Alan Ball Six Feet Under
Episode: “Everybody’s Waiting”
Network: HBO
Kudos pedigree in this category: First Emmy nomination
On the resume: “American Beauty”
Executive producers: Ball, Robert Greenblatt, David Janollari, Alan Poul, Bruce Eric Kaplan, Rick Cleveland
Memorable scene from nominated Episode: This critically acclaimed finale included a much-talked-about ending montage in which the circumstances of every character’s death is revealed.
Why he may win: Ball seemed to figure out how to save his show from fans’ wrath with a final season — and closing episode — that was widely praised.
Maybe not: Ball is also nominated for directing the episode, and voters might choose to recognize him for his contributions there instead.
Quote: “I wish I could remember whose idea it was to go forward in time and see all of the cast members, see the moment at the end of their lives, because it wasn’t me,” says Ball. “It was such a collaborative environment in that writers’ room I can’t pinpoint now exactly whose idea it was, but when I heard it, I thought, of course, absolutely, what else are you gonna do on a show about death? And with Nate dying three episodes from the end, it gave the show a chance to sort of grieve itself. I cried when I wrote that episode.”

Carlton Cuse, Damon Lindelof Lost
Episode: “The 23rd Psalm”
Network: ABC
Kudos pedigree in this category: Cuse’s first Emmy nomination; Lindelof nominated in 2004 for “Lost.”
On the resume: “Nash Bridges,” Cuse; “Crossing Jordan,” Lindelof
Executive producers: J.J. Abrams, Lindelof, Bryan Burk, Jack Bender, Cuse
Memorable scene from nominated Episode: While this episode was solid, the finale had it all — just enough new info to answer questions, incredible suspense, character development and a hint at what’s to come.
Why they may win: One of the series’ best backstory dramas, it revealed Eko’s history as a drug dealer who took on the guise of his dead brother’s priesthood in a search to redeem himself.
Maybe not: Might be hard to beat out the double-nominated “Grey’s Anatomy,” which this past season became the hotter show on ABC.
Quote: “The old wisdom of ‘write what you know’ had to be completely tossed out for this one as we are not Nigerian, heroin addicts, men pretending to be priests, nor have we had any experience with mystical islands,” say Cuse and Lindelof jointly. “But what we could understand was that Mr. Eko made a mistake and was searching for redemption.”

Shonda Rhimes Grey’s Anatomy
Episode: “It’s the End of the World (As We Know It)”
Network: ABC
Kudos pedigree in this category: First Emmy nomination
On the resume: “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge”
Executive producers: Rhimes, Mark Gordon, Betsy Beers, Jim Parriott, Peter Horton
Memorable scene from nominated Episode: The most-watched episode of the year as it followed the Super Bowl. A man is brought into the hospital with a bomb implanted in his gut. Guest star Christina Ricci is asked to keep a hand on the device so it doesn’t blow up. Soon her anxiety gets the best of her, and Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) unwillingly fills in.
Why she may win: Emmy voters may also warm to the chance to recognize the woman who created the series.
Maybe not: The threat of another nomination in this same category for “Grey’s” could make for a canceling out.
Quote: “I tried really hard to make the first episode very male and the second episode very female (in this two-parter),” wrote Rhimes on GreysWriters.com. “I wanted them to fit together, like puzzle pieces, so that I could have two episodes about the same thing but that felt very different from one another.”

Terence Winter The Sopranos
Episode: “Members Only”
Network: HBO
Kudos pedigree in this category: Emmy nom in 1999 for “The Sopranos”
On the resume: “Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” “Sister, Sister”
Executive producers: David Chase, Brad Grey, Ilene S. Landress, Winter
Memorable scene from nominated Episode: The theme of not being able to escape one’s life was set up in this corker of a season opener.
Why he may win: Emmy voters love recognizing “The Sopranos” writers, and Winter has yet to win for his contributions in that arena.
Maybe not: The same reason it might — too many awards for this show in this category.
Quote: “The story of Tony’s soldier Eugene and his attempt to leave the ‘family’ was not only compelling, it also allowed us to reintroduce our many characters,” says Winter. “Because Eugene’s suicide felt like a conclusive ending and despite setting up Uncle Junior’s paranoia early on, we knew the audience wouldn’t see it coming when he blasted a shot into Tony’s stomach. The response to the episode was terrific, and to be recognized with an Emmy nomination as well is more than I could have hoped for.”

Krista Vernoff Grey’s Anatomy
Episode: “Into You Like a Train”
Network: ABC
Kudos pedigree in this category: First Emmy nomination
On the resume: “Charmed”
Executive producers: Shonda Rhimes, Mark Gordon, Betsy Beers, Jim Parriott, Peter Horton
Memorable scene from nominated Episode: A staggering episode, as victims of a train wreck are rushed into the ER. Most defining moment: Two people are impaled by the same metal pole and the doctors must choose, in order to save one, which person will live and which will die.
Why she may win: Series was the year’s big breakout hit, and this episode was jam-packed with emotional incident.
Maybe not: Its other writing nomination could cancel it out.
Quote: “What we always try to do is draw a metaphor between our medical stories and our romantic and character stories,” says Vernoff. “I didn’t know how a train wreck was going to work for our series, and then somebody pitched these people stuck together on a pole, and it crystallized for me that if the doctors had to choose between these two patients, we had the metaphor of Derek having to choose between these two women that he loved.”

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