Miniseries or Movie
"American Horror Story: Asylum" (FX)
"Behind the Candelabra" (HBO)
"Phil Spector" (HBO)
"Political Animals" (USA)
"The Bible" (History)
"Top of the Lake" (Sundance)
Okay, we'll just say it: This category is bananas. We have Jesus ("The Bible") vs. Satan ("AHS: Asylum"), with Liberace and Phil Spector thrown in for good measure. (And how are ongoing series like "Asylum" and "Political Animals" eligible? Anything to land an Emmy, we suppose.) "Asylum" was an overbaked step down from Season 1 of "AHS," and "Spector" was tabloid trash — and not in a good way. But "Candelabra" was a strangely compelling portrait of showbiz excess, thanks to great lead performances from Michael Douglas and (especially) Matt Damon. And we're happy to see some attention paid to "Top of the Lake," a hauntingly meditative crime drama from Oscar winner Jane Campion, with a knockout performance from "Mad Men's" Elisabeth Moss. (Check it out on Netflix; you'll like it.)
Should Win: "Top of the Lake." It's one of the best things we've seen on TV all year.
Will Win: The inside-showbiz angle and director Steven Soderbergh's clout should push "Behind the Candelabra" over the top.
Reality - Competition Program
Otherwise known as the "Amazing Race" category. CBS's globetrotting reality hit has been a real Emmy hog, winning this award nine of the ten years it's been given out. Do any of the others have a chance? Not really, but we'll go through them anyway. "Top Chef" is TV's best cooking competition, and managed to break "Race's" stranglehold on the category a couple years back. Of the two dancing shows, we greatly prefer "So You Think You Can Dance" to "DWTS," since everybody on that show can actually dance. "Runway" is a perennial nominee, but has long since gone out of style. And by snagging a nom, "The Voice" at least has bragging rights over rivals "American Idol" and "The X Factor."
Should Win: A "SYTYCD" win would be amazing (especially if Mary Murphy gave the acceptance speech), but we're hungry for a second helping of "Top Chef."
Will Win: "The Amazing Race." Duh.