The 2012 Emmy Award nominations will be announced Thursday morning at 8:40am ET (5:40am PT) by Scandal‘s Kerry Washington and Parks and Recreation‘s Nick Offerman.

There are plenty of shows and actors that don’t need to worry about scoring a nomination. Shows like Mad Men, Breaking Bad and Modern Family are sure to rake in a ton of nominations, as should Showtime’s freshman drama Homeland. Odds are also good that past winners like Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) and Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife) will hear their names announced.

But what about the wild cards? Last year outsiders like Melissa McCarthy (Mike and Molly) and Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights) got in.

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So here are my top wild card picks, actors who are definitely not guaranteed a nomination, but who could possibly sneak in.

A Supporting Actor/Actress from The Big Bang Theory

Jim Parsons has won twice and last year this wildly popular series scored additional nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series and fellow lead actor Johnny Galecki. But the rest of the cast really deserves some recognition too. This year I’d love to see Simon Helberg sneak into the very competitive Supporting Actor race. I’d also like to see any one of the three ladies (Mayim Bialik, Melissa Rauch or Kaley Cuoco) score a Supporting Actress nomination. It would be a validation of the series to expand its acting nominees.

Nick Offerman

The man is waking up incredibly early to help announce the nominees, the least the Academy can do is reward with a long overdue nomination. Last year every single TV critic seemed in universal agreement that Offerman was the biggest snub, so let’s hope it doesn’t happen again.

Anyone from Happy Endings or Community

I’m not picky. All six actors on Happy Endings deserve some serious recognition (I suspect Damon Wayans, Jr. and Casey Wilson are the likeliest nominees). And the same can be said for Community‘s incredible cast, from Joel McHale and Gillian Jacobs to Danny Pudi and Jim Rash. I realize there’s no chance all the deserving actors from these two shows will get nominated, but if at least one person from either show gets in, it will be a step in the right direction.

Someone from Sons of Anarchy

Season after season the Emmys ignore this brilliant show (though creator Kurt Sutter isn’t winning any congeniality points). As I see it, the show has an incredibly deserving star in each of the four major acting categories. Charlie Hunnam and Katey Sagal are the leads, Maggie Siff and Ron Perlman are the supporting players. All four deserve Emmy nominations, but hopefully one (probably Sagal) will get in.

John Noble

I realize this will never happen, but I can still dream. Noble elevates the stereotype of mad scientist into a character who is wounded and sympathetic, and the fact that he plays a polar opposite in the alternate universe only emphasizes how incredibly good he is.

In recent years this category has rewarded fantasy/sci-fi stars like Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones and Lost stars Terry O’Quinn and Michael Emerson. Noble certainly belongs in that company.

The Wives of the Drama Lead Actors

The odds are strong that people like Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Damian Lewis (Homeland), Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire), Jon Hamm (Mad Men) and Kelsey Grammer (Boss) will all be nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. But behind every great man is an equally great woman.

Respectively, Anna Gunn, Morena Baccarin, Kelly Macdonald, Jessica Pare and Connie Nielsen play the wives to those characters and were all great in their own ways. I know Pare has plenty of haters, but I was a fan of the way she really made me like someone I desperately wanted to loathe.

While Macdonald is a past nominee, the others would all be new to the game, and it would be nice for the Emmys to acknowledge that women don’t need their own shows (The Good Wife, The Closer, Harry’s Law) to get a nomination. A show like Breaking Bad might seem like a boys’ club (Cranston, Aaron Paul and Giancarlo Esposito all more-than-deserve nominations), but Gunn is just as worthy.

What wild card nominees are you hoping to see when the 2012 Emmy Award nominations are announced?

(Image courtesy of NBC)

John Kubicek

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

John watches nearly every show on TV, but he specializes in sci-fi/fantasy like The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and True Blood. However, he can also be found writing about everything from Survivor and Glee to One Tree Hill and Smallville.