Dan Attias Entourage
Episode: “Oh, Mandy”
Network: HBO
Kudos pedigree in this category: First Emmy nomination
On the resume: “Deadwood,” “Six Feet Under,” “Alias”
Executive producers: Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson, Doug Ellin
Memorable scene from nominated Episode: Johnny Drama’s road rage after being insulted in true Hollywood style.
Why he may win: He’s a veteran director on some of the industry’s favorite shows, but has never been honored.
Maybe not: Vote split with the other “Entourage” nominee in this category.
Quote: “The real payoff in this episode was getting a look inside the brothers Chase,” wrote Charles Curtis in Entertainment Weekly.

Marc Buckland My Name Is Earl
Episode: “Pilot”
Network: NBC
Kudo pedigree in this category: Nominated in 2002 for “Scrubs”
On the resume: “Ed,” “Sports Night,” “The West Wing,” “Felicity,” “NYPD Blue”
Executive producers: Mark Buckland, Greg Garcia
Memorable scene from nominated Episode: “I gotta say at the end of the day, the two scenes that stick out are when Earl gets smashed by the car and when Kenny sprays his face with Mace and hits the wall,” Buckland says.
Why he may win: With the pilot also nabbing a nom in writing, there’s momentum to be found. And it’s the only noncable nominee.
Maybe not: Is that good or bad?
Quote: “Jason was a real trooper for letting us run him over like that,” Buckland says. “He’s a pro. … We nailed it the first time, and we only did it two more times for safety.”

Julian Farino Entourage
Episode: “The Sundance Kids”
Network: HBO
Kudos pedigree in this category: First Emmy nomination
On the resume: “Big Love,” “Sex and the City”
Executive producers: Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson, Doug Ellin
Memorable scene from nominated Episode: Drama and Turtle in a threesome? We’re still not sure how to react.
Why he may win: Filmed during the Sundance Festival, this is definitely one of the series’ most memorable episodes.
Maybe not: This episode and “Oh, Mandy” aired in consecutive weeks, making it that much tougher for voters to side with one over the other.
Quote: “God bless TiVo — it allowed me to go back a half-dozen times and watch the looks on both Turtle’s and Johnny’s faces as Cassie the driver took their hands to lead them upstairs for a little … group bonding on the bunk beds. Without them saying a word, we knew what they were both thinking: Is a night spent with a beautiful blonde about to join the Peace Corps worth seeing each other nude?” said Curtis in EW.

Michael Patrick King The Comeback
Episode: “Valerie Does Another Classic Leno”
Network: HBO
Kudos pedigree in this category: Won in 2002 for “Sex and the City.”
Executive producers: Michale Patrick King, Lisa Kudrow, John Melfi, Dan Bucatinsky
On the resume: “Sex and the City,” “Will & Grace” (writer), “Murphy Brown” (writer)
Memorable scene from nominated Episode: When Valerie turns the tables and gets the camera crew to focus on Jane.
Why he may win: People who stuck with the show or came back to it found more to their liking.
Maybe not: Many voters might not have given the show a second chance after its poorly reviewed beginnings.
Quote: “A lot of people were completely thrown because they didn’t know how to receive it,” King says, adding that eventually, “everyone started to understand this is like a crazy roller-coaster ride. It makes you sick to your stomach, but you can’t wait to get back on.”

Robert B. Weide Curb Your Enthusiasm
Episode: “The Christ Nail”
Network: HBO
Kudos pedigree in this category: Nominated in 2002-04, won in 2003 for “Curb Your Enthusiasm”
Executive producers: Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson, Doug Ellin
On the resume: “American Masters,” “The Great Standups”
Memorable scene from nominated Episode: Larry buying a bra for his housekeeper.
Why he may win: The directing skill is apparent and has been rewarded in the past.
Maybe not: May seem old hat by now.
Quote: “Something that I still try to do is to meet the day players, the supporting actors (before the shoot),” Weide says. “Their comfort level on the set is critical. I always make a point to go into their trailers or makeup or whatever and explain the process, so they know what to expect.”

Craig Zisk Weeds
Episode: “Good S*** Lollipop”
Network: Showtime
Kudos pedigree in this category: First Emmy nomination
On the resume: “Nip/Tuck,” “Scrubs,” “Alias”
Executive producer: Jenji Kohan
Memorable scene from nominated Episode: “The scene at the very end of that episode,” Zisk says. “Kind of throughout the episode, (Mary-Louise Parker) thinks her son has been lying to her about having shot the mountain lion. Mary-Louise is the one who looks out the window and sees blood on the mountain lion’s eye — it’s her expression of playing, ‘My son wasn’t lying to me.’”
Why he may win: “Weeds” has credibility among voters, and this is as good a place as any for them to show it.
Maybe not: For the most part, it’s still an uphill battle for Showtime at Emmy time.
Quote: “It’s nice to work on a show where you have a little bit of freedom, like we have on cable,” says Zisk, who went from directing one “Weeds” episode in its first season to seven episodes in its second. “It meant a lot to me to kind of be the one that was singled out of all the directors last year to bridge the acting and the writing.”

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