

We Wish

Revenge, ABC

Why it deserves consideration: Revenge is one of the most confidently executed shows on network TV. Every fast-paced twist and turn is guaranteed to thrill, and the acting is often nothing short of excellent.

Why it won't get a nomination: It's a prime time soap opera, and those almost never get nominations. In today's cable-obsessed awards environment, Revenge just doesn't stand a chance.

Castle, ABC

Why it deserves consideration: Castle is a fun procedural and a great love story all rolled up in one. TV doesn't have to be All Serious, All the Time, and if you want entertaining, it doesn't get better than this.

Why it won't get a nomination: Actually, TV does have to be All Serious, All the Time if it wants a Best Drama Emmy nomination. Thems the breaks, folks.

Fringe, Fox

Why it deserves consideration: Fringe is the best sci-fi show on TV today. It balances an epic series arc involving multiple universes with thrilling episodic stories and strong character through lines.

Why it won't get a nomination: It's a sci-fi show, which means it stands zero chance. Game of Thrones only gets away with being fantasy because it's on HBO.

What do you want to see nominated? Let us know in the comments below!

Rebecca Martin is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @BeccaMartin47.

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