Emmy Predictions: Will ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Veep’ Rule Once Again?

Emmy voters can be notoriously hard to predict, but we think last year’s winners will join “The People v. O.J. Simpson” clutching gold

emmy predictions

When last year’s drama and comedy series Emmys went to “Game of Thrones” and “Veep,” respectively, it was the first time in nine years that both of the two top awards had gone to first-time winners.

But just because they did it a year ago, don’t expect Emmy voters to make a habit of putting newcomers in the winners’ circle. In fact, back-to-back wins for both of those HBO shows seem likely to happen on Sunday at the Microsoft Theatre.

Here are TheWrap’s Emmy predictions for the 68th annual Primetime Emmy Awards, with one major caveat: Emmy voters can be notoriously hard to predict. So while it’s safe to assume that “Game of Thrones,” “Veep” and “The People v. O.J. Simpson” will all do quite well on Sunday, big surprises are inevitable.


Outstanding Drama Series
“The Americans”
“Better Call Saul”
“Downton Abbey”
“Game of Thrones”
“House of Cards”
Mr. Robot
“The Americans” finally seems to have some real Emmy heat, but it’s a longshot in this marquee category. That’s because “Game of Thrones” broke through to win the big prize last year, had an even more attention-grabbing season this year and won by far the largest number of Creative Arts Emmys last weekend. Unless voters want to give “Downton Abbey” the ultimate parting gift, look for “GoT” to capture the throne once again.
Winner: “Game of Thrones”

Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Kyle Chandler, “Bloodline”
Rami Malek, “Mr. Robot
Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”
Matthew Rhys, “The Americans”
Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan”
Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”
This one is a real tossup. With Jon Hamm and Bryan Cranston out of the running, Spacey is overdue, Chandler is a past Emmy fave, Odenkirk is well-liked and has residual “Breaking Bad” mojo, Rhys could benefit from voters’ discovery of “The Americans,” Schreiber is a perennial favorite and Malek is the year’s hot newcomer. We’re guessing that Chandler, on a show that has been increasingly picking up admirers, edges Malek.
Winner: Kyle Chandler, “Bloodline”

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”
Davis and Henson made history last year, with Davis winning, but their shows don’t have nearly as much heat this year. Danes could well be rewarded for a resurgent season of her show, or Wright for four years of steely excellence, or ultimate wild card Maslany. But we’re thinking that now that voters have discovered “The Americans,” this is the category where they reward it by giving the Emmy to Russell.
Winner: Keri Russell, “The Americans”

Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Jonathan Banks, “Better Call Saul”
Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones”
Ben Mendelsohn, “Bloodline”
Kit Harington, “Game of Thrones”
Michael Kelly, “House of Cards”
Jon Voight, “Ray Donovan”
Will coming back from the dead give Harington the edge over Dinklage, who’s won before and didn’t have as many great scenes as usual this season? This feels like a category ripe for surprise, which is why we say Banks gives “Better Call Saul” its first big win.
Winner: Jonathan Banks, “Better Call Saul”

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Maura Tierney, “The Affair”
Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey”
Lena Headey, “Game of Thrones”
Emilia Clarke, “Game of Thrones”
Maisie Williams, “Game of Thrones”
Constance Zimmer, “UnREAL”
Vote splitting between the three “Game of Thrones” women is a real possibility, but just think about it: After that season finale, would you want to stand between Cersei Lannister and a golden prize? Not if you’re smart you wouldn’t, and neither will voters.
Winner: Lena Headey, “Game of Thrones”

Directing for a Drama Series
Michael Engler, “Downton Abbey”
Miguel Sapochnik, “Game Of Thrones” (episode: “Battle of the Bastards”)
Jack Bender, “Game Of Thrones” (episode: “The Door”)
Lesli Linka Glatter, “Homeland”
Steven Soderbergh, “The Knick”
David Hollander, “Ray Donovan”
If scale and spectacle count, Miguel Sapochnik wins for the “Battle of the Bastards” episode of “Game of Thrones.” And yes, scale and spectacle count.
Winner: Miguel Sapochnik, “Game of Thrones” (“Battle of the Bastards”)

Writing for a Drama Series
Joel Fields, Joe Weisberg, “The Americans”
Julian Fellowes, “Downton Abbey”
David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, “Game Of Thrones”
Robert King, Michelle King, “The Good Wife”
Sam Esmail, “Mr. Robot
Marti Noxon, Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, “UnREAL”
Mr. Robot” or “UnREAL” could easily take this one, or voters could step away from the new to salute the end of a show that the Emmys loved, “Downton Abbey.” Fellowes created the show and wrote every episode of every season, so he’s the guy to salute for his show’s entire run.
Winner: Julian Fellowes, “Downton Abbey”


Outstanding Comedy Series
“Master of None”
“Modern Family”
“Silicon Valley”
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
“Modern Family” is still alive and kicking and it has five awards in the category, but this particular torch has been passed to “Veep.” Not only did it win last year, but it had a killer season this year after the departure of creator Armando Iannucci.
Winner: “Veep”










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”
You could make a decent case for any of these guys, with Anderson and Ansari being particularly delicious possibilities. But Tambor won last year and we don’t see any reason to think he can’t do it again.
Winner: Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent”

Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”
Ellie Kemper, “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Tracee Ellis Ross, “black-ish”
Laurie Metcalf, “Getting On”
Amy Schumer, “Inside Amy Schumer
Lily Tomlin, “Grace and Frankie”
She won for “Seinfeld.” She won for “The New Adventures of Old Christine.” She won four straight times for “Veep,” and will set a record if she wins a fifth consecutive award. And Louis-Dreyfus will do just that, because she’s just that good. Sorry, everybody else.
Winner: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep” 










Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Louie Anderson, “Baskets”
Andre Braugher, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”
Keegan-Michael Key, “Key & Peele”
Ty Burrell, “Modern Family”
Tituss Burgess, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Tony Hale, “Veep”
Matt Walsh, “Veep”
Hale has won twice. Burrell is the last best hope for a former Emmy juggernaut. Anderson has a startling role in a challenging show. Key is competing for the last time for his show. And so on. Honestly, any of these guys could win, but we’ll go with Emmy No. 3 for Hale.
Winner: Tony Hale, “Veep”

Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Niecy Nash, “Getting On”
Allison Janney, “Mom”
Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live”
Judith Light, “Transparent”
Gaby Hoffmann, “Transparent”
Anna Chlumsky, “Veep”
Another tossup. The leading contenders seem to be Chlumsky, on her fourth consecutive nomination for “Veep” without a win; Janney, a seven (!) time winner for “The West Wing,” “Masters of Sex” and “Mom”; and McKinnon, who also got heat from being the best-liked thing about the “Ghostbusters” reboot. It might be foolish to pick against Janney, but we’ll go with Chlumsky finally getting the win.
Winner: Anna Chlumsky, “Veep”

Directing for a Comedy Series
Aziz Ansari, “Master Of None”
Alec Berg, “Silicon Valley” (episode: “Daily Active Users”)
Mike Judge, “Silicon Valley” (episode: “Founder Friendly”)
Jill Soloway, “Transparent”
Dave Mandel, “Veep” (episode: “Kissing Your Sister”)
Chris Addison, “Veep” (episode: “Morning After”)
Dale Stern, “Veep” (episode: “Mother”)
The “Mother” episode of “Veep” is probably the favorite, but if voters want to slip an award or two to a new series, this seems to be a logical place to do so, with Ansari benefitting from the fact that his show isn’t splitting the vote.
Winner: Aziz Ansari, “Master of None”

Writing for a Comedy Series
Rob Delaney, Sharon Horgan, “Catastrophe”
Aziz Ansari, Alan Yang, “Master Of None”
Dan O’Keefe, “Silicon Valley” (episode: “Founder Friendly”)
Alec Berg, “Silicon Valley” (episode: “The Uptick”)
David Mandel, “Veep” (episode: “Morning After”)
Alex Gregory, Peter Huyck, “Veep” (episode: “Mother”)
David Mandel took over “Veep” from the guy who created the show, and delivered one of its strongest seasons – but again, the frontrunner here is an episode of the show that he didn’t write:
Winner: Alex Gregory, Peter Huyck, “Veep” (“Mother”)


Outstanding Limited Series
“American Crime”
“The Night Manager”
“The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
A great sophomore season for “Fargo” notwithstanding, this one is no contest. “O.J.” was the TV event of the year.
Winner: “The People v. O.J. Simpson”

Outstanding TV Movie
“All the Way”
“Sherlock: The Abominable Bride”
“A Very Murray Christmas”
History says Jay Roach‘s LBJ movie, “All the Way,” will win, just like his Sarah Palin and Bush v. Gore movies did. History is probably right, but this could also see an upset for “Sherlock,” or even “A Very Murray Christmas,” which is like nothing else in the category.
Winner: “All the Way”

Lead Actor in a Limited Series or 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”
As much as voters love Cranston and could be tempted by Cumberbatch or Hiddleston, Vance’s Johnnie Cochran dominated “O.J.” and will probably dominate the category.
Winner: Courtney B. Vance, “The People v. O.J. Simpson”

Lead Actress in a Limited Series or 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”
Did we say Courtney B. Vance dominated “People v. O.J.?” We meant he dominated when Paulson’s Marcia Clark wasn’t on screen. This is as close to a slam dunk as you’ll find on Emmy night.
Winner: Sarah Paulson, “The People v. O.J. Simpson”

Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
Jesse Plemons, “Fargo”
Bokeem Woodbine, “Fargo”
Hugh Laurie, “The Night Manager” 2
Sterling K. Brown, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
David Schwimmer, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
John Travolta, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
Travolta had the most divisive performance in “O.J.,” which won’t necessarily hurt him. Brown had one of the most celebrated, which will probably help him. But Laurie’s smooth bad guy in “The Night Manager” just might steal this one.
Winner: Hugh Laurie, “The Night Manager”

Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or 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”
I would love to think that Colman, the heart of “The Night Manager,” could win an upset here – and given Emmy voters’ unpredictability, she could. But Smart’s mob boss in “Fargo” is just too commanding.
Winner: Jean Smart, “Fargo”

Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or 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” (episode: “From the Ashes of Tragedy”)
Anthony Hemingway, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” (episode: “Manna From Heaven”)
John Singleton, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” (episode: “The Race Card”)
Again, don’t rule out “The Night Manager,” particularly since Bier directed the entire miniseries as if it were a single six-hour movie. But the smart money is on one of the “People v. O.J. Simpson” directors to prevail here, probably Murphy for “From the Ashes of Tragedy” over Singleton’s “Race Card” episode.
Winner: Ryan Murphy, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” (“From the Ashes of Tragedy”)

Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special
Bob DeLaurentis, “Fargo” (episode: “Loplop”)
Noah Hawley, “Fargo” (episode: “Palindrome”)
David Farr, “The Night Manager”
Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” (episode: “From the Ashes of Tragedy”)
D.V. DeVincentis, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” (episode: “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia”)
Joe Robert Cole, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” (episode: “The Race Card”)
Farr has the advantage of being the only nominee not competing with other writers from his own show, but Alexander and Karaszewski wrote the signature episode of the category’s 800-pound gorilla.
Winner: Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” (“From the Ashes of Tragedy”)


Outstanding Reality-Competition Program
“The Amazing Race”
“American Ninja Warrior”
“Dancing With The Stars”
“Project Runway”
“Top Chef” 2
“The Voice”
“The Amazing Race” is no longer unstoppable in this category, and “Top Chef” definitely has a chance to win. But how’s this for adding insult to injury for “American Idol”: The same year that the pioneering singing competition aired its final episode but didn’t even get nominated, voters will give the top prize to its chief rival.
Winner: “The Voice”

Outstanding 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
Fallon is the favorite among the straight talk-show guys, though you shouldn’t underestimate the affection for Corden. But for the last 13 years, this award (or its predecessor before a category split) has gone to a show with politics on its mind — and with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert out of the running and Maher an Emmy also-ran of historic proportions, that leaves Oliver to inherit the “Daily Show”/”Colbert Report” mantle.
Winner: “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series
“Documentary Now!”
“Drunk History”
“Inside Amy Schumer
“Key & Peele”
“Saturday Night Live”
Though “SNL” can never be counted out, we’re guessing this will come down to a race between queen of comedy Schumer and the late, lamented “Key & Peele,” with the edge to Schumer.
Winner: “Inside Amy Schumer

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”
Beyoncé could win an Emmy for directing. So could Chris Rock. But “Grease: Live” won a bunch of Creative Arts Emmys last week, which gives it the edge in this race.
Winner: Thomas Kail, Alex Rudzinski, “Grease: Live”

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”
Amy Schumer and Patton Oswalt are the biggest names and Triumph has current events on his side. We think ubiquity beats timeliness.
Winner: Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo”