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We considered boycotting the Emmys this year, based on the best drama category alone.


No “Friday Night Lights?” Are you insane? ... No “Lost.” No “The Wire.” ... A pox on Hollywood’s clueless voters.


But then we took a deep breath and decided to be an adult about this. We even rose above our anger in time to fulfill our annual obligation of making Emmy predictions, just so you can mock and deride them. (No wagering, please.)


And we promise to keep the bitterness under control throughout the show Sunday night - even if Tony Shalhoub takes home yet another piece of hardware.


Then again, if Ryan Seacrest tanks in his maiden stint as host, all bets are off.


OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES


The nominees: “Boston Legal” (ABC); “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC); “Heroes” (NBC); “House” (Fox); “The Sopranos” (HBO).


Should win: “The Sopranos,” not only for a thrilling (and controversial) finish, but for leaving behind a remarkable television legacy. Will win: “The Sopranos,” but watch out for a superhuman effort from “Heroes.”


OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES


The nominees: “30 Rock” (NBC); “Entourage” (HBO); “The Office” (NBC); “Two and a Half Men” (CBS); “Ugly Betty” (ABC).


Should win: “The Office” is the defending champ, and it only got more hysterical. The category’s dark horse could be the charming “Ugly Betty.” Meanwhile, “30 Rock” is a comer, but will probably have to wait a year. Will win: “The Office.”


LEAD ACTOR, DRAMA


The nominees: James Gandolfini (“The Sopranos”); Hugh Laurie (“House”); Denis Leary (“Rescue Me,” FX); James Spader (“Boston Legal”); Kiefer Sutherland (“24,” Fox).


Should win: Laurie is long overdue for his riveting portrayal of cranky Dr. House. Will win: Gandolfini, if the academy is in the mood to give HBO’s mob masterpiece a rousing send-off. Then again, he’s already won it three times.


LEAD ACTRESS, DRAMA


The nominees: Patricia Arquette (“Medium,” NBC); Minnie Driver (The Riches,” FX); Edie Falco (“The Sopranos”); Sally Field (“Brothers and Sisters,” ABC); Mariska Hargitay (“Law & Order: SVU,” NBC); Kyra Sedgwick (“The Closer,” TNT).


Should win: I was blown away by Driver’s performance as a Southern grifter and would be thrilled to see her win. But this field is packed and “The Riches” is probably too far off the radar. Will win: Falco is always a threat, but give it to Sedgwick, who has to carry her show and does so with a deft mix of charm and steeliness.


LEAD ACTOR, COMEDY


The nominees: Alec Baldwin (“30 Rock”); Steve Carell (“The Office”); Ricky Gervais (“Extras,” HBO); Tony Shalhoub (“Monk,” USA); Charlie Sheen (“Two and a Half Men”).


Should win: Baldwin’s turn as a blowhard network boss was the comedic performance of the year. Will win: Baldwin, unless the voters pull out the rubber stamp and hand the trophy to Shalhoub. Again.


LEAD ACTRESS, COMEDY


The nominees: America Ferrera (“Ugly Betty”); Tina Fey (“30 Rock”); Felicity Huffman (“Desperate Housewives,” ABC); Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“The New Adventures of Old Christine,” CBS); Mary-Louise Parker (“Weeds,” Showtime).


Should win: The entire field is deserving (although Fey is the acting lightweight here), but it clearly was Ferrera’s year. Will win: Look for Ferrera to add an Emmy to her trophy case, which already includes a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild honor.


And the Emmy should also go to ...


Supporting actor, drama: Michael Emerson (“Lost, ABC). He’s the cold-hearted villain we love to hate.


Supporting actress, drama: Sandra Oh (“Grey’s Anatomy”) She turned in some of her most dynamic work this season.


Supporting actor, comedy: Rainn Wilson (“The Office”). But this would undoubtedly go straight to Dwight’s head.


Supporting actress, comedy: Vanessa Williams (“Ugly Betty”). We love how she’s so fashionably and fabulously evil.


Reality program: “American Idol” (Fox). Anything but the “Amazing Race.” Please.


+ + +


What: The 59th annual Emmy Awards


When: 8 p.m. EDT Sunday


Where: Fox

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