72nd Primetime Emmy Award Nomination Predictions

It’s a bit crazy to think of awards in the midst of the current pandemic. After all, what could be less entertaining than hosting a normally-live event where people get all dressed up and hang out together virtually? How is it even going to work. But regardless of its future success, I’m happy we have some form of distraction from the hellscape we’re currently living in, and the Emmys will make for the perfect test run of the awards season to come. And with the nominations for the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards set for announcement tomorrow at 11:30 am, I thought I’d offer a quick write-up on my predictions, just to create a return to normalcy.

This year’s ceremony is definitely going to look strikingly different. Last year’s juggernauts like Game Of Thrones, Veep, Barry, and Fleabag are all complete, so this year’s winners will have to be a completely new set of champions. And with several categories expanding to eight contenders instead of the usual six or seven, we’re in for a crazy, supersized ceremony. Starting with the Drama categories, I see three inevitable truths that cannot be avoided. First, Emmy darlings that have been shoved out by the dragon show in the past will likely earn their long-deserved glory. This means that Ozark, POSE, The Crown, and Better Call Saul will each have a big night, and will not only see massive groundswells for their usual champions like Jonathan Banks, Olivia Colman, Jason Bateman (your Best Actor frontrunner), and so on, we should also see overlooked performers finally getting their due – I’m looking at Rhea Seehorn for her great work Better Call Saul. Second, with the usual nominees like The Handmaid’s Tale, Big Little Lies, and Killing Eve looking weak (still expect a handful of nominations, though – especially for Jodie Comer and Meryl Streep), expect newcomers like The Morning Show to crack through in a big way. And third – and I cannot stress this enough – expect Succession to be the big juggernaut heading into the nominations and award show. Last year Succession famously got shafted by its fantastical counterpart Game Of Thrones and it still managed to pull off the upset to win Best Writing. Now, having wrapped up an all-time great second season, Succession looks to take over where Game of Thrones left off, dominating the acting categories. Look for Brian Cox and Jeremy Strong to be the top contenders for Best Actor, Sarah Snook to be a frontrunner in Supporting Actress, and Kieran Culkin to earn a nomination for his incredible work as Roman Roy. Oh, and with a wide-open field in Supporting Actor, look for Culkin to have a companion from the show’s eclectic and talented ensemble – my money/heart’s on Matthew Macfadyen for his work as Tom Wambsgans. And unlike Game of Thrones,Succession plays things safe by only submitting one episode each in writing and directing, which not only demonstrates humility, but also gives them a better chance of not cancelling themselves out. It’s Succssion’s day, let’s not spoil it.

Moving along to Comedy, we’re in a similar boat as Best Drama Series. Without last year’s favorites Fleabag, Veep, or Barry, almost 60% of the nominees are wiped off the board. The simplest scenario based off these results is the expanded success of well-liked shows (Dead To Me, The Good Place, The Kominsky Method) alongside the complete domination of rising stars Schitt’s Creek, Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Maisel has the best history with the Emmys, and will likely continue it here, dominating the acting categories (I’m predicting seven overall) and earning a handful of writing and directing credits as well. Meanwhile, Curb is coming off its best season in years, and without a proper frontrunner to stuff it (like Modern Family or Frasier in the past), I think Larry David’s looking pretty, pretty, pretty good (especially in Best Actor, where frontrunner Hader is off for a year). And after breaking through last year in a surprising way, look for the little underdog that could Schitt’s Creek to utterly dominate this year – I’m seeing nominations in all four acting categories, a Catherine O’Hara frontrunner status, and a handful of writing and directing nominations. However, while predicting a flood of support for these few shows is a great starting point, fleshing out the categories is a little more challenging. You see, there’s a major factor that we armchair pundits cannot account for: What Has The Academy Been Watching During Quarantine? Sure, we can guess, and we can push for our favorites, but at the end of the day, there’s no way to know which comedies have stuck with them and which haven’t, now that they have time to watch more shows. Will they like the prestige of The Great? The soulful artfulness of Ramy? The quirky shock value of Dave? Or perhaps they’ve come to appreciate TV’s best show in What We Do In The Shadows? Honestly, I don’t know, and because the Academy tends to lean towards “Basic B*tch” territory, it’ll most likely be Space Force. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. But expect these cult shows to find love below the line in unique ways – perennial favorite Mahershala Ali should earn a nomination for Ramy, Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult should find love for The Great, and don’t be surprised if Shadows earns a nomination for the writing genius that is “Jackie Daytona.”

And finally, we come to the ultimate bloodbath: Limited Series and TV Movie. For while TV Movie is pretty much a done deal – it’s Bad Education vs. El Camino, along with a handful of films just lucky to be there – Limited Series sees something like thirty shows competing for five slots. We’re witnessing Unbelievable vs. Watchmen vs. Mrs. America vs. The Plot Against America vs. Little Fires Everywhere vs. Hollywood vs. Defending Jacob vs. Normal People vs. The Eddy vs. *passes out from lack of oxygen.* Like Best Comedy, it’s hard to say which shows have piqued the Academy’s attention during their quarantines. Maybe shows that otherwise have been forgotten (did you know Damien Chazelle made a TV show this year?) can find love. Or maybe a panned nightmare like Hollywood ends up dominating because Ryan Murphy. Or, in the most likely scenario, Mrs. America, Watchmen, and Unbelievable will dominate and the rest of the shows will fill in as needed. Expect Watchmen to take Best Actress for Regina King, Mrs. America to dominate with the most nominations (it has a massive cast of talented women), and ultimately for Unbelievable to win the big prize, along with nominations for Merrit Wever, Kaitlyn Dever, and Toni Collette. I’m also going to die on my Plot Against America hill because of my love for the book, even though the Emmys hate David Simon and the show has lost traction since March. Hey, at least John Turturro is a frontrunner in Supporting Actor – I’ll get one right.

Some final thoughts as I wrap up my predictions for tomorrow: obviously Last Week Tonight is going to dominate, especially with their weekly updates on Coronavirus consistently going viral. Hopefully the Academy doesn’t waste their final opportunity to nominate BoJack Horseman. And I’m personally excited for the bloodbath that will be the Best Music and Lyrics – I’ve already had to cut two of my favorites (Big Mouth’s “Anything Goes In Florida” and Saturday Night Live’s hilarious “On The Couch”) just to make room for the great songs from Euphoria, The Tonys, John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch, and, of course, “Misbehavin’” from The Righteous Gemstones. I can’t wait to see that category play out. Anyway, that wraps up my predictions for tomorrow’s Emmy nominations. I’ll try to have the nominees up in real time, although with the way the pandemic has moved everything around, it’ll all depend on my schedule and if I’m able to find a working link. No matter what, I’ll have the nominations up for you before the end of the day tomorrow, and have a write-up ready by the end of the week. All I can say is this: with the return of awards season and the occasional baseball game on TV, I’m glad there’s some semblance of a return to normalcy.

Best Drama Series

  • Better Call Saul
  • Big Little Lies
  • The Crown
  • The Handmaid’s Tale
  • The Morning Show
  • Ozark
  • POSE
  • Succession

Best Comedy Series

  • Curb Your Enthusiasm
  • Dead To Me
  • The Good Place
  • Insecure
  • The Kominsky Method
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Schitt’s Creek
  • Space Force

Best Limited Series

  • Hollywood
  • Mrs. America
  • The Plot Against America
  • Unbelievable
  • Watchmen

Best TV Movie

  • American Son
  • Bad Education
  • El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
  • Patsy and Loretta
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. The Reverend

Best Variety Talk Series

  • The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
  • Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
  • Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
  • The Late Late Show with James Corden
  • The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Best Variety Sketch Series

  • At Home with Amy Sedaris
  • A Black Lady Sketch Show
  • Drunk History
  • Saturday Night Live

Best Animated Series

  • Big Mouth
  • Bob’s Burgers
  • Family Guy
  • Rick and Morty
  • The Simpsons
  • South Park

Best Actor In A Drama Series

  • Jason Bateman – Ozark
  • Sterling K. Brown – This Is Us
  • Brian Cox – Succession
  • Bob Odenkirk – Better Call Saul
  • Billy Porter – POSE
  • Jeremy Strong – Succession

Best Actress In A Drama Series

  • Jennifer Aniston – The Morning Show
  • Olivia Colman – The Crown
  • Jodie Comer – Killing Eve
  • Laura Linney – Ozark
  • Elisabeth Moss – The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Sandra Oh – Killing Eve

Best Actor In A Comedy Series

  • Anthony Anderson – Black-ish
  • Steve Carell – Space Force
  • Ted Danson – The Good Place
  • Larry David – Curb Your Enthusiasm
  • Michael Douglas – The Kominsky Method
  • Eugene Levy – Schitt’s Creek

Best Actress In A Comedy Series

  • Pamela Adlon – Better Things
  • Christina Applegate – Dead To Me
  • Rachel Brosnahan – The Marvelous Mrs. Masiel
  • Elle Fanning – The Great
  • Catherine O’Hara – Schitt’s Creek
  • Issa Rae – Insecure

Best Actor In A Limited Series/TV Movie

  • Russell Crowe – The Loudest Voice
  • Andre Holland – The Eddy
  • Jeremy Irons – Watchmen
  • Hugh Jackman – Bad Education
  • Aaron Paul – El Camino
  • Mark Ruffalo – I Know This Much Is True

Best Actress In A Limited Series/TV Movie

  • Cate Blanchett – Mrs. America
  • Kaitlyn Dever – Unbelievable
  • Zoe Kazan – The Plot Against America
  • Regina King – Watchmen
  • Kerry Washington – Little Fires Everywhere
  • Merritt Wever – Unbelievable

Best Supporting Actor In A Drama Series

  • Jonathan Banks – Better Call Saul
  • Billy Crudup – The Morning Show
  • Kieran Culkin – Succession
  • Giancarlo Esposito – Better Call Saul
  • David Harbour – Stranger Things
  • Matthew Macfadyen – Succession
  • Tom Pelphrey – Ozark
  • Bradley Whtiford – The Handmaid’s Tale

Best Supporting Actress In A Drama Series

  • Helena Bonham Carter – The Crown
  • Laura Dern – Big Little Lies
  • Ann Dowd – The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Julia Garner – Ozark
  • Thandie Newton – Westworld
  • Rhea Seehorn – Better Call Saul
  • Sarah Snook – Succession
  • Meryl Streep – Big Little Lies 

Best Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series

  • Mahershala Ali – Ramy
  • Alan Arkin – The Kominsky Method
  • Sterling K. Brown – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Nicholas Hoult – The Great
  • Dan Levy – Schitt’s Creek
  • John Malkovich – Space Force
  • Tony Shalhoub – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Kenan Thompson – Saturday Night Live

Best Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series

  • Alex Borstein – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Betty Gilpin – GLOW
  • Emily Hampshire – Schitt’s Creek
  • Marin Hinkle – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Jane Lynch – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Kate McKinnon – Saturday Night Live
  • Annie Murphy – Schitt’s Creek
  • Rita Moreno – One Day At A Time

Best Supporting Actor In A Limited Series/TV Movie

  • Tim Blake Nelson – Watchmen
  • Jim Parsons – Hollywood
  • Jesse Plemons – El Camino
  • Ray Romano – Bad Education
  • John Slattery – Mrs. America
  • John Turturro – The Plot Against America

Best Supporting Actress In A Limited Series/TV Movie

  • Rose Byrne – Mrs. America
  • Toni Collette – Unbelievable
  • Allison Janney – Bad Education
  • Margo Martindale – Mrs. America
  • Winona Ryder – The Plot Against America
  • Jean Smart – Watchmen

Best Guest Actor In A Drama Series

  • Jason Bateman – The Outsider
  • Ron Cephas Jones – This Is Us
  • Charles Dance – The Crown
  • James Cromwell – Succession
  • Michael J. Fox – The Good Fight
  • Andrew Scott – Black Mirror

Best Guest Actress In A Drama Series

  • Pamela Adlon – This Is Us
  • Alexis Bledel – The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Cherry Jones – Succession
  • Jane Lapotaire – The Crown
  • Phylicia Rashad – This Is Us
  • Cicely Tyson – How To Get Away With Murder

Best Guest Actor In A Comedy Series

  • Larry David – Saturday Night Live
  • Adam Driver – Saturday Night Live
  • Luke Kirby – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • John Mulaney – Saturday Night Live
  • Eddie Murphy – Saturday Night Live
  • Fred Willard – Mordern Family

Best Guest Actress In A Comedy Series

  • Lisa Kudrow – The Good Place
  • Judith Light – The Politician
  • Jennifer Lopez – Saturday Night Live
  • Maya Rudolph – The Good Place
  • Wanda Sykes – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Phoebe Waller-Bridge – Saturday Night Live

Best Direction Of A Drama Series

  • “Bagman” – Better Call Saul
  • “Aberfan” – The Crown
  • “Mayday” – The Handmaid’s Tale
  • “Are You From Pinner?” – Killing Eve
  • “Hunting” – Succession
  • “This Is Not For Tears” – Succession

Best Direction Of A Comedy Series

  • “Artificial Fruit” – Curb Your Enthusiasm
  • “Whenever You’re Ready” – The Good Place
  • “Chapter 15. A Thetan Arrives” – The Kominsky Method
  • “It’s Comedy Or Cabbage” – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • “Happy Ending” – Schitt’s Creek
  • “Pilot” – Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist

Best Direction Of A Limited Series/TV Movie

  • “Elliot” – The Eddy
  • “Find A Way” – Little Fires Everywhere
  • “Phyllis & Fred & Brenda & Marc” – Mrs. America
  • “Part 6” – The Plot Against America
  • “Episode 1” – Unbelievable
  • “The Extraordinary Being” – Watchmen

Best Direction of a Variety Series

  • The Daily Show With Trevor Noah
  • Jimmy Kimmel Live!
  • Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
  • The Late Late Show with James Corden
  • The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
  • Saturday Night Live

Best Writing Of A Drama Series

  • “Bagman” – Better Call Saul
  • “Aberfan” – The Crown
  • “Mayday” – The Handmaid’s Tale
  • “Are You From Pinner? – Killing Eve
  • “The Interview” – The Morning Show
  • “This Is Not For Tears” – Succession

Best Writing Of A Comedy Series

  • “Happy New Year” – Curb Your Enthusiasm
  • “Whenever You’re Ready” – The Good Place
  • “Chapter 14: A Secret Leaks, A Teacher Spanks” – The Kominsky Method
  • “Marvelous Radio” – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • “The Presidential Suite” – Schitt’s Creek
  • “On The Run” – What We Do In The Shadows

Best Writing Of A Limited Series/TV Movie

  • Bad Education
  • “The Spark” – Little Fires Everywhere
  • “Betty” – Mrs. America
  • “Part 2” – The Plot Against America
  • “Episode 1” – Unbelievable
  • “The Extraordinary Being” – Watchmen

Best Character Voice-Over Performance

  • Will Arnett – BoJack Horseman
  • Hank Azaria – The Simpsons
  • Dan Castellaneta – The Simpsons
  • Kaley Cuoco – Harley Quinn
  • Seth MacFarlane – Family Guy
  • Tessa Thompson – Lady and the Tramp

Best Music and Lyrics

  • “All For Us” – Euphoria
  • “Pay Attention” – John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch
  • “Eat Shit, Bob” – Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
  • “Misbehavin’” – The Righteous Gemstones
  • “Live!” – 73rd Annual Tony Awards
  • “The Way It Used To Be” – Watchmen

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