68th Annual Emmy Awards, Sunday, 8 p.m, ABC
The Billys continue! Here are my picks for Will Win and Should Win in selected categories.
This guy kills it in every episode as Julia Louis Dreyfus's servile assistant.
Should Win: Hale
The Transparent brand is a major advantage, as are Light's impressive credentials. McKinnon is funnier in a wide range of characters.
Dinklage deserves the recognition, but Banks is giving the best performance of his career. Not a bad choice in the bunch.
Game of Thrones controls half the nominations, but Dame Maggie is too accomplished to ignore, especially in a show's final season. Sorry, but I can't resist the Khaleesi!
Should Win: Emilia Clark as Daenerys Targaryen on Game of Thrones (HBO)
Laurie was a completely convincing villain, but there will be sentiment for an old favorite.
Bates always seems to win. Leo is my pick, mostly for all her other great roles.
Transparent again. Macy is Shameless.
Will Win: Jeffrey Tambor as Maura Pfefferman on Transparent (Amazon)
Dreyfus is a cut above.
Will Win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus as President Selina Meyer on Veep (HBO)
Should Win: Louis-Dreyfus
Schreiber is able to make a Southie mobster that lands in LA believable, but they'll give it to the weirdo.
Maslany richly deserves this after three nominations in three seasons, but there is an aversion to sci-fi and Empire and Henson have all the buzz.
This one could go either way, but playing a President gives you a leg up. Vance captured the sly, ingenious Cochrane.
All the publicity surrounding her role makes Paulson the favorite, but Huffman is totally convincing, and frightening, as the self-seeking head of school.
Oliver is funnier and more relevant than the rest with all their fluff.
Will Win: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
Should Win: Oliver
Hollywood love stories about Hollywood, despite O. J. fatigue.
Will Win: The People v O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story (FX)
Should Win: The Night Manager (AMC)
Transparent is de riguer, but the funniest show on TV is Veep.
Will Win: Transparent (Amazon)
Should Win: Veep (HBO)
Since the shows in this category are all so outstanding, I'm going to give you my take on each nominee.
Mr. Robot (USA) - I can see why people like this show, but it's a little dark and confusing for my taste. Maybe it's a generational thing.
Better Call Saul (AMC) - The spin-off from Breaking Bad is funny, dark and moving, not an easy feat. Bob Odenkirk emerges as a late-in-life delight.
The Americans (FX) - Most unpublicized and underrated of the group. All plot lines are fascinating and skillfully intertwined. Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys and deserve more credit, only being nominated as best lead this year.
That leaves two. Game of Thrones has never been better. Two scenes stand out. The most dramatic moment of the season was Daenrys Tagaryen burning down the temple with her and the leaders of the Dothraki inside, then emerging naked in front of the populace with her dragons swooping overhead. The battle scene with Jon Snow leading the Stark troops against the Boltons was a triumph of film making. This is the definitive depiction of what an horrific Middle Ages battle like Agincourt must have been like from the combatants point of view.
Downton Abbey is deservedly beloved. The last season was somewhat anti-climactic, but the great performances kept you watching. My favorites: Hugh Bonneville as the weary Earl of Grantham, seeing his estate and way of life slip away; Joanna Frogett as a lady's maid, who seems to be involved in every twist and turn, upstairs and down; and the glowing Michelle Dockery, smart, entitled, but unpredictable, always plotting intrigue. Downton is the sentimental winner, more for its 6-year excellence than this final season.
Will Win: Downton Abbey (PBS)
Should Win: Game of Thrones (HBO)