Emmy winners tend to fit in one of three categories: 1) the same choice year after year (see: Julia Louis-Dreyfus for Veep), 2) the buzzy newcomer (see: The Handmaid’s Tale), or 3) someone who seems completely random unless you watch the show (see: Louie Anderson for Baskets). With that in mind, it’s usually not to hard to predict who the TV Academy will recognize, but there are always a few surprises. Below are my quick thoughts on who I believe is most likely to collect the trophies in most of the major categories, along with whom I would vote for if I had a ballot. We will find out how it all goes down when the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards air Monday, September 17 on NBC.
Prediction: With reigning champ Veep ineligible this year, there’s room for something weird like Atlanta to break through.
Preference: Atlanta is my top show of 2018 thus far, so easy pick here.
Prediction: The Handmaid’s Tale isn’t quite as buzzy as it was last year, so I like Game of Thrones‘ chances, considering everyone in the industry either works on it or knows someone who does.
Preference: I’m not really that impressed by any of the Drama nominees this year, so I’ll give it to Handmaid’s Tale by default.
Prediction: The Assassination of Gianni Versace may have been off-putting to some viewers, but Ryan Murphy shows consistently rack up wins.
Preference: The Assassination of Gianni Versace was one of the most unique programs in years.
VARIETY TALK SERIES
Prediction: We’re currently living in the Last Week Tonight era.
Preference: Jimmy Kimmel Live! had some deservedly viral moments, but it’s not quite as essentially entertaining as Last Week Tonight.
VARIETY SKETCH SERIES
Prediction: Saturday Night Live is tough to beat even when it’s not at its best.
Preference: If I could consider only its good sketches, I’d give it to SNL, but instead I’ll throw some praise to Portlandia in its final season.
LEAD ACTOR, COMEDY
Prediction: It looks like a repeat for Donald Glover (Atlanta), but keep an eye out for the well-liked Bill Hader.
Preference: “Teddy Perkins” totally clinched it for Donald Glover.
LEAD ACTRESS, COMEDY
Prediction: Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) has been racking up wins at the other awards shows.
Preference: How about Pamela Adlon (Better Things) for a constantly on-edge, but always lovable performance.
SUPPORTING ACTOR, COMEDY
Prediction: There’s always room for a surprise in the Supporting categories, but would it be that much of a shock if a TV legend like Henry Winkler (Barry) won?
Preference: Louie Anderson (Baskets) is constantly discovering more layers as Mama Baskets.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS, COMEDY
Prediction: This is looking like Kate McKinnon’s (Saturday Night Live) category to own for the foreseeable future.
Preference: Kate McKinnon is currently the star of SNL, for good reason.
LEAD ACTOR, DRAMA
Prediction: I don’t see anyone here as beloved as reigning champ Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us).
Preference: Jeffrey Wright keeps Westworld compelling even when the rest of the show gets bogged down.
LEAD ACTRESS, DRAMA
Prediction: I can see Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) winning over Elisabeth Moss in the same way that James Spader beat out James Gandolfini a decade ago.
Preference: Tatiana Maslany has only won one Emmy for Orphan Black, which is about twenty fewer than she should have by this point.
SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA
Prediction: I can see an argument for any of the guys recognized here, so I’ll put my chips on past winner Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones).
SUPPORTING ACTRESS, DRAMA
Prediction: Ann Dowd could definitely repeat, but I’ll take a chance on Yvonne Strahovski, who took on a beefed-up role in Handmaid’s Tale Season 2.
Preference: Of course, voters might think like me and focus on Ann Dowd’s ability to continually surprise with what could seem a predictable character.
LEAD ACTOR, LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Prediction: You could make a strong case for Darren Criss, Benedict Cumberbatch, or John Legend, but I think the Cumberbatch portion of the Academy is the strongest.
Preference: Darren Criss (The Assassination of Gianni Versace) pulled off a stunning, indelible performance as serial killer Andrew Cunanan.
LEAD ACTRESS, LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Prediction: By dint of sheer likability, I’ll bet on Laura Dern (The Tale).
SUPPORTING ACTOR, LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Prediction: Jeff Daniels (Godless) might just be the one to beat by virtue of being the resident biggest movie star in the field.
Preference: Finn Wittrock had the most complex arc of all the nominated supporting players from The Assassination of Gianni Versace.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS, LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Prediction: Since veteran ladies in Ryan Murphy shows do well here, I like Judith Light’s (The Assassination of Gianni Versace) chances.
Preference: And you can put me down for Judith Light as well.