At this Sunday's Emmy Awards, the only thing fans can count on is the unexpected.
Plenty of fresh faces are among the nominees, some longtime losers are favored to finally win — and even the red carpet will look different.
First, there's likely to be some bada-bing in the best drama category. Though some may be hoping for four more years of "The West Wing," which won the Emmy (search) in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003, experts say it's "The Sopranos'" year.
"If they don’t win I think it’s time for the guys on 'The Sopranos' to pull out the guns for real," said Tom O'Neil who runs the awards prediction Web site Goldderby.com.
Other shows in the best drama category include the ratings heavy-hitter "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "24," and "Joan of Arcadia."
But just because Tony and his goons are expected to win the big prize, doesn't mean lead actor James Gandolfini will beat his competitors in the best actor category.
"I think we're going to see everyone wining from 'The Sopranos' except Tony Soprano," said O'Neil, who blamed a poor video submission by Gandolfini as the culprit behind his less-than-favored status.
Both O'Neil and E! online's Kristin Veitch predict that Australian actor Anthony LaPaglia, who plays FBI agent Jack Malone on "Without a Trace," will unseat Gandolfini's mob boss.
"Given all the buzz surrounding 'Without a Trace,' and its ratings coup over 'ER,' it seems natural to look to Anthony LaPaglia for the win," Veitch wrote on E! online's Emmy prediction site.
But other nominees in the best actor race also stand a chance. Martin Sheen of "The West Wing," Kiefer Sutherland of "24" and James Spader of "The Practice" are all strong contenders.
Still, the biggest story on Sunday will likely be "Sex and the City" star Sarah Jessica Parker. Believe it or not, the comely star has won numerous Golden Globes, but has been denied the Emmy five times.
"She has the Susan Lucci (search) disease," said O'Neil, referring to the "All My Children" actress who lost 18 times before finally winning a Daytime Emmy (search). "She routinely picks the worst submission tapes."
This year Parker submitted the second half of the season finale of "Sex and the City" in which she breaks up with her boyfriend played by Mikhail Baryshnikov and finally gets together with "Mr. Big."
"It’s got emotional range, and it feels historically significant," said O'Neil, who thinks Parker's biggest competition comes from Patricia Heaton of "Everybody Loves Raymond."
"If Sarah Jessica Parker doesn't win an Emmy this year, look for hordes of 'Sex and the City' fans around the world to throw their Manolos at the screen in outrage," wrote Veitch.
"Sex and the City," however, is not necessarily a shoo-in for best comedy, which has a host of very different nominees. The critical darling that could nab the prize is the new wacky series "Arrested Development." However, a lot of Emmy voters prefer the ratings favorite, "Everybody Loves Raymond." Also among the nominees are "Will & Grace," "Sex and the City" and the HBO comedy "Curb Your Enthusiasm."
"For best comedy, experts are all over the map," said O'Neil. "Goldderby.com gives best odds to 'Sex and the City' with 'Everybody Loves Raymond' right behind it."
But the old saying 'out of sight, out of mind' rings true in Hollywood and could be the downfall of "Sex and the City," which is no longer on the air. Only two series in the last 30 years have won an Emmy after going off the air — "Barney Miller" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."
"It’s gone equals forgotten in cruel Hollywood," said O'Neil.
Another tight race is the best actress in a drama category, of which media-watchers are divided between Edie Falco of "The Sopranos," Allison Janney of "The West Wing," newcomer Amber Tamblyn of "Joan of Arcadia" and Jennifer Garner of "Alias."
"The best performance is clearly given by Jennifer Garner in 'Alias,' but action stars don’t win Emmys because they aren’t considered serious thespians," said O'Neil who thinks Falco has the best chance of winning.
And in the best actor in a comedy series, many are predicting that John Ritter, who died unexpectedly last year, will win for "8 Simple Rules." However Tony Shalhoub of "Monk," Matt LeBlanc of "Friends" and Kelsey Grammer of "Frasier" also have good chances.
Finally, The Donald could add Emmy-winner to his already impressive resume. "The Apprentice" is favored to win in the relatively new reality show category.
In addition to all the tight races, even the red carpet will have a different feel. Fashion police Joan and Melissa Rivers won't be offering their usual catty banter. Instead "View" co-host Star Jones will greet guests and grill them on their outfits.
"One thing I will not do is try to duplicate Joan, because you never duplicate an original," Jones said. "My biggest challenge is not to be a stupid, gushing fan because I really love most of the people who are nominated and presenting."
The Emmys airs Sunday night on ABC at 8 p.m. The countdown to the Emmys begins at 7 p.m.