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Emmy Awards: Tight Races, High Temps Heat Up Ceremony

The heat is on — literally. As the stars arrive today at the Microsoft Theater, the pressure is on not only to crown the best in television in one of the most competitive years in recent memory, they’ll also have to contend with a sweltering red carpet, as the thermostat flirts with the high 90s in downtown Los Angeles.

The 67th Emmy Awards kicks off at 5 p.m. PT tonight on Fox, with “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” star Andy Samberg set to host. We can surely expect an appearance by his Lonely Island crew — especially given the great response they got at the Oscars for their “Everything is Awesome” performance — and given the election season, it’s simply a question not if, but how many Donald Trump jokes we’ll hear from the stage.

The #AskHerMore campaign — urging red-carpet reporters to ask female celebrities more than “Who are you wearing?” — will be back in force, with a new spin promoted by Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls organization, along with Twitter and the Television Academy. Fans can use the hashtag #SmartGirlsAsk to get a question asked of a nominee on the carpet.

Unlike in years past, there are few sure things when it comes to predicting the winners. Not only were the nominations spread out across multiple series, but the rule changes — with final round voting open to all members — assured that no one has a clear crystal ball going into tonight.

With several series wrapping their runs this season — notably AMC’s “Mad Men” — the question is whether sentimentality weighed on voters’ minds as they cast their ballots. Will Jon Hamm finally win the best actor with a drama trophy that’s long eluded him?

History may also be made in the best actress in a drama race: No black woman has ever won that prize, and Viola Davis (“How to Get Away with Murder”) and Taraji P. Henson (“Empire”) are both considered front-runners in the category.

The best comedy race also holds potential to make its mark in the record books. Should “Modern Family” prevail with a record sixth win, it will dethrone “Frasier” with the most wins ever in the category. But should critical favorite “Transparent” take the prize, it will cement Amazon’s arrival as a contender.

Presenters lined up for this year’s ceremony include Amy Schumer, Jimmy Kimmel, Mel Brooks, “Jane the Virgin” star Gina Rodriguez, and “Scream Queens” star Jamie Lee Curtis — as well as the stars who received trophies for their work as guest actors at last weekend’s Creative Arts Emmys: Bradley Whitford (“Transparent”), Joan Cusack (“Shameless”), Reg E. Cathey (“House of Cards”) and Margo Martindale (“The Americans”).

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