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LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Pity the TV critic, whose cynicism peaks during Emmy season.
They know voters rarely watch all of the programming on which they vote, and those who do vote tend to skew so conservatively that many of the shows critics have championed get overlooked.
That doesn't stop them from predicting winners, though. Here, TV Guide senior TV critic Matt Roush and USA Today TV critic Robert Bianco share their picks.
Matt Roush: "(AMC's) 'Mad Men' is an evocative instant classic that has the look and feel of a winner. Possible spoiler: The thrilling 'Damages' (FX), which is this year's
Robert Bianco: "(ABC's) 'Lost,' because it had an incredible creative resurgence this season. But 'Mad Men' is so fresh and has so much buzz I think voters will go with that show."
Roush: "I pick (NBC's) '30 Rock.' The nominated HBO comedies weren't at their best -- and where's (ABC's) 'Pushing Daisies'? -- so in a battle of NBC comedies, this inspired farce should trump 'The Office."'
Bianco: "'30 Rock' had an inconsistent year, but you only have to submit a handful of episodes. It's a pretty clear choice -- though you never want to count out the HBO shows."
Roush: "It's a tossup, but Jon Hamm's ('Mad Men') towering breakthrough as the haunted adman makes him the insta-star favorite."
Bianco: "If Hugh Laurie (Fox's 'House') submits his season finale, which was such a great piece of writing and featured tremendous work from him -- this is his year."
Roush: "There's lots of star power in this category, but nobody can touch 'Damages" steely, monstrous 'Cruella de Lawyer' in Glenn Close."
Bianco: "In the end, Close will get it. She managed to go over the top while staying in control."
Roush: "Alec Baldwin ('30 Rock') will finally get his due for the twisted brilliance of this career-redefining performance."
Bianco: "If there is one moment from the entire season that people remember, it's Alec Baldwin's therapy session, which is a clip that will live on for generations."
Roush: "Julia Louis-Dreyfus (CBS' 'The New Adventures of Old Christine') is the right choice. But don't count out Tina Fey riding to a victory on a '30 Rock' sweep."
Bianco: "Fey is a very funny woman and a very funny writer, but not yet a great actress. I'm hoping it's Christina Applegate, because she was able to single-handedly turn ('Samantha Who?') into a decent hit in this environment."
Roush: "HBO's 'John Adams' is the most nominated, most magnificent production -- and most likely to win. But I prefer the more modestly charming 'Cranford' (PBS)."
Bianco: "There's not a weak moment in 'Cranford,' but PBS cannot begin to match the marketing muscle and money HBO will put behind 'Adams."'
Roush: "In a race between the exquisite 'A Raisin in the Sun' (ABC) and the politically charged 'Recount' (HBO), I'd vote for 'Raisin' -- but 'Recount' probably has the edge in an election year."
Bianco: "'Raisin' is a brilliant film translation of a brilliant stage production."
Roush: "Paul Giamatti's epic performance (in 'John Adams') towers over the competition."
Bianco: "It's going to be Giamatti -- despite the fact that he was miscast and the main thing that turned a tremendous book into a mediocre miniseries."
Roush: "Phylicia Rashad ('A Raisin in the Sun') is the one to beat for reprising her Tony-winning role."
Bianco: "If ever there was a year the TV academy could split the vote and give out two awards, this would be it. You never want to vote against Judi Dench, but Rashad was overwhelming."