Emmys 2012: Who will win and who should win, plus reader poll results

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modern-family-negotiations-update.jpgAfter all the talk about the Emmys, we're finally down to just a few days before Sunday night's (Sept. 23) 64th annual awards. It's quite a competitive field this time around, and trying to handicap who will win in the major categories has been more difficult than ever, as there doesn't seem to be any one name rising above his or her category.

But just because it's difficult, doesn't mean we won't have some fun trying. Below, we'll give who we think will win in a category and who should win, which many who are familiar with these kinds of lists know aren't always the one and the same. Finally, we'll also name who the Zap2it readers picked in our various Emmy polls to this point. You can still vote in those polls, by the way, right up until 8 p.m. ET on Sunday; each category name is linked to its respective poll.

Here's the list of nominees.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Will win: Sofia Vergara, "Modern Family"
Should win: Vergara
Reader pick: Mayim Bialik, "The Big Bang Theory"

Despite Bialik's fine performance as the flowering Amy Farrah Fowler in "Big Bang," Vergara matched her in laughs this year, especially as we saw her "Family" character Gloria find out at the end of the season that she was pregnant. Also, the publicity Vergara's gotten just makes it feel like this is her year. The readers, though, voted for Bialik by a wide margin.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Will win: Jesse Tyler Ferguson or Ed O'Neill, "Modern Family"
Should win: Max Greenfield, "New Girl"
Reader pick: Greenfield

Yes, we know it's a copout to pick the two "Family" actors who haven't won yet, but it just feels like the academy is going to give Emmys out to each of the show's male leads, no matter how long it takes. Greenfield, though, had the better year, taking the one-note "New Girl" character of Schmidt and making him the best supporting character since Ron Swanson graced our screens.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Will win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep"
Should win: Amy Poehler, "Parks and Recreation"
Reader pick: Poehler

JLD is an academy favorite, and as we said earlier in the summer, if she won for the bland "Old Christine," she'll surely win for her more biting performance in "Veep." However, Poehler is due, having been nominated six times, and she did a fantastic job in "Parks and Rec's" episodes where Leslie Knope was running for city council.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Will win: Jim Parsons, "The Big Bang Theory"
Should win: Louis C.K., "Louie"
Reader pick: Parsons

Sheldon Cooper is one of those once-in-a-generation roles because of how unique it is. And every year Parsons shows viewers why he seems like he was born to play Sheldon. It's no different this year, as Sheldon tried to stay logical while love was blossoming around him. But Louis C.K. deserves the award more, especially for the episode where he toured with the USO in Afghanistan. Playing the everyman schlub is tough, and Louie does it with ease.

Outstanding Comedy Series

Will win: "Modern Family"
Should win: "Girls"
Reader pick: "The Big Bang Theory"

Surprisingly, the readers selected "BBT" over "Modern Family" by 15 percentage points. As good a season as the former show had, though, "Family" is on a "Mad Men"-style run and will likely win again. More deserving, though, is Lena Dunham's "Girls," and it may still have the momentum to upset the favorite on Sunday night.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Will win: Christina Hendricks, "Mad Men"
Should win: Hendricks
Reader pick: Hendricks

This is a wide-open category, and Hendricks was narrowly chosen by the readers over Maggie Smith of "Downton Abbey" and Anna Gunn of "Breaking Bad." Really, this is anyone's category to win, so we're going with Hendricks for the haunting "Mad Men" episode where her character, Joan Harris, trades her body for a partnership role at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Will win: Giancarlo Esposito, "Breaking Bad"
Should win: Esposito
Reader pick: Esposito

Come on, how could we vote against the man who gave us Gus Fring, one of the best TV villains ever? Esposito even won the reader award, though narrowly over co-star Aaron Paul and "Game of Thrones" star Peter Dinklage, who won last year. The academy has been known for overlooking great performances, and could do so this year, but if they did it would be a shame.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Will win: Claire Danes, "Homeland"
Should win: Danes
Reader pick: Danes

In a year with fantastic performances from all the lead actress nominees, Claire Danes' performance as the bipolar CIA agent Carrie Mathison was by far the best. Her searing performance made viewers believe that Mathison could be so laser-focused on a case even while she was spinning out of control.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Will win: Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad"
Should win: Damian Lewis, "Homeland"
Reader pick: Cranston

Not to take anything away from three-time winner Cranston, who put in another spectacular season playing the Machiavellian Walter White, but Lewis did an equally fine job playing conflicted, might-be-a-terrorist war hero Nicholas Brody on "Homeland," and if anyone can break Cranston's hold on the category, it's Lewis.

Outstanding Drama Series

Will win: "Mad Men"
Should win: "Breaking Bad"
Reader pick: "Breaking Bad"

As we've been saying this week, this is a rough category to predict, since all the nominees had such outstanding seasons. But "Breaking Bad's" fourth season was so tense from start to finish, and ended in such explosive (pin intended) fashion, it's hard for us not to pick it over "Mad Men", "Downton Abbey" and "Homeland." However, despite what we discussed on Tuesday, "Men" still has the best chance to take the prize because of general excellence and voter inertia.
Photo/Video credit: ABC