This Sunday, it's time for the TV industry to congratulate itself by handing out a lot of self-serving awards. In recent years, the Emmys haven't been the most exciting crop. Almost without variation, we can expect to see “The Sopranos,” “The West Wing,” “Friends,” “24,” “Everybody Loves Raymond” and Jane Kaczmarek from “Malcolm in the Middle” (five years worth of nominations and counting).
This year pretty much continues the tradition with very few surprise nominations. Still, Gary Shandling will be hosting, meaning the show will have its fair share of entertainment value in-between predictable awards. So what are the predictions? Let's take a gander.
Comedy Series: “Arrested Development” (FOX), “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (HBO), “Everybody Loves Raymond” (CBS), “Sex and the City” (HBO), “Will & Grace” (NBC). Should Win: FOX's “Arrested Development” can't seem to lure audiences, but it's the best sitcom on TV. Will Win: Sentiment is running awfully high for the series-ending season of “Sex and the City.”
Dramatic Series: “CSI” (CBS), “Joan of Arcadia” (CBS), “The Sopranos” (HBO), “24” (FOX), “The West Wing” (NBC). Should Win: “CSI,” “24” and “The West Wing” have all slipped in the last season or so. “Joan” is still too green, leaving cult fave “The Sopranos” as most deserving. Will Win: A critical rave and a fan fave, “The Sopranos” has a good shot at its first-ever series win (hard to believe, huh?).
Lead Actor Comedy Series: Larry David “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (HBO), John Ritter “8 Simple Rules” (ABC), Kelsey Grammar “Frasier” (NBC), Matt LeBlanc “Friends” (NBC), Tony Shaloub “Monk” (USA). Should Win: David is certainly the boldest performer in the lot. Will Win: But he's much too nasty for Emmy viewers, leaving overwhelming sentimental favorite, the late, lamented John Ritter.
Lead Actor Drama Series: James Spader “The Practice” (ABC), James Gandolfini “The Sopranos” (HBO), Kiefer Sutherland “24” (FOX), Martin Sheen “The West Wing” (NBC), Anthony LaPaglia “Without a Trace” (CBS). Should Win: Easy. Spader's turn in “The Practice” was so good they actually gave him a spin-off series. Will Win: LaPaglia is a real fave in Hollywood and his show is riding a ratings high. Go with the buzz.
Lead Actress Comedy: Patricia Heaton “Everybody Loves Raymond” (CBS), Jennifer Aniston “Friends” (NBC), Bonnie Hunt “Life with Bonnie” (ABC), Jane Kaczmarek “Malcolm in the Middle” (FOX), Sarah Jessica Parker “Sex and the City” (HBO). Should Win: Kaczmarek has never won and Hunt's show just got canceled. But the standout performance goes to Parker for her final season of “Sex.” Will Win: None of the girls from “Sex and the City” ever won an Emmy. Here's the chance to correct that. Parker all the way.
Lead Actress Drama: Jennifer Garner “Alias” (ABC), Amber Tamblyn “Joan Of Arcadia” (CBS), Mariska Hargitay “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (NBC), Edie Falco “The Sopranos” (HBO), Allison Janney “The West Wing” (NBC). Should Win: Garner has been doing some very good work in a show that, despite its industry buzz, remains severely ratings-challenged. Will Win: Falco, however, has been fantastic in a season that has allowed her character to spread her wings. A lock.