The Emmy Awards will be televised Sunday and the 2011 lineup is one of the strongest in recent years.
"What's exciting in the main categories is all the contenders are good ... and you usually can't say that about the Emmys," Maureen Ryan, AOL's TV critic, told ABCNews.com. "It's an unusually strong group of nominees. In the majority of the main categories I would be fine with any of the nominees winning."
Ryan is less rosy about the 8 p.m. Fox broadcast, which will be hosted this year by "Glee" star Jane Lynch.
"There's not much a host can do," Ryan said about the notoriously long telecast. "A lot of awards should be taken out of the main broadcast. In the middle it starts to feel deadly."
For the Emmy hopefuls, however, it is their moment of recognition. Click through to see some of the favorites to win:
|Lead Actor, Drama: Jon Hamm|
Nominees are: Steve Buscemi, "Boardwalk Empire"; Kyle Chandler, "Friday Night Lights"; Michael C. Hall, "Dexter"; Jon Hamm, "Mad Men"; Hugh Laurie, "House"; Timothy Olyphant, "Justified"
Any one of these actors could justifiably win, according to Ryan. But one stands out: Hamm.
"He had a great year. His character went through a lot ups and down with incredible accuracy," she said. "It's Hamm's race to lose." With past Emmy winner and "Breaking Bad" star Bryan Cranston out of the race, Ryan said this year is Hamm's chance at glory.
Buscemi, this year's Golden Globe winner, could be the spoiler.
Ryan also thinks "Mad Men" will win the best drama prize over "The Good Wife."
|Lead Actress, Drama: Juliana Margulies|
Kathy Bates, "Harry's Law"; Connie Britton, "Friday Night Lights"; Mireille Enos, "The Killing"; Mariska Hargitay, "Law & Order: SVU"; Julianna Margulies, "The Good Wife"; Elisabeth Moss, "Mad Men"
The perennial favorite is Hargitay, but this year the field is more wide open. Ryan calls this a toss-up between Margulies and Moss. Moss has had a great year and amazing run on "Mad Men," so this could be her moment. Margulies is the critical favorite, having won a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award for the same role.
|Supporting Actor, Drama: Alan Cumming|
John Slattery, "Mad Men"; Andre Braugher, "Men of a Certain Age"; Walton Goggins, "Justified"; Peter Dinklage, "Game of Thrones"; Josh Charles, "The Good Wife"; Alan Cumming, "The Good Wife"
Emmy voters could throw a bone to "Game of Thrones" and award Dinklage in this category. But "The Good Wife" is the only broadcast show in this category and Ryan said is she had to make one choice, she'd give the award to Cumming. ,
|Supporting Actress, Drama: Margo Martindale|
Kelly Macdonald, "Boardwalk Empire"; Christina Hendricks, "Mad Men"; Michelle Forbes, "The Killing"; Archie Panjabi, "The Good Wife"; Margo Martindale, "Justified"; Christine Baranski, "The Good Wife"
Ryan would love to see Hendricks win but says the show has been off the air for a while. Panjabi has already won for her role on "Good Wife." This year's Emmy should go to Martindale.
"She really knocked it out of the park," Ryan said. "And she's been around for a while."
|Lead Actor, Comedy: Steve Carrell|
Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock"; Louis C.K., "Louie"; Steve Carell, "The Office"; Johnny Galecki, "The Big Bang Theory"; Matt LeBlanc, "Episodes"; Jim Parsons, "The Big Bang Theory"
Carrell has been nominated in this category five years in a row but never won. Now with his exit from "The Office," Emmy voters could be looking to give him a sweet sendoff.
"He has to win," Ryan said. "He performed amazingly well last year on the show. He's known and liked in the industry, and a success in film and television. He's a nice guy by all accounts, and this would be a nice departing gift for him."
|Lead Actress, Comedy: Amy Poehler|
Edie Falco, "Nurse Jackie"; Tina Fey, "30 Rock"; Laura Linney, "The Big C"; Melissa McCarthy, "Mike & Molly"; Martha Plimpton, "Raising Hope"; Amy Poehler, "Parks and Recreation"
Fey has won this category twice but not since 2008. Falco won last year and Ryan wouldn't be surprised if either she or Linney won this year. But it's looking like Poehler's year.
"She's my personal favorite," Ryan said. "And it's a fantastic show that needs the boost."
|Supporting Actor, Comedy: Ed O'Neill|
Jon Cryer, "Two and a Half Men"; Chris Colfer, "Glee"; Jesse Tyler Ferguson, "Modern Family"; Ed O'Neill, "Modern Family"; Eric Stonestreet, "Modern Family"; Ty Burrell, "Modern Family"
Awarding the trophy to Cryer would be a "capper to a completely insane year," Ryan said.
More likely the winner will come from among the four nominees from "Modern Family," and the strongest is O'Neill. "He's got great standing in the industry," Ryan said. "People know his name and stature. And on 'Modern Family,' he's very sublte and funny.
|Supporting Actress, Comedy: Sophia Vergara|
Jane Lynch, "Glee"; Betty White, "Hot in Cleveland"; Julie Bowen, "Modern Family"; Kristen Wiig, "Saturday Night Live"; Jane Krakowski, "30 Rock"; Sofia Vergara, "Modern Family"
O'Neill's "Modern" wife Vergara could edge out beloved actress Betty White, while the ABC show seems a shoo-in for Best Comedy.
"'Modern Family' has all the things that Academy voters like," Ryan said. "It'd be tough for it to lose this one."
|Outstanding Lead Actress, Movie or Miniseries: Kate Winslet|
Taraji P. Henson, "Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story"; Diane Lane, "Cinema Verite"; Jean Marsh, "Upstairs Downstairs (Masterpiece)"; Elizabeth McGovern, "Downton Abbey (Masterpiece)"; Kate Winslet, "Mildred Pierce"
This is where Emmy voters get to rub elbows with Hollywood royalty, and the current queen is Winslet. Even though Ryan said "Mildred Pierce" felt like it was "engineered in a laboratory" to win awards, it's the favorite, with 21 nominations.
Ryan thought "Downtown Abbey" was better and calls it a dark horse in the race for best movie or miniseries.