71st Primetime Emmy Award Nominations

Tomorrow morning, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences will be announcing their nominations for the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards. And while current hits like Big Little Lies and Stranger Things aren’t eligible until next year’s ceremony, there’s still a whole lot of TV that will be appearing – including the final seasons of two of the most beloved shows of the decade, Veep and Game of Thrones. So who will be competing with the juggernauts in the top spots? I have some predictions.

Comedy

Why don’t we start with Comedy, shall we? It’s such a nice, breezy genre. And there’s not better way to kick off our look at the comedy contenders than with Veep, which featured Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ comedy swan song. Expect the show to clean up in its usual categories with nominations across the board, including Best Comedy Series, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor for Tony Hale, Best Supporting Actress for Anna Chlumsky (who better win this year), Best Guest Actor for Peter MacNichol, and of course writing and directing. Meanwhile, last year’s favorite, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, should also receive some love for its acclaimed second season. Expect it to compete with Veep in Best Comedy Series, writing, directing, Best Actress (Rachel Brosnahan), Best Supporting Actor (Tony Shalhoub), and Best Supporting Actress (Alex Borstein), along with a nomination for Jane Lynch in Best Guest Actress – a nomination she may very well win. Oh, and you should also expect big things from critical favorite Barry, which will once again receive nominations for Best Comedy Series, Best Actor for Bill Hader, and Best Supporting Actor for Henry Winkler. Hader should also receive nominations for writing and directing for the terrific television spectacle that was “ronny/lily.”

When filling out Emmy predictions, you should always take a look at the oldest and newest shows and think, “What are the traditional Emmy voters watching?” There’s a huge swath of them in the Academy, as can be seen by the multiple nominations and wins by The Big Bang Theory throughout the years (expect Big Bang Theory to receive love in Best Writing, and maybe Best Directing for their much-acclaimed series finale). They usually tend to vote for shows with actors they like and are usually on networks. Therefore, expect black-ish and Big Bang Theory creator Chuck Lorre’s The Kominsky Method to have a big day. Black-ish will likely be nominated for Best Comedy and Best Actor for Anthony Anderson, but don’t be surprised if their “Purple Rain” episode gets a directing nod – the Emmys loves to nominate straightforward shows that take risks. As for The Kominsky Method, it seems like a safe bet for Best Comedy Series, Best Actor (Michael Douglas), Best Supporting Actor (Alan Arkin), and Best Director.

This leaves us with two slots in Best Comedy, and four beloved comedies to choose from. Will the nomination go to GLOW, The Good Place, Russian Doll, or Fleabag? Well, I’m going to have to pick the two Netflix series over the network philosophy tour and the British masterpiece. GLOW has massive support within the industry, thanks to great work by Alison Brie and Betty Gilpin. It should also earn a nomination for its Directing. Meanwhile, Russian Doll has the “wow” factor of great direction, as well as that impeccable Natasha Lyonne performance (if Louis-Dreyfus wasn’t in the race, she would win in a heartbeat). It will earn nominations for both, as well as a writing nomination for the pilot. But don’t think for a minute that The Good Place or Fleabag are going home empty-handed. The Good Place will once again earn a nomination for Ted Danson, while Fleabag will earn a nomination for writing that marvelous first episode, as well as a Guest Actress bid for Kristen Scott Thomas. And don’t for a second rule Kristen Bell or Phoebe Waller-Bridge out of contention for Best Actress – there could be an upset on the horizon for someone. Maybe even Issa Rae or Lily Tomlin. Every other category plays out sort of like it has in the past (an Emmy staple) with a Jim Carrey thrown in here or there.

Drama

Boy, Drama this year is pretty easy to predict. While it’s definitely my weakest link, and I’m pretty sure I only watch three of these shows, it’s all ok in the end when I realize that 25-75% of these categories are just going to be actors, writers, and directors from Game of Thrones. Despite hatred for the final season, it’s going to be hard for voters to deny the spectacle of it all. It’s the most-watched show in a decade, it’s become a cultural touchstone, and HBO is so confident in it that they let the showrunners only submit the final episode for contention. Now that’s dedication. Expect the show to clean up throughout the categories, including a nomination for Best Drama, Best Actress for Emilia Clarke, two nominations for Best Supporting Actor (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and perennial favorite Peter Dinklage), three Best Supporting Actress nominations (Lena Headey, Maise Williams, and Sophie Turner), two nominations for Best Director (the controversial finale and the great Miguel Sapochnik’s “The Long Night,” aka his second best episode of the season), and Best Writing for the finale (which will be hilarious).

Best Drama is in for some interesting turbulence this year. Of last year’s seven nominees, only three have had new seasons eligible to compete this year. Those other two are This Is Us (look for it in Best Drama Series, Best Actor for its Milo Ventimiglia and Sterling K. Brown, and Best Guest Actress for Phylicia Rashad) and Better Call Saul (Best Drama Series, Best Actor for Bob Odenkirk, Best Supporting Actor for Jonathan Banks, Best Supporting Actress for Rhea Seehorn, Best Guest Actor for Michael McKean, and Best Writing). This means there are a whopping four shows looking to make their way into the Best Drama race in dramatic fashion, hoping to fill the void left by The Crown, The Americans, Westworld, Stranger Things, and The Handmaid’s Tale (which inexplicably finds itself eligible in the writing and guest actor categories, forcing its inevitable nominations). Of these four slots, I’ll fill one with Killing Eve, which should not only earn a nomination for Best Drama Series, but should be able to take advantage of the triple-elimination of Claire Foy vs. Elisabeth Moss vs. Keri Russell to eek out a double nomination for Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh, the series’ two impressive leading ladies. In fact, don’t be surprised if Oh could win here.

As for the rest of the spots, I’m looking to fill out my predictions with some fresh blood. Naturally, Homecoming should be able to earn itself a nomination on star power alone. Its impressive cast should earn a Best Drama Series nomination, as well as acting nods for Julia Roberts (Actress), Bobby Cannavale (Supporting Actor), and Hong Chau (Guest Actress), as well as a nomination for its writing. Up next, we have the critical darling Pose, the 1980s set exploration of the Ballroom drag culture of New York City, and features an impressive cast of African-American and Latino gay, trans, and gender-nonconforming actors and actresses. A favorite during the winter awards race, expect Pose to break down some barriers and stats and earn nominations for Best Drama Series, Best Actor for Billy Porter, Best Guest Actor for Christopher Meloni, and both writing and directing for Hollywood mogul Ryan Murphy (the writing nomination would be shared with Janet Mock, who stands to be the first trans woman nominated for a writing Emmy, and only the third black woman to date in either Drama or Comedy). And finally, there’s the word-of-mouth nominee, the show that builds up hype in the offseason to earn nominations at the Emmys. This year, I expect that show to be Succession, my guiltiest of guilty pleasures, with an impeccable cast of douchebags that we all grow to love. Succession should easily earn a nomination for Best Drama Series, as well as a nomination for Best Supporting Actor for Kieran Culkin as loathsome, yet hilarious Roman. In fact, I’m so onboard with Succession that I’m predicting a second Best Supporting Actor nomination for Matthew Macfadyen’s perfect weasel Tom Wamsgans. There should also be a nomination for Eric Bogosian in Best Guest Actor for his spot-on Bernie Sanders impression, as well as nominations for writing and directing (sadly, that Best Director slot will go to Adam McKay’s disappointing pilot, barf).

Now at this point, you may be wondering, “What about that beloved British show Bodyguard? Surely it will get some love?” Well, yes, Bodyguard is beloved – Richard Madden did win a surprise Golden Globe for his performance. But the show really hasn’t caught on here the way it did in jolly old England. I can’t see it sneaking into such a packed Best Actor race. It should, however, earn nominations for its writing, as well as a Best Actor nomination for Richard Madden. Also look for some mild love for The Good Fight (a Best Actress nod for Christine Baranski, finally, as well as Guest slots for Alan Alda and Jane Curtin) and Ozark (the Emmys love Jason Bateman, who should carry along a directing nod, Laura Linney in Best Actress, and Julia Garner in Best Supporting Actress). But don’t look too hard for other nominees – this is going to be a Game of Thrones bloodbath on par with the Battle of Winterfell.

Limited Series/TV Movie

I’m going to be frank with you all: these categories are going to be a bloodbath. It is insane to me that anyone could choose between Deadwood, When They See Us, Escape at Dannemora, Fosse/Verdon, Sharp Objects, Chernobyl, and A Very English Scandal. These are some of the best works of a decade, and somehow the Emmys can only pick a handful of these options. Something’s going to have to get cut, and honestly, it’s either Sharp Objects, one of the best shows of 2018, or Chernobyl, one of the best shows of 2019. I personally think it’ll be the latter, because there’s always one prestige series that the Emmys just don’t go for (hi, Show Me A Hero!), but I could be wrong. Amy Adams could get screwed out of television the same way she has the Oscars.

With that being said, let’s break down this Best Actress bloodbath. Once you remove Connie Britton, Emma Stone, and Niecy Nash from the race (Britton will be nominated alongside Garner as Dirty John’s sole nominations, Stone will be Maniac’s only nomination, and I’ll discuss Nash and When They See Us in a moment), you’re left with three actresses leading shows that have equal claims to the throne. Should Sharp Objects earn a Best Limited Series nomination, you can also look for the Southern Gothic thriller in Best Actress for Amy Adams, Best Supporting Actress for Patricia Clarkson (your frontrunner) and Eliza Scanlan, Best Director for Jean-Marc Vallée and Best Writing for novelist Gillian Flynn. One name you won’t be seeing is Elizabeth Perkins, who shockingly was not submitted for Best Supporting Actress, despite being a highlight of the show. Then there’s the winter darling Escape at Dannemora, Ben Stiller’s thrilling drama surrounding the 2015 Clinton Correctional Facility escape. Patricia Arquette won all the winter awards, and will likely win again here, thanks to a riveting portrayal of a prison guard seduced into helping two prisoners escape. She’ll also have the pleasure of being a double nominee, along with her performance in The Act. The series should also earn nominations for Limited Series, Benicio del Toro in Best Actor, Stiller in Best Director, Brett Johnson and Michael Tolkin in Best Writing, and should finally break Paul Dano’s snub streak with a nomination for Best Supporting Actor (give my boy a win already). And finally, we have the spring chicken Fosse/Verdon, the Broadway nerd’s Mecca that slowly won over audiences. Thanks to Michelle Williams’ charismatic performance, the series became a hit that will earn nominations for Best Limited Series, Best Actor for Sam Rockwell, Best Supporting Actor for Norbert Leo Butz, and Best Direction for Hamilton’s Thomas Kail. All three of these shows and actresses will be nominated – the real challenge is who wins once they get in.

And what of Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us? Well, there’s a laundry list of reasons that this show is in prime position to dominate the Emmys. It’s recent, it was a critical success, it was a commercial hit, it’ll piss off racists, certain political figures, and those who are both, and Netflix and DuVernay have structured the show’s awards chances perfectly. For example, Niecy Nash wouldn’t stand a chance for her role in the Supporting Category, but in the weaker (but loaded) Best Actress category? She could easily sneak in. Meanwhile, the show’s heart, Jharell Jerome and Michael K. Williams, are both favorites in their respective fields, while Vera Farmiga could get carried through for playing the most nuanced of the villains. The show should be a major force in the Limited Series, Best Writing, and Best Directing categories as well. And Best Limited Series will be rounded out by the British/Golden Globe favorite A Very English Scandal, which should also receive nominations for its writing, Best Actor for Hugh Grant, and Best Supporting Actor for Ben Whishaw. As for the TV Movie side of things, there’s not much to talk about – there are two good films and three slot fillers. Of those two, however, there should be an impressive battle between The Old and The New. In terms of the old, Deadwood: The Movie provided a perfect capstone to a beloved series, and should earn nominations for Best TV Movie, Best Writing, and Best Actor for Ian McShane’s iconic performance. Meanwhile, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is looking to capitalize on the unprecedented Choose Your Own Adventure style that they created, and should benefit in tech categories, as well as in Best Director. With Best Comedy and Best Drama all but decided, look to these categories to bring the show a much-needed boost of life.

And The Rest

And finally, let’s break down the important moments from the other categories, from Variety to the Specials. Let’s start with Variety’s biggest contender, Saturday Night Live. The show has been an Emmy favorite for decades, and between recent political drama and an all-star cast (with weak writing, admittedly – they really need to replace Jost and Che as head writers), they’ve found themselves with multiple nominees in recent years. I would expect Kate McKinnon and Kenan Thompson to be locks for the nomination, and Leslie Jones should have a decent chance of a third bid. I do believe that Alec Baldwin will be out of the running, as many fans of the show are already growing tired of seeing the same old shtick over and over (as opposed to Anthony Atamanuik, whose material is consistently new, fresh, pointed, and smart). However, while Baldwin will fall, expect Robert De Niro to earn a Guest Actor nomination, solely because Cheeto Man Bad (whether or not you agree with the subject, we really need to admit at this point that the material just isn’t funny anymore). And because the Emmys love to fill out the Guest categories with hosts for the show, expect Adam Driver, John Mulaney, Sandra Oh, and Emma Thompson to all find love for their episodes. However, in terms of who will win the Sketch Comedy category, I would look to the new blood for a new champion. Specifically, I would look to I Think You Should Leave and Who Is America? Leave is one of the best reviewed shows of the year, and its critical following should earn nominations for Best Variety Sketch Series and Best Direction for Akiva Schaffer. Meanwhile, Who Is America? is not as well reviewed, but it took some daring risks that got people talking (I still think about that Roy Moore interview), and should receive love for Variety Sketch and Direction (and don’t be surprised if Sacha Baron Cohen sneaks into the Best Actor category). The Amazing Race should win Best Reality Competition, while Last Week Tonight should win Best Variety Talk Show. But what I really want to talk about is the Special Class Awards. With nominees coming from concerts to stand-up specials to performances, there’s some really exciting contenders looking to break out. I mean, sure, RENT Live will sneak in because of course it will, but I’m talking about the upcoming battle between Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette and Beyoncé: Homecoming. These are two of the most talked-about subjects of their respective years, and they should dominate the Special Class categories, with Gadsby a shoe-in for Best Writing. These Special Class categories also give me hope that Yes, It’s Really Us Singing: The Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Concert Special will earn a nomination for at least its writing. After that, who knows? Could Adam Sandler and The Bash Brothers Experience pull off surprise nominations for writing, or even Best Variety Special? We’ll see, but I hope so, and I’m willing to wager on it right now.

Well, that wraps up my predictions for this year’s Emmy nominations! The nominations will be announced tomorrow morning at 11:30 am ET by Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken, The Masked Singer) and D’Arcy Carden (The Good Place, Barry). You can see my full list of predictions below.

Best Drama Series

  • Better Call Saul
  • Game of Thrones
  • Homecoming
  • Killing Eve
  • Pose
  • Succession
  • This Is Us

Best Comedy Series

  • Barry
  • Black-ish
  • GLOW
  • The Kominsky Method
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Russian Doll
  • Veep

Best Limited Series

  • Escape at Dannemora
  • Fosse/Verdon
  • Sharp Objects
  • A Very English Scandal
  • When They See Us 

Best TV Movie

  • Black Mirror: Bandersnatch
  • Brexit: The Uncivil War
  • Deadwood: The Movie
  • King Lear
  • My Dinner with Hervé 

Best Variety Talk Series

  • Desus & Mero
  • Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
  • Jimmy Kimmel Live!
  • Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
  • The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

Best Variety Sketch Series

  • Documentary Now!
  • Drunk History
  • I Think You Should Leave
  • Saturday Night Live
  • Who Is America?

Outstanding Variety Special (Live)

  • Live In Front of a Studio Audience
  • The Oscars
  • RENT
  • Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show
  • 72nd Annual Tony Awards

Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded)

  • Adam Sandler: 100% Fresh
  • Carpool Karaoke: When Corden Met McCartney
  • Hannah Gadsby: Nanette
  • Homecoming: A Film By Beyoncé
  • The Lonely Island Presents: The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience 

Best Reality-Competition Program

  • The Amazing Race
  • American Ninja Warrior
  • The Masked Singer
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race
  • Top Chef
  • The Voice

Best Structured Reality Program

  • Antiques Roadshow
  • Lip Sync Battle
  • Queer Eye
  • Shark Tank
  • Tidying Up with Marie Kondo
  • Who Do You Think You Are?

Best Unstructured Reality Program

  • Born This Way
  • Deadliest Catch
  • Intervention
  • Naked and Afraid
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked
  • United Shades of America

Best Animated Program

  • Bob’s Burgers
  • BoJack Horseman
  • Come Along With Me: Adventure Time
  • The Simpsons
  • South Park

Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Anthony Anderson-black-ish
  • Jim Carrey-Kidding
  • Ted Danson-The Good Place
  • Michael Douglas-The Kominsky Method
  • Bill Hader-Barry
  • William H. Macy-Shameless

Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Alison Brie-GLOW
  • Rachel Brosnahan-The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus-Veep
  • Natasha Lyonne-Russian Doll
  • Issa Rae-Insecure
  • Lily Tomlin-Grace and Frankie

Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series

  • Jason Bateman-Ozark
  • Sterling K. Brown-This Is Us
  • Richard Madden-Bodyguard
  • Bob Odenkirk-Better Call Saul
  • Billy Porter-Pose
  • Milo Ventimiglia-This Is Us

Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series

  • Christine Baranski-The Good Fight
  • Emilia Clarke-Game of Thrones
  • Jodie Comer-Killing Eve
  • Laura Linney-Ozark
  • Sandra Oh-Killing Eve
  • Julia Roberts-Homecoming

Best Lead Actor in a Limited Series/TV Movie

  • Mahershala Ali-True Detective
  • Benicio del Toro-Escape at Dannemora
  • Hugh Grant-A Very English Scandal
  • Jharrel Jerome – When They See Us
  • Ian McShane-Deadwood: The Movie
  • Sam Rockwell-Fosse/Verdon

Best Lead Actress in a Limited Series/TV Movie

  • Amy Adams-Sharp Objects
  • Patricia Arquette-Escape at Dannemora
  • Connie Britton-Dirty John
  • Niecy Nash-When They See Us
  • Emma Stone-Maniac
  • Michelle Williams-Fosse/Verdon

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Alan Arkin-The Kominsky Method
  • Tituss Burgess-Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Tony Hale-Veep
  • Tony Shalhoub-The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Kenan Thompson-Saturday Night Live
  • Henry Winkler-Barry 

Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Alex Borstein-The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Anna Chlumsky-Veep
  • Betty Gilpin-GLOW
  • Leslie Jones-Satuday Night Live
  • Kate McKinnon-Saturday Night Live
  • Laurie Metcalf-The Conners

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

  • Jonathan Banks-Better Call Saul
  • Nikolaj Coster-Waldau-Game of Thrones
  • Kieran Culkin-Succession
  • Peter Dinklage-Game of Thrones
  • Bobby Cannavale-Homecoming
  • Matthew MacFadyen-Succession 

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

  • Carrie Coon-The Sinner
  • Julia Garner-Ozark
  • Lena Headey-Game of Thrones
  • Rhea Seehorn-Better Call Saul
  • Sophie Turner-Game of Thrones
  • Maise Williams-Game of Thrones

Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series/TV Movie

  • Steve Buscemi-Miracle Workers
  • Norbert Leo Butz-Fosse/Verdon
  • George Clooney-Catch-22
  • Paul Dano-Escape at Dannemora
  • Ben Whishaw-A Very English Scandal
  • Michael K. Williams-When They See Us

Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series/TV Movie

  • Patricia Arquette-The Act
  • Patricia Clarkson-Sharp Objects
  • Carmen Ejogo-True Detective
  • Vera Farmiga – When They See Us
  • Julia Garner-Dirty John
  • Eliza Scanlon-Sharp Objects

Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series

  • Alan Alda – The Good Fight
  • Eric Bogosian – Succession
  • John Malkovich – Billions
  • Michael McKean – Better Call Saul
  • Christopher Meloni – POSE
  • Adam Scott – The Twilight Zone

Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series

  • Hong Chau – Homecoming
  • Jane Curtin – The Good Fight
  • Cherry Jones – The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Jessica Lange – American Horror Story: Apocalypse
  • Sanaa Lathan – The Twilight Zone
  • Pylicia Rashad – This Is Us

Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Robert De Niro – Saturday Night Live
  • Danny DeVito – The Kominsky Method
  • Adam Driver – Saturday Night Live
  • Peter MacNichol – Veep
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda – Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • John Mulaney – Saturday Night Live

Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Cate Blanchett – Documentary Now!
  • Hong Chau – Forever
  • Jane Lynch – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Sandra Oh – Saturday Night Live
  • Kristen Scott Thomas – Fleabag
  • Emma Thompson – Saturday Night Live

Best Director of a Comedy Series

  • “ronny/lily” – Barry
  • “Purple Rain” – black-ish
  • “Mother Of All Matches” – GLOW
  • “Chapter 1: An Actor Avoids” – The Kominsky Method
  • “We’re Going To The Catskills!” – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • “Veep” – Veep

Best Director of a Drama Series

  • “The Iron Throne” – Game of Thrones
  • “The Long Night” – Game of Thrones
  • “Holly” – The Handmaid’s Tale
  • “Reparations” – Ozark
  • “Pilot” – POSE
  • “Celebration” – Succession

Best Director of a Miniseries/TV Movie

  • Bandersnatch: Black Mirror
  • Chernobyl
  • Escape At Dannemora
  • Fosse/Verdon (“When They See Us”)
  • Sharp Objects
  • When They See Us

Best Director of a Variety Series

  • I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson (“Thanks For Thinking They Are Cool”)
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
  • The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
  • Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj
  • Saturday Night Live
  • Who Is America? 

Best Director of a Variety Special

  • Hannah Gadsby: Nanette
  • Homecoming: A Film By Beyoncé
  • Live In Front of a Studio Audience
  • The Oscars
  • Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show

Best Writing of a Comedy Series

  • “ronny/lily” – Barry
  • “The Stockholm Syndrome” – The Big Bang Theory
  • “Episode 1” – Fleabag
  • “Midnight At The Concord” – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • “Nothing In This World Is Easy” – Russian Doll
  • “Veep” – Veep

Best Writer of a Drama Series

  • “Something Stupid” – Better Call Saul
  • “Episode 1” – Bodyguard
  • “The Iron Throne” – Game of Thrones
  • “Stop” – Homecoming
  • “Love Is The Message” – POSE
  • “Nobody Is Ever Missing” – Succession

Best Writer of a Miniseries/TV Movie

  • Chernobyl
  • Deadwood
  • Escape at Dannemora
  • Sharp Objects
  • A Very English Scandal
  • When They See Us

Best Writer of a Variety Special

  • Adam Sandler: 100% Fresh
  • Amy Schumer Growing
  • Full Frontal Presents: Not The White House Correspondents Dinner
  • Hannah Gadsby: Nanette
  • Yes, It’s Really Us Singing: The Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Concert Special!

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