73rd Primetime Emmy Awards Final Predictions

This Sunday, the Television Academy will hold the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards. At this point, certain categories feel inevitable – Ted Lasso and The Crown are coming, y’all. But between categories consisting of almost exclusively new nominees and a fascinatingly wide-open Limited Series field, there’s still a lot of excitement to come. So before we reach the show, I thought I’d break down the races and who will win, who might win, and maybe, just maybe, who I’d like to see take home the big awards.

Starting with comedy, I think it’s safe to say that we’re about to see Ted Lasso domination. It’s going to cakewalk to the Best Comedy Series award, and Jason Sudeikis will take home Best Actor, without question. It will also likely win Best Writing and Best Directing, although an inability to choose an episode might allow Hacks or The Flight Attendant to spread the love. Where the Ted Lasso express will likely hit a snag, however, are the Supporting categories. In Supporting Actress, Hannah Waddingham has been the frontrunner all season – as well she should. However, with Hacks serving as the presumptive runner-up, and Hannah Einbinder’s Ava serving truly as the show’s co-lead, it is certainly possible that the two Hannahs could enter a neck and neck race. I’m standing with my pick of Waddingham (who really deserves it for a truly challenging role), but don’t be surprised if there’s an upset.

Meanwhile, in Best Supporting Actor, it’s been assumed all season that Kenan Thompson, who has never won an Emmy for his work on Saturday Night Live, would finally win for his iconic work. After all, there are four Lasso nominees in contention. But Apple has played things smart, and had a little luck fall their way. You see, Apple wisely rallied behind Brett Goldstein – the iconic Roy Kent – as their choice nominee. Then, the Internet made it abundantly clear that Roy was their favorite character too (he’s 90% of the reason I watch the show). And just as Emmy voting began, Goldstein had not one, but two terrific performances in Season Two, which is sometimes all you need to put you over the edge. So I’m shifting my vote to Goldstein. But make no mistake: it will be close. Which leaves Best Actress. Now, I’ve been thinking for months that this was Kaley Cuoco’s to lose. She was the heart of her show, she’s been beloved in the industry for almost twenty years, and she knows how to play the game. But then I saw Hacks. And within three episodes, I knew there was only one way for things to end: with Jean Smart winning Best Actress. Don’t be stupid. Vote Smart.

As for Best Drama Series, I would start practicing the following phrase: The Crown, The Crown, The Crown. They can throw all the science fiction and fantasy and romance shows they want at us. It doesn’t change the fact that Peter Morgan’s royalty porn is about to dominate on the back of Princess Di. The women from the show are a lock – Gillian Anderson will win Supporting Actress for her work as Margaret Thatcher, and the only person who could beat Emma Corrin for her work as the People’s Princess is Olivia Colman’s performance as the titular Queen. I also wouldn’t bet against The Crown in the technical categories. It’s a lock for Best Writing, and while there’s a chance something fantastical will win Best Directing, like The Mandalorian or The Handmaid’s Tale, I’d be shocked if the Royal Wedding episode “Fairytale” seals the deal. In fact, there are only two wild cards in the Drama categories: Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor.

In Best Actor, we are looking at a two-way race. On the one hand, there’s former winner Billy Porter, who already won an Emmy for his work as the dying drag queen Pray Tell. On the other hand, there’s Josh O’Conner as a young prince whose marriage is dissolving. The performances couldn’t be more different: one is a defiant, audacious performance filled with flair and emotion, the other is stifled and restrained in order to survive in a restricted society. The Emmys love former winners, so I’m giving the edge to Porter for now, but I am wholly expecting to be wrong. And then there’s Best Supporting Actor, arguably one of the hardest categories of the night. There’s not even a frontrunner here – all eight seem equally possible. If I had to narrow it down to three, I would say we’re looking at Bradley Whitford, Giancarlo Esposito, and Michael K. Williams.

If the Emmys wanted to award former winner The Handmaid’s Tale for anything, Whitford’s villainous turn would certainly be a solid bet. Ditto Esposito, who has to win sometime – he’s been nominated almost ten times in the last decade, and never won. And then there’s Williams. His role in Lovecraft Country didn’t have the staying power of his works on The Wire or When They See Us, but it is yet another towering role in the actor’s legacy – and, sadly, his last, as the actor passed away just the other week. Could Williams win his first Emmy posthumously? It’s certainly possible, and one thing’s for sure: voting ended before William’s passing, so if he wins, it is solely based on the strength of the performance, not the sympathies of his fellow actors.

Which brings us to the Limited Series/TV Movie categories, which are somehow the biggest joke and hardest picks of the night. The TV Movie prize already went to Dolly Parton’s Christmas On The Square, which ridiculously beat Sylvie’s Love for the prize. Its Limited Series counterpart, however, is far more challenging. The only show with no chance of winning is The Underground Railroad, which has failed to win any technical awards at the Creative Arts Emmys. But the rest? How do you choose? Will the Emmys respect the classism of The Queen’s Gambit? The Peak TV-ness of Mare of Easttown? The nostalgia of WandaVision? Or the groundbreaking nature of I May Destroy You? Well, I can tell you one thing – since all four shows are so closely tied to their lead actresses (Anya Taylor-Joy, Kate Winslet, Elizabeth Olsen, and Micaela Cole, respectively), whoever wins there will likely win for Best Limited Series.

I would not be surprised if any of these shows won. But because it peaked early, and smartly, and has won several awards to date (including the Creative Arts Emmys), I’m going with Taylor-Joy and Queen’s Gambit. But don’t feel too bad for the others – WandaVision has won a heap of trophies already (including for the song “Agatha All Along”) and could potentially win Best Director, Easttown probably will win Best Director and Best Supporting Actress for Smart or Nicholson (I’m leaning Nicholson), and Cole should win Best Writing, considering the show is first and foremost a writer’s project.

As for the rest of the categories, it’s time we address the Founding Father in the room (where it happens). Despite not being a TV Movie – or even being anything other than a recording of an already-lauded musical – Hamilton earned nominations across the board – Directing (where it could upset Gambit, and Wanda and Mare), Variety Special, and a whopping seven acting nominations. And let me tell you, it’s about to win some of them. Daveed Diggs, despite openly stating he does not understand how he can still be getting nominated for playing Thomas Jefferson, saw his biggest competitors (Donald Sutherland and Bill Camp) miss out on nominations. He’s about to win the award in a cakewalk; it’s about as sure a thing as Ted Lasso. Reneé Elise Goldsberry may upset the Mare gals in Best Supporting Actress, although I’m not taking that bet just yet.

And unless Hugh Grant manages some sort of come-from-behind victory (I don’t see Paul Bettany winning here, despite a killer Dick van Dyke impression), one of those Hamilton fellas is winning Best Actor. Leslie Odom Jr. is the smart bet, although Lin could get the win on the name recognition alone (that’s a bigger deal at the Emmys than you’d think). In fact, the only non-easy win for Hamilton is Best Variety Special. That seems counterintuitive, but keep in mind: Bo Burnham Inside has won a lot of awards already at the Creative Arts Emmys, and there’s a groundswell building for him – not to mention a backlash against the amount of love for Hamilton. I’m still choosing the smash-hit musical as the top prize, but make no mistake: Bo’s got a real chance here.

One final category I want to touch on before closing out today’s predictions: Best Talk Show. For years, this category has been the easiest one to predict. The Daily Show won for 10 years, then The Colbert Report won until it ended, then Last Week Tonight started winning. Considering John Oliver’s exceptional and extraordinary pivot during the pandemic to keep the show alive, I think it’s safe to assume that Oliver is the frontrunner. But I’d like to propose an alternative; an inkling in the back of my mind that seems too good to be true. Last Week Tonight is good, don’t get me wrong. But its gimmick is well-worn at this point. Even if it is inexplicably the best journalism currently on TV (a fact Oliver himself laments), the shouting and puns are well-worn. Perhaps there’s someone else in contention who could win. Someone who’s just ended a thirty-year run in the business, and hosted three nominated programs during that stint. Someone well regarded by all for his comedic timing, capable interview abilities, was never interested in hosting a political show, who hosted the Emmys in the past, and who deserves the perfect capstone to his career. I’m talking, of course, about Conan. Now, I’m not saying that Conan will win. It’ll likely be Oliver for the seventh time in a row. But maybe, just maybe, O’Brien could win the top prize, and deliver a funny, poignant speech as a final farewell to the viewers at home. I can dream, and I’m willing to throw a vote away to accomplish it.

So that wraps up my predictions for the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards. The ceremony will be held this Sunday on CBS starting at 8:00 pm. You can see my full predictions below, marked with a *. Already announced winners have been highlighted in bold.

Best Drama Series

  • The Boys
  • Bridgerton
  • The Crown   *
  • The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Lovecraft Country
  • The Mandalorian
  • Pose
  • This Is Us

Best Comedy Series

  • black-ish
  • Cobra Kai
  • Emily In Paris
  • Hacks
  • The Flight Attendant
  • The Kominsky Method
  • PEN15
  • Ted Lasso   *

Best Limited Series

  • I May Destroy You
  • Mare of Easttown
  • The Queen’s Gambit   *
  • The Underground Railroad
  • Wandavision

Best TV Movie

  • Dolly Parton’s Christmas On The Square
  • Oslo
  • Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia
  • Sylvie’s Love
  • Uncle Frank

Best Variety Talk Series

  • Conan   *
  • The Daily Show With Trevor Noah
  • Jimmy Kimmel Live!
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
  • The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Best Variety Sketch Series

  • A Black Lady Sketch Show
  • Saturday Night Live   *

Best Variety Special (Pre-Recorded)

  • 8:46 – Dave Chappelle
  • A West Wing Special To Benefit When We All Vote
  • Bo Burnham: Inside
  • David Byrne’s American Utopia
  • Friends: The Reunion
  • Hamilton   *

Best Reality Competition Series

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

Best Animated Series

  • Big Mouth – “The New Me”
  • Bob’s Burgers – “Worms Of In-Rear-Ment”
  • Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal – “Plague Of Madness”
  • South Park: The Pandemic Special
  • The Simpsons – “The Dad-Feelings Limited”

Best Actor In A Drama Series

  • Sterling K. Brown – This Is Us
  • Jonathan Majors – Lovecraft Country
  • Josh O’Connor – The Crown
  • Regé-Jean Page – Bridgerton
  • Billy Porter – Pose   *
  • Matthew Rhys – Perry Mason

Best Actress In A Drama Series

  • Uzo Aduba – In Treatment
  • Olivia Colman – The Crown
  • Emma Corrin – The Crown   *
  • Elisabeth Moss – The Handmaid’s Tale
  • MJ Rodriguez – Pose
  • Jurnee Smollett – Lovecraft Country

Best Actor In A Comedy Series

  • Anthony Anderson – black-ish
  • Michael Douglas – The Kominsky Method
  • William H. Macy – Shameless
  • Jason Sudeikis – Ted Lasso   *
  • Kenan Thompson – Kenan

Best Actress In A Comedy Series

  • Aidy Bryant – Shrill
  • Kaley Cuoco – The Flight Attendant
  • Allison Janney – Mom
  • Tracee Ellis Ross – black-ish
  • Jean Smart – Hacks   *

Best Actor In A Limited Series/TV Movie

  • Paul Bettany – WandaVision
  • Hugh Grant – The Undoing
  • Ewan McGregor – Halston
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda – Hamilton
  • Leslie Odom Jr. – Hamilton   *

Best Actress In A Limited Series/TV Movie

  • Michaela Coel – I May Destroy You
  • Cynthia Erivo – Genius: Aretha
  • Elizabeth Olsen – WandaVision
  • Anya Taylor-Joy – The Queen’s Gambit   *
  • Kate Winslet – Mare of Easttown

Best Supporting Actor In A Drama Series

  • Giancarlo Esposito – The Mandalorian
  • O-T Fagbenle – The Handmaid’s Tale
  • John Lithgow – Perry Mason
  • Tobias Menzies – The Crown
  • Max Minghella – The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Chris Sullivan – This Is Us
  • Bradley Whitford – The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Michael K. Williams – Lovecraft Country   *

Best Supporting Actress In A Drama Series

  • Gillian Anderson – The Crown   *
  • Madeline Brewer – The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Helena Bonham Carter – The Crown
  • Ann Dowd – The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Aunjanue Ellis – Lovecraft Country
  • Emerald Fennell – The Crown
  • Yvonne Strahovski – The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Samira Wiley – The Handmaid’s Tale

Best Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series

  • Carl Clemons-Hopkins – Hacks
  • Brett Goldstein – Ted Lasso   *
  • Brendan Hunt – Ted Lasso
  • Nick Mohammed – Ted Lasso
  • Paul Reiser – The Kominsky Method
  • Jeremy Swift – Ted Lasso
  • Kenan Thompson – Saturday Night Live
  • Bowen Yang – Saturday Night Live

Best Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series

  • Aidy Bryant – Saturday Night Live
  • Hannah Einbinder – Hacks
  • Kate McKinnon – Saturday Night Live
  • Rosie Perez – The Flight Attendant
  • Cecily Strong – Saturday Night Live
  • Juno Temple – Ted Lasso
  • Hannah Waddingham – Ted Lasso   *

Best Supporting Actor In A Limited Series/TV Movie

  • Thomas Brodie-Sangster – The Queen’s Gambit
  • Daveed Diggs – Hamilton   *
  • Paapa Essiedu – I May Destroy You
  • Jonathan Groff – Hamilton
  • Evan Peters – Mare of Easttown
  • Anthony Ramos – Hamilton

Best Supporting Actress In A Limited Series/TV Movie

  • Renée Elise Goldsberry – Hamilton
  • Kathryn Hahn – WandaVision
  • Moses Ingram – The Queen’s Gambit
  • Julianne Nicholson – Mare of Easttown   *
  • Jean Smart – Mare of Easttown
  • Phillipa Soo – Hamilton

Best Guest Actor In A Drama Series

  • Don Cheadle – The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
  • Charles Dance – The Crown
  • Timothy Olyphant – The Mandalorian
  • Courtney B. Vance – Lovecraft Country
  • Carl Weathers – The Mandalorian

Best Guest Actress In A Drama Series

  • Alexis Bledel – The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Claire Foy – The Crown
  • McKenna Grace – The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Sophie Okonedo – Ratched
  • Phylicia Rashad – This Is Us

Best Guest Actor In A Comedy Series

  • Alec Baldwin – Saturday Night Live
  • Dave Chappelle – Saturday Night Live
  • Morgan Freeman – The Kominsky Method
  • Daniel Kaluuya – Saturday Night Live
  • Dan Levy – Saturday Night Live

Best Guest Actress In A Comedy Series

  • Jane Adams – Hacks
  • Yvette Nicole Brown – A Black Lady Sketch Show
  • Bernadette Peters – Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist
  • Issa Rae – A Black Lady Sketch Show
  • Maya Rudolph – Saturday Night Live
  • Kristen Wiig – Saturday Night Live

Best Direction Of A Drama Series

  • “Diamond Of The First Water” – Bridgerton
  • “Fairytale” – The Crown   *
  • “War” – The Crown
  • “The Wilderness” – The Handmaid’s Tale
  • “Chapter 9: The Marshal” – The Mandalorian
  • “Series Finale” – Pose

Best Direction Of A Comedy Series

  • “Pilot” – B Positive
  • “There Is No Line” – Hacks
  • “Scooby-Doo Checks and Salisbury Steak” – Mom
  • “Biscuits” – Ted Lasso
  • “The Hope That Kills You” – Ted Lasso
  • “Make Rebecca Great Again” – Ted Lasso   *
  • “In Case Of Emergency” – The Flight Attendant

Best Direction Of A Limited Series/TV Movie

  • Hamilton
  • “Ego Death” – I May Destroy You
  • “Eyes Eyes Eyes Eyes” – I May Destroy You
  • Mare of Easttown   *
  • The Queen’s Gambit
  • The Underground Railroad
  • WandaVision

Best Direction of a Variety Special

  • 8:46 – Dave Chappelle
  • A West Wing Special To Benefit When We All Vote
  • Bo Burnham: Inside
  • David Byrne’s American Utopia
  • Friends: The Reunion

Best Writing Of A Drama Series

  • “What I Know” – The Boys
  • “War” – The Crown   *
  • “Home” – The Handmaid’s Tale
  • “Sundown” – Lovecraft Country
  • “Chapter 13: The Jedi” – The Mandalorian
  • “Chapter 16: The Rescue” – The Mandalorian
  • “Series Finale” – Pose

Best Writing Of A Comedy Series

  • “Pilot” – Girls5Eva
  • “There Is No Line” – Hacks
  • “Play” – PEN15
  • “Make Rebecca Great Again” – Ted Lasso   *
  • “Pilot” – Ted Lasso
  • “In Case Of Emergency” – The Flight Attendant

Best Writing Of A Limited Series/TV Movie

  • I May Destroy You   *
  • Mare of Easttown
  • The Queen’s Gambit
  • “Filmed Before A Live Studio Audience” – WandaVision
  • “Previously On” – WandaVision
  • “All-New Halloween Spooktacular” – WandaVision

Best Writing of a Variety Special

  • 8:46 – Dave Chappelle
  • Bo Burnham: Inside
  • John Lewis: Celebrating A Hero
  • Stephen Colbert’s Election Night 2020: Democracy’s Last Stand Building Back America Great Again Better 2020
  • The Daily Show With Trevor Noah Presents: Jordan Klepper Fingers The Pulse – Into The MAGAverse

Best Music and Lyrics

  • “Agatha All Along” – WandaVision
  • “Comedy” – Bo Burnham
  • “Crimson Love” – Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist
  • “The End Titles” – Soundtrack Of Our Lives
  • “I Can’t Remember Love” – The Queen’s Gambit
  • “Never Truly Vanish” – The Boys

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