Shot in the Dark Emmy Predictions

In All, Television by David

So with the Emmys almost at hand, we are ever so close to finding out who can win in a TV awards landscape devoid of Game of Thrones. (Though I have to wonder if the most recent season could win anyhow… Who am I kidding? This is the Emmys, of course it would win.) Usually I would have done lots of research and had my finger on the industry’s pulse, but I have simply not had time, so instead I am just going wing it and pick winners based entirely on biases, intuition, and how little faith I have in the Emmys to make any bold decisions (unless absolutely forced to). Please enjoy these wild Emmy predictions, and definitely don’t base your ballots on any of them.

Drama Series

Better Call Saul (AMC)

The Crown (Netflix)

The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)

House of Cards (Netflix)

Stranger Things (Netflix)

This Is Us (NBC)

Westworld (HBO)

  • Analysis: Well, this is a field. The absence of Game of Thrones forces the Emmys to pick a first-time winner, and really a case could be made for all of these shows. Better Call Saul has the pedigree and is just a good show. The Crown won a Golden Globe and has the whole British thing going for it (which never hurts at the Emmys). The Handmaid’s Tale is incredibly timely and is likely to pick up multiple awards in addition to this nomination. House of Cards could finally break through with the win that it seemed destined to achieve when it first premiered (even if the real world has made the Underwoods’ shenanigans almost look sane). Stranger Things was the surprise hit of last year, and is going to have the benefit of new season hype to push it over the top. This Is Us is the increasingly elusive critical and audience favorite on a major network. Then there is Westworld, which HBO wants us to believe is the heir apparent to Game of Thrones (at least until the network can make a million Game of Thrones prequels). Still, in the end this award is looking like it will come down to two shows: The Handmaid’s Tale and Stranger Things, with This Is Us looming as a peripheral threat. The Handmaid’s Tale has a lot going for it, and probably should win, but I think Netflix is too hard charging here, and will finally win the big one at the Emmys with Stranger Things.
  • Predicted Winner: Stranger Things
  • Should Win: Handmaid’s Tale
  • Dark Horse: This Is Us

Comedy Series

Atlanta (FX)

Black-ish (ABC)

Master of None (Netflix)

Modern Family (ABC)

Silicon Valley (HBO)

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)

Veep (HBO)

  • Analysis: This is also a strong list, but without much of the same intrigue as the other categories, because the two shows that have dominated this category for years, Veep and Modern Family, are still here. It seems unlikely a new winner will be joining them, even if Atlanta seems primed and ready to take this award (especially considering Donald Glover is likely to have a big night regardless of what happens here). Now, the thing about the Emmys is that while they are generally years too late in moving on from picking a winner, once they do, they rarely go back, so don’t expect a return to glory for the diminished Modern FamilyVeep, on the other hand is still winning, and with the recent announcement that it will be ending soon, is set up to very easily win out for the rest of its run for two reasons: it is good, and if it keeps winning, Emmy voters don’t have to think about things too hard. Don’t be surprised, though, if Master of None somehow sneaks in and wins. Netflix is going for the jugular this year, so don’t count this show out.
  • Predicted Winner: Veep
  • Should Win: Atlanta
  • Dark Horse: Master of None

Drama Actress

Viola Davis (How to Get Away with Murder)

Claire Foy (The Crown)

Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale)

Keri Russell (The Americans)

Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld)

Robin Wright (House of Cards)

  • Analysis: This is a tough category, but in the end it makes the most sense to give this to Elisabeth Moss, especially if Handmaid’s Tale is not going to win Best Drama. She has the pedigree and way too many incredible performances under her belt not to win. It must be said, though, that Keri Russell is amazing in The Americans, a show whose many great performers have never been rewarded properly, so every year it could be said that she should win. Also, never count out Viola Davis, because she is motherfucking Viola Davis and she deserves everything.
  • Predicted Winner: Elisabeth Moss
  • Should Win: Keri Russell
  • Dark Horse: Viola Davis

Drama Actor

Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us)

Anthony Hopkins (Westworld)

Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul)

Matthew Rhys (The Americans)

Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan)

Kevin Spacey (House of Cards)

Milo Ventimiglia (This Is Us)

  • Analysis: This category comes with the aforementioned disclaimer that The Americans deserves more than it has gotten, so Matthew Rhys deserves this award. But that is never happening, so seeing as this is not the Globes, where Anthony Hopkins would have a strong chance to win, this award is coming down to two of the major This Is Us male leads. It seems inconceivable that the Emmys won’t find a way to get This Is Us some awards to try to suggest that network television is still relevant. Out of the two, Sterling Brown has the edge right now because of his consistent great work, first with The People Versus OJ Simpson, and now on This Is Us. As an alternate possibility, Milo Ventimiglia is often given the most buzzy praise for his performances in the show, at least among the males, so he could very easily win as well.
  • Predicted Winner: Sterling K. Brown
  • Should Win: Matthew Rhys 
  • Dark Horse: Milo Ventimiglia

Comedy Actor

Anthony Anderson (Black-ish)

Aziz Ansari (Master of None)

Zach Galifianakis (Baskets)

Donald Glover (Atlanta)

William H. Macy (Shameless)

Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent)

  • Analysis: Honestly, this all comes down to the fact that a coronation of Donald Glover appears to be coming, and though I don’t think Atlanta will win for Best Drama, the consolation prize will be that he gets every individual award he can get instead. Glover deserves much of this praise, and the only thing that could stop him is either the Emmys deciding to shift all of this potential praise to Aziz Ansari or possibly the always looming Jeffrey Tambor, but this feels like the most obvious award for Glover to win.
  • Predicted Winner: Donald Glover
  • Should Win: Donald Glover
  • Dark Horse: Aziz Ansari

Comedy Actress

Pamela Adlon (Better Things)

Tracee Ellis-Ross (black-ish)

Jane Fonda (Grace and Frankie)

Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie)

Allison Janney (Mom)

Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt)

Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep)

  • Analysis: Look, Julia Louis-Dreyfus is winning this award, and she will keep winning it as long as Veep continues, but Pamela Adlon getting the chance to showcase her talents in a show built around her is a treat, and deserves high praise. Also, if there is a spoiler, don’t sleep on Tracee Ellis-Ross, who won the Golden Globe in this category (whether that means anything is questionable, but worth pointing out just the same.)
  • Predicted Winner: Julia Louis-Dreyfus
  • Should Win: Pamela Adlon
  • Dark Horse: Tracee Ellis-Ross

Limited Series

Big Little Lies (HBO)

Fargo (FX)

Feud: Bette and Joan (FX)

The Night Of (HBO)

Genius (National Geographic)

  • Analysis: As much as HBO has tried to make Westworld the next massive breakout hit that everyone should be talking about, Big Little Lies probably succeeded at this far more effectively, even as a limited series. This is where the full clout of HBO is really being placed, and it seems like the lock of the night, unless the voters get lazy and vote for Fargo because it has won before.
  • Predicted Winner: Big Little Lies
  • Should Win: Big Little Lies
  • Dark Horse: LOL… fine, Fargo

Limited Series Actor

Riz Ahmed (The Night Of)

Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock: The Lying Detectivek)

Robert De Niro (The Wizard of Lies)

Ewan McGregor (Fargo)

Geoffrey Rush (Genius)

John Turturro (The Night Of)

  • Analysis: The Night Of has basically been forgotten in the wake of Big Little Lies, but this is the one category where HBO can put their full might into this show. Of the two stars, Riz Ahmed seems like the best bet, but John Turturro could win as well. Also, you can never count out Benedict Cumberbatch, because, well, the Emmys are weird sometimes, and they seem to have gained an irrational love for these later seasons of Sherlock.
  • Predicted Winner: Riz Ahmed
  • Should Win: … I am going to do everyone a favor and not pretend I have any idea who should win here
  • Dark Horse: Benedict Cumberbatch

Limited Series Actress

Carrie Coon (Fargo)

Felicity Huffman (American Crime)

Nicole Kidman (Big Little Lies)

Jessica Lange (Feud)

Susan Sarandon (Feud)

Reese Witherspoon (Big Little Lies)

  • Analysis: Look, anything Big Little Lies is nominated for it is probably winning, so this comes down to Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon. Kidman seemed to get the buzzier coverage throughout the show, so she looks to have the edge right now.
  • Predicted Winner: Nicole Kidman
  • Should Win: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Dark Horse: Reese Witherspoon

Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

John Lithgow (The Crown)

Jonathan Banks (Better Call Saul)

Mandy Patinkin (Homeland)

Michael Kelly (House of Cards)

David Harbour (Stranger Things)

Ron Cephas Jones (This Is Us)

Jeffrey Wright (Westworld)

  • Analysis: John Lithgow is a a heavy favorite here, and likely will win, but this award is always weird, as supporting categories are where the Emmys are generally willing to do some more risky things, even if in this case that means going against someone with Lithgow’s stature. So I think the pick here is Jeffrey Wright, who really was the true heartbeat of the inconsistent first season of Westworld. This looks like one of the best places to get Westworld an award, and I find it hard to believe the Emmy voters will be able to resist. But don’t forget about David Harbour, whose rising profile combined with a great performance could lead him to awards glory.
  • Predicted Winner: Jeffrey Wright
  • Should Win: John Lithgow
  • Dark Horse: David Harbour

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Ann Dowd (The Handmaid’s Tale)

Samira Wiley (The Handmaid’s Tale)

Uzo Aduba (Orange Is the New Black)

Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things)

Chrissy Metz (This Is Us)

Thandie Newton (Westworld)

  • Analysis: This is the place Westworld should win, because Thandie Newton gave an incredible performance, but she is running into the Chrissy Metz This Is Us train, and that train stops for no one. Metz is wonderful in the show, and is likely to give the kind of speech the Emmys love to get on television. The only real spoiler would be Millie Bobby Brown, who could sneak in if Stranger Things ends up having a huge night instead of simply a good night.
  • Predicted Winner: Chrissy Metz
  • Should Win: Thandia Newton
  • Dark Horse: Millie Bobby Brown

Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Alec Baldwin (Saturday Night Live)

Louie Anderson (Baskets)

Ty Burrell (Modern Family)

Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt)

Tony Hale (Veep)

Matt Walsh (Veep)

  • Analysis: Pfft, I am not going to waste much time here. Baldwin is winning. Hollywood will not be able to resist letting him come up and shit all over Donald Trump. Unless of course the Emmy love for giving awards to men that play female roles continues and Louie Anderson steals the award. Shout out to Tituss Burgess, though, who should win one of these at some point but probably never will.
  • Predicted Winner: Alec Baldwin
  • Should Win: Tituss Burgess
  • Dark Horse: Louie Anderson

Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live)

Vanessa Bayer (Saturday Night Live)

Leslie Jones (Saturday Night Live)

Anna Chlumsky (Veep)

Judith Light (Transparent)

Kathryn Hahn (Transparent)

  • Analysis: This is tough, and it could be argued that any of the SNL women could win here, as they all have the advantage of getting to play a lot of different roles that show off their range. McKinnon is the biggest star of the group, however, and thus is likely to come out on top, even though this could be the year that Jones steps up and grabs the award for herself. This is all too bad for Anna Chlumsky, who is always a constant on Veep and should be rewarded at all times (well, that at least sounds right, so let’s go with it).
  • Predicted Winner: Kate McKinnon
  • Should Win: Anna Chlumsky
  • Dark Horse: Leslie Jones

Variety Talk Series

Full Frontal With Samantha Bee (TBS)

Jimmy Kimmel Live! (ABC)

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO)

The Late Late Show With James Corden (CBS)

Real Time With Bill Maher (HBO)

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (CBS)

  • Analysis: This is John Oliver’s time, and I expect him to win this for a long time, with the caveat that Samantha Bee is right on his tail and could easily claim this title in the future–just not this year. If the Emmy voters suddenly decided to be apolitical, however, look for James Corden to come and steal this because everyone loves him.
  • Predicted Winner: Last Week Tonight With John Oliver 
  • Should Win: Last Week Tonight With John Oliver 
  • Dark Horse: The Late Late Show With James Corden

Reality Competition

The Amazing Race (CBS)

American Ninja Warrior (NBC)

Project Runway (Lifetime)

RuPaul’s Drag Race (vh1)

Top Chef (Bravo)

The Voice (NBC)

  • Analysis: American Ninja Warrior is going to win this at some point, and it could be this year, but really this still feels like RuPaul’s Drag Race‘s time, because it fits well into what is likely to be a very political night, and you know the show is very good and a lot of fun.
  • Predicted Winner: RuPaul’s Drag Race
  • Should Win: RuPaul’s Drag Race
  • Dark Horse: American Ninja Warrior

Television Movie

Black Mirror: San Junipero (Netflix)

Dolly Parton’s Christmas Of Many Colors: Circle Of Love (NBC)

The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks (HBO)

Sherlock: The Lying Detective (Masterpiece) (PBS)

The Wizard Of Lies (HBO)

  • Analysis: Black Mirror deserves awards, so it likely gets it here. The only thing that could hold it back is the Emmy voters’ newfound love for Sherlock or some desire to do a solid for Robert DeNiro through The Wizard of Lies.
  • Predicted Winner: Black Mirror: San Junipero
  • Should Win: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Dark Horse: Sherlock: The Lying Detective

Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Bill Camp (The Night Of)

Alfred Molina (Feud: Bette and Joan)

Alexander Skarsgård (Big Little Lies)

David Thewlis (Fargo)

Stanley Tucci (Feud: Bette and Joan)

Michael K. Williams (The Night Of)

  • Analysis: Let’s see… the only actor here from Big Little Lies equals a win, with the possible disclaimer that maybe the voters don’t want to reward any of the men on that show, which would allow someone with the pedigree of Michael K. Williams to slip in for the win.
  • Predicted Winner: Alexander Skarsgård
  • Should Win: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Dark Horse: Michael K. Williams

Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Judy Davis (Feud: Bette and Joan)

Laura Dern (Big Little Lies)

Jackie Hoffman (Feud: Bette and Joan)

Regina King (American Crime)

Michelle Pfeiffer (The Wizard of Lies)

Shailene Woodley (Big Little Lies)

  • Analysis: Regina King deserves all the awards, but she isn’t going to get it this year, as it will come down to the two Big Little Lies actresses. Dern is the more known quantity with the voters, so she has the edge here, but Woodley could easily win as well.
  • Predicted Winner: Laura Dern
  • Should Win: Regina King
  • Dark Horse: Shailene Woodley

Directing for a Comedy Series

Donald Glover (Atlanta)

Jamie Babbit (Silicon Valley)

Mike Judge (Silicon Valley)

Morgan Sackett (Veep)

David Mandel (Veep)

Dale Stern (Veep)

  • Analysis: This will continue Donald Glover’s coronation, one that is probably only halted if voters just really want to give Mike Judge an award and find some place to honor Silicon Valley (please don’t do this, voters; just pick Glover and move along).
  • Predicted Winner: Donald Glover
  • Should Win: Donald Glover
  • Dark Horse: Mike Judge

Directing for a Drama Series

Vince Gilligan (Better Call Saul)

Stephen Daldry (The Crown)

Reed Morano (The Handmaid’s Tale)

Kate Dennis (The Handmaid’s Tale)

Lesli Linka Glatter (Homeland)

The Duffer Brothers (Stranger Things)

Jonathan Nolan (Westworld)

  • Analysis: If Jonathan Nolan had submitted the pilot of Westworld for consideration, he would deserve more in this situation, but instead he submitted the season finale, which basically just got Westworld to the point the show should have been at four to five episodes earlier (if I am being generous). So instead this easily goes to Reed Morano for her stunning work on The Handmaid’s Tale. If Stranger Things ends up having a huge night, the Duffer Brothers could get some play here, but this feels like Morano’s to lose.
  • Predicted Winner: Reed Morano
  • Should Win: Reed Morano
  • Dark Horse: The Duffer Brothers

Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special

Jean-Marc Vallee (Big Little Lies)

Noah Hawley (Fargo)

Ryan Murphy (Feud: Bette & Joan)

Ron Howard (Genius)

James Marsh (The Night Of)

Steve Zaillian (The Night Of)

  • Analysis: Hey look, it’s the director from Big Little Lies, so he is winning. That is too bad for Noah Hawley, who always deserves awards but is coming up short this year. Watch out for Ron Howard, though. While this isn’t the Golden Globes, a “big time movie director” coming to television still means something. (I would put an eye roll here, but sometimes it actually does mean something–just not in this instance).
  • Predicted Winner: Jean-Marc Vallee
  • Should Win: Noah Hawley
  • Dark Horse: Ron Howard

Directing for a Variety Series

Derek Waters & Jeremy Konner (Drunk History)

Andy Fisher (Jimmy Kimmel Live)

Paul Pennolino (Last Week Tonight with John Oliver)

Jim Hoskinson (The Late Show with Stephen Colbert)

Don Roy King (Saturday Night Live)

  • Analysis: This feels a bit obvious, because King gets to do the most with his directing, and it seems unlikely that the others could overcome this advantage (except for Drunk History, which just has no chance of winning). Still, if this proves to be a big evening for Last Week Tonight, Pennolino has a real shot here.
  • Predicted Winner: Don Roy King
  • Should Win: Don Roy King
  • Dark Horse: Paul Pennolino

Writing for a Comedy Series

Donald Glover (Atlanta)

Stephen Glover (Atlanta)

Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe (Master of None)

Alec Berg (Silicon Valley)

Billy Kimball (Veep)

David Mandel (Veep)

  • Analysis: This is probably the shakiest case for Glover, because he faces competition from his own brother as well as Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe in what is probably their strongest category and case for a win. That said, this feels like a year for a Glover sweep, so I am going with the sweep.
  • Predicted Winner: Donald Glover
  • Should Win: Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe
  • Dark Horse: Stephen Glover

Writing for a Drama Series

Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields (The Americans)

Gordon Smith (Better Call Saul)

Peter Morgan (The Crown)

Bruce Miller (The Handmaid’s Tale)

The Duffer Brothers (Stranger Things)

Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan (Westworld)

  • Analysis: Hey look, another chance for The Americans to lose! Bruce Miller is primed to be part of a big night for The Handmaid’s Tale, and will likely win. On the other hand, this would be another place to get Westworld an award, so you can’t count out Joy and Nolan.
  • Predicted Winner: Bruce Miller
  • Should Win: Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields
  • Dark Horse: Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan

Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or Drama

David E. Kelley (Big Little Lies)

Charlie Brooker (Black Mirror: San Junipero)

Noah Hawley (Fargo)

Ryan Murphy (Feud: Bette and Joan)

Jaffe Cohen, Michael Zam and Ryan Murphy (Feud: Bette and Joan)

Richard Price and Steven Zaillian (The Night Of)

  • Analysis: Yawn. Big Little Lies will win again, much to the chagrin of Noah Hawley (who is probably still annoyed about Legion‘s exclusion from this night anyhow). Black Mirror could play spoiler, but this looks like a return to award recognition for David E. Kelley.
  • Predicted Winner: David E. Kelly
  • Should Win: Noah Hawley
  • Dark Horse: Charlie Booker

Writing for a Variety Series 

Jo Miller, Samantha Bee, Ashley Nicole Black, Pat Cassels, Eric Drysdae, Mathan Erhardt, Travon Free, Joe Grossman, Miles Kahn, Melinda Taub & Jason Reich (Full Frontal with Samantha Bee)

Kevin Avery, Tim Carvell, Josh Gondelman, Dan Gurewitch, Geoff Haggerty, Jeff Maurer, John Oliver, Scott Sherman, Will Tracy, Jill Twiss & Juli Weiner (Last Week Tonight with John Oliver)

Jermaine Affonso, Alex Baze, Bryan Donaldson, Sal Gentile, Matt Goldich, Dina Gusovky, Jenny Hagel, Allison Hord, Mike Karnell, John Lutz, Seth Meyers, Ian Morgan, Seth Reiss, Amber Ruffin, Mike Scollins, Mike Shoemaker & Ben Warheit (Late Night with Seth Meyers)

Barry Julien, Jay Katsir, Opus Moreschi, Stephen Colbert, Tom Purcell, Matt Lappin, Michael Brumm, Nate Charny, Aaron Cohen, Cullen Crawford, Paul Dinello, Ariel Dumas, Glenn Eichler, Django Gold, Gabe Gronli, Daniel Kibblesmith, Michael Pielocik, Kate Sidley, Jen Spyra, Brian Stack & John Thibodeaux (The Late Show with Stephen Colbert)

Chris Kelly, Sarah Schneider, Kent Sublette, Bryan Tucker, Pete Schultz, James Anderson, Kristen Bartlett, Jeremy Beiler, Zach Bornstein, Joanna Bradley, Megan Callahan, Michael Che, Anna Drezen, Fran Gillespie, Sudi Green, Steve Higgins, Colin Jost, Erik Kenward, Rob Klein, Nick Kocher, Dave McCary, Brian McElhaney, Dennis McNicholas, Drew Michael, Lorne Michaels, Josh Patten, Katie Rich, Streeter Seidell, Will Stephen & Julio Torres (Saturday Night Live)

  • Analysis: This is a pretty standard list of all the late night shows that everyone talks about in the writing department, so really any could win. But more than likely, unless the Emmys prove themselves just to be so in love with Stephen Colbert that they can’t help but give him an award, this should really come down to a showdown between John Oliver’s staff and Samantha Bee’s. Based on past history, I would have to go with John Oliver, because he has consistently stood out amongst this group, but Bee is not far behind, and it is just a matter of if, not when, she will win one of these.
  • Predicted Winner: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
  • Should Win: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
  • Dark Horse: Full Frontal with Samantha Bee

That’s it for my shot in the dark Emmy predictions. Tune in this Sunday to see just how wrong I really am!