Emmys 2014 predictions: Who will win, who should win

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is not always just in choosing the Emmy Award winners (as "Mad Men's" Jon Hamm knows all too well), but its choices are often predictable. While the most deserving actors and shows may not take TV's top prizes Monday night during the 66th Primetime Emmys, they won't go without recognition from TV critic Verne Gay. Here, he predicts the winners in the major categories, and gives credit where it's due to ones that may not win, but should.

COMEDY SERIES: 'MODERN FAMILY'

The fifth win in a row for heavily

The fifth win in a row for heavily favored "Family" will tie it with "Frasier," which nailed its fifth-in-a-row win in 1998.

SHOULD WIN "Veep" -- which went stratospheric last season -- or at the very least "Orange Is the New Black," which had an outstanding sophomore season. But broadcast TV has owned this category almost forever -- or at least since 2001, when "Sex and the City" broke the deadlock. Hard to believe that will change in ’14.

THE NOMINEES "The Big Bang Theory" (CBS), "Louie" (FX), "Modern Family" (ABC), "Orange Is the New Black" (Netflix), "Silicon Valley" (HBO) and "Veep" (HBO). (August 20, 2014 4:49 PM)

DRAMA SERIES: 'BREAKING BAD'

Warning: Contains language that may be offensive to

Warning: Contains language that may be offensive to some users.

The Emmy voters hate to disavow their choice from the prior year, which is why winners usually keep on winning. But the final season of "Breaking Bad" was spectacular, so there's no overwhelmingly compelling reason why they should disavow the 2013 choice and, in fact, reaffirm it in 2014 by giving this classic a proper farewell.

SHOULD WIN "Breaking Bad" . . . unless you might argue, as I do, back and forth in my head, that "Game of Thrones" should win. A stunning season, and one of the most technically ambitious of any series in TV history. Equally spectacular. But "GoT's" best drama Emmy win probably still lies in the future.

THE NOMINEES "Breaking Bad" (AMC), "Downton Abbey" (PBS), "Game of Thrones" (HBO), "House of Cards" (Netflix), "Mad Men" (AMC), and "True Detective" (HBO). (August 20, 2014 4:54 PM)

ACTOR, COMEDY: JIM PARSONS, 'THE BIG BANG THEORY'

If you're looking for a surprise upset this

If you're looking for a surprise upset this year, don't look too hard, even if comedy/lead actor may be the best place for an upset (Macy? Who knows!)

SHOULD WIN Macy. Just because. Just because . . . he's a great actor and deserves at long last major Emmy love (and because enough already with Parsons, who pretty much owns this category now).

THE NOMINEES Louis C.K. /"Louie" (FX), Don Cheadle /"House of Lies" (Showtime), Ricky Gervais /"Derek" (Netflix, Matt LeBlanc /"Episodes" (Showtime), William H. Macy /"Shameless" (Showtime), and Jim Parsons /"The Big Bang Theory” (CBS). (August 21, 2014 8:21 AM)

ACTRESS, COMEDY: JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS, 'VEEP'

When you're on a roll, you're on a

When you're on a roll, you're on a roll. Plus, Emmys can justify not giving "Veep" a best-comedy award, by giving a best actress one to the lead.

SHOULD WIN Louis-Dreyfus. Hands down -- even in this, a superlative 2014 best actress pack.

THE NOMINEES Lena Dunham /"Girls" (HBO), Edie Falco /"Nurse Jackie" (Showtime). Julia Louis-Dreyfus /"Veep" (HBO), Melissa McCarthy, "Mike & Molly" (CBS), Amy Poehler /"Parks and Recreation" (NBC), and Taylor Schilling /"Orange Is the New Black" (Netflix). (August 20, 2014 4:58 PM)

ACTOR, DRAMA: MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY, 'TRUE DETECTIVE'

This category pretty much belongs to "True Detective,"

This category pretty much belongs to "True Detective," which likely won't win best drama, but almost certainly this. This victory will cap the winner's so-called "McConaissance."

SHOULD WIN Cranston, whose nominating episode this year was "Ozymandias." (Yes, of course, Hamm deserves to win, too, but there's still time -- and he will win one of these days, if Emmy justice is properly served.)

THE NOMINEES Bryan Cranston /"Breaking Bad" (AMC), Jeff Daniels /"The Newsroom" (HBO), Jon Hamm /"Mad Men" (AMC), Woody Harrelson /"True Detective" (HBO), Matthew McConaughey /"True Detective" (HBO), and Kevin Spacey /"House of Cards" (Netflix). (August 21, 2014 8:30 AM)

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ACTRESS, DRAMA: CLAIRE DANES, 'HOMELAND'

Sometimes when confronted with a particularly difficult choice

Sometimes when confronted with a particularly difficult choice -- and this year's best actress nominees have presented a near-impossible one -- voters fall back on the choice of least resistance: The previous year's!

SHOULD WIN Wright. A wonder as Second Lady Claire "MacBeth" Underwood, but will the Academy voters see their way past the fact that she doesn't actually star on a television series but on a streaming one? Doubtful.

THE NOMINEES Lizzy Caplan, "Masters of Sex" (Showtime), Claire Danes /"Homeland" (Showtime), Michelle Dockery /"Downton Abbey" (PBS), Julianna Margulies /"The Good Wife" (CBS), Kerry Washington /"Scandal" (ABC), and Robin Wright /"House of Cards" (Netflix). (August 21, 2014 8:27 AM)

TV MOVIE: 'THE NORMAL HEART'

As easy a call as there is in

As easy a call as there is in the entire 66th annual Emmys.

SHOULD WIN "The Normal Heart." Ryan Murphy's adaptation of the Larry Kramer play about the AIDS crisis was one of the triumphs of the TV year.

THE NOMINEES "Killing Kennedy" (National Geographic), "Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight" (HBO), "The Normal Heart" (HBO), "Sherlock: His Last Vow" (PBS), and "The Trip to Bountiful" (Lifetime). (August 21, 2014 8:38 AM)

MINISERIES: 'FARGO'

Noah Hawley's trippy trip through this Coen Brothers'

Noah Hawley's trippy trip through this Coen Brothers' classic somehow found new and engaging ways to tell a very different story, and Emmy voters will resoundingly reward the effort.

SHOULD WIN"Treme." Sure, "Fargo" should win, too, but it'd still be nice to see David Simon's and Eric Overmyer's exploration of post-Katrina New Orleans win something for all the excellence and originality poured into it over four seasons.

THE NOMINEES "American Horror Story: Coven" (FX), "Bonnie & Clyde" (A&E), "Fargo" (FX), "Luther" (BBC America), "Treme" (HBO), and"The White Queen" (Starz). (August 21, 2014 8:50 AM)

ACTOR, MOVIE OR MINISERIES: MARK RUFFALO, 'THE NORMAL HEART'

"Heart" likely will clean up Monday night. Ruffalo

"Heart" likely will clean up Monday night. Ruffalo will lead the charge.

SHOULD WIN Thornton. Malvo was one of TV's standout characters this past year, and Thornton nailed it over and over. Surely that counts for something? Like an Emmy?

THE NOMINEES Benedict Cumberbatch, "Sherlock: 'His Last Vow' " (PBS), Chiwetel Ejiofor, "Dancing on the Edge" (Starz, Idris Elba, "Luther" (BBC America), Martin Freeman, "Fargo" (FX), Mark Ruffalo, "The Normal Heart" (HBO), andBilly Bob Thornton, "Fargo" (FX). (August 21, 2014 8:54 AM)

ACTRESS, MOVIE OR MINISERIES: JESSICA LANGE, 'AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN'

The Emmys' love affair with Lange continues, and

The Emmys' love affair with Lange continues, and so it probably should -- even though this accolade is based on another overbaked edition of "AHS. "

SHOULD WIN Carter. Fab as Liz. Really fab.

THE NOMINEES Helena Bonham Carter, "Burton and Taylor" (BBC America), Minnie Driver, "Return to Zero" (Lifetime), Jessica Lange, "American Horror Story: Coven" (FX), Sarah Paulson, "American Horror Story: Coven" (FX), Cicely Tyson, "The Trip to Bountiful" (Lifetime), and Kristen Wiig, "The Spoils of Babylon" (IFC). (August 21, 2014 8:56 AM)

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