By Neal Justin Minneapolis Star Tribune
In what’s shaping up to be one of the wildest, most unpredictable Emmy Awards presentations in years, there is only one slam-dunk guarantee: “Fargo” will not go home empty-handed.
The Minnesota-set project is a heavy favorite Monday to be named best TV miniseries, skirting competition from “True Detective,” which opted to compete in the drama category. The only minor scare for “Fargo” is “American Horror Story: Coven,” which lacked the spookiness of past seasons.
“Fargo” might even collect the most victories of any show, especially if out-of-nowhere Allison Tolman can upset heavyweights Julia Roberts and Kathy Bates in the supporting-actress race.
But miniseries accolades will almost certainly take a back seat to what should be an emotional tribute to the late Robin Williams and more high-profile contests featuring some of Hollywood’s biggest names. Here’s a cheat sheet:
Nominees: “Breaking Bad,” “Downton Abbey,” “Game of Thrones,” “House of Cards,” “Mad Men,” “True Detective.”
Will and should win: It’s good to be “Bad.” It had only eight episodes — but a short run didn’t stop the series from “Heisenberging” its rivals last year.
Nominees: “The Big Bang Theory,” “Louie,” “Modern Family,” “Orange Is the New Black,” “Silicon Valley,” “Veep.”
Will win: “Modern” love may be harder to come by this year, but there should be enough for the series to tie “Frasier” with five wins in a row.
Should win: Some believe “Louie” has gotten too dark, especially when the lead character appeared to be on the brink of date rape. But it is TV’s most daring and innovative series, the kind of out-on-a-limb effort that needs support.
Best TV movie
Nominees: “Killing Kennedy,” “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight,” “The Normal Heart,” “The Trip to Bountiful,” “Sherlock: His Last Vow.”
Will and should win: The emotionally wrenching “The Normal Heart,” about the early years of AIDS in America, is catnip in Hollywood.
Best actress, comedy
Nominees: Lena Dunham, “Girls”; Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie”; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”; Melissa McCarthy, “Mike and Molly”; Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation”; Taylor Schilling, “Orange Is the New Black.”
Will and should win: The orchestra should have the Beatles’ “Julia” down pat for the actress’ fifth victory march.
Best actor, comedy
Nominees: Don Cheadle, “House of Lies”; Louis C.K., “Louie”; Ricky Gervais, “Derek”; Matt LeBlanc, “Episodes”; William H. Macy, “Shameless”; Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory.”
Will win: This category has featured upsets in recent years, with improbable wins for Jeff Daniels and Kyle Chandler, but the safe money is on Parsons picking up his fourth Emmy.
Should win: Gervais showed surprising range by putting aside his caustic persona and playing a sympathetic nursing-home employee. How sweet it is.
Best actress, drama
Nominees: Claire Danes, “Homeland”; Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife”; Robin Wright, “House of Cards”; Kerry Washington, “Scandal”; Michelle Dockery, “Downton Abbey”; Lizzy Caplan, “Masters of Sex.”
Will win: Wright was the front-runner here — until voters neglected to nominate “Good Wife” for best drama. The backlash will work in Margulies’ favor.
Should win: Caplan, formerly known for her comedic chops, proved to be a master of another domain.
Best actor, drama
Nominees: Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad”; Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”; Jeff Daniels, “The Newsroom”; Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, “True Detective”; Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards.”
Will win: Toughest call of the night with everyone but Harrelson having a serious shot. We’ll give a slight edge to McConaughey, who may still have one more “All right, all right, all right” in him.
Should win: Yes, Cranston has won three times, but it’s impossible to think about sharing the wealth after seeing his explosive performance in “Bad’s” final episodes.