70th Emmy Awards Predictions
Honoring the actors, writers and creators of all that primetime television has to offer, the 70th Emmy Awards are set to air on Monday, Sept. 17 on NBC.
While aiming to nominate and select the finest work in television each year, Emmy voters often make decisions in much more complex ways than just simply deciding what is “the best.” Voters often like the usual dramas and comedies that are well-made and play it safe, but they also tend to enjoy stories that connect to current politics and social issues and are more popular among younger audiences—but nothing too radical. Like the Oscars, the Emmys rarely favor “genre” series that aim more to thrill and entertain than emotionally resonate with viewers.
When selecting actors, Emmy voters don’t just consider a person’s performance in their current show, but other factors such as whether the actor has won in the past, whether they’ll get the chance to win for that same role again and whether the series is favored in other categories, too.
With these considerations in mind, the following list contains predictions for who will win during Monday night’s show, as well as my own personal selections:
Best Drama Series
The nominees: Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, The Americans, The Crown, The Handmaid’s Tale, This Is Us, Westworld
Who will win: The Americans. This show pulled off what few can: an excellent, critically-acclaimed final season. Its focus on Cold War politics and Russia-US relations has also made it timely these past couple of years. However, after winning last year and remaining painfully relevant in the #MeToo era, The Handmaid’s Tale has a solid chance at winning, too.
My pick: The Americans. I watched and enjoyed most of the other nominees, but Americans really did have a great ending, and I personally believe it deserves to finally win after six seasons.
Best Comedy Series
The nominees: Atlanta, Barry, black-ish, Curb Your Enthusiasm, GLOW, Silicon Valley, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Who will win: Atlanta. The Donald Glover-led series is arguably the most mature and socially relevant show in the list. Its biggest competitor, and last year’s winner, Veep, is out of the picture, so the show has a real shot at winning.
My pick: The Good Place. While left out of the nomination list this year, The Good Place continues to amaze me with its fast pace and humor. I think it’s the best and most unique comedy on television right now (and one of the best TV series, period). And unlike other current comedy series, they haven’t let me down yet.
Lead Actress, Drama
The nominees: Sandra Oh (Killing Eve), Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black), Keri Russell (The Americans), Claire Foy (The Crown), Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale), Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld)
Who will win: Elisabeth Moss. There’s a lot of competition in this category and it’s especially close between her and Russell, but I believe Moss’ win last year and the relevance of her performance (as a subdued sex slave in a dystopian society) gives her the edge.
My pick: Keri Russell. Russell’s character was at the center of the final season of The Americans, and she excelled as both a ruthless, ultra-loyal spy and as a mother trying to do what’s best for her family. I believe a heart-wrenching performance like hers certainly deserves the win.
Lead Actor, Drama
The nominees: Jason Bateman (Ozark), Matthew Rhys (The Americans), Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us), Milo Ventimiglia (This Is Us), Ed Harris (Westworld), Jeffrey Wright (Westworld)
Who will win: Matthew Rhys. Again, Russell had a little more of the focus this season, but Rhys still did a fantastic job as her character’s husband and reluctant partner. Plus, if Russell loses in her category, Emmy voters may let The Americans, and Rhys, take this one.
My pick: Matthew Rhys. While I think Jeffrey Wright was amazing in Westworld, Rhys has never won before, and since this is his last chance to win for The Americans, I think he deserves this win the most.
Lead Actress, Comedy
The nominees: Pamela Adlon (Better Things), Tracee Ellis Ross (black-ish), Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie), Issa Rae (Insecure), Allison Janney (Mom), Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)
Who will win: Rachel Brosnahan. Though a first-time nominee, Brosnahan already won the Golden Globe and Critics Choice Television Award for her performance, thus enhancing her chances for the Emmys.
My pick: Issa Rae. She and Tracee Ellis Ross both give hilarious and natural performances, but Rae’s awkwardness and relatability edges her out in my book.
Lead Actor, Comedy
The nominees: Donald Glover (Atlanta), Bill Hader (Barry), Anthony Anderson (black-ish), Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm), William H. Macy (Shameless), Ted Danson (The Good Place)
Who will win: Donald Glover. Hader also stands a chance for his outstanding acting work in Barry, but Glover’s win last year makes him the clear frontrunner.
My pick: Ted Danson. All of the acting in The Good Place is outstanding, but Danson’s performance as a goofy demon might be the best. His ability to balance an aloofness with literally knowing everything is addictive to viewers — Danson’s a fan favorite.
Supporting Actress, Drama
The nominees: Lena Headey (Game of Thrones), Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things), Vanessa Kirby (The Crown), Yvonne Strahovski (The Handmaid’s Tale), Alexis Bledel (The Handmaid’s Tale), Ann Dowd (The Handmaid’s Tale), Thandie Newton (Westworld)
Who will win: Vanessa Kirby. Kirby was considered one of the standouts of The Crown’s second season, and it helps that this is her last chance at a win before Helena Bonham Carter replaces her as an older version of the character.
My pick: Thandie Newton. Lena Headey is a close second, but Newton’s captivating performance as an android on an epic journey to find her daughter remained the best part of Westworld’s convoluted second season.
Supporting Actor, Drama
The nominees: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones), Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), Mandy Patinkin (Homeland), David Harbour (Stranger Things), Matt Smith (The Crown), Joseph Fiennes (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Who will win: Matt Smith. Smith’s performance was acclaimed, and like Kirby, this is his last shot at a win for this role. His competition in this category is pretty weak too, as Dinklage has already won twice before and takes a backseat in the most recent season of Thrones.
My pick: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Again, this is a weak category, but Coster-Waldau was given some solid material to work with in Game of Thrones’ seventh season—his character conflicted between a sense of duty, incestuous love and moral compass—and he played it well.
Supporting Actress, Comedy
The nominees: Zazie Beetz (Atlanta), Betty Gilpin (GLOW), Laurie Metcalf (Roseanne), Aidy Bryant (Saturday Night Live), Leslie Jones (Saturday Night Live), Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live), Alex Borstein (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Megan Mullally (Will and Grace)
Who will win: Kate McKinnon. The SNL actress is the clear standout after winning the past two years and continuing to deliver hilarious bits on her most recent season.
My pick: Kate McKinnon. I’m not sure she particularly needs a third Emmy at this point, but she really is one of the best performers on SNL.
Supporting Actor, Comedy
The nominees: Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta), Henry Winkler (Barry), Louie Anderson (Baskets), Kenan Thompson (Saturday Night Live), Alec Baldwin (Saturday Night Live), Tony Shalhoub (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt)
Who will win: Henry Winkler. Winkler’s 40-plus years in television have earned him five Emmy nominations but zero wins, so Emmy voters are likely to finally show him some love this time.
My pick: Kenan Thompson. The SNL regular has already won an Emmy for Outstanding Music and Lyrics this year, but after 15 seasons of solid work on the sketch comedy show, making him the longest-tenured cast member, I think he deserves to win for his (hilarious) acting, too.