The Emmy nominations are in. The paparazzi are at the ready. All that’s left is the September 23rd red carpet walk followed by the oh-so-slow handing out of the trophies.  Who will get the coveted Emmy? And who will go home empty-handed, that just-an-honour-to-be-nominated grin frozen on their face?

I have a few predictions – based on taste, hunches and petty TV politics. Keep in mind – I’m not a handicapper and this is not a betting site. Well, unless you know something I don’t know. Uh, do you know something?

Let’s start with some of the hopeful actors:

BEST ACTOR (DRAMA SERIES) – The easy bet would be Jon Hamm (Mad Men) for his always intriguing portrayal of angst-ridden adman Don Draper. The show is an Emmy fave, having won Best Drama in the four years it’s been entered. But I’m calling for Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) as a possible upset – providing the show’s violent meth-making plots don’t alienate voters. As for Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire) and Michael C. Hall (Dexter), they were good in not-so-good seasons:

BEST ACTRESS (DRAMA SERIES) – Julianna Margulies won it last year for The Good Wife, and the show continues to grow in popularity. It’s a safe bet she’ll do it again. Outside-chancers include Elizabeth Moss (Mad Men) for her increasingly complex character Peggy, and Kathy Bates (Harry’s Law) who might get some sympathy votes following her show’s cancellation:

BEST ACTOR (COMEDY) – Tough call. I’m thinking Jon Cryer (Two and A Half Men) might have a shot this year – if only as acknowledgement for all the years he tolerated Charlie Sheen. Too far-fetched? Well then, go with Jim Parsons (Big Bang Theory) as obnoxious genius Sheldon Cooper. He won last year afterall. As for Louis C.K. (Louie) or Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm) – aren’t they just playing themselves on these shows? Alec Baldwin (30 Rock)? Hold off on him till 30 Rock’s final season.

BEST ACTRESS (COMEDY) – I think Melissa McCarthy’s win last year for Mike and Molly was a one-time thing. Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation) might win out of spite – with voters backing her after P&R’s absurd snub for Best Comedy. Lena Dunham (Girls) and Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie)? Are those even comedies? Still, Dunham’s turn as creator/writer/director/gaffer/star on Girls deserves a special Emmy. As for Zooey Deschanel (New Girl) – does ‘quirky’ mean Emmy? Don’t see it:

SUPPORTING ACTOR (COMEDY) – It’s a field dominated by four(!) actors from Modern Family. Ty Burrell was a deserving winner last year, but Ed O’Neill would be my choice this time around. If the Modern Family guys cancel each other out, then New Girl‘s psychotic Schmidt (Max Greenfield) wins by default. I don’t expect that to happen, but it’d be cool:

SUPPORTING ACTRESS (COMEDY) – Julie Bowen (Modern Family) got an unexpected nod last year over co-star Sofia Vergara. Could it be Sofia’s turn this year? Probably not. I suspect Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live) might emerge victorious after retiring from the series this season.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS (DRAMA) – Tough category. Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey) won before but in the Miniseries category, and she’s got co-star competition this year (Joanna Froggatt). So does past nominee Christine Baranski (The Good Wife), who also shares the nomination with fellow Good Wifer Archie Panjabi. With that in mind, maybe this is the year for Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad) as the beleaguered wife of a troubled meth-maker:

SUPPORTING ACTOR (DRAMA) – We got two Breaking Bad guys (Aaron Paul/Giancarlo Esposito) and two Downton Abbeys men (Brendan Coyle/Jim Canter) so why not Jared Harris (Mad Men) coming through the middle to win? Afterall, he had a showy season as the financially-strapped, suicidal adman. Don’t like longshots? Then go with last year’s winner Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones). He’s still the best thing on a pretty amazing series.