71st Primetime Emmy Awards Final Predictions

Tomorrow night, the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards will crown the best shows of a year of terrific television. And after last week’s Creative Arts Emmys…we still really don’t know that much about who will win the big prizes – you know, outside of the inevitable Game of Thrones domination. So before the big night of stale jokes and unoriginal victors begins, I thought I’d offer up some predictions on the big categories of the night, from Drama to Comedy to Limited Series.

Before we get to tomorrow’s categories, I want to spend some time reflecting on the big wins from last weekend, at the Creative Arts Emmys. While the night went mostly as expected, with Game of Thrones winning ten of its nominations and Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Handmaid’s Tale sweeping the Guest Actor categories, there were still a good number of shocks. For example, while Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette unsurprisingly won an award for her vicious, witty writing, it did not win for Best Variety Special. Neither, for that matter, did her fellow nominee and perceived threat Beyoncé. Who did win the award? James Corden’s fine, but fairly basic Carpool Karaoke: When Corden Met McCartney Live From Liverpool. Don’t get me wrong, watching a rock n’ roll legend tearfully visit his hometown was fascinating, but considering you have one of the most detailed comedy specials of all time going against a behind the scenes of one of the most impressive musical sets of all time, it’s an obnoxiously safe pick. But not everything at the Creative Arts Emmys proved to be disappointing. Succession’s iconic theme song managed to win the Outstanding Main Title Theme category. And after four years of scrapping and fighting for Emmy love, Rachel Bloom and the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend team finally won for their incredible original songs – this time for the La La Land homage “Antidepressants Are So Not A Big Deal.” And to celebrate the win, Bloom announced that she and her husband are expecting their first child together. Big night for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend fans! And that about sums up the important stuff from the Creative Arts Emmys.

Now, when it comes to predicting the Emmys, there are two rules that’ll help you out. First, the Emmys almost always split the love. Unlike the Oscars or the Tonys, where one film or show runs the table, the Emmys love to reward lots of different shows for different aspects. And which shows do they like splitting the love between? Well, that brings us to rule number two: look at last year. The Emmys hate picking new winners. The only time they’ll change their votes is if the previous winner’s show is over (see The Americans or Breaking Bad) or if the actor is #cancelled (hi, Jeffrey Tambor and Kevin Spacey!). Now, with all that in mind, let’s get the most obvious scenario out of the way: Game of Thrones is going to dominate as many categories as it can. Best Drama Series, Best Writing (“The Iron Throne”), Best Directing (“The Long Night”), and perennial winner Peter Dinklage are absolutely inevitable. The only question marks are the admittedly-weak writing (Killing Eve may upset here) and Best Series, which faces competition from Eve and the rapidly-rising Succession. Game of Thrones also stands a good chance in Supporting Actress, where four of its actresses will compete for the win. Normally, three or more nominees in one category will cancel each other out, leaving room for an upset – I’m thinking Julia Garner stands the best chance of the lot. But with the streak Thrones is currently on, and thanks to her past nominations and streak of major moments in the final season, I think Maisie Williams will win Best Supporting Actress over her fellow costars. The only places Thrones will lose are its nominations in Lead Actor and Actress. In Best Actor, Kit Harrington will likely fall by the wayside as the category will see a battle between critical darling Bob Odenkirk and SAG winner Jason Bateman, with Billy Porter playing upset (I give the edge to Bateman). And Best Actress will go to one of the Killing Eve women, giving the show its one major win of the night. Personally, I love Jodie Comer on the show, but I think the also-great Sandra Oh will finally win for the first time since Grey’s Anatomy.

Meanwhile, Comedy will also be dominated by HBO, but not quite to the same degree as its dramatic brethren. Veep has been the Best Comedy Champion for its last three seasons, and I don’t see it losing for its final outing. The same can be said about Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who has won every nomination she’s received in two decades, and also has the narrative of being this good just months after beating cancer. The only competition the show has, in either category, is Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag, which people just can’t stop talking about (for what it’s worth, hers is the best TV performance this year thus far). But I’m not sure even she has the power to stop HBO. Don’t weep for Fleabag too much, though. The show is such a shoo-in for Best Writing; they should start engraving the trophy now. In fact, if Waller-Bridge loses in that category, it will be the most egregious moment of snubbery in awards history. I also think we should look at Oscar winner Olivia Colman to upset Alex Borstein and Kate McKinnon to earn her first Emmy as the wickedly passive-aggressive Godmother on the show. It’s a terrific performance, and would put a nice capstone on her banner year. As for the only other show we know for a fact the Emmys love, Barry, I would say Bill Hader has an excellent chance of winning his second Emmy for his performance as Barry Bergman, and should win for his impeccable direction on “ronny/lily.” Barry should also stand a decent chance in Best Supporting Actor, with both Henry Winkler and Anthony Carrigan deserving the award, but let’s be honest: Alan Arkin’s going to win his first Emmy for the traditional Kominsky Method (although look to both Tonys to score an upset).

Which brings us to the bloodbath that is the Limited Series/TV Movie categories. While Deadwood: The Movie has Best TV Movie locked up, Limited Series will see Sharp Objects, Fosse/Verdon, Chernobyl, When They See Us, and Escape At Dannemora go head to head. Those are five powerhouse shows that would likely win in any other year. With that in mind, expect the love to be sufficiently split throughout the night. For example, the searing historical epic Chernobyl will win Best Actor and Best Writing for Craig Mazin – two of its greatest strengths. Meanwhile, Netflix’s Central Park Five drama When They See Us should likely win Best Direction for Ava DuVernay, as well as my most desired win of the night, Michael K. Williams for Best Supporting Actor. Williams has been a television staple for almost two decades now, and his performance as a coerced dad seeking forgiveness and redemption from a son he betrayed is one of the most tear-jerking of the year. He’s my favorite part of a great series, and I think he’s got a real shot at a win here. And then there’s the female-led series, and the toughest category of the year: Best Actress in a Limited Series/TV Movie. That’s where we have the horrific choice between Amy Adams (Sharp Objects), Patricia Arquette (Dannemora), and Michelle Williams (Fosse/Verdon). Now, Objects has been in an awards spiral since its release a year ago. Her categories were mostly dominated by Arquette, making the talented legend the frontrunner in the category. But here’s the thing: Fosse/Verdon is fresher in voters’ minds; and Williams is a talented actress returning to television after a string of successful movies. Voters will welcome her home for her remarkable turn as Gwen Verdon, and she will win her first Emmy this year. Arquette also has a chance for The Act in Best Supporting Actress, but I think that’ll be Sharp Objects’ chance, with Patricia Clarkson winning the award for her performance as Adora Crellen. So who’s going to win Best Limited Series? Well, I’m going to have to give the edge to When They See Us. With its other series tied up in HBO-dominated categories, this is Netflix’s chance to shine, so they put their weight fully behind the searing drama. And thanks to its recency, and the real-world implications it had (most-watched Netflix show, the definitive takedown of Linda Fairstein, a strong condemnation by a certain political figure who embroiled himself in the case), I think When They See Us will win a close race for Best Limited Series.

And that wraps up my predictions for this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards. We’ll know soon enough how right my predictions are, as the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards will premiere tomorrow, September 22nd, at 8 PM on Fox. The show will have no host, just like the Oscars. You can see my full list of predictions below, marked with a *, as well as the results in my favorite categories from the Creative Arts Emmys at the bottom, with the winners in bold. See you all tomorrow with another live blog!

Best Drama Series

  • Better Call Saul
  • Bodyguard
  • Game of Thrones *
  • Killing Eve
  • Ozark
  • Pose
  • Succession
  • This Is Us

Best Comedy Series

  • Barry
  • Fleabag
  • The Good Place
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Russian Doll
  • Schitt’s Creek
  • Veep *

Best Limited Series

  • Chernobyl
  • Escape at Dannemora
  • Fosse/Verdon
  • Sharp Objects
  • When They See Us *

Best TV Movie

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

Best Variety Talk Series

  • The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
  • Full Frontal With Samantha Bee
  • Jimmy Kimmel Live
  • Last Week Tonight *
  • The Late Late Show with James Cordon
  • The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Best Variety Sketch Series

  • At Home with Amy Sedaris
  • Documentary Now!
  • Drunk History
  • I Love You America with Sarah Silverman
  • Saturday Night Live *
  • Who Is America?

Best Reality Competition Program

  • The Amazing Race
  • America Ninja Warrior
  • Nailed It
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race
  • Top Chef
  • The Voice *

Best Actor in a Drama Series

  • Jason Bateman – Ozark *
  • Sterling K. Brown – This Is Us
  • Kit Harrington – Game of Thrones
  • Bob Odenkirk – Better Call Saul
  • Billy Porter – Pose
  • Milo Ventimiglia – This Is Us

Best Actress in a Drama Series

  • Emilia Clarke – Game of Thrones
  • Jodie Comer – Killing Eve
  • Viola Davis – How To Get Away With Murder
  • Laura Linney – Ozark
  • Mandy Moore – This Is Us
  • Sandra Oh – Killing Eve *
  • Robin Wright – House of Cards

Best Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Anthony Anderson – black-ish
  • Don Cheadle – Black Monday
  • Ted Danson – The Good Place
  • Michael Douglas – The Kominsky Method
  • Bill Hader – Barry *
  • Eugene Levy – Schitt’s Creek

Best Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Christina Applegate – Dead To Me
  • Rachel Bresnahan – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Veep *
  • Natasha Lyonne – Russian Doll
  • Catherine O’Hara – Schitt’s Creek
  • Phoebe Waller-Bridge – Fleabag

Best Actor in a Limited Series/TV Movie

  • Mahershala Ali – True Detective
  • Benicio del Toro – Escape at Dannemora
  • Hugh Grant – A Very English Scandal
  • Jared Harris – Chernobyl *
  • Jharrel Jerome – When They See Us
  • Sam Rockwell – Fosse/Verdon

Best Actress in a Limited Series/TV Movie

  • Amy Adams – Sharp Objects
  • Patricia Arquette – Escape at Dannemora
  • Aunjanue Ellis – When They See Us
  • Joey King – The Act
  • Niecy Nash – When They See Us
  • Michelle Williams – Fosse/Verdon *

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

  • Alfie Allen – Game of Thrones
  • Jonathan Banks – Better Call Saul
  • Nikolaj Coster-Waldau – Game of Thrones
  • Peter Dinklage – Game of Thrones *
  • Giancarlo Esposito – Better Call Saul
  • Michael Kelly – House of Cards
  • Chris Sullivan – This Is Us

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

  • Gwendoline Christie – Game of Thrones
  • Julia Garner – Ozark
  • Lena Headey – Game of Thrones
  • Fiona Shaw – Killing Eve
  • Sophie Turner – Game of Thrones
  • Maisie Williams – Game of Thrones *

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Alan Arkin – The Kominsky Method *
  • Anthony Carrigan – Barry
  • Tony Hale – Veep
  • Stephen Root – Barry
  • Tony Shalhoub – The Marvelous Mrs. Masiel
  • Henry Winkler – Barry

Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Alex Borstein – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Anna Chlumsky – Veep
  • Sian Clifford – Fleabag
  • Olivia Colman – Fleabag *
  • Betty Gilpin-GLOW
  • Sarah Goldberg – Barry
  • Marin Hinkle – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Kate McKinnon – Saturday Night Live

Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series/TV Movie

  • Asante Blackk – When They See Us
  • Paul Dano – Escape at Dannemora
  • John Leguizamo – When They See Us
  • Stellan Skarsgård – Chernobyl
  • 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
  • Marsha Stephanie Blake – When They See Us
  • Patricia Clarkson – Sharp Objects *
  • Vera Farmiga – When They See Us
  • Margaret Qualley – Fosse/Verdon
  • Emily Watson – Chernobyl

Best Directing of a Drama Series

  • “The Iron Throne” – Game of Thrones(David Benioff & D.B. Weiss)
  • “The Last of the Starks” – Game of Thrones(David Nutter)
  • “The Long Night” – Game of Thrones(Miguel Sapochnik)   *
  • “Desperate Times” – Killing Eve(Lisa Brühlmann)
  • “Reparations” – Ozark(Jason Bateman)
  • “Celebration” – Succession (Adam McKay)
  • “Holly” – The Handmaid’s Tale (Daina Reid)

Best Directing of a Comedy Series

  • “The Audition” – Barry(Alec Berg)
  • “ronny/lily” – Barry (Bill Hader)   *
  • “The Stockholm Syndrome” – The Big Bang Theory(Mark Cendrowski)
  • “Episode 1” – Fleabag(Harry Bradbeer)
  • “All Alone” – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amy Sherman-Palladino)
  • “We’re Going To The Catskills!” – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Daniel Palladino)

Best Directing of a Limited Series/TV Movie

  • A Very English Scandal– Stephen Frears
  • Chernobyl – Johan Renck
  • Escape at Dannemora – Ben Stiller
  • “Glory” – Fosse/Verdon(Jessica Yu)
  • “Who’s Got The Pain” – Fosse/Verdon (Thomas Kail)
  • When They See Us – Ava DuVernay   *

Best Directing of a Variety Series

  • “Waiting For The Artist” – Documentary Now! (Alex Buono & Rhys Thomas)
  • “Are You Afraid of the Drunk?” – Drunk History (Derek Waters)
  • “Psychics” – Last Week Tonight with John Oliver(Paul Pennolino)
  • “Host: Adam Sandler” – Saturday Night Live *
  • “Live Midterm Election Show” – The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
  • “Episode 102” – Who Is America?(Sacha Baron Cohen, Nathan Fielder, Daniel Gray Longino, & Dan Mazer)

Best Writing of a Drama Series

  • “Winner” – Better Call Saul(Peter Gould & Thomas Schnauz)
  • “Episode 1” – Bodyguard(Jed Mercurio)
  • “The Iron Throne” – Game of Thrones(David Benioff & D.B. Weiss)   *
  • “Nice and Neat” – Killing Eve(Emerald Fennell)
  • “Nobody Is Ever Missing” – Succession (Jesse Armstrong)
  • “Holly” – The Handmaid’s Tale(Bruce Miller & Kira Snyder)

Best Writing of a Comedy Series

  • “ronny/lily” – Barry (Alec Berg & Bill Hader)
  • “Episode 1” – Fleabag(Phoebe Waller-Bridge)   *
  • “Anna Ishii-Peters” – PEN15(Maya Erskine & Anna Konkle)
  • “A Warm Body” – Russian Doll(Allison Silverman)
  • “Nothing In This World Is Easy” – Russian Doll(Leslye Headland & Natasha Lyonne)
  • “Janet(s)” – The Good Place(Josh Siegal & Dylan Morgan)
  • “Veep” – Veep(David Mandel)

Best Writing of a Limited Series/TV Movie

  • A Very English Scandal– Russell T. Davies
  • Chernobyl– Craig Mazin   *
  • “Episode 6” – Escape at Dannemora(Brett Johnson, Michael Tolkin, & Jerry Stahl)
  • “Episode 7” – Escape at Dannemora(Brett Johnson & Michael Tlkin”)
  • “Providence” – Fosse/Verdon (Steven Levenson & Joel Fields)
  • “Part 4” – When They See Us(Ava DuVernay & Michael Starrbury)


Best Variety Special

  • Live In Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All In The Family’ And ‘The Jeffersons
  • 72ndAnnual Tony Awards
  • RENT
  • The 61stGrammy Awards
  • The 76thAnnual Golden Globe Awards
  • The Oscars

Best Variety Special (Pre-Recorded)

  • Carpool Karaoke: When Corden Met McCartney Live From Liverpool
  • Hannah Gadsby: Nanette
  • Homecoming: A Film By Beyoncé
  • Springsteen on Broadway
  • Wanda Sykes: Not Normal

Best Structured Reality Program

  • Queer Eye
  • Antiques Roadshow
  • Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives
  • Shark Tank
  • Tidying Up with Marie Kondo
  • Who Do You Think You Are?

Best Unstructured Reality Program

  • United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell
  • Born This Way
  • Deadliest Catch
  • Life Below Zero
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked
  • Somebody Feed Phil

Best Animated Program

  • The Simpsons
  • Big Mouth
  • Bob’s Burgers
  • BoJack Horseman
  • Come Along With Me (Adventure Time)

Best Host for a Reality or Competition Program

  • RuPaul – RuPaul’s Drag Race
  • James Corden – The World’s Best
  • Ellen DeGeneres – Ellen’s Game of Games
  • Marie Kondo – Tidying Up With Marie Kondo
  • Amy Poehler & Nick Offerman – Making It

Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series

  • Bradley Whitford – The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Michael Angarano – This Is Us
  • Ron Cephas Jones – This Is Us
  • Michael McKean – Better Call Saul
  • Kumail Nanjiani – The Twilight Zone
  • Glynn Turman – How To Get Away With Murder

Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series

  • Cherry Jones – The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Laverne Cox – Orange Is The New Black
  • Jessica Lange – American Horror Story: Apocalypse
  • Phylicia Rashad – This Is Us
  • Cicely Tyson – How To Get Away With Murder
  • Carice van Houten – Game of Thrones

Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Luke Kirby – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Matt Damon – Saturday Night Live
  • Robert De Niro – Saturday Night Live
  • Peter MacNicol – Veep
  • John Mulaney – Saturday Night Live
  • Adam Sandler – Saturday Night Live
  • Rufus Sewell – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Jane Lynch – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Sandra Oh – Saturday Night Live
  • Maya Rudolph – The Good Place
  • Kristen Scott Thomas – Fleabag
  • Fiona Shaw – Fleabag
  • Emma Thompson – Saturday Night Live

Best Directing of a Variety Special

  • Springsteen on Broadway – Thom Zimny
  • Carpool Karaoke: When Corden Met McCartney Live From Liverpool– Ben Winston
  • Homecoming: A Film By Beyoncé– Beyoncé Knowles-Carter & Ed Burke
  • Live In Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons’– James Burrows & Andy Fisher
  • The Oscars – Glenn Weiss

Best Writing of a Variety Special

  • Hannah Gadsby: Nanette
  • Adam Sandler: 100% Fresh
  • Amy Schumer Growing
  • Carpool Karaoke: When Corden Met McCartney Live From Liverpool
  • Homecoming: A Film By Beyoncé
  • Wanda Sykes: Not Normal

Best Music and Lyrics

  • “Antidepressants Are So Not A Big Deal” – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
  • “This One’s For You” – 72ndAnnual Tony Awards
  • “Holiday Party (I Did A Little Cocaine Tonight)” – Documentary Now! Presents: Co-Op
  • “Father & Son” – Flight of the Conchords: Live In London
  • “The Upper East Side” – Saturday Night Live
  • “Beautiful Things Can Grow” – Song of Parkland

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