2011 Emmys Wishlist: Our Ideal Drama Emmy Nominees

Tomorrow morning, the nominations for the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards will be announced well before breakfast, and as a TV site covering all this nonsense, it's our responsibility to bring you our Emmy predictions, wild and wacky as they may be. Seriously, the FCC requires all TV sites to make Emmy predictions. Look it up.

Last year, I semi-accurately picked 45 out of 60 (75% accuracy) nominations from the main 10 categories, which is nothing to pat myself on the back over. But that's because I was trying to predict what other people think, where is the fun in that? This time around, I'm taking a slightly different approach and putting more stress on MY picks. Which means my accuracy percentage is about to tumble. Hard. Here's what my Emmy ballot would look like for the drama categories:

Best Drama Series

Boardwalk Empire
Friday Night Lights
Game of Thrones
The Good Wife

Obviously Mad Men is going to be in there somewhere, because it always is even though it's an insufferable bore. It will take the place of my pick Fringe, which is a super longshot to get any recognition come Emmys time. But Fringe's third season was every bit as good as any season of Lost, and that show got nominated during some of its worst seasons. Game of Thrones has the whole "fantasy series" thing to overcome, but with all the buzz it has going in, I think it gets nominated and deservedly so. The show that no one expected to be here, but will, is Justified, which probably had the strongest season of any television series this year. There's talk about The Walking Dead sneaking in here, but I don't see it. Six episodes in the season isn't enough to get my vote, even though it had zombie brains exploding all over the place which is usually an instant ticket to my heart. Note: Breaking Bad was not eligible for this year's Emmys as AMC delayed its start this year.

Best Actor in a Drama Series

Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Ray Romano, Men of a Certain Age
Timothy Olyphant, Justified

This is my best shot at going six-for-six, as the field is pretty narrow, but I'll only get five right. Ray Romano is my sleeper pick here; he was awesome all season long, just as he was last season. But it's going to be tough for him to even get nominated since he'll always be that guy from Everybody Loves Raymond. I know Sean Bean is getting a lot of dap for playing Ned Stark in Game of Thrones, and even though he played the role very well, to me he wasn't a scene-stealer. The two I'm rooting for are Kyle Chandler and Timothy Olyphant, two actors who stood out above the rest. I'd be happy if either won, but if I have to pick one, I'm going with Chandler. For him to end his Friday Night Lights career with zero Emmys would be the biggest crime in television history since Kid Nation was canceled. Okay, bad example. But come on, kids running a ghost town? That was AWESOME!

Best Actress in a Drama Series

Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights
Mireille Enos, The Killing
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Katey Sagal, Sons of Anarchy
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer
Anna Torv, Fringe
[UPDATE] Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
(sorry Julianna)

This is always a tough field because I'm still of the mind that women don't get their fair share of good roles in television. Not their fault, it's society's fault, so take a long look at yourself in the mirror! Elisabeth Moss had an especially strong year on Mad Men, and I saw X-Men: First Class, so that's why Moss gets the nod over January Jones. If you ignore the frustration of The Killing, you'll see that Mireille Enos was very, very good. Plus, who can resist that name? I'd like to see Connie Britton win this though, for the same reasons Chandler deserves it: body of work. And what a body she has, amirite fellas? I was really tempted to put Anna Torv in here for her fantastic work in Fringe this year. Aww screw it, I'll throw her in because this is MY list. Sedgwick, you're out! [UPDATE] Totally overlooked Julianna Margulies in The Good Wife. Added her to the list!

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
John Noble, Fringe
Denis O'Hare, True Blood
Michael Shannon, Boardwalk Empire
Josh Charles, The Good Wife
Jeremy Davies, Justified

Talk about a wide open field! Just pick your favorites and plop them in a list here, there's really no wrong answer. Heck, I didn't even add Mad Men's John Slattery, who is a lock to be nominated. I've already said my piece on Peter Dinklage before, but I have the same admiration for Fringe's John Noble who positively killed it this season as two sides of the same coin. He has the unique ability to physically transform and absolutely become his character. Alas, sci-fi doesn't get a lot of love, and Fringe's small audience isn't going to help his cause. Michael Shannon was the highlight of Boardwalk Empire as Nelson Van Alden, and his performance scares the crap out of me. He's fantastic. The same can be said for Denis O'Hare's performance as Russell Edgington, the only thing worth watching (besides Deborah Ann Woll) in a mediocre season of True Blood. Finally, I added Jeremy Davies in there for Justified, even though I haven't seen his name pop up in any other Emmys previews. What can I say? I still have a soft spot for Daniel Faraday.

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Regina King, Southland
Khandi Alexander, Treme
Kelly MacDonald, Boardwalk Empire
Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife
Margo Martindale, Justified
KaDee Strickland, Private Practice

This is all Margo Martindale and then a whole bunch of other people in her rearview mirror. If she doesn't win for Justified's hillbilly bad mama Mags Bennett, I'll eat Raylan Given's hat. I'm still not sure why people don't realize how great Khandi Alexander is in Treme and everything she does. I picked her last year, and I'm picking her again, dammit! KaDee Strickland gets a vote here for her outstanding work in the hard-to-watch "Did You Hear What Happened to Charlotte King?" and that alone. Do I have the balls to write-in Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) from Game of Thrones? No I do not. But I want to.

Yikes, this was not an easy task. Feel free to rip apart my picks in the comments below and include your substitutions.

Which actors and shows would make YOUR Emmy ballot in the drama categories?

MORE EMMYS: TV.com's 2011 Emmy nomination picks for the comedy categories

Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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