Emmy Predictions: Who Will Take Over From ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Fleabag’?

Contenders for the top awards range from “Schitt’s Creek,” “Insecure” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” to “Succession,” “Ozark” and “The Mandalorian”

Emmy winners predictions

“Game of Thrones” is gone. So is “Fleabag.” For the first time since 1978 — that’s right, the first time in 42 years — the reigning champions in the Emmys’ Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Comedy Series categories are off the air and ineligible at the same time. It’s still possible that a couple of past winners will claim those crowns again, since 2017 winner “The Handmaid’s Tale” is a nominee for drama and 2018 champ “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is one for comedy, but we may also have a pair of first-time winners in the Emmys’ marquee categories. The question is: Which first-time winners? “Succession” or “Ozark” in drama? “Schitt’s Creek” or “Insecure” in comedy? Or real longshots like “The Mandalorian” or “What We Do in the Shadows”? This much is a given: Emmy voters will surprise you. These are our best guesses for what shows will come out on top at Sunday’s 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards, but beware: It wouldn’t be the Emmys if a few of the winners didn’t come out of the blue.
Schitt's Creek Season Dan Levy
“Schitt’s Creek” / PopTV
OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES Nominees: “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Dead to Me,” “The Good Place,” “Insecure,” “The Kominsky Method,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Schitt’s Creek,” “What We Do in the Shadows” The big question in the comedy categories is whether “Schitt’s Creek” can pull off what “Fleabag” did last year and dominate the Emmys in its final season after being ignored by voters in its previous seasons. Voters clearly loved showering critical darling Phoebe Waller-Bridge with statuettes last year, which could make them want to do it again with Eugene and Dan Levy’s critical darling this year — but will Television Academy members feel the same way about a show that’s had six seasons than they did for “Fleabag,” which was celebrated for its second and final season? If they can’t embrace “Schitt’s Creek” that way, the beneficiary will probably be 2018 winner “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” which led all comedy series in total nominations. But we also shouldn’t rule out a surge of enthusiasm for the timeliness of “Insecure” or the way “The Good Place” wrapped up its own four-year run so beautifully. It feels like the year of “Schitt’s,” but it doesn’t feel like a lock by any means. Predicted winner: “Schitt’s Creek” OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES Nominees: Anthony Anderson, “black-ish”; Don Cheadle, “Black Monday”; Ted Danson, “The Good Place”; Michael Douglas, “The Kominsky Method”; Eugene Levy, “Schitt’s Creek;” Ramy Youssef, “Ramy” Conventional wisdom says that Eugene Levy will win and become one of three “Schitt’s Creek” acting winners, and that makes sense if the show he stars in and co-created comes out on top. But two other nominees could have a real chance in the category: Ramy Youssef for his increasingly sensitive exploration of American Muslim life in “Ramy,” and Ted Danson for finishing off “The Good Place” in style and, well, for being Ted Danson. (He’s the most nominated person in the category’s history, with 14, but he’s only won twice, and not since 1993.) Predicted winner: Eugene Levy, “Schitt’s Creek” OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES Nominees: Christina Applegate, “Dead to Me”; Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”; Linda Cardellini, “Dead to Me”; Catherine O’Hara, “Schitt’s Creek”; Issa Rae, “Insecure”; Tracee Ellis Ross, “black-ish” If voters are looking for a past winner, there’s Rachel Brosnahan from “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” If they’re looking for somebody who might seem as fresh as Phoebe Waller-Bridge did last year, there’s Issa Rae for “Insecure.” And if they’re looking for a comedy legend who has been woefully underappreciated by the Emmys for a very long time, there’s Catherine O’Hara, whose last Emmy win was for writing “SCTV” in 1982. Nobody doesn’t love O’Hara, which should be enough to tip the scales even if Emmy voters aren’t usually very sentimental. Predicted winner: Catherine O’Hara, “Schitt’s Creek” OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES Nominees: Mahershala Ali, “Ramy”; Alan Arkin, “The Kominsky Method”; Andre Braugher, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”; Sterling K. Brown, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”; William Jackson Harper, “The Good Place”; Daniel Levy, “Schitt’s Creek”; Tony Shalhoub, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”; Kenan Thompson, “Saturday Night Live” Tony Shalhoub has been an Emmy favorite for years, winning three times for “Monk” and then winning for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” last year. Still, it’s been 12 years since anybody has gone back-to-back in this category, even though the defending champion was nominated again in 11 of those years. If that streak remains intact, two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali is a formidable contender for “Ramy,” Alan Arkin a dark horse for “The Kominsky Method” and Daniel Levy something of a favorite for “Schitt’s Creek,” in which his final-season storyline was a particular highlight. I’m tempted to predict an upset for Ali, but Levy is probably a safer choice. Predicted winner: Daniel Levy, “Schitt’s Creek”
Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Rachel Brosnahan Alex Borstein SAG Awards
Alex Borstein and Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” / Amazon Prime Video
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES Nominees: Alex Borstein, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”; D’Arcy Carden, “The Good Place”; Betty Gilpin, “GLOW”; Marin Hinkle, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”; Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live”; Annie Murphy, “Schitt’s Creek”; Yvonne Orji, “Insecure”; Cecily Strong, “Saturday Night Live” In contrast to the supporting actor category, winners go back-to-back in this category all the time: In the past decade alone, it’s been done by Julie Bowen, Allison Janney, Kate McKinnon and Alex Borstein, the last of whom has a chance to make it a threepeat for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Her main competitors are probably Annie Murphy from “Schitt’s Creek” (another strong category for this show), D’Arcy Carden from “The Good Place” (whose win would be a salute to four years of underappreciated work) and Kate McKinnon from “Saturday Night Live” (who’s riding a streak of seven straight nominations). But “Maisel” has the most nominations of any comedy series, and it’s hard to believe it won’t win at least one significant award. Predicted winner: Alex Borstein, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A COMEDY SERIES Nominees: “The Great” (episode: “The Great”); “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (episode: “It’s Comedy or Cabbage”); “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (episode: “Marvelous Radio”); “Modern Family” (episode: “Finale Part 2”); “Ramy” (episode: “Miakhalifa.mov”); “Schitt’s Creek” (episode: “Happy Ending”); “Will & Grace” (episode: “We Love Lucy”) How sentimental do voters want to get? The nominees in this category include the final episode of five-time Outstanding Comedy Series winner “Modern Family,” the final episode of “Schitt’s Creek” and the third-to-final episode of “Will & Grace.” They also include two episodes of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” which has won in this category and might be the favorite if it didn’t run the risk of splitting the vote. (The last show with multiple nominations to win in this category was “Modern Family” in 2011.) But if “Ramy” doesn’t win this one, which it might, “Schitt’s Creek” could take another prize for its finale. Predicted winner: “Schitt’s Creek” (episode: “Happy Ending”) OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A COMEDY SERIES Nominees: “The Good Place” (episode: “Whenever You’re Ready”); “The Great” (episode: “The Great”); “Schitt’s Creek” (episode: “Happy Ending”); “Schitt’s Creek” (episode: “The Presidential Suite”); “What We Do In the Shadows” (episode: “Collaboration”); “What We Do In the Shadows” (episode: “Ghosts”); “What We Do In the Shadows” (episode: “On the Run”) This is another category where shows with multiple nominations typically don’t win, which could be bad news for “Schitt’s Creek,” which has two, and the upstart “What We Do in the Shadows,” which has three. If you take those shows out, you’re left with the delightfully cynical “The Great” and the perfectly touching final episode of “The Good Place,” which could win the first Emmy of its four-year run for wrapping things up so nicely. Predicted winner: “The Good Place” (episode: “Whenever You’re Ready”)
Jeremy Strong and Brian Cox in 'Succession'
“Succession” / HBO
OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES Nominees: “Better Call Saul,” “The Crown,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Killing Eve,” “The Mandalorian,” “Ozark,” “Stranger Things,” “Succession” After winning for its final four seasons, “Game of Thrones” is gone, but who’s going to take its place? “The Mandalorian” has the scale and sweep of that Emmy juggernaut with the dragons, but its nomination was a surprise, and even “GoT” took a few years before Emmy voters gave it the big award. And while “The Handmaid’s Tale” won in this category in 2017, when “Game of Thrones” was taking a break between seasons, even the timeliness of its dystopian vision seems unlikely to push it back in the winner’s circle. While you could argue that “The Crown” and “Better Call Saul” are due for this kind of recognition, the overall number of nominations suggests that the top contenders are two dark shows, “Succession” and “Ozark.” Because it leads all shows in acting nominations, “Succession” possibly has a slight advantage. Predicted winner: “Succession” OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES Nominees: Jason Bateman, “Ozark”; Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us”; Steve Carell, “The Morning Show”; Brian Cox, “Succession”; Billy Porter, “Pose”; Jeremy Strong, “Succession” Here’s where we’ll really see how much of a thing vote-splitting is, because the two top contenders might well be Brian Cox and Jeremy Strong from “Succession.” If the supporters of that show divide their votes evenly between the two, Jason Bateman might well win for “Ozark,” though you can’t rule out last year’s winner, Billy Porter for “Pose,” or the 2017 winner, Sterling K. Brown for “This Is Us.” Still, we suspect that “Succession” fans will gravitate toward Strong, because his character goes through more changes and defines the season with the decision he makes in the final episode. Predicted winner: Jeremy Strong, “Succession”
Laura Linney, “Ozark” / Netflix
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES Nominees: Jennifer Aniston, “The Morning Show”; Olivia Colman, “The Crown”; Jodie Comer, “Killing Eve”; Laura Linney, “Ozark”; Sandra Oh, “Killing Eve”; Zendaya, “Euphoria” This one could go in several different directions, with longtime Emmy favorite Laura Linney and TV icon Jennifer Aniston perhaps the strongest candidates. But as Glenn Close learned at the Oscars a couple of years ago, you can never rule out Olivia Colman, while the shock of seeing Zendaya nominated might have pushed voters to actually watch and appreciate her performance in “Euphoria.” “Ozark” is the most nominated show in this category, so we’ll give Linney the smallest of edges. Predicted winner: Laura Linney, “Ozark” OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES Nominees: Nicholas Braun, “Succession”; Billy Crudup, “The Morning Show”; Kieran Culkin, “Succession”; Mark Duplass, “The Morning Show”; Giancarlo Esposito, “Better Call Saul”; Matthew Macfadyen, “Succession”; Bradley Whitford, “The Handmaid’s Tale”; Jeffrey Wright, “Westworld” Once again, “Succession” has to worry about vote-splitting, which is particularly threatening with that show holding three of the eight slots. If costars Nicholas Braun, Kieran Culkin and Matthew Macfadyen all get significant numbers of votes, it’ll likely help Billy Crudup from “The Morning Show” or Bradley Whitford from “The Handmaid’s Tale” — but those “Succession” votes could well coalesce around the flashiest of the nominees, Culkin. Predicted winner: Kieran Culkin, “Succession” OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES Nominees: Helena Bonham Carter, “The Crown”; Laura Dern, “Big Little Lies”; Julia Garner, “Ozark”; Thandie Newton, “Westworld”; Fiona Shaw, “Killing Eve”; Sarah Snook, “Succession”; Meryl Streep, “Big Little Lies”; Samira Wiley, “The Handmaid’s Tale” Laura Dern is looking to join the small number of people who have won an Oscar and an Emmy in the same calendar year, and she did win the last time she was nominated for “Big Little Lies.” But this year, that series is in a tougher category (drama series, not limited series), and this year she’s also up against her formidable costar, Meryl Streep. And even Meryl’s not the favorite, because defending champ Julia Garner is back and so is 2018 winner Thandie Newton, along with a pair of real contenders in Helena Bonham Carter (“The Crown”) and Sarah Snook (“Succession”). In a tight race between Carter, Garner and Snook, we may have a repeat winner. Predicted winner: Julia Garner, “Ozark” OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A DRAMA SERIES Nominees: “The Crown” (episode: “Aberfan”); “The Crown” (episode: “Cri de Coeur”); “Homeland” (episode: “Prisoners of War”); “The Morning Show” (episode: “The Interview”); “Ozark” (episode: “Fire Pink”); “Ozark” (episode: “Su Casa es mi Casa”); “Succession” (episode: “Hunting”); “Succession” (episode: “This Is Not for Tears”) With “The Crown,” “Ozark” and “Succession” landing two nominations each, you’d think that the sole nominee from “The Morning Show” or the final episode of “Homeland” might have a slight edge. But those three double-dipping series do seem to have likely favorites between their two nominated episodes: “Aberfan” for “The Crown,” “Fire Pink” for “Ozark,” “This Is Not for Tears” for “Succession.” One of those will probably come out on top — and in three of the last five years, the show that won the drama-series Emmy also won for directing. Predicted winner: “Succession” (episode: “This Is Not for Tears”) OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A DRAMA SERIES Nominees: “Better Call Saul” (episode: “Bad Choice Road”); “Better Call Saul” (episode: “Bagman”); “The Crown” (episode: Aberfan”); “Ozark” (episode: “All In”); “Ozark” (episode: Boss Fight”); “Ozark” (episode: “Fire Pink”); “Succession” (episode: “This Is Not for Tears”) “Better Call Saul” has two of the nominations and has yet to win in this category; “Ozark” has three, which complicates its quest to win its first writing Emmy. But “Succession,” which won last year, has a single nomination and ought to be able to nudge out “The Crown” for the win. Predicted winner: “Succession” (episode: “This Is Not for Tears”)
“Watchmen” / HBO
OUTSTANDING LIMITED SERIES Nominees: “Little Fires Everywhere,” “Mrs. America,” “Unbelievable,” “Unorthodox,” “Watchmen” While the nominations showed that “Unorthodox” had more strength with Emmy voters than a lot of us realized, it would be a huge upset if this award didn’t go to one of the two favorites, “Watchmen” and “Mrs. America” — and really, the best hopes for “Mrs. America” rest in other categories. Damon Lindelof’s “Watchmen” has an epic scale that transcends anything else in the category, and it also takes a story that began in a comic book and makes it address the vital issues in America today. Plus, it has more nominations than any other program this year, and it has already dominated in Creative Arts Emmys wins. Predicted winner: “Watchmen” OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE Nominees: Jeremy Irons, “Watchmen”; Hugh Jackman, “Bad Education”; Paul Mescal, “Normal People”; Jeremy Pope, “Hollywood”; Mark Ruffalo, “I Know This Much Is True” If “I Know This Much Is True” had been nominated in any other categories, its star Mark Ruffalo might be a shoo-in for his performance(s) as twin brothers. But Ruffalo is the only nominee from that limited series, which suggests that the program just might not have enough support for voters to recognize Ruffalo’s work. Hugh Jackman is a real possibility for “Bad Education,” which began life as a prospective theatrical movie but ended up on HBO instead, and Jeremy Irons’ wry gravitas is alluring in “Watchmen.” But the sleeper in this category might be Paul Mescal for “Normal People,” which also received nominations for its directing and writing. Predicted winner: Paul Mescal, “Normal People” OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE Nominees: Cate Blanchett, “Mrs. America”; Shira Haas, “Unorthodox”; Regina King, “Watchmen”; Octavia Spencer, “Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker”; Kerry Washington, “Little Fires Everywhere” While an upset victory by Shira Haas is not out of the realm of possibility, this category is probably a race between two formidable actresses: Regina King, who has won three Emmys and an Oscar in the last six years, and Cate Blanchett, who’s never before been nominated for an Emmy but who has just about every other acting award you can win. It’s hard to imagine either of them not winning, but one of them has to — and with King’s heroic character in “Watchmen” much easier to root for than Blanchett’s Phyllis Schlafly in “Mrs. America,” she might have a slight edge in one of the most competitive Emmy races. Predicted winner: Regina King, “Watchmen”
Jim Parsons in Hollywood
Jim Parsons, “Hollywood” / Netflix
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE Nominees: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, “Watchmen”; Jovan Adepo, “Watchmen”; Tituss Burgess, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend”; Louis Gossett Jr., “Watchmen”; Dylan McDermott, “Hollywood”; Jim Parsons, “Hollywood” Last year, “When They See Us” had three nominees in this category, and they all lost to Ben Whishaw in “A Very English Scandal.” The year before, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace” had three, and they lost to Jeff Daniels in “Godless.” This year, “Watchmen” has three, with Louis Gossett Jr. perhaps the top contender of the three — but that many nominees from one show might be enough to tilt the scales in favor of four-time Emmy winner Jim Parsons in his scene-stealing role in “Hollywood.” Predicted winner: Jim Parsons, “Hollywood” OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE Nominees: Uzo Aduba, “Mrs. America”; Toni Collette, “Unbelievable”; Margo Martindale, “Mrs. America”; Jean Smart, “Watchmen”; Holland Taylor, “Hollywood”; Tracey Ullman, “Mrs. America” Again, one limited series has supplied three of the nominees, with Uzo Aduba, Margo Martindale and Tracey Ullman all recognized for “Mrs. America.” Aduba might have the best shot of winning from that group, but she’ll have a hard time against Collette, who dominates a lot of “Unbelievable.” But even Collette may have met her match in the formidable Jean Smart, who walks off with most of her scenes from “Watchmen.” Predicted winner: Jean Smart, “Watchmen” OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A LIMITED SERIES, MOVIE OR DRAMATIC SPECIAL Nominees: “Little Fires Everywhere” (episode: “Find a Way”); “Normal People” (episode: “Episode 5”); “Unorthodox”; “Watchmen” (episode: “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice”); “Watchmen” (episode: “Little Fear of Lightning”); “Watchmen” (episode: “This Extraordinary Being”) Here’s a category where vote-splitting probably won’t matter. If voters want to recognize scale and award degree-of-difficulty points, they’ll need to look to the nominees from “Watchmen,” and probably to the complexity of that series’ “This Extraordinary Being” episode, with its flashbacks, time leaps and hallucinations. But there’s one real wild card here — the nominated episode of “Little Fires Everywhere” was directed by the late and much-loved Lynn Shelton, who died unexpectedly in May. A posthumous win would be an emotional moment, and not an undeserved one. Predicted winner: “Watchmen” (episode: “This Extraordinary Being”) OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A LIMITED SERIES, MOVIE OR DRAMATIC SPECIAL Nominees: “Mrs. America,” “Normal People,” “Unbelievable,” “Unorthodox,” “Watchmen” In recent years, this award has almost always gone to a program that also wins in the Outstanding Limited Series or Outstanding Television Movie category. So while it’s tempting to think that this might be where voters recognize “Mrs. America,” “Normal People,” “Unbelievable” or “Unorthodox,” it’s likelier that it will be another win for “Watchmen.” Predicted winner: “Watchmen”
John Oliver on coronavirus testing
“Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” / HBO
OUTSTANDING VARIETY TALK SERIES Nominees: “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah,” “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver,” “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” One of these years, “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” will not win this award. And if that happens this year, “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” will probably take it instead, given a boost by Noah’s revamping of the show in the wake of the pandemic. But this is a category (along with its predecessor, Outstanding Variety Series) that loves its streaks: five wins in a row for “Late Night With David Letterman,” 10 in a row for “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” two in a row for “The Colbert Report” and, currently, four in a row for Oliver, who has also fared best among all of these shows at the Creative Arts Emmys. Until voters give us a reason to think otherwise, we’ll assume that they’ll remain creatures of habit. Predicted winner: “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” OUTSTANDING COMPETITION PROGRAM Nominees: “The Masked Singer,” “Nailed It!,” “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” “Top Chef,” “The Voice” This category has pretty much gone through three stages: the early years, when “The Amazing Race” won 10 times in 12 years; the middle period, when it moved on to “The Voice” for a few years; and the last two years, when “RuPaul’s Drag Race” emerged victorious. While “The Masked Singer” might be ready to end the RuPaul era at some point, it doesn’t feel as if that time has come yet — especially when you consider that “RuPaul’s Drag Race” outperformed “Masked Singer” four-to-one in Creative Arts wins. Predicted winner: “RuPaul’s Drag Race”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.