When the camera pans around the star-studded audience at the Emmy Awards Sunday night, and all the immaculately dressed nominees and their dates smile impassively as names are called out, you can at least know what one of them is thinking.
"Lost" star and Best Supporting Actor nominee Michael Emerson gave PopcornBiz his predictions for the big night after we offered a treacherous deal worthy of Benjamin Linus. In exchange for his insights, we agreed to mention that "Lost: The Complete Sixth Season" and "Lost: The Complete Collection" debuted on Blu-ray & DVD on Tuesday. And now we have.
Emerson has a lot of subplots going on the big night, especially as his show "Lost" goes up against his wife Carrie Preston's show "True Blood" in the big award for drama series. Not to mention his own supporting actor nomination against his "Lost" co-star Terry O'Quinn.
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Here's what last year's Emmy winner Emerson, who will be at the event with a host of his castaway castmates, told us:
Outstanding Drama Series
Breaking Bad, Dexter, The Good Wife, Lost, Mad Men, True Blood
Emerson's Pick: "This is impossible to call. I have a sentimental favorite among them. But let me say, I'm really pleased that 'Lost' has been recognized in so many categories. That hasn't happened since our first season. I'm proud we have this buoyant exit and so many of us will be there that night."
"It's a tough one. But the more we talk about it, the better I like 'Lost's' chances. If that principle is true, I think 'Lost' has good a chance as any."
Outstanding Comedy Series
Curb Your Enthusiasm, Modern Family, Glee, Nurse Jackie, The Office,
Emerson's Pick: "I have a soft spot in my heart for 'Nurse Jackie.' Something about the off-beat chemistry of that show. I really like it. I am sure the people that handicap these things think I'm crazy. But there you have it."
Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series
Jon Hamm (Mad Men) , Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights), Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Hugh Laurie (House), Michael C. Hall (Dexter), Matthew Fox (Lost)
Emerson's Pick: "Matthew's had an extraordinary run on the show, but I thought his game was of a very high order this last season." Though he calls Chandler "a stellar talent," Emerson is still blown away by Fox's farewell: "Talk about a framing device. Years ago his eye opened and years later it closes. And in that blink is an entire universe. That's so great."
Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series
Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife), Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: SVU), Glenn Close (Damages), Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer), January Jones (Mad Men), Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights)
Emerson's Pick: "I admire Julianna Margulies and she is one of Carrie's (Preston, Emerson's wife) best friends. We never miss her. This is a very deep pool of talented players but I think she has momentum and the show is great."
Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series
Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Alec Baldwin (30 Rock), Matthew Morrison (Glee), Steve Carell (The Office), Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory), Tony Shalhoub (Monk)
Emerson's Pick: "I think a person's reaction to comedy is chemical and defies analysis. Jim Parsons, for whatever reason, just tickles me. He also fulfills the haven't-won-one requirement. I just saw Tony Shalhoub on Broadway and he was hilarious. But he's won before. I'm in an expansive mood. I want this to go around."
Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series
Toni Collette (United States of Tara), Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie) , Tina Fey (30 Rock) , Julia Louis-Dreyfus (The New Adventures of Old Christine) , Lea Michele (Glee) , Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation)
Emerson's Pick: "This is a vote for my sentimental favorite and an actress I admire. Edie Falco is something else to watch on that show. And it's beautiful that I don't know if I want to laugh or cry when I watch it."
Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series
Sharon Gless (Burn Notice) , Christine Baranski (The Good Wife), Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) , Rose Byrne (Damages) , Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife), Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men)
Emerson's Pick: "I would call it a toss-up for the women from 'A Good Wife.' They're both so intriguing. I'm happy to have them nominated."
Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series
John Slattery (Mad Men), Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) , Martin Short (Damages), Terry O’Quinn (Lost) , Michael Emerson (Lost) , Andre Braugher (Men of a Certain Age)
Emerson's Pick: This one gets tricky! "Let say that actors who appear on 'Lost' cancel each other out. Then let's say Aaron Paul is an astonishing actor. Maybe it's his year. And besides, I have to recuse myself and pick the non-Lost player.
"This conversation makes me very nervous."
Emerson's too good an actor to let that nervousness show on Sunday. But win or lose, we'll know what's going on in his mind. And if he takes home the hardware, Emerson said he will be especially proud for winning in such a critically acclaimed season.
"We are living through the second Golden Age of Television," Emerson said. "There's a lot of great stuff out there."