Kerry Washington stars in "Scandal."

"Scandal's" Kerry Washington could make Emmy history, becoming the first black actress to win the lead actress drama prize. (Eric McCandless / ABC)

Bryan Cranston has three. So does Julia Louis-Dreyfus. And Claire Danes and Jim Parsons are close behind, with two Emmys each.

Will these voters favorites return to the podium Sunday? Or will a new group -- Kerry Washington and Louis C.K. among them -- win their first acting Emmys? After looking at the supporting races here, let's lay some odds on the lead acting categories.


Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad"

Odds: 2-1. "Say My Name"? Emmy voters have been happy to oblige in the past and, after going with "Homeland's" Damian Lewis last year, could decide to partner with Heisenberg again.

Damian Lewis, "Homeland"

Odds: 3-1. Then again, defending champ Lewis owns the Emmy submission that showcases the most range. In "Q&A," we see Lewis' Brody go from defiance to despair, finally caving and revealing to Claire Danes' Carrie the depth of his involvement with terrorist Abu Nazir. Voters who like to be left in puddles -- and there are a lot of them -- will find much to appreciate here.

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Kevin Spacey, "House of Cards"

Odds: 7-1. Much has been made about Emmy balloters' infatuation with movie stars, and Spacey could well be the latest beneficiary. But some voters might be turned off by the show's fourth-wall-breaking conceit, not to mention the tangy Southern accent.

Jon Hamm, "Mad Men"

Odds: 10-1. If Lewis' Emmy submission showed the most range, Hamm's (the "Mad Men" season finale "In Care Of") may be the most affecting. His mortifying Hershey's presentation was jarring in the way it laid bare Don Draper's self-loathing and despair. The show's sixth season had been slow to build, but the payoff was unforgettable.

Jeff Daniels, "The Newsroom"

Odds: 20-1. Daniels' Emmy episode, "Newsroom's" pilot, is remembered most for his four-minute rant about why America can no longer be considered the greatest country. Daniels masterfully delivers the monologue, but that alone probably won't win him the Emmy.

Hugh Bonneville, "Downton Abbey"

Odds: 50-1. Robert blames himself for Sybil's death. And he's right! Sure, Bonneville makes us feel something for the man, but still ... you should have listened to the family doctor!


Kerry Washington, "Scandal"

Odds: 2-1. Washington is something of a trendy pick, which isn't stopping us from following the crowd. Dan Bucatinsky's guest actor Emmy win last Sunday further confirms our suspicion that academy members love the show's soapy theatrics. Added incentive: Washington would become the first black actress to win the category. Voters love making history with their ballot choices.

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