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Here's who'll win Emmys for guest actor/actress (hint: never bet against Betty White)

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These guest categories are always fun races, since they’re loaded with big names who made striking impressions in sometimes small roles. Some races this year are locks; others could result in upsets. I think I’ve figured out who’ll win. Tell me if you agree.

OUTSTANDING GUEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY

Christine Baranski (The Big Bang Theory)

Kathryn Joosten (Desperate Housewives)

Kristin Chenoweth (Glee)

Tina Fey (Saturday Night Live)

Elaine Stritch (30 Rock)

Jane Lynch (Two and a Half Men)

Betty White (Saturday Night Live)

Will win Betty White. Not only was this the unofficial Year of Betty White, she really deserves the Emmy for her extraordinary energy and comedic timing in so many SNL sketches.

Possible upset Elaine Stritch always makes a big impression when she shows up as Jack’s mom, and her terrific performance as a meddling crank could warm voters’ hearts

Shoulda been a contender Kathy Bates in The Office. As the big-dog new owner of Dunder Mifflin, Bates gave a wonderful performance that merited a nomination.

OUTSTANDING GUEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA

Mary Kay Place (Big Love)

Sissy Spacek (Big Love)

Shirley Jones (The Cleaner)

Lily Tomlin (Damages)

Ann-Margret (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit)

Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost)

Will win Lily Tomlin. Tomlin may have had a small role, but she made the most of it, with artful minimalist acting. Plus, voters may want to show Damages some love and respect here.

Possible upset Sissy Spacek. In a weak season for Big Love in general, Spacek was a stand-out as a grasping, ambitious woman who went toe-to-toe with Bill Paxton in every scene they shared.

Shoulda been a contender Martha Plimpton’s guest starring role on the Fringe episode “Northwest Passage” left you feeling as though the producers could have spun a whole new series off of Plimpton’s small-town sheriff character.

OUTSTANDING GUEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY

Mike O’Malley (Glee)

Neil Patrick Harris (Glee)

Fred Willard (Modern Family)

Eli Wallach (Nurse Jackie)

Jon Hamm (30 Rock)

Will Arnett (30 Rock)

Will win Mike O’Malley. Who’ll be able to resist O’Malley’s calibrated turn as a father reconnecting with his son?

Possible upset Neil Patrick Harris. To answer my question above: Perhaps voters who liked Harris’ excellent Glee performance as a prickly Bryan Ryan.

Shoulda been a contender Jason Alexander was so good in Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s Seinfeld reunion, I thought he deserved a nomination.

OUTSTANDING GUEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA

Beau Bridges (The Closer)

Ted Danson (Damages)

John Lithgow (Dexter)

Alan Cumming (The Good Wife)

Dylan Baker (The Good Wife)

Robert Morse (Mad Men)

Gregory Itzin (24)

Will win John Lithgow. No one else did a guest star turn that was at once as showy and as subtle as Lithgow, the best Big Bad Dexter has had so far.

Possible upset Robert Morse. Who doesn’t love Morse’s eccentric, socks-only ad man in Mad Men? Emmy voters may not be able to resist his charms.

Shoulda been a contender Peter Weller in Fringe. As a man trying to turn back time to grapple with the death of his fiancee in the “White Tulip” episode, Weller gave a wonderfully nuanced, moving performance.

So: Who do you think will win in these four categories? Do you agree or disagree with my choices? Please let me know below; thanks.

Follow: @kentucker

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