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Originally published August 21, 2014 at 6:16 AM | Page modified August 25, 2014 at 12:53 PM

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One critic’s picks for the 66th Emmy Awards

David Wiegand calls a few of the top categories for Monday night’s show.

San Francisco Chronicle


Primetime Emmy Awards

5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 25, on NBC.

Tonight in Prime Time


Dang, you can really count on the Emmys to spoil the fun.

It used to be that you could count on at least half the nominees for the Emmys being so absurd, you could sharpen your teeth and vocabulary at the same time by ranting with something approaching critical glee.

But not this year.

The 66th incarnation will air live from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on Monday on NBC, with Seth Meyers hosting. The show will probably be fairly awful, because it always is, no matter how good the host is.

Meyers could counterbalance some of the bloat, and you can expect a tribute to Robin Williams, who never received any Emmy love while he was alive but whose contributions to the medium can be seen in every comic who colors outside the lines today.

There will be suspense in some categories, of course, but overall, because most of the nominees are decent, the outrage potential is considerably lessened.

Oh, I have a few quibbles with the nominations, but they’re pretty minor. I don’t understand why Melissa McCarthy gets a nod for “Mike & Molly,” a grade-C sitcom if there ever was one. Or how “The White Queen” got nominated for best miniseries when it’s mediocre at best. But the nominations are generally worthy.

Here’s a list of nominees in a handful of the major categories, along with my picks for each one. These aren’t necessarily the ones I think will win — frankly, I think “Orange Is the New Black” may win over “Silicon Valley,” but I’m partial to the sustained genius of Mike Judge’s new show.

Best actress, drama series

Michelle Dockery, “Downton Abbey”; Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife”; Robin Wright, “House of Cards”; Lizzy Caplan, “Masters of Sex”; Claire Danes, “Homeland”; Kerry Washington, “Scandal.” MY PICK: Robin Wright

Best actor, drama series

Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”; Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”; Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad”; Jeff Daniels, “The Newsroom”; Woody Harrelson, “True Detective”; Matthew McConaughey, “True Detective.” MY PICK: Matthew McConaughey

Outstanding drama series “Breaking Bad,” “Downton Abbey,” “Game of Thrones,” “House of Cards,” “Mad Men,” “True Detective.” MY PICK: “True Detective.”

Lead actress, comedy series Melissa McCarthy, “Mike & Molly”; Lena Dunham, “Girls”; Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie”; Taylor Schilling, “Orange Is the New Black”; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”; Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation.” MY PICK: Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Lead actor, comedy seriesRicky Gervais, “Derek”; Matt LeBlanc, “Episodes”; Don Cheadle, “House of Lies”; William H. Macy, “Shameless”; Louis C.K., “Louie”; Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory.” MY PICK: Louis C.K.

Outstanding comedy series: “Louie,” “Modern Family,” “Orange Is the New Black,” “Silicon Valley,” “Veep,”“The Big Bang Theory.” MY PICK: “Silicon Valley”

Outstanding variety show “The Colbert Report,” “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Real Time With Bill Maher”; “Saturday Night Live.”

MY PICK: “The Colbert Report”

Outstanding miniseries “American Horror Story: Coven,” “Bonnie & Clyde,” “Fargo,” “Luther,” “The White Queen,” “Treme.” MY PICK: “Fargo”

Outstanding reality competition“Dancing with the Stars,” “Project Runway,” “So You Think You Can Dance,” “The Amazing Race,” “The Voice,” “Top Chef.”MY PICK: “Dancing with the Stars”

David Wiegand is the San Francisco Chronicle’s executive features editor and TV critic. Eail: Twitter @WaitWhat_TV

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