"Homeland" star Claire Danes is the favorite to win the lead… (Kent Smith )
The Envelope's Gold Standard columnist Glenn Whipp is sweeping through Emmy categories this week, predicting the winners in the top categories. Having already looked at the lead actor races, he turns his attention to the women, for whom the comedy category stands as a much tougher call than its more serious counterpart.
Plus, join Whipp and Times television reporter Scott Collins for a Google+ Hangout at 10 a.m. Thursday right here in this space, as they discuss what to look for at the Emmy Awards on Sunday.
LEAD ACTRESS, DRAMA
Kathy Bates, "Harry's Law"
Glenn Close, "Damages"
Claire Danes, "Homeland"
Michelle Dockery, "Downton Abbey"
Julianna Margulies, "The Good Wife"
Elisabeth Moss, "Mad Men"
And the winner is ... Danes. She's the top of the nominees, delivering career-best acting in a critically acclaimed show that voters genuinely dig. And, really, the competition offers little resistance. Close's camp couldn't run on the "this-is-her-year" platform that "Albert Nobbs" campaigners used in the last Oscar race, since Close has already won here twice and for better episodes, better seasons. Margulies took the category last year, but her show's exclusion for series doesn't bode well for a repeat.
And though we love Moss as much as the next "Mad Men" fan, her submitted episode ("The Other Woman") belonged more to costar Christina Hendricks. (We will cop to wiping away a tear when Peggy told Don she was leaving the agency, a scene as beautiful and powerful as any in "Mad Men's" stellar fifth season.)
As for Dockery and Bates (not "Downton's" Bates, the other one), the former gets swallowed by the size of her show's large ensemble, while the latter stars in a series that was canceled without much protest. And Ms. Bates already pulled off a win for her other nomination, as a guest star on "Two and a Half Men," playing the ghost of the deceased Charlie Sheen character.
Unless ... Margulies defends her turf because, somehow, not enough Emmy voters watched "Homeland."
LEAD ACTRESS, COMEDY
Zooey Deschanel, "New Girl"
Lena Dunham, "Girls"
Edie Falco, "Nurse Jackie"
Tina Fey, "30 Rock"
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep"
Melissa McCarthy, "Mike & Molly"
Amy Poehler, "Parks and Recreation"
And the winner is ... A tie takes the recent expansion of nominees a step further, making for a jampacked group of seven. With this many options, we'll steer toward the safety of Louis-Dreyfus, a 13-time nominee and two-time winner. If she owns an Emmy for "The New Adventures of Old Christine," she could certainly take one for the sharply observed satire of "Veep."
Unless ... With this many nominees, almost anything is within the realm of possibility. Our favorite scenario has Poehler finally winning for another great season of "Parks and Recreation," a year that culminated in her submitted episode, "Win, Lose, or Draw." Watching Leslie Knope's obsessive, season-long campaign to win a seat on Pawnee's city council almost negated the cynicism that real-world politics produce. That's a difficult and ambitious feat, an accomplishment worthy of celebration.
That said, we're not exactly optimistic that "Parks" has enough fans outside its devoted following for Poehler to prevail. If voters go young, look for Dunham, not Deschanel, to win. "Girls" dominated the cultural conversation when it premiered this spring, and Dunham proved herself equally capable on both sides of the camera.
Emmy predictions: Cranston, Louis C.K. primed for lead wins