* Miniseries "Mildred Pierce" leads with 21 nominations
* Close races in best drama series, drama acting
(Updates with red carpet arrivals)
By Jill Serjeant
LOS ANGELES, Sept 18 Television's "Mad Men"
went to the Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, hoping to fend off
the Prohibition-era gangsters of "Boardwalk Empire" and win a
fourth straight victory at the industry's top honors.
"Glee" star Chris Colfer, Christina Hendricks of "Mad Men"
and Joel McHale of "Community" were among early arrivals on a
red carpet packed with diamond jewelry and glorious gowns in
shades of coral and pink.
More than 20 Emmys will be handed out in the live telecast
on the Fox network hosted by "Glee" star Jane Lynch, who could
find herself accepting an early award for her supporting
actress role as a sarcastic cheerleading coach on the hit
But all eyes will be on the top prizes -- for best comedy
and drama series to be handed out at the end of the three-hour
ceremony -- and some major upsets could be in store, especially
in the acting categories.
ABC mockumentary and 2010 Emmy comedy series winner "Modern
Family" goes into Sunday's awards with 17 nominations,
including acting mentions for all six of its stars.
That puts it in a commanding position for a repeat victory
over rivals "Glee," "The Office," "Parks and Recreation" and
"The Big Bang Theory."
The contest for best drama is much closer. HBO's lavish new
show "Boardwalk Empire," with 18 nominations, has already taken
Golden Globe and Screen Actor's Guild trophies and is regarded
as a major contender, despite the 19 nods to "Mad Men," the
1960s advertising drama on AMC.
Medieval fantasy series "Game of Thrones," which proved a
surprise success for HBO, has an army of fans, while CBS lawyer
show "The Good Wife" starring Julianna Margulies topped an
Xfinity TV poll on Facebook as favorite drama. "Dexter" and
"Friday Night Lights" make up the other drama contenders.
ACTORS & ACTRESSES
Margulies also is the front-runner for best dramatic
actress, along with Elisabeth Moss, who plays the quiet but
feisty young Peggy Olson of "Mad Men."
"It is such a great showcase for Moss. It is quite a
contest. I think Margulies will win, but it is very close,"
said Tom O'Neil of awards website TheEnvelope.com.
Jon Hamm, who plays suave but enigmatic Don Draper in "Mad
Men," also is hoping to clinch his first Emmy this year.
"Hamm is the lead star of this Emmy-anointed show who has
never won. But he has got to watch out for Steve Buscemi on
'Boardwalk Empire,'" said O'Neil.
The HBO miniseries "Mildred Pierce" has a leading 21
nominations and is expected to deliver an acting Emmy for its
star, British actress Kate Winslet.
But surprises could be in store for Emmy newcomer Melissa
McCarthy of comedy "Mike & Molly," who also stole the show in
the summer movie "Bridesmaids".
"She is an outstanding comedic actress. She was also so
funny and winning in 'Bridesmaids' and I think audiences got
her and she won new fans," said Todd Gold, managing editor of
The popular reality competition slot is also a cliffhanger.
Victory may finally be at hand for America's most-watched show
"American Idol," but "Dancing with the Stars" or "So You Think
You Can Dance" could waltz away with the Emmy.
(Editing by Eric Walsh)