The case that television is superior to movies is on the verge of getting stronger. Less than a year after the Oscars failed to nominate a single person of color for a leading performance, the Emmys are poised to take a giant leap forward in terms of diversity.

Viola Davis and Taraji P. Henson are considered front-runners in the category of lead actress in a dramatic series. If either takes the podium, it'll mark the first time a black woman has ever received the honor.

Predictions for the ceremony, taking place Sunday in Los Angeles, suggest history will be made:



Should win

Will win

Lead actress, drama

Taraji P. Henson, "Empire"; Claire Danes, "Homeland"; Robin Wright, "House of Cards"; Viola Davis, "How to Get Away With Murder"; Elisabeth Moss, "Mad Men"; Tatiana Maslany, "Orphan Black"

Maslany's challenge of taking on more than 10 distinctive roles deserves respect — and a group discount on therapy sessions.

Two-time Oscar nominee Davis has run a campaign that would make Donald Trump proud.

Lead actor, drama

Bob Odenkirk, "Better Call Saul"; Kyle Chandler, "Bloodline"; Kevin Spacey, "House of Cards"; Jon Hamm, "Mad Men"; Jeff Daniels, "The Newsroom"; Liev Schreiber, "Ray Donovan"


The newly single Hamm will finally land the mate he's been courting for seven years.


"Better Call Saul"; "Downton Abbey"; "Game of Thrones"; "Homeland"; "House of Cards"; "Mad Men"; "Orange Is the New Black"

"Mad Men."

Don't sic the dragons on us, but "Mad Men" gets one more stint on the throne.

Lead actress, comedy

Lisa Kudrow, "The Comeback"; Lily Tomlin, "Grace and Frankie"; Amy Schumer, "Inside Amy Schumer"; Edie Falco, "Nurse Jackie"; Amy Poehler, "Parks and Recreation"; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep"

Poehler pulled off the nearly impossible task of proving nice politicians don't always finish last.

Betting against perennial nominee Louis-Dreyfus might trigger a visit from the Secret Service.

Lead actor, comedy

Anthony Anderson, "Black-ish,"; Matt LeBlanc, "Episodes"; Don Cheadle, "House of Lies"; Louis C.K., "Louie"; William H. Macy, "Shameless"; Jeffrey Tambor, "Transparent"

Once again, Louis C.K. served up a spicy buffet of discomfort foods.

Tambor's deeply sympathetic role as a transgender parent is getting so much love he might also win as best actress.


"Louie"; "Modern Family"; "Parks and Recreation"; "Silicon Valley"; "Transparent"; "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"; "Veep"

The night's closest race. "Transparent" probably belongs in the drama category, but I'm not going to hold it against them.

Neither will voters. "Transparent" will win.

Variety talk

"The Colbert Report"; "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart"; "Jimmy Kimmel Live"; "Last Week Tonight With John Oliver"; "Late Show With David Letterman"; "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon"

Lots of beloved veterans in this boys' club — so we'll go with newcomer Oliver, who has made his mark at an incredible rate.

Colbert's truthiness is out there.

TV movie

"Agatha Christie's Poirot: Poirot's Last Case"; "Bessie"; "Grace of Monaco"; "Hello Ladies: The Movie"; "Killing Jesus"; "Nightingale"

"Poirot," although it's hard to get too excited about any of the contenders in this notably weak field.

Blues legend Bessie Smith finally gets her due.

Limited series

"American Crime"; "American Horror Story: Freak Show"; "The Honorable Woman"; "Olive Kitteridge"; "Wolf Hall"

Will the "Wolf" survive?

Prepare for an "Olive" garden party.