"Mad Men" is poised to be anointed outstanding drama during Sunday's Emmy ceremonies for the fourth time, a feat achieved only by "The West Wing," "L.A. Law" and "Hill Street Blues." But there's one thing the AMC series has failed to accomplish: any awards for acting.

That may change this year, thanks to the fact that three-time winner Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad") is not in the running and that "Mad" stars Jon Hamm and Elisabeth Moss submitted the episode, "The Suitcase," a tour de force for both actors.

But don't pop the bubbly just yet for the ad agency. The Emmys' story line also throws in some unexpected twists. Here are my best guesses at what to expect. Trust in these predictions at your own peril.


  • Nominees: "Boardwalk Empire," "Dexter," "Friday Night Lights," "Game of Thrones," "The Good Wife," "Mad Men."
  • Who should win: "Thrones" was royally good fun. Made me want to dust off my old Dungeons & Dragons set.
  • Who will win: Stark raving "Mad."


  • Nominees: "The Big Bang Theory," "Glee," "Modern Family," "The Office," "Parks and Recreation," "30 Rock."
  • Who should win: Solid year for all contenders (except "Glee"). "Parks" needs -- and deserves -- the extra love.
  • Who will win: "Modern" will probably clean up in this category for the next 20 years.


  • Nominees: Steve Buscemi ("Boardwalk"), Kyle Chandler ("Friday"), Michael C. Hall ("Dexter"), Jon Hamm ("Mad Men"), Hugh Laurie ("House"), Timothy Olyphant ("Justified").
  • Who should win: When it comes to bravado performances, it's all about Steve.
  • Who will win: The curse has been lifted. Congrats, Mr. Hamm.


  • Nominees: Kathy Bates ("Harry's Law"), Connie Britton ("Friday"), Mireille Enos ("The Killing"), Mariska Hargitay ("L&O: SVU"), Julianna Margulies ("The Good Wife"), Elisabeth Moss ("Mad Men").
  • Who should and will win: Youth doesn't usually prevail in this category, but we're gambling on Moss upsetting a "Good" front-runner.


  • Nominees: Alec Baldwin ("30 Rock"), Steve Carell ("The Office"), Louis C.K. ("Louie"), Johnny Galecki ("Big Bang"), Matt LeBlanc ("Episodes"), Jim Parsons ("Big Bang").
  • Who should and will win: Louis deserves accolades for taking depression to a new low, but we're siding on Carell for sentimental reasons.


  • Nominees: Edie Falco ("Nurse Jackie"), Tina Fey ("30 Rock"), Laura Linney ("The Big C"), Melissa McCarthy ("Mike & Molly"), Martha Plimpton ("Raising Hope"), Amy Poehler ("Parks").
  • Who should and will win: I've called Linney's performance one of the greatest of her generation. Not going to change my mind now.


  • Nominees: "Cinema Verite," "Downton Abbey," "The Kennedys," "Mildred Pierce," "The Pillars of the Earth," "Too Big to Fail."
  • Who should and will win: "Mildred" has the most nominations, but "Downton" has the most passionate fans. Look for an upset.


  • Nominees: Christine Baranski ("The Good Wife"), Michelle Forbes ("The Killing"), Christina Hendricks ("Mad Men"), Kelly Macdonald ("Boardwalk"), Margo Martindale ("Justified"), Archie Panjabi ("The Good Wife").
  • Who should and will win: I'm usually dead wrong in this category, which is bad news for Martindale.


  • Nominees: Andre Braugher ("Men of a Certain Age"), Josh Charles ("The Good Wife"), Alan Cumming ("The Good Wife"), Peter Dinklage ("Game of Thrones"), Walter Goggins ("Justified"), John Slattery ("Mad Men").
  • Who should win: Dinklage. Good things come in small packages.
  • Who will win: Toss-up. I'll wager a whole dime on Cumming.
  • Nominees: Julie Bowen ("Modern Family"), Jane Krakowski ("30 Rock"), Jane Lynch ("Glee"), Sofia Vergara ("Modern Family"), Betty White ("Hot in Cleveland"), Kristen Wiig ("SNL").
  • Who should win: Wiig's having an incredible year. Let's make it even better.
  • Who will win: Lynch is the heavy favorite, although Sue Sylvester is starting to get on my nerves -- so I won't cheer for her anymore.


  • Nominees: Ty Burrell ("Modern Family"), Chris Colfer ("Glee"), Jon Cryer ("Two and a Half Men"), Jesse Tyler Ferguson ("Modern Family"), Ed O'Neill ("Modern Family"), Eric Stonestreet ("Modern Family").
  • Who should win: Nick Offerman for "Parks and Recreation." I know, I know. He's not nominated. Too late for a write-in vote?
  • Who will win: Um, someone from "Modern Family"? I'd guess Burrell.

Follow Justin on Twitter: @nealjustin