By Ken Tucker
Updated September 19, 2011 at 11:59 AM EDT

Predicting the Emmys, like trying to foretell any awards, is always a mixture of rooting for favorites and attempting to divine what the voting body of the Emmy Awards will do. By this measure, I didn’t do very well at all. In retrospect, I should have gone with shows and performers I really, really liked.

If you combine the number predictions I made here in Entertainment Weekly and on, I attempted 24 categories. I correctly predicted nine. But if you look at my EW picks, they were divided into who “will” and who “should” win. Important lesson I learned here: If I had gone with my “should”s (that is, the ones I fervently hoped to win, but didn’t think Emmy voters would go for), my total would have been a much more respectable 14 out of 24.

I mean, under the Best Supporting Actress Comedy category, my “should” entry reads, in its entirety: “Julie Bowen, of course!” What a fool I was not to have picked her, the eventual winner, as my “will.”

In the TV-movie/miniseries category, I originally gave Downton Abbey a higher grade than Mildred Pierce. So why did I go almost all in (yay, Maggie Smith!) on Mildred? Because I thought this witty British costume drama couldn’t stop a big HBO period-piece.

Oh, well, this is the best sort of lesson to learn, I suppose. Lead with your heart, your passion, not your head… that is, unless your head is telling you that your passion for Parks and Recreation is bound to lose when the mighty ensemble of Modern Family is still on a hot streak. And next year, I’ll be rooting for Ed O’Neill again — the guy’s gotta win some time, right?

Twitter: @kentucker