Emmy Predictions 2018: Who Will Win?

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Game of Thrones famously sat out the 2017 Emmys, clearing the way for a new class of drama winners. This year, the same thing is true for the comedy categories, where another venerable vet—Veep—is out of contention for the first time since 2012. Which show will step into that show’s potty-mouthed void? Will The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story sweep the limited-series categories like its O.J. Simpson–focused predecessor did in 2016? And will Game of Thrones itself have a triumphant return to the awards—or will a certain group of crimson-clad handmaids stand in its way?

Vanity Fair’s team of awards experts attempts to answer all those questions and more below, with our official Emmy predictions. Feel free to use this as a cheat sheet when filling in your Emmys ballot—and don’t forget to check back during the show on Monday, September 17, to see how we did.

Drama Series

The Handmaid’s Tale
Game of Thrones
This Is Us
The Crown
The Americans
Stranger Things
Westworld

From the beginning, this category seemed like a tight race between downtrodden handmaids and the dragon-riding royalty of Westeros. And since the Creative Arts Emmys were handed out, the most likely outcome has become a bit clearer. Yes, Game of Thrones won a heaping pile of technical awards, as it often does. But last year’s best drama, The Handmaid’s Tale, went home with three prizes itself—just as many as it did in 2017—including a significant upset in the Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama category, where handmaid Samira Wiley beat the Queen of Thorns herself, Dame Diana Rigg. Last year, perennial winner Thrones sat out the Emmys, giving Handmaid’s a chance to swoop in. Can the Hulu drama really repeat that feat this year? We might look at the frequent bellwether that is the outstanding-casting category to break the tie—but this year, that prize went to The Crown. Even so, all things being equal, the Television Academy seems most likely to award The Handmaid’s Tale once again, which both aired much more recently than Thrones did and also has the benefit of sending a defiant anti-Trump message to Washington, D.C.

Lead Actor, Drama

Jason Bateman, Ozark
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Ed Harris, Westworld
Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us
Jeffrey Wright, Westworld

Many experts are banking on Matthew Rhys in his final year of eligibility to take home an award for his many seasons of brilliant work on The Americans. Mad Men’s Jon Hamm and Friday Night LightsKyle Chandler will be the first to tell you that the Television Academy is fond of handing out Emmys to long-deserving actors in their show’s concluding year. But truth be told, other than Margo Martindale in the guest-actress category, The Americans has never taken home a single Emmy award—and Rhys, though excellent, still feels like a long shot compared to Television Academy favorite Sterling K. Brown. Brown not only won big the past two years at the Emmys for his work on both The People v. O.J. Simpson and This Is Us, but also saw his frequent scene partner and fictional biological father, Ron Cephas Jones, pull an upset in the guest-actor category this past weekend. That means voters have been paying close attention to his story line. If anyone is a threat to Brown here, it might be his fictional adopted dad, Milo Ventimiglia, who certainly had a much meatier role than Brown did on This Is Us this year. But no one likes a repeat winner quite like the Television Academy—so look for Brown to give another rousing acceptance speech.

Lead Actress, Drama

Claire Foy, The Crown
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale
Sandra Oh, Killing Eve
Keri Russell, The Americans
Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld

The voting system at the Emmy Awards is a bit convoluted, but, for the most part, it operates on a peer-voting basis. That means writers vote in the writing category, costumers vote in the costuming category, and so on. But there are a few exceptions to that rule—and when it comes to the acting categories, the only people other than actors allowed to vote are casting directors. For that reason, we might want to revisit the surprise casting win for Nina Gold and The Crown at the Creative Arts Emmys when considering the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama category this year. Will Claire Foy, in her last year of eligibility for playing Queen Elizabeth before she hands the crown over to Olivia Colman, take home the award? It’s possible. But really, Elisabeth Moss’s compelling, series-carrying performance in The Handmaid’s Tale feels nearly impossible to beat. Overlooked for too long for her work on Mad Men, Moss now feels like an unassailable favorite.

Supporting Actor, Drama

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Joseph Fiennes, The Handmaid’s Tale
David Harbour, Stranger Things
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
Matt Smith, The Crown

The Television Academy loves reruns, but last year’s winner, John Lithgow for The Crown, isn’t in the running this time around. Could David Harbour win for his good dad work on Stranger Things? He was a favorite in Season 1, when he had much less emotional labor to pull off—so it may be hard to imagine him losing for his much juicier turn in Season 2. Then again, he faces some stiff competition from Westerosi favorites Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Peter Dinklage. Dinklage already has two wins under his belt—including one for a season where his character didn’t do very much—but Coster-Waldau may be the one to watch, given how many of Thrones’ most resonant moments rested on his shoulders this season. Despite all that logic, though, my gut is going with Matt Smith for his perfectly petty and occasionally sympathetic Prince Philip. Sure, there might be plenty of controversy over a prince winning where his queen did not, especially after all that pay-gap brouhaha—but the fact is, Smith is battling less than Foy in this category, and he really did step up in every way imaginable as her co-star in Season 2.

Supporting Actress, Drama

Alexis Bledel, The Handmaid’s Tale
Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things
Ann Dowd, The Handmaid’s Tale
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Vanessa Kirby, The Crown
Thandie Newton, Westworld
Yvonne Strahovski, The Handmaid’s Tale

A fun fact about The Handmaid’s Tale is that in its short, two-year history at the Emmy Awards, it has yet to lose an acting category in which it was nominated. The main question seems to be not if it will win again here, but which of Gilead’s miserable residents will take home the gold. Alexis Bledel was promoted from winning last year’s guest-actress prize to battling it out against Television Academy favorite Ann Dowd and season standout Yvonne Strahovski. If the voters are merely rubber-stamping Handmaid’s as the political choice, then Dowd feels like a lock to repeat her win in this category from last year. Given how much grimmer Season 2 was, I have to wonder if every voting member even made it to the end of Hulu’s post-apocalyptic adaptation—but if they did, they’ll know that this season really belonged to Strahovski, who has been putting in sterling work on everything from Chuck to Dexter for over a decade now.

Comedy Series

Atlanta
Barry
Black-ish
Curb Your Enthusiasm
GLOW
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Silicon Valley
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

With Emmys heavyweights Veep and Modern Family out of the running, the comedy Emmys have been thrown into unprecedented confusion, as several also-rans and perennial awards bridesmaids get their chance for the big win. Atlanta is already an industry favorite, as is The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel; both, in different years, nabbed Golden Globes before the Emmys had a chance to even notice them. But look for an industry comedy to take this one—not the venerable Curb Your Enthusiasm, but HBO’s newcomer Barry, which showcased Bill Hader’s remarkable dramatic talents and spun in satire about actors trying to make it in Hollywood.

Lead Actor, Comedy

Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Ted Danson, The Good Place
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Donald Glover, Atlanta
Bill Hader, Barry
William H. Macy, Shameless

A stacked, tricky category—William H. Macy’s perennial nomination aside. Ted Danson is fantastic on The Good Place, and an awards-voter favorite, but he’s competing against his Curb Your Enthusiasm rival and friend, Larry David, who hasn’t had a chance to be nominated in several years. They might split the votes between them, which would make room for Donald Glover—last year’s winner, and a deserving one—or Anthony Anderson, whose work on Black-ish is consistent, but not necessarily standout. But if awards voters are split there, too, between the two black comedy stars—who could not be more different, but, you know—that would leave Bill Hader’s turn as Barry in Barry as the most likely choice.

Lead Actress, Comedy

Pamela Adlon, Better Things
Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Allison Janney, Mom
Issa Rae, Insecure
Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie

Veep’s absence is most marked here, in a category that Julia Louis-Dreyfus has (rightfully) owned for years. Allison Janney is a serious contender—she’s won for this role before—but her accolades came in the supporting category, not in lead. Pamela Adlon and Issa Rae are critical darlings, but both shows were largely overlooked by the Academy last season, suggesting that this year’s nominations are a hasty effort to give credit where credit is due. And though Lily Tomlin is an industry favorite, Grace and Frankie is only an O.K. show, which makes room for another performer to take the award. My money is on the thoroughly charming Rachel Brosnahan, who not only is captivating in the toothsome Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, but has been a delight in the subsequent publicity tour. It’s not quite fair that Brosnahan gets to compete against these half-hour comedies with eight episodes of an hour-long dramedy—a period dramedy, at that, which makes great use of coats and hats to put Brosnahan in the role. But the Emmys aren’t fair, especially when it comes to category confusion, and at least Brosnahan is funny in the role, as twinkling, sharp-tongued Midge Maisel.

Supporting Actor, Comedy

Louie Anderson, Baskets
Alec Baldwin, Saturday Night Live
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Brian Tyree Henry, Atlanta
Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Kenan Thompson, Saturday Night Live
Henry Winkler, Barry

What a category. How did Kenan Thompson get here? How is Henry Winkler in the running? How are Louie Anderson and Alec Baldwin the reigning champs in this category, in roles that could not be more different? It’s a weird time for supporting actors in comedy, as reflected by this remarkable lineup. Baldwin will almost certainly win, even though his Donald Trump impression is less interesting during the second year of our dear leader’s rule. But if he doesn’t, it will be because of decades of built-up goodwill for nominee Winkler, who never won for Fonzie but showed up to every Arrested Development episode he was in with perfect comedic game face, ready to say or do literally anything. It helps that Winkler is really great in Barry as Hader’s committed performance coach; based on how that season of TV ended, he will be offering up some really shattering performances next season, too.

Supporting Actress, Comedy

Zazie Beetz, Atlanta
Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Aidy Bryant, Saturday Night Live
Betty Gilpin, GLOW
Leslie Jones, Saturday Night Live
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Laurie Metcalf, Roseanne
Megan Mullally, Will & Grace

The full count of nominees here—eight, in a category that normally fields six—just speaks to what an incredible moment it is for women in comedy. It’s really nice to see Saturday Night Live’s supporting cast members who aren’t Kate McKinnon get recognized, primarily because two-time winner McKinnon will almost definitely win again. Zazie Beetz and Alex Borstein don’t quite have the buzz around them that their co-stars do, and Betty Gilpin—who probably should win—is buried in a show with dozens of other performances clamoring for attention. My faith in the powers of Megan Mullally is infinite, so I would not be surprised if she found her perennial awards fanbase for the revival of Will & Grace. If not, watch for the Roseanne bump. The show crashed and burned thanks to its namesake, but Laurie Metcalf is beloved. What if she managed to combine the high emotional currents around both her failed bid for best actress at the Academy Awards this winter and the meteoric rise and sudden collapse (and then sudden re-revival?) of the Roseanne return? A couple of votes for her in such a stacked category could make all the difference, because that’s how tight this race will be. For the sake of avoiding presidential tweets, though, we must sadly root against her.

Limited Series

The Alienist
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Genius: Picasso
Godless
Patrick Melrose

While the second iteration of Ryan Murphy’s true-crime anthology did not have quite as much must-watch juice as The People vs. O.J. Simpson, it was still a remarkable achievement—and perhaps more important for its Emmy chances, it doesn’t have any real competition here. The Alienist was pretty but dull; ditto Genius; Godless was great but little-watched; ditto Patrick Melrose. Barring an enormous upset (perhaps the TV Academy has recently invited in a bunch of cowboys?), American Crime Story should reign once more.

Lead Actor, Limited Series or Movie

Antonio Banderas, Genius: Picasso
Darren Criss, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Benedict Cumberbatch, Patrick Melrose
Jeff Daniels, The Looming Tower
John Legend, Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert
Jesse Plemons, U.S.S. Callister (Black Mirror)

The Assassination of Gianni Versace didn’t make quite the cultural impact of its American Crime Story predecessor about O.J. Simpson, but Darren Criss’s performance was easy to single out; playing the serial killer Andrew Cunanan as some combination of rejected puppy and bona fide sociopath, Criss was magnetic and terrifying in a way he’d never been before onscreen, a compelling anchor in a series that rambled too far into darkness for some. Given the show’s muted reception, though, Criss might be usurped in the end by some of his competitors, most likely Benedict Cumberbatch (a previous winner for Sherlock) or maybe even __John Legend,__who recently earned EGOT status for producing Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert and might just add another Emmy for his titular performance. But if Emmy voters actually watched Versace, even in part, it seems difficult to look away from what Criss has accomplished.

Lead Actress, Limited Series or Movie

Jessica Biel, The Sinner
Laura Dern, The Tale
Michelle Dockery, Godless
Edie Falco, Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders
Regina King, Seven Seconds
Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Cult

Were theatrical distribution what it was 10 years ago, Laura Dern would currently be a strong contender for an Oscar win for her performance in The Tale, a harrowing and inventive examination of director Jennifer Fox’s own childhood and her efforts to ignore and then finally confront it. The Tale premiered to awed reviews at the Sundance Film Festival in January, and HBO, having just won Dern an Emmy for her work on Big Little Lies, swiftly snapped it up. Despite the overall strength in the category, particularly for Regina King, a two-time Emmy winner for American Crime, the statue is easily Dern’s to lose. Which she won’t.

Supporting Actor, Limited Series or Movie

Jeff Daniels, Godless
Brandon Victor Dixon, Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert
John Leguizamo, Waco
Ricky Martin, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Edgar Ramírez, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Michael Stuhlbarg, The Looming Tower
Finn Wittrock, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

If Emmy voters love Versace as much as they loved American Crime Story—and significantly more than Nielsen families did—Edgar Ramírez may benefit from a wider sweep. If not, Emmys favorite Jeff Daniels—who, lest we forget, somehow managed to beat Jon Hamm, Bryan Cranston, Damian Lewis, Hugh Bonneville, and a pre-scandal Kevin Spacey for lead actor in a drama in 2013, for The Newsroom, of all things!—will take home gold. In fact, Versace may even work in Daniels’s favor: voters who feel bad about voting for Darren Criss over Daniels in the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series category, where he’s nominated for his performance in 9/11 drama The Looming Tower, may well flock to boost him here. A consolation prize? Perhaps—but it’s nicer to think of it as a deserved win for Godless, which otherwise might well leave the awards empty-handed.

Supporting Actress, Limited Series or Movie

Sara Bareilles, Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert
Penélope Cruz, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Judith Light, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Adina Porter, American Horror Story: Cult
Merritt Wever, Godless
Letitia Wright, Black Museum (Black Mirror)

Perhaps a surge of spillover love for Black Panther could propel burgeoning movie star Letitia Wright to an Emmy win; hey, it happened in 2011, when Bridesmaids arguably boosted Melissa McCarthy to her only lead-actress victory (which was, technically, for Mike & Molly). It seems much more probable, though, that the TV Academy will default to the biggest current movie star in this bunch: Penélope Cruz, who has less screen time in Versace than one would expect of someone literally playing Donatella Versace. Still, she manages to imbue her portrayal of an oft-caricatured public figure with real depth and sympathy. Honestly, Judith Light’s performance in the same series—as the long-suffering wife of Andrew Cunanan’s third victim—is more powerful, and more deft; but Cruz has the nominally juicier role, which will make all the difference on Emmy night.

Variety Talk Series

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
The Late Late Show with James Corden
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

The Emmys are one of the most change-averse awards shows in the entertainment industry, particularly when it comes to the variety categories—which tend to look the same year after year, from the nominees to the winners. Late Show with David Letterman won outstanding variety show for five years in a row, from 1998 to 2002; then The Daily Show with Jon Stewart stepped in, enjoying a 10-year winning streak. Though The Colbert Report edged out its network-mate for two years, The Daily Show returned for one last win in the newly renamed variety-talk-series category in 2015—and since then, Last Week Tonight appears to have been deemed Stewart’s true successor. It won in 2016; it won in 2017; it’s already won a pack of Creative Arts Emmys, including best writing for a variety series, so we may as well declare this category all sewn up.

Variety Sketch Series

At Home with Amy Sedaris
Drunk History
I Love You, America with Sarah Silverman
Portlandia
Saturday Night Live
Tracey Ullman’s Show

Speaking of the Emmys’ resistance to change: it’s going to be S.N.L. Duh. When the awards initially split talk shows and sketch series into different categories, sketch was enjoying something of a renaissance, thanks to groundbreaking projects like Inside Amy Schumer and Key & Peele. But no matter how delightfully demented At Home with Amy Sedaris may be, none of the nominees in this current crop have the clout needed to take on TV’s greatest sketch behemoth—even one coming off of a conspicuously weak season. That reality probably won’t get in the way of repeat wins for Kate McKinnon or Alec Baldwin, and it certainly won’t prevent S.N.L. from taking home another prize for Lorne Michaels’s trophy room.

Reality Competition Series

The Amazing Race
American Ninja Warrior
Project Runway
RuPaul’s Drag Race
Top Chef
The Voice

The Amazing Race has won this category an astonishing 10 times, its streak broken only once by Top Chef and, for the past three years in a row, The Voice (which has won four times total). The world of reality television, at least in this category, is remarkably steady; RuPaul’s Drag Race crashed the party last year but didn’t win, and there’s nothing to suggest it might sashay to the front of the pack this time. So faced with what feels like an inevitable vote between The Voice and The Amazing Race, we’ll go with The Voice. The voters seem to love a streak here.

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Full ScreenPhotos:An Ode to The Americans’ Many-Splendored Wigs
Elizabeth had a fittingly bold look as Mary Kay beauty consultant Patty.

Elizabeth had a fittingly bold look as Mary Kay beauty consultant Patty.

Photo: Illustration by Cameron K. Lewis.

illustration of character clark philips's wig

As internal-affairs investigator Clark, Philip actually married one of his assets.

Photo: Illustration by Cameron K. Lewis.

illustration of character brenda's wig

Bespectacled Brenda seduced a scientist in Season Five.

Photo: Illustration by Cameron K. Lewis.

illustration of goth Philip's wig

Oh, goth Philip, we hardly knew ye!

Photo: Illustration by Cameron K. Lewis.

illustration of the wig worn by flight attendant Dee.

Occasionally, Philip and Elizabeth got to spy together, here she is as Brad’s wife, flight attendant Dee.

Photo: Illustration by Cameron K. Lewis.

illustration of Philip's shaggy-haired wig

Philip, or Matthew McConaughey in True Detective?

Photo: Illustration by Cameron K. Lewis.

illustration of big, permed wig on stephanie

With her giant perm, Stephanie is the 80s incarnate.

Photo: Illustration by Cameron K. Lewis.

Elizabeth had a fittingly bold look as Mary Kay beauty consultant Patty.

Illustration by Cameron K. Lewis.

As internal-affairs investigator Clark, Philip actually married one of his assets.

Illustration by Cameron K. Lewis.

Bespectacled Brenda seduced a scientist in Season Five.

Illustration by Cameron K. Lewis.

Oh, goth Philip, we hardly knew ye!

Illustration by Cameron K. Lewis.

A strong ‘stache showed that Philip meant business as faux pilot Brad.

Illustration by Cameron K. Lewis.

Occasionally, Philip and Elizabeth got to spy together, here she is as Brad’s wife, flight attendant Dee.

Illustration by Cameron K. Lewis.

Philip, or Matthew McConaughey in True Detective?

Illustration by Cameron K. Lewis.

With her giant perm, Stephanie is the 80s incarnate.

Illustration by Cameron K. Lewis.

Source : https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2018/09/emmy-predictions-2018-winners-nominations