68th Primetime Emmy Award Predictions

I meant to have this article posted last night, so you could all gamble accordingly. However, I was away visiting my brother at college and taking in a U of M football game. However, there’s still time to make some last minute wagers and earn some cash. So, for your benefit, here are my predictions on the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards

First, a quick update on the Creative Arts Emmys. Basically, all the awards that you don’t care about (but should) were given out last weekend. How did it go? Well, Game of Thrones swept (a recurring theme, I predict, wink wink) the dramatic awards, while Making a Murderer made an appearance in the nonfiction categories. The powerful Lady Gaga song “Til It Happens To You” won best Music and Lyrics, but Gaga was not included amongst the winners, continuing her losing streak after an infamous Oscar lost. Oh well, at least she has a bitchin’ new song out. And speaking of original music, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend won two Emmys, for Choreography and Editing! I’m glad people are finally following my suggestions. Furthermore, Archer won its first Emmy for Best Animated Series, a deserving win considering South Park submitted a bad episode and BoJack Horseman wasn’t nominated. In fact, the only controversial moment was that James Corden won Best Variety Special over Lemonade. Wait, what? How the hell did Carpool Karaoke beat Beyoncé? Was she too fierce for the Emmys? Ugh, I’m moving on from that decision before I get angrier.

So now that that’s out of the way, let’s start looking at the actual categories we will see on Sunday. I’ve broken this up into five segments: Writing, Directing, Supporting Actors, Leading Actors, and Programs. Let’s start with my favorite branch, shall we?


Of all the branches of the Academy, this seems to be the most open-and-shut field. However, that would make this entirely boring, so I’m going to throw in a couple of curveballs. Go big or go home, right guys? So let’s start by looking at Variety Special. This is an incredibly deserving field of stand-up comedians, and I would be happy to see any of them win. If I had my druthers, I would vote for John Mulaney: The Comeback Kid. However, if we are being realistic, everyone’s darling Amy Schumer will take home this award easily. Speaking of favorites, beloved writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski were the brainchildren behind The People v. OJ Simpson, even more so than Ryan Murphy. This will be rewarded, I think, and will earn them the Emmy for writing, over their other staffers and the Fargo team. Things don’t really become interesting until you take a look at the actual TV series. When it comes to writing for a Drama series, the intelligent guess is that The Battle of the Bastards will continue its streak through all of television. That’s the smart money guess. However, if you watch that episode, the writing isn’t very good, if we’re being honest. So I’m going out on a limb here: this is where New Kid on the Block will have a bunch of hits. I predict that The Americans will earn its first writing Emmy for the powerhouse that was “Persona Non Grata.” I’m sure this guess will be wrong, but I’d rather trust my gut and be right than play it safe and be wrong. Finally, we have the Comedy category. Again, the smart money would be on Veep. I mean, it’s clearly the best written show in the field, and it will probably win Best Comedy (we’ll get to that). But it’ll be splitting votes amongst itself, and it’s going to have to compete with other HBO powerhouse Silicon Valley (also brilliantly written). So I think they’re going to go off script and go with Master of None. It’s a well-liked show, the creators helped write it, and it’s the best show in the series (at least from what I’ve seen so far), balancing real emotion with powerful comedy. It probably won’t make much headway anywhere else, so look to this to be the field they reward Aziz Ansari. Once again, it’s not the smart bet, but it’s the more fun bet.


Let’s get the Wun Wun in the room out of the way: “Battle of the Bastardsis going to win the award for Directing of a Drama. It’s one of the greatest television episodes in history, and it does in one hour what films like Braveheart and Lord of the Rings tried to accomplish in three hours. After that, things get a little more complicated. I predict that Veep will take the award, but the question is which episode will win? “Mother” is more dramatic, and “Kissing Your Sister” is done documentary-style, but I think the simplicity of “Morning After” will speak to the voters in an important way to take home the win. When it comes to Limited Series, John Singleton is a renowned director who crafted some of his best work for The People V. OJ Simpson, and the only way that will be forgotten is if they reward Ryan Murphy for all he’s done for television. Which leaves Variety Special. Now, the smartest money would be Beyoncé. And I really want to pick Beyoncé. But her loss for the main award is a death blow in this category. So I’m going with Grease: Live! Now I know what you’re thinking: “Really? Grease: Live?” I get it. But there’s one thing you need to take into account-it’s directed by Thomas Kail, who crafted a unique and expansive television production, and all while he was putting on a little Broadway show titled Hamilton. That’s an impressive feat.

Supporting Actors

Now we’re getting into the fun part: the actors. Let’s start with the easiest first, just to get the boring out of the way. Peter Dinklage will most likely win Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. He’s won twice already, and will continue to do so as long as no character is as innovative as Jesse Pinkman. His only threat is if people come around to Kit Harrington and reward Jon Snow’s ascent to power, but I just don’t see that happening. A similar scenario is happening in Supporting Actor in a Comedy with Tony Hale. I think it is incredibly likely that he will take home his third Emmy for his hilarious work on Veep-his best work since Buster Bluth. His biggest conflict is that he didn’t have as much to do this season, and he faces in-house competition from the vastly underrated Matt Walsh. If Hale or Walsh doesn’t win the Emmy, look for the bizarre but beautiful work that Louie Anderson is doing on Baskets. That’s how that race will shake out (don’t blame me, I voted for Tituss Burgess). The actresses, meanwhile, are not so simple. In Drama, you have three actresses from Game of Thrones competing for the award. All three of them are deserving-Emilia Clarke had her “Burning Moment” that everyone talked about, Lena Headey was consistently great all season, and I’ll always think Arya is the best character, and that has a lot to do with Maisie Williams’ fantastic portrayal. However, when you have three actresses from the same show competing with each other, they have a tendency to cancel each other out. That’s especially the case if they compete with a beloved, sassy, aging actress giving her swan song on a beloved show’s last season. So expect Maggie “Am I Acting Or Am I This Caustic All The Time” Smith to take home one more Emmy before Downton Abbey leaves television forever. The comedy branch is no less complicated-while Kate McKinnon, Nicey Nash and especially Anna Chlumsky are the most deserving, the three lack stand out moments for the demo real this season. So I would assume perennial favorite Allison Janney will take home yet another Emmy for her well-received performance on Mom. And finally, we come to the Limited Series nominees. From our male contenders, there are basically two frontrunners-Sterling K. Brown for his humanizing breakout performance as Chris Darden and Bokeem Woodbine for his performance as a philosophical assassin in Fargo. Both are fantastic in their roles, but in a year like this, I’m going to have to give the edge to Brown, because when in doubt, vote OJ (speaking of which, I hope that for the Emmy reel they just show all the times that David Schwimmer says “Juice” on the show, or give him an Emmy for it). Actress is a little tougher, because there’s no OJ nominee. So I’m going to have to narrow it down for Regina King’s portrayal as a gay rape victim’s mother and Jean Smart’s matriarchal gangster. If I had to pick between the two, I’d give the edge to Smart, because American Crime has been ignored all year. However, it’s such a close race, you can bet on either and have a 50/50 chance of being right. I don’t know, we’ll see when tomorrow comes.

Leading Roles

Here’s the juicy part: the lead performances. The fields with the biggest room for upsets. Let’s jump to the juiciest category first, shall we? Leading Actress in a Comedy. Look, the smartest money is on Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who has won the past four years. It’s so smart, I’m not even going to vote against it. However, if anyone’s begging for an upset, it’s her. She’s in the toughest field around, and she has to lose eventually. The question is, who would take her down? Schumer? Tomlin? Kemper? Or, most likely, Ross? It’ll be an interesting race to watch, and while I’m rooting for Dreyfus, it would be fun to see some new blood at the podium. Meanwhile, across the aisle, you have another supposedly open-and-shut case: Jeffrey Tambor for Transparent. He won his first Emmy last year, and he’s looking for a twin this time around. However, despite the odds being heavily on him (like, it’s stupid to bet against him), I have my doubts. The second season of Transparent didn’t get the same level of love as the first, and the winds of fresh blood are already blowing. The question is, who can knock the King from his tower? People predicting an upset are looking to Aziz Ansari, and that’s not a bad bet. However, I’m going really crazy: I’m predicting Anthony Anderson’s moving and hysterical performance on black-ish to sneak in for a surprise victory. Anderson is well-liked, his show is the talk of the town, and it appeals to both the younger voters who want something different and the older voters that yearn for All in the Family, Home Improvement and The Cosby Show (well, elements of that one). I don’t expect you all to make the same foolish decision I am, but I just can’t shake the feeling that this is where they’ll honor what Anderson and Kenya Barris have created. Things become a little more complicated with the Drama categories. With no clear frontrunner in the Leading Actor race, look to Kevin Spacey and Rami Malek for their great performances on House of Cards and Mr. Robot. Personally, I would pick Spacey, if only because they’ve been jerking him around for so long. However, don’t be surprised if they go for the pretty new face. I’m using similar logic for Leading Actress. Viola Davis was a master class when she entered the race last year, and it was a big deal because no black woman had ever won Leading Actress. However, now one has, and Robin Wright remains a bridesmaid, despite being the best part of Cards for quite some time. I think that now, after her best season yet, she may be too much to ignore. As for Limited Series/TV Movie, things should be fairly easy. When it comes to Actress, don’t bother putting any name down other than Sarah Paulson for OJ Simpson. Her Marcia Clark is the heart of the show, and it’s one of the best performances I’ve seen in a long time. She’s miles ahead of the competition, and putting down any other name is sheer stupidity. Actor has a bit of a tougher race. While Bryan Cranston won a Tony for his performance as LBJ in All the Way, and Emmy voters love him, Courtney B. Vance’s Johnnie Cochran was one to remember. Either could take home the award. I’m going to lean towards Vance, if only because I loved that miniseries and thought he looked and sounded remarkably like Cochran, while also providing a wit and soul to the role. That’ll be the race of the night, and it’s the field I’m most looking forward to.


And finally, we have the seven Top prizes of the evening. Let’s start with Reality Competition, just because it is quite clear The Voice is going to win. I’d like to see The Amazing Race, because I liked this season, and Top Chef is always popular, but The Voice is by far the favorite to win. Now let’s look at Variety. Sketch is a two-horse race, with Inside Amy Schumer and Key and Peele at the front of the pack. I’m giving the edge to Key and Peele, because their show is now over, but don’t be surprised (in fact, count on) if Schumer takes home the Emmy. As for Talk Series, it’s a bit more unclear. Now that Colbert and Stewart are out of the running, there’s no heavy favorite to win. I’m ruling out The Tonight Show, because I am in no way a fan of Fallon’s work there (good guy, funny at times, but his show is ruining culture). I would say the three most likely are Corden, Comedians in Cars, and Last Week Tonight. I’m going to give the edge to John Oliver, because good lord is that show brilliant. Plus it will allow the Emmys to keep the award in the Stewart Family. The TV movies and events section are a little easier. All The Way should take home the Emmy fairly easily (unless the Emmys finally wise up on Luther), and The People vs. OJ Simpson cannot be stopped. Don’t be stupid, play it safe here. And finally, the Top Awards: Comedy and Drama. Drama is the easiest branch: thanks to “Battle of the Bastards,” Game of Thrones will take home the top prize for the second year in a row. Meanwhile, Comedy has a little more of a fight on its hands. The smart money is on Veep, but there’s a lot of tough competitors to deal with: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt took up the mantle of a 30 Rock heir in its second season, Transparent embraced its dramedy title and is looking to go in for the kill, Master of None is renowned by many as a combination between Louie, Seinfeld and Aziz Ansari, a deadly combination, and black-ish is the next great family comedy, combining Home Improvement shenanigans with All in the Family intelligence. I’m still going with Veep, for surviving the loss of its creator and still being great, but if anything shocking happens tonight, it’ll be here.

And that about does it for my predictions. I’ll be posting the results live on the site later tonight, so tune in here for updated winners. The 68th Primetime Emmy Awards will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, and will begin at 8 pm.

Comedy Series:

  • black-ish
  • Master of None
  • Modern Family
  • Silicon Valley
  • Transparent
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Veep *

Drama Series

  • The Americans
  • Better Call Saul
  • Downton Abbey
  • Game of Thrones *
  • Homeland
  • House of Cards
  • Robot

Variety Talk Series

  • Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee
  • Jimmy Kimmel Live
  • Last Week Tonight With John Oliver *
  • The Late Late Show With James Corden
  • Real Time With Bill Maher
  • The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Variety Sketch Series

  • Documentary Now!
  • Drunk History
  • Inside Amy Schumer
  • Key & Peele *
  • Portlandia
  • Saturday Night Live

Reality-Competition Program

  • The Amazing Race
  • American Ninja Warrior
  • Dancing With The Stars
  • Project Runway
  • Top Chef
  • The Voice *

Limited Series

  • American Crime
  • Fargo
  • The Night Manager
  • The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story *
  • Roots

TV Movie

  • All the Way *
  • Confirmation
  • Luther
  • Sherlock: The Abominable Bride
  • A Very Murray Christmas

Lead Actor in a Drama Series

  • Kyle Chandler, Bloodline
  • Rami Malek, Robot
  • Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
  • Matthew Rhys, The Americans
  • Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
  • Kevin Spacey, House of Cards *

Lead Actress in a Drama Series

  • Claire Danes, Homeland
  • Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder
  • Taraji P. Henson, Empire
  • Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
  • Keri Russell, The Americans
  • Robin Wright, House of Cards *

Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Anthony Anderson, black-ish *
  • Aziz Ansari, Master of None
  • Will Forte, Last Man on Earth
  • William H. Macy, Shameless
  • Thomas Middleditch, Silicon Valley
  • Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep *
  • Ellie Kemper, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Laurie Metcalf,Getting On
  • Tracee Ellis Ross, black-ish
  • Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer
  • Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie

Lead Actor in a Limited Series/TV Movie

  • Bryan Cranston, All the Way
  • Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: The Abominable Bride
  • Idris Elba, Luther
  • Cuba Gooding Jr., The People vs. O.J. Simpson
  • Tom Hiddleston, The Night Manager
  • Courtney B. Vance, The People vs. O.J. Simpson *

Lead Actress in a Limited Series/TV Movie

  • Kirsten Dunst, Fargo
  • Felicity Huffman, American Crime
  • Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grille
  • Sarah Paulson, The People v. O.J. Simpson *
  • Lili Taylor, American Crime
  • Kerry Washington, Confirmation

Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

  • Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
  • Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones *
  • Kit Harington, Game of Thrones
  • Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline
  • Michael Kelly, House of Cards
  • Jon Voight, Ray Donovan

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

  • Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
  • Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
  • Maura Tierney, The Affair
  • Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey *
  • Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones
  • Constance Zimmer, UnREAL

Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Louie Anderson, Baskets
  • Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Ty Burrell, Modern Family
  • Tony Hale, Veep *
  • Keegan-Michael Key, Key & Peele
  • Matt Walsh, Veep

Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Anna Chlumsky, Veep
  • Gaby Hoffmann, Transparent
  • Allison Janney, Mom *
  • Judith Light, Transparent
  • Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
  • Niecy Nash, Getting On

Supporting Actor in a Limited Series/TV Movie

  • Sterling K. Brown, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story *
  • Hugh Laurie, The Night Manager
  • Jesse Plemons, Fargo
  • David Schwimmer, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
  • John Travolta, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
  • Bokeem Woodbine, Fargo

Supporting Actress in a Limited Series/TV Movie

  • Melissa Leo, All The Way
  • Regina King, American Crime
  • Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Hotel
  • Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Hotel
  • Jean Smart, Fargo *
  • Olivia Colman, The Night Manager

Directing for a Comedy Series

  • Aziz Ansari, Master Of None (“Parents”)
  • Alec Berg, Silicon Valley (“Daily Active Users”)
  • Mike Judge, Silicon Valley (“Founder Friendly”)
  • Jill Soloway, Transparent (“Man on the Land”)
  • Dave Mandel, Veep (“Kissing Your Sister”)
  • Chris Addison, Veep (“Morning After”) *
  • Dale Stern, Veep (“Mother”)

Directing for a Drama Series

  • Michael Engler, Downton Abbey (“Episode 9)
  • Miguel Sapochnik, Game Of Thrones (“Battle of the Bastards”) *
  • Jack Bender, Game Of Thrones (“The Door”)
  • Lesli Linka Glatter, Homeland (“The Tradition of Hospitality”)
  • Steven Soderbergh, The Knick (“This Is All We Are”)
  • David Hollander, Ray Donovan (“Exsuscito”)

Directing for a Limited Series/TV Movie/Dramatic Special

  • Jay Roach, All The Way
  • Noah Hawley, Fargo
  • Susanne Bier, The Night Manager
  • Ryan Murphy, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (“From the Ashes of Tragedy”)
  • Anthony Hemingway, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (“Manna From Heaven”)
  • John Singleton, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (“The Race Card”) *

Directing for a Variety Special

  • Beth McCarthy-Miller, Adele Live In New York City
  • Chris Rock, Amy Schumer: Live At The Apollo
  • Louis J. Horvitz, 58th Grammy Awards
  • Thomas Kail, Alex Rudzinski, Grease: Live *
  • Glenn Weiss, The Kennedy Center Honors
  • Kahlil Joseph, Beyoncé Knowles Carter, Lemonade

Writing for a Comedy Series

  • Rob Delaney, Sharon Horgan, Catastrophe (“Episode 1”)
  • Aziz Ansari, Alan Yang, Master Of None (“Parents”) *
  • Dan O’Keefe, Silicon Valley (“Founder Friendly”)
  • Alec Berg, Silicon Valley (“The Uptick”)
  • David Mandel, Veep (“Morning After”)
  • Alex Gregory, Peter Huyck, Veep (“Mother”)

Writing for a Drama Series

  • Joel Fields, Joe Weisberg, The Americans (“Persona Non Grata”) *
  • Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey (“Episode 8”)
  • David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, Game Of Thrones (“Battle of the Bastards”)
  • Robert King, Michelle King, The Good Wife (“End”)
  • Sam Esmail, Robot (“eps1.0_hellofriend.mov”)
  • Marti Noxon, Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, UnREAL (“Return”)

Writing for a Limited Series/TV Movie/Dramatic Special

  • Bob DeLaurentis, Fargo (“Loplop”)
  • Noah Hawley, Fargo(“Palindrome”)
  • David Farr, The Night Manager
  • Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (“From the Ashes of Tragedy”) *
  • V. DeVincentis, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (“Marcia Marcia Marcia”)
  • Joe Robert Cole, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (“The Race Card”)

Writing for a Variety Special

  • Amy Schumer: Live At The Apollo *
  • John Mulaney: The Comeback Kid
  • Patton Oswalt: Talking For Clapping
  • Tig Notaro: Boyish Girl Interrupted
  • Triumph’s Election Special 2016


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