The 24 Episodes 2013 Emmy Voters Used to Decide Who Wins Best Actor & Actress in Drama and Comedy

The 2013 Emmys are this Sunday and we're dying to see who will win at this year's awards ceremony, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris. Luckily, we have a way of making sure our predictions have a shot at coming true—the episode submissions. 

You see, when an actor/actress is nominated for an Emmy, they choose one episode of their show, which is then sent to all Emmy voters. The voters use the episodes chosen by each category's nominees to decide who should win Best Actor/Actress. It must be tough to narrow down a full season's worth of performance to a single episode, especially since the wrong decision can cost someone the trophy, so the pressure's on. Here are the episodes this year's Outstanding Lead Actor and Outstanding Lead Actress nominees chose, and how we think it'll affect their chances. 

The 2013 Emmys are this Sunday and we're dying to see who will win at this year's awards ceremony, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris. Luckily, we have a way of making sure our predictions have a shot at coming true—the episode submissions. 

You see, when an actor/actress is nominated for an Emmy, they choose one episode of their show, which is then sent to all Emmy voters. The voters use the episodes chosen by each category's nominees to decide who should win Best Actor/Actress. It must be tough to narrow down a full season's worth of performance to a single episode, especially since the wrong decision can cost someone the trophy, so the pressure's on. Here are the episodes this year's Outstanding Lead Actor and Outstanding Lead Actress nominees chose, and how we think it'll affect their chances. 

Jon Hamm, 'Mad Men'

Category: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Episode Submitted: "In Care of"

Chances: Jon Hamm has never won an Emmy for playing Don Draper, pretty shocking huh? Since "In Care Of" was the season finale, when Draper gave those Hersheys pitches and finally began to acknowledge who he really is, maybe Hamm thinks he has a better of chance of winning for playing Dick Whitman. "In Care Of" was a great episode and Hamm was great in it, but the same can be said for the other episodes he's submitted over the past five years. Nothing sets this one apart from the others, so Hamm should still be worried about his competition, especially Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston and Homeland's Damian Lewis. 

Hugh Bonneville, 'Downton Abbey'

Category: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Episode Submitted: "Episode Five"

Chances: It's in this episode where Bonneville's Robert, Earl of Grantham must confront the death of his daughter Sybil and it's emotional, well acted, and complex. But, it's Downton Abbey, after all — heavy-handed, slow-moving drama is what they do best. There's no chance Bonneville will win, but we do appreciate his efforts.

Image: PBS

Bryan Cranston, 'Breaking Bad'

Category: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Episode Submitted: "Say My Name"

Chances: The first half of Season 5 is eligible for this year's Emmys, and Cranston could have really closed his eyes, pointed to any episode name and have made a good choice. He's given a consistently outstanding performance throughout the series that somehow seemed to improved with each episode. Needless to say, "Say My Name" is an excellent choice, as it includes the titular line during a tense standoff with Walt's competitor Declan, as well as some classic Walt/Jesse manipulation and the final showdown between Walt and Mike. 

Image: AMC

Kevin Spacey, 'House of Cards'

Category: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Episode Submitted: "Chapter 1"

Chances: Had his performance in "Chapter One" not been as engrossing as it was, people would've dropped House of Cards like a bad habit but instead, it ushered in a new wave of drama for the Web. Frank Underwood is one of TV's greatest antiheroes and his devilish Southern accent, combined with those haunting narrations, could give Spacey the statue. It's possible Spacey could take home the Emmy, but he's not the front-runner. 

Image: Netflix

Jeff Daniels, 'The Newsroom'

Category: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Episode Submitted: "We Just Decided To"

Chances: It's ludicrous that Daniels even received a nomination for Aaron Sorkin's frustrating, preachy HBO drama, no matter what episode he submitted. That being said, it's not surprising that he chose the pilot episode, because it features the scene that probably earned him the nod, Will's speech about America not being the greatest country anymore. The only way he stands a chance is if Emmy voters split between Jon Hamm, Damian Lewis and Bryan Cranston, leaving him with the most votes. Hopefully, that won't happen. 

Image: HBO

Claire Danes & Damian Lewis, 'Homeland'

Category: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Episode Submitted: "Q&A," for both Danes and Lewis

Chances: Both Danes and Lewis won their categories last year, and their show took home the biggest award of the night, Outstanding Drama Series, so it's safe to say Emmy voters love Homeland. Even though Season 2 fell slightly short of its enormous expectations, "Q&A"was easily a season highlight that showcased the skills of both actors. 

It's most memorable for featuring Danes' Carrie interrogating Lewis' Brody, a scene that is sure to impress voters. It also includes the beginning of one of Season 2's worst plot-lines, Dana Brody and Finn Walden hitting a pedestrian with Finn's car, but hey, Danes and Lewis aren't in that part so it can't hurt them. 

Image: Showtime

Elisabeth Moss, 'Mad Men'

Category: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Episode Submitted: "The Better Half" 

Chances: Like Jon Hamm, Moss has never won an Emmy for Mad Men, even though she's been nominated every year since its second season. Unlike Hamm, she really stands out in Season 6 much more than previous years. "The Better Half" is the episode when Peggy accidentally stabs her boyfriend Abe, and while that's a memorable moment, Moss definitely had stronger performances. She might've been better off submitting the season finale, "In Care Of," when a lot happens in Peggy's relationship with Ted. 

Image: AMC

Connie Britton, 'Nashville'

Category: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Episode Submitted: "Pilot"

Chances: Pilots are always tricky. They essentially have to give the audience a sample of what to expect from the show for its next few episodes, introduce the key characters, and give them something to come back for. That doesn't leave much room to showcase each actor's talent on a show with a large cast, which is why "Pilot" is a bad choice for Britton. 

We barely scratch the surface of Britton's Rayna Jaymes in the pilot. Her episode should have been from later in the season when we see more of her divorce in "There'll Be No Teardrops Tonight" or her relationship with her father in "My Heart Would Know."

As great as has been on Nashville, she still doesn't stand much of a chance against fellow nominees Claire Danes (Homeland) and Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel), but this definitely didn't help. 

Image: ABC

Michelle Dockery, 'Downton Abbey'

Category: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Episode Submitted: "Episode One"

Chances: Dockery's chances for winning this thing are not good. Sure, everyone loves a wedding episode, but Dockery didn't blow us away. It was fun to see her as the do-anything-for-money-and-security type because it showed her range, but other than that, the episode, and her performance, was mostly just average. 

Image: PBS

Kerry Washington, 'Scandal'

Category: Oustanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Episode Submitted: "Happy Birthday, Mr. President"

Chances: It's not going to happen. As awesome as Scandal is and as much as its talked about, Emmy voters will not go for a soapy show. Still, Washington deserves a win and it would be an important victory for an awards show that lacks minority representation. 

The episode submitted was a great choice, though, as it has Olivia's lover, you know, the President, getting shot, leading to a series of flashbacks about their relationship. Washington is giving it her best, but she's in a hard position regardless of what episode is submitted.

Image: ABC

Vera Farmiga, 'Bates Motel'

Category: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Episode Submitted: "First You Dream, Then You Die"

Chances: This year, there were three actresses from new series that many hoped would receive Emmy recognition, and Farmigia was the only one to earn the nomination. Unfortunately, Orphan Black's Tatiana Maslany and The Americans' Keri Russell were overlooked. 

"First You Dream, Then You Die" served as the pilot for Bates Motel, in which Farmiga proved she could effortlessly portray the cunning Norma Bates, the mother of a teenaged boy who would go on to become film's most famous killer. Her chances aren't looking good, though, as Bates Motel isn't really that popular.

Image: A&E

Robin Wright, 'House of Cards'

Category: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Episode Submitted: "Chapter 10"

Chances: It could happen, though it's probably unlikely. "Chapter 10" was one of the best episodes all season and not only gave viewers what they wanted (Claire finally exclaimed to Frank, "you're using me!") but it also showed off Wright's patent acting chops. When she and Spacey sparred in her office, it was enrapturing. If she wins, it would be her first Emmy.

Image: Netflix

Alec Baldwin, '30 Rock'

Category: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Episode Submitted: "A Goon's Deed in a Weary World"

Chances: Baldwin may very well win this year, since it was 30 Rock's last season and his biggest competition is The Big Bang Theory's Jim Parsons and Arrested Development's Jason Bateman. "A Goon's Deed" was the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory episode of 30 Rock, and while Baldwin was funny, it better served Jack McBrayer's Kenneth. Baldwin might have increased his chances of beating the returning Bateman with an episode from earlier in the season, such as the episode when Jack's mother died or when he dates a different woman for each side of his personality, but he still has a solid chance of winning. 

Image: NBC 

Jason Bateman, 'Arrested Development'

Category: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Episode Submitted: "Flight of the Phoenix"

Chances: Bateman does have a shot at winning, but only out of sheer nostalgia. Most Arrested Development fans, and critics, agreed that the fourth season took a few episodes to work itself out, with the second half being far superior to the first — thanks to GOB and Buster. "Flight of the Phoenix" is the season's first episode and while it's funny, Arrested Development and Bateman can do much better. It's disappointing to see Bateman as the new season's only nominee when Will Arnett deserved recognition for "Colony Collapse," and for slipping right back into GOB like he never left. 

Image: Netflix

Louis C.K., 'Louie'

Category: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Episode Submitted: "Daddy's Girlfriend, Part 1"

Chances: In the first half of "Daddy's Girlfriend," Louie seeks out a partner, approaching comedian Maria Bamford before meeting Parker Posey's bookstore employee. Though C.K. delivers a solid performance, the same episode is nominated for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, and if it takes home any prize, it's likely for writing. Louie won the writing statue last year, and though C.K. has been nominated twice for acting, he's never won. He'll likely be passed by as an actor again, potentially for Alec Baldwin, but will receive more credit for his writing. 

Image: FX

Don Cheadle, 'House of Lies'

Category: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Episode Submitted: "Hostile Takeover"

Chances: Last year, Cheadle was the surprise Golden Globe winner but lost the Emmy — to Jon Cryer. If he can't beat Two and a Half Men, it'll be difficult to beat anyone else, especially since he's not the only big name on the list. "Hostile Takeover" does give him his best chance however, as the episode sees Marty make one of his most ruthless moves yet, which is really saying something. 

Image: Showtime

Jim Parsons, 'The Big Bang Theory'

Category: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Episode Submitted: "The Habitation Configuration"

Chances: Parsons has already won two out of his five nominations, one for every season that he's played Sheldon Cooper. "The Habitation Configuration" stands out from Season 6 because it features a rare appearance from drunk Sheldon. Though Parsons always maintains a good balance between the comedic and serious sides of Sheldon, this episode itself features a good mix of both, showcasing Parson's abilities. Another good choice would have been "The Love Spell Potential," when Sheldon takes a big step in his relationship with Amy (Mayim Bialik). 

Image: CBS

Matt LeBlanc, 'Episodes'

Category: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Episode Submitted: "The Affair"

Chances: Though he plays a fictionalized version of himself, LeBlanc has proven there's way more to him than Joey Tribbiani with Episodes. "The Affair" has him at his most sleazy, as he begins an affair with the wife of his show's network executive. The episode gives him a fair shot at an Emmy, but he may have been better off with "The Guest Star," when Matt tries to have a Friends co-star make an appearance on his awful new show. It can't hurt to get Emmy voters feeling nostalgic and remind them that you were on one of the best shows of all time. 

Image: Showtime

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, 'Veep'

Category: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Episode Submitted: "Running"

Chances: Emmy voters love Louis-Dreyfus. She's the only actress to win the Lead Actress prize in three different shows, having won last year for Veep's first season, as well as The New Adventures of Old Christine and duh, Seinfeld. The second season was even better than the first, thanks largely to Louis-Dreyfus bringing even more hilarious viciousness to Selina Meyer, and a little more heart. She really could've gone with any episode and had the same odds, but "Running" was likely chosen because it featured her amazing physical comedy.

Image: HBO

Laura Dern, 'Enlightened'

Category: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Episode Submitted: "All I Ever Wanted"

Chances: Since Enlightened was beloved by critics but cancelled after its second season, Dern is definitely a frontrunner for the prize. "All I Ever Wanted" is an excellent episode that quickly moves Dern's Amy from a place of complete happiness to emotional confusion. The only other option would have been "Agent of Change," simply because it became the series finale, but Dern should get just as much recognition, if not more, for her performance in "All I Ever Wanted."

Image: HBO

Amy Poehler, 'Parks & Recreation'

Category: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Episode Submitted: "Emergency Response"/"Leslie and Ben"

Chances: If Season 4's "Win ,Lose or Draw" couldn't get Emmy voters to give Poehler the win, it's doubtful that anything can. Still, it was smart to submit the special hour-long episode, since the first half "Emergency Response," shows off Poehler's comedic skills and the second, "Leslie and Ben," is much more emotional. She definitely deserves the win, but it's still a long shot, even with the perfect selection of episodes. 

Image: NBC

Edie Falco, 'Nurse Jackie'

Category: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Episode Submitted: "Luck of the Drawing"

Chances: Though all of Season 5 sets itself apart from previous seasons since it features a sober Jackie, "Luck of the Drawing" is especially significant for focusing on Jackie's role as a mother. Still, it wasn't exactly a funny episode and Falco is always strangely nominated in the comedy category, against more comedic performers like Amy Poehler, Tina Fey and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Falco did win the category in 2010, but has stiff competition this year with Louis-Dreyfus's excellent second season of Veep

Image: Showtime

Tina Fey, '30 Rock'

Category: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Episode Submitted: "Hogcock!"/"Last Lunch"

Chances: There's really nothing special about "Hogcock!" except that it is paired with "Last Lunch" as one hour-long episode. The episode sees Fey's Liz Lemon try out being a stay-at-home mom with her two newly adopted children, which doesn't even last until the end of the episode. "Last Lunch" is the 30 Rock series finale and was a good choice regardless of Fey's performance in it — though she is great. 30 Rock has been an Emmy darling from the beginning, with 10 Emmy wins and another 37 nominations, not even counting this year. It's always good to remind voters that this year is their last chance to give the comedy a few more awards. 

Image: NBC

Lena Dunham, 'Girls'

Category: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Episode Submitted: "Bad Friend"

Chances: This is the episode where Hannah and Elijah do cocaine, so I guess Dunham thought her acting was best showcased when pretending to be high. Even though the episode ends with a fight between Hannah and both Marnie and Elijah, Dunham might have been better off with a more dramatic episode. “It’s Back,” when Hannah’s parents visit and realize her O.C.D. has resurfaced, would likely have been a stronger choice.

Image: HBO