The 71st annual Primetime Emmy will honor the best in U.S. prime time television programming from June 1, 2018 until May 31st, 2019 across all forms of television – cable, network and streaming services. Will there be any surprises this year? Some of the categories are already facing up to be some of the most competitive within recent years and with many streaming shows securing a majority of the nominations, will a network or cable channel reign supreme? 2019 saw the end of some of the most critically acclaimed television programs this century – HBO’s Game of Thrones and Veep – as well as landmark endings to some of streaming’s first ever programs like Netflix’s House of Cards. With that in mind, I’ve taken it upon myself to watch EVERY nominated show and their respective season in every category. So without further ado, please read below to see what TV shows, networks and artists I predict to win each category as well as who I believe should win each category and each category includes a small poll for you to cast your own vote! Happy reading and happy watching!
OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES
- Barry (HBO)
- Fleabag (Amazon)
- The Good Place (NBC)
- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
- Russian Doll (Netflix)
- Schitt’s Creek (Pop)
- Veep (HBO)
Who Should Win: Fleabag OR The Good Place; the second season of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s emotionally raw, compelling, and spiritually ambitious comedy was only six episodes long yet it struck a cord of audiences around the world (Hot Priest!). A breakout-hit and writer/creator (also nominated for producing and creating BBC America’s sleeper hit Killing Eve) Waller-Bridge is poised to take over the comedy world with her wit and genuine expression and opinions on modern-love. The NBC afterlife sitcom The Good Place deserves recognition as well for its intelligent comedy written and created by The Office alum Mike Schur. The show constantly reinvents the wheel and constantly keeps one engaged and surprised with every decision in its plot.
Who Will Win: Many critics are predicting incumbent The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel to take home the Emmy but more than likely will HBO’s award-winning and critically acclaimed comedy Veep get a proper and grand sendoff (the show won for its past three season only taking a break last year when Julia Louis-Dreyfus had to take medical leave). With four first-time nominees also vying for the trophy and crashing the party, anything can happen, but with Selina Meyer exiting, Emmy voters will definitely attempt on showering the famed HBO hit with some last Emmy-love.
OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
- Better Call Saul (AMC)
- Bodyguard (Netflix)
- Game of Thrones (HBO)
- Killing Eve (BBC America)
- Ozark (Netflix)
- Pose (FX)
- Succession (HBO)
- This Is Us (NBC)
Who Should Win: Succession OR Better Call Saul; the Breaking Bad prequel continues to be consistently excellent both in its narrative scope, acting, production details and many surprises and I would say the show is on par with its parent show Breaking Bad for being one of the best shows of the century. HBO’s other nominated show Succession delivered a spectacular first season filled with excellent writing, direction and some phenomenal performances from some up-and-coming actors or relative unknowns. It delivers the same thing that Thrones delivers in terms of quality and production yet lacks the same viewership and respect from audiences. If Thrones really went out with a bang… I might say it deserves to win but really what was that last season?
Who Will Win: Game of Thrones; let’s be real. HBO’s biggest success will win this even if its last season was choppy, rushed, and lacked the same level of production value than its past seasons (even if the budget was much more). On every scale – popularity, viewership, narrative scope, production values – the show is one of the biggest shows in recent memory. Emmy voters will of course give it one more trophy for best drama as Westeros is finally at peace… for now.
OUTSTANDING LIMITED SERIES
- Chernobyl (HBO)
- Escape at Dannemora (Showtime)
- Fosse/Verdon (FX)
- Sharp Objects (HBO)
- When They See Us (Netflix)
Who Should Win: When They See Us; if HBO’s Sharp Objects was released in the spring of last year and eligible for the 2018 Emmy Awards then I would have definitely said that the Amy Adams/Patricia Clarkson starring limited series should win! But with Netflix’s four part adaptation of a true story that feels timely and urgent and very real, Ava DuVernay’s adaptation of the true-life events deserves the Emmy gold (I mean 8 acting nominations!).
Who Will Win: When They See Us; besides the fact that the Television Academy loves making statements, Ava DuVernay’s stunning four-part Netflix miniseries about the Central Park/Exonerated Five is timely and feels urgent. The amount of respect Ava DuVernay put into her passion project is a triumphant reclaiming of the young men’s trauma and true story that has constantly been scrutinized in the media.
OUTSTANDING TELEVISION MOVIE
- Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (Netflix)
- Brexit: The Uncivil War (Amazon)
- Deadwood: The Movie (HBO)
- My Dinner with Herve (HBO)
- King Lear (Amazon/BBC)
Who Should Win: Deadwood: The Movie; the film wraps up many of the character’s story lines and introduces some familiar yet aged faces in a high production value film that equally entertains and quenches the need for more for longtime fans of the HBO Western show.
Who Will Win: Black Mirror: Bandersnatch; for its technological achievements and interesting form in storytelling, the stand-alone episode of Black Mirror is a masterclass in writing and story development that I expect will create an impact in television for years to come.
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
- Anthony Anderson as Andre “Dre” Johnson, Sr. on Black-ish (ABC) [Episode: “Purple Rain”]
- Don Cheadle as Mo Monroe on Black Monday (Showtime) [Episode: “365”]
- Ted Danson as Michael on The Good Place (NBC) [Episode: “The Worst Possible Used of Free Will”]
- Michael Douglas as Sandy Kominsky (Netflix) [Episode: “Chapter One: An Actor Avoids”]
- Bill Hader as Barry Berkman/Barry Block on Barry (HBO) [Episode: “The Truth Has a Ring On It”]
- Eugene Levy as Johnny Rose on Schitt’s Creek (Pop) [Episode: “Rock On!”]
Who Should Win: Bill Hader, Barry; last year’s surprise win for Hader in this category was a wonderful welcome to a competitive and diverse pool of comedy actors even if it meant Donald Glover had to give the Emmy for his portrayal of Teddy Perkins. But this year, Hader flexes his acting chops even more with a new depth of rage and range that is mixed with his expected comic dexterity in an unpredictable season that he also produced, directed and wrote for.
Who Will Win: Hader, Barry; comedic veterans Eugene Levy and Michael Douglas are nominated in this category for the first time and although they have the experience of veteran actors, Hader has been showing excellent talent since his Saturday Night Live days, independent film (Skeleton Twins) to big budget Hollywood films (It: Chapter 2).
Snubbed: Normally William H. Macy has always been in this race for his work on Shameless but due to his wife’s mishaps for Operation Varsity Blues, it probably kept him out of the running and allowing Don Cheadle to get nominated. Macy’s portrayal of the Gallagher patriarch is comedic perfection and a role that is filled with emotional depth as well as comic timing.
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
- Christina Applegate as Jen Harding on Dead to Me (Netflix) [Episode: “I’ve Gotta Get Away”]
- Rachel Brosnahan as Miriam “Midge” Maisel on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon) [Episode: “Midnight at the Concord”]
- Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer on Veep (HBO) [Episode: “Veep”]
- Natasha Lyonne as Nadia Vulvokov on Russian Doll (Netflix) [Episode: “Nothing in this World is Easy”]
- Catherine O’Hara as Moira Rose on Schitt’s Creek (Pop) [Episode: “The Crowening”]
- Phoebe Waller-Bridge as Fleabag on Fleabag (Amazon) [Episode: “Episode 1”]
Who Should Win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep OR Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag; this year was a fantastic year for women in comedy with many new nominees and veteran actresses getting nominated. Of course, with the end of one of the most acclaimed comedies in this century, it is expected that Julia Louis-Dreyfus will be awarded the Emmy in this category over some other great performances particularly by the British Comedic Powerhouse, Phoebe Waller-Bridge who delivered an amazing and better-than-the-first second season of her one-woman-turned-television-comedy for Fleabag.
Who Will Win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep; this category is a no-brainer. Julia Louis-Dreyfus has won Emmys for EVERY season of Veep and with this season being the seventh and final season of her playing Selina Meyer, it seems frankly unfathomable that she would not get a seventh and final trophy. In competition with her is last year’s incumbent Rachel Brosnahan (only winning because it was an off-season for Louis-Dreyfus who underwent chemotherapy for breast cancer and pushed production of the show off for a whole year).
Snubbed: Emmy Rossum, Shameless; I constantly believe that every year Rossum gets snubbed for her strong, comedic yet raw performance as the lead female character/eldest of the Gallagher clan in Showtime’s acclaimed dramedy. This year Rossum played her role of Fiona Gallagher for the final time (she is departing the show after 9 years) with such heartfelt and emotional strength while spiraling into an alcohol-substance abuse filled spiral to chaos unlike any other time we’ve seen her character.
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
- Jason Bateman as Martin “Marty” Byrde on Ozark (Netflix) [Episode: “Reparations”]
- Sterling K. Brown as Randall Pearson on This Is Us (NBC) [Episode: “R & B”]
- Kit Harington as Jon Snow on Game of Thrones (HBO) [Episode: “The Iron Throne”]
- Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman on Better Call Saul (AMC) [Episode: “Winner”]
- Billy Porter as Pray Tell on Pose (FX) [Episode: “Love is the Message”]
- Milo Ventimiglia as Jack Pearson on This Is Us (NBC) [Episode: “Sometimes”]
Who Should Win: Billy Porter, Pose; this has been the year of Porter! From his trailblazing and political-statement making Red Carpet outfits, to breaking the “masculine” barriers that have been set forth by a hyper-masculine society and what it means to be a confident man that owns his sexuality, to his fiery, open-book ballroom emcee role on the Ryan Murphy-created/produced show, I expect the Television Academy to award Porter the Emmy. Plus do you now how amazing his acceptance speech will be?
Who Will Win: Billy Porter, Pose; no other actor this year has been in the spotlight more for their activism and publicity. Besides Jason Bateman and Bob Odenkirk’s comedic turned dramatic roles, Porter’s nuanced, powerful and extravagant performance as Pray Tell broke hearts, mended hearts and captured hearts all over the world.
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
- Emilia Clarke on Daenerys Targaryen on Game of Thrones (HBO) [Episode: “The Last of the Starks”]
- Jodie Comer as Oksana Astankova/Villanelle on Killing Eve (BBC America) [Episode: “I Hope You Like Missionary”]
- Viola Davis as Annalise Keating on How to Get Away with Murder (ABC) [Episode: “He Betrayed Us Both”]
- Laura Linney as Wendy Byrde on Ozark (Netflix) [Episode: “One Way Out”]
- Mandy Moore as Rebecca Pearson on This Is Us (NBC) [Episode: “The Graduates”]
- Sandra Oh as Eve Polastri on Killing Eve (BBC America) [Episode: “You’re Mine”]
- Robin Wright as Claire Underwood on House of Cards [Episode: “Chapter 70”] (Netflix)
Who Should Win: Jodie Comer, Killing Eve; last year Comer was snubbed for her portrayal of the exotic assassin Villanelle. This year she is up against her co-star but Comer is who really makes the show so captivating and intriguing with her portrayal of the stylish, increasingly unhinged and unpredictable Villanelle. Her arc was the most dynamic out of any actress nominated this year (besides maybe Robin Wright) and was a stand out performance for an up-and-coming actress.
Who Will Win: Sandra Oh, Killing Eve; for her portrayal of the title character, last year Oh collected about every award possible for her portrayal of the elusive and unpredictable Eve. Jomer being a relative unknown over in the States will probably not get the equal love she deserves; plus, Oh has been in the public’s mind ever since debuting in the Shonda Rhimes show Grey’s Anatomy. The Academy of course will want to achieve another landmark – Oh will be the first actress of Asian descent to bag an Emmy.
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR TV MOVIE
- Mahershala Ali as Wayne Hays on True Detective (HBO)
- Benicio del Toro as Richard Matt on Escape at Dannemora (Showtime)
- Hugh Grant as Jeremy Thorpe on A Very English Scandal (Amazon)
- Jared Harris as Valery Legasoy on Chernobyl (NBC)
- Jharrel Jerome as Korey Wise on When They See Us (Netflix)
- Sam Rockwell as Bob Fosse on Fosse/Verdon (FX)
Who Should Win: Jharrel Jerome, When They See Us OR Mahershala Ali, True Detective; out of all the nominees in this category, the biggest names are two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali who was an awe-inspiring police detective struggling with personal and work relationships and with memory loss across three time different periods and Hugh Grant, protraying parliamentary leader Jeremy Thorpe in A Very English Scandal, a cheerful yet ruthless character that is trying to neutralize any and all threats from a young lover (Supporting Actor nominee Ben Whishaw).
Who Will Win: Jharrel Jerome, When They See Us; one of the most impressive performers in this category is Jharrel Jerome (from Moonlight) and was the only actor in Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us to play both the teenage and adult incarnations of his character, Korey Wise. The technical aspects (lighting, makeup, hairstyling) helped show the different incarnations of the character but it was mostly Jerome’s masterful body language that help sell the character’s evolution showing that Wise was so transformed by his unjust experience in jail that the emotional weight he carried turned physical.
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR TV MOVIE
- Amy Adams as Camille Preaker on Sharp Objects (HBO)
- Patricia Arquette as Joyce “Tilly” Mitchell on Escape at Dannemora (Showtime)
- Joey King as Gypsy Rose Blanchard on The Act (Hulu)
- Niecy Nash as Delores Wise on When They See Us (Netflix)
- Michelle Williams as Gwen Verdon on Fosse/Verdon (FX)
- Aunjanue Ellis as Sharonne Salaam on When They See Us (Netflix)
Who Should Win: Amy Adams, Sharp Objects; I really wish that HBO had released Sharp Objects before the 2018 Emmy submission deadline so that it would have been nominated while the buzz surrounding the show still existed. Don’t get me wrong Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson do a phenomenal job portraying their respective characters in the Gillian Flynn adapted novel as traumatized, homeward bound, socialites with dark secrets but with new limited series and Television movies being released since last summer, I fear that Adams’ Emmy star has been dimmed. Adams reached a new peak of subtlety as Camille Preaker and used Jean-Marc Vallee’s impressionistic flash cuts into scene partners when there was nothing for her to act against.
Who Will Win: Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon; but then Michelle Williams came along playing the famed Broadway dancer Gwen Verdon in FX’s miniseries. Williams is an actress with the transformative, quasi-Method intensity that awards voters flock to reward whenever the practitioner is a macho guy. The beauty in Williams’ performance of a real life being is that her acting is deeply human, an accessible performance that never feels like an SNL impression. As much as I would love to reward the Emmy to Niecy Nash (who shows that she can take on juicy dramatic roles than her comedic roles that have solidified her career thus far) or Patricia Arquette (who ALWAYS deserves an award for her portrayal of deeply flawed, yet juicy characters), Williams struck gold with me and that could be a bias because of my theatre background.
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
- Alan Arkin as Norman Newlander on The Kominsky Method (Netflix) [Episode: “Chapter Two: An Agent Grieves”]
- Anthony Carrigan as NoHo Hank on Barry (HBO) [Episode: “Past = Present x Future Over Yesterday”]
- Tony Hale as Gary Walsh on Veep (HBO) [Episode: “Veep”]
- Stephen Root as Monroe Fuches on Barry [Episode: “berkhman > block”]
- Tony Shalhoub as Abe Weissman on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon) [Episode: “We’re Going to the Catskills!”)
- Henry Winkler as Gene Cousineau on Barry (HBO) [Episode: “What?!”]
Who Should Win: Stephen Root, Barry; this category is dominated by actors from HBO’s Barry including Henry Winkler who won last year and is one of the most beloved figures/actors in the industry. The issue with having multiple nominees from the same show in the same category is that there is always a high chance that they will cancel each other out (something I like to refer to as the “Game of Thrones Effect”). Winkler is great and Carrigan is the definition of a hoot as Noho Hank but Root’s performance as the deranged uncle to Bill Hader’s Barry went to deep and constantly surprising places this season… it is also Root’s first ever Emmy nomination and this guy has been a great actor for over four decades.
Who Will Win: Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel; out of the six nominated actors, the three not nominated for Barry are veteran actors that have been nominated before in other roles (and in one case, an Academy Award). I believe Shalhoub will prevail, especially coming off a Tony Award for his role on Broadway’s “A Band’s Visit,” and being snubbed last year for his hilarious portrayal of the Weissman patriarch – a role that feels very relevant to myself and my background of Middle Eastern descent.
Snubbed: Daniel Levy, Schitt’s Creek; one of the strongest comedic forces of the finally-nominated POP show Schitt’s Creek is Eugene Levy’s son who co-created, directs, writes and stars in the show about a wealthy family trying to live and make ends met after losing their fortune. Levy is a comedic force and keeps the show’s emotional range and depth in tact and has one of the cutest and best LGBTQ+ friendly relationships on TV.
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
- Alex Borstein as Susie Myerson on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon) [Episode: “Vote for Kennedy, Vote for Kennedy”]
- Anna Chlumsky as Amy Brookheimer on Veep (HBO) [Episode: “Pledge”]
- Sian Clifford as Claire on Fleabag (Amazon) [Episode: “Episode 3”]
- Olivia Colman as Godmother on Fleabag (Amazon) [Episode: “Episode 4”]
- Betty Gilpin as Debbie Eagan on GLOW (Netflix) [Episode: “Mother of All Matches”]
- Sarah Goldberg as Sally Reed on Barry (HBO) [Episode: “The Audition”]
- Marin Hinkle as Rose Weissman on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon) [Episode: “Simone”]
- Kate McKinnon as Various Characters on Saturday Night Live (NBC) [Episode: “Liev Schreiber”]
Who Should Win: Olivia Colman, Fleabag; okay, this might be a biased vote but I am obsessed with Colman. She is a masterclass in her own right for acting and continuously delivers strong, emotional, deep and surprising performance in both comedic and dramatic genres and continues to surprise with every additional body of work released. Her portrayal of the narcissistic, sassy, and bitchy Godmother in Waller-Bridge’s acclaimed second season is hilarious, heart-breaking and downright Colman. Will an Emmy win follow her Oscar winner – I hope so!
Who Will Win: Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel; last year’s victor must this year beat not only past winner Kate McKinnon and her own co-star Marin Hinkle but beat out Fleabag‘s Sian Clifford and Colman (see above) as well as Anna Chlumsky in her final season of Veep. Sarah Goldberg is a surprise nominee but 100% deserved and could be her only competition besides Colman but Borstein’s strong, hilarious and feminist-centric portrayal of manager Susie was another standout performance of the acclaimed Amazon show and I expect the Television Academy to grace her with another Emmy.
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
- Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy on Game of Thrones (HBO) [Episode: “The Long Night”]
- Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut on Better Call Saul (AMC)[Episode: “Winner”]
- Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister on Game of Thrones (HBO) [Episode: “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”]
- Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister on Game of Thrones (HBO) [Episode: “The Iron Throne”]
- Giancarlo Esposito as Gus Fring on Better Call Saul (AMC) [Episode: “Pinata”]
- Michael Kelly as Doug Stamper on House of Cards (Netflix) [Episode: “Chapter 73”]
- Chris Sullivan as Toby Damon on This Is Us (NBC) [Episode: “Toby”]
Who Should Win: Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones; this is honestly Dinklage’s race to lose. He has won the Emmy in this category three times before and no matter what you think of this season, Dinklage was consistently excellent as Tyrion no matter how bad the writing for his character was this season. His performance was one of the stronger and better parts of the shows’s finale and was central to the way the story ended. Everyone else in this category did phenomenal work as well (even surprise nominee Alfie Allen who submitted for himself) and I only worry that with three Thrones nominees in the same category that they’ll cancel themselves out.
Who Will Win: Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones; Dinklage’s work stands out as important and vital in a way that the other nominee’s don’t quite do.
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
- Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth on Game of Thrones (HBO) [Episode: “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”]
- Julia Garner as Ruth Langmore on Ozark (Netflix) [Episode: “The Gold Coast”]
- Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones (HBO) [Episode: “The Bells”]
- Fiona Shaw as Carolyn Martens on Killing Eve (BBC America) [Episode: “Nice and Neat”]
- Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark on Game of Thrones (HBO) [Episode: “Winterfell”]
- Maisie Williams as Arya Stark on Game of Thrones (HBO) [Episode: “The Long Night”]
Who Should Win: Gwendoline Christie, Game of Thrones; the fact that HBO refused to submit Christie for an Emmy nomination and the fact that she had to submit herself AND get the nomination is an achievement in and of itself and reflects her character’s arc throughout Game of Thrones in terms of a redemption tale. The writers did so little with Cersei that did not allow Headey to truly showcase her strength and Christie got to do some of the more touching, emotional work of the four nominees.
Who Will Win: Julia Garner, Ozark; do not get me wrong. I would LOVE to see Garner win for her role in the money laundering drama especially since she was the glue that held everything together in a rocky season for the Netflix hit. I just think Christine did a phenomenal job overall and especially with the arc she was given in the last season. I fear that the four Throne actresses will cancel each other out, leaving only Garner & Shaw in the mix. Garner has proven her range as a young actress not only on Ozark but in The Americans, Dirty John and Maniac.
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
- Asanta Blackk as Kevin Richardson on When They See Us (Netflix) [Episode: “Part One”]
- Paul Dano as David Sweat on Escape at Dannemora (Episode: “Part 7”) [Showtime]
- John Leguizamo as Raymond Santana, Sr. on When They See Us (Episode: “Part Three”) [Netflix]
- Stellan Skarsgard as Boris Shcherbina on Chernobyl (Episode: “Please Remain Calm”) [HBO]
- Ben Whishaw as Norman Josiffe/Norman Scott on A Very English Scandal (Episode: “Episode 3”) [Amazon]
- Michael K. Williams as Bobby McCray on When They See Us (Episode: “Part One”) [Netflix]
Who Should Win: Ben Whishaw, A Very English Scandal; All six actors in this category played real people – three of them starred on Netflix’s When They See Us which possibly splits the vote. The other three came from their own respective shows across three different networks – HBO’s Chernobyl has famed-Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgard and Showtime’s Escape at Dannemora has Paul Dano (who honestly should be in the Best Actor category) but both of their performances felt restrained. British actor Ben Whishaw already won a Golden Globe this year for his portrayal of real life Norman Scott who infamously blackmailed a Member of Parliament due to their secret relationship and Whishaw’s work is tragic and comic, flamboyant yet underplayed, matching the marvelous Hugh Grant at every turn in the three episode limited series.
Who Will Win: Ben Whishaw, A Very English Scandal; read above for why I think the famed British theatre and indie actor will win the Emmy in this category.
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
- Patricia Arquette as Dee Dee Blanchard on The Act (Episode: “Teeth”) [Hulu]
- Marsha Stephanie Blake as Linda McCray on When They See Us (Episode: “Part Three”) [Netflix]
- Patricia Clarkson as Adora Crellin on Sharp Objects (Episode: “Closer”) [HBO]
- Vera Farmiga as Elizabeth Lederer on When They See Us (Episode: “Part Two”) [Netflix]
- Margaret Qualley as Ann Reinking on Fosse/Verdon (Episode: “Where Am I Going?”) [FX]
- Emily Watson as Ulana Khomyuk on Chernobyl (Episode: “Open Wide, O Earth”) [HBO]
Who Should Win: Patricia Clarkson, Sharp Objects OR Patricia Arquette, The Act; this is the year of Patricia’s. Between her performances in Showtime’s Escape at Dannemora and her ominous and oppressive turn in Hulu’s The Act, Patricia Arquette has been a delight to watch. She gives an impressive, committed and intense performance in The Act, playing a drug-addicted mother inflicting Munchausen syndrome by proxy on her daughter (played by Joey King), inhabiting the character so completely that you’d honestly believe that she was the infamous Dee Dee Blanchard famously murdered by her daughter.
Who Will Win: Patricia Clarkson, Sharp Objects; but it is doubtful that anyone will and can beat Patricia Clarkson in the Supporting category, who played a different, even more smothering mother inflicting Munchausen syndrome by proxy on her daughters (one of them being Amy Adams). Although a less transformational performance physically than Arquette’s, Clarkson’s performance is more of a crowd-pleaser, bringing an almost Tennessee Williams-Blanche DuBois-like edge to her character .
OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A COMEDY SERIES
- Barry (Episode: “The Audition”), directed by Alec Berg (HBO)
- Barry (Episode: “ronny/lily”), directed by Bill Hader (HBO)
- The Big Bang Theory (Episode: “The Stockholm Syndrome”), Directed by Mark Cendrowski (CBS)
- Fleabag (Episode: “Episode 1”), Directed by Harry Bradbeer (Amazon)
- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Episode: “All Alone”), Directed by Amy Sherman-Palladino (Amazon)
- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Episode: “We’re Going to the Catskills”), Directed by Daniel Palladino (Amazon)
Who Should Win: Fleabag (Episode: “Episode 1”), directed by Harry Bradbeer; the opening episode of the British comedy is so tightly constructed and directed by Bradbeer that it as if he’s visually channeling Waller-Bridge’s voice which enhances and greatly intensifies the dynamic of the character so much more – none of the nominated shows have done that this year expect maybe for Barry.
Who Will Win: Barry (Episode: “ronny/lily”), directed by Bill Hader; the Television Academy likes to award multi-hyphenates for writing, directing, acting, producing their own work (see past winners like Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe for Masters of None or Donald Glover for Atlanta). Hader continues to amaze not only in his range as an actor for his work on Barry but for his directing eye and his writing and I expect the Television Academy to award him.
OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A DRAMA SERIES
- Game of Thrones (Episode: “The Iron Throne”), Directed by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (HBO)
- Game of Thrones (Episode: “The Last of the Starks”), Directed by David Nutter (HBO)
- Game of Thrones (Episode: “The Long Night”), Directed by Miguel Sapochnik (HBO)
- The Handmaid’s Tale (Episode: “Holly”), Directed by Daina Reid (Hulu)
- Killing Eve (Episode: “Desperate Times”), Directed by Lisa Bruhlmann (BBC America)
- Ozark (Episode: “Reparations”), Directed by Jason Bateman (Netflix)
- Succession (Episode: “Celebration”), Directed by Adam McKay (HBO)
Who Should Win: Game of Thrones (Episode: “The Iron Throne”), directed by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss; given the grandiose scale and ambition of the series, plus it being the the last season, expect HBO’s behemoth to sweep the categories… the only question is which episode? The finale, “The Iron Throne” was a finale peppered with visual flourishes that were definitely designed to catch Emmy voters’ attention. I also think that the voters will want to award the creators of the show themselves, Benioff and Weiss and this is the only episode they’re nominated for.
Who Will Win: Game of Thrones (Episode: “The Iron Throne”), directed by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss; see above why I think this episode of Game of Thrones will take the Emmy.
OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A LIMITED SERIES, MOVIE, OR DRAMATIC SPECIAL
- Chernobyl, Directed by Johan Renck (HBO)
- Escape at Dannemora, Directed by Ben Stiller (Showtime)
- Fosse/Verdon (Episode: “Glory”), Directed by Jessica Yu (FX)
- Fosse/Verdon (Episode: “Who’s Got the Pain”), Directed by Thomas Kail (FX)
- A Very English Scandal, Directed by Stephen Frears (Amazon)
- When They See Us, Directed by Ava DuVernay (Netflix)
Who Should Win: When They See Us, Ava DuVernay; Thomas Kail and Jessica Yu directed the two strongest episodes of Fosse/Verdon – the second episode was a flash back to the beginning of the title relationship while the fourth episode contrasted Fosse’s career successes directed Pippin! and Liza With a Z with Gwen Verdon’s struggle acting in the short-lived play Children! Children!. Ben Stiller’s direction of the true-life prison drama Escape at Dannemora was a departure compared to everything that he’s done in the past, using CinemaScope dimensions to emphasize the oppressive nature and architecture of the prison but probably should have been left for a film rather than a miniseries. Stephen Frears, a veteran with amazing directorial and writing range made the Amazon/BBC miniseries brisk and understated (the shortest of the nominated miniseries with 3 episodes), which enhanced the comedy and tragedy but the project seemed overshadowed by another true life story, the blackly comedic Chernobyl. Avu DuVernay’s miniseries, equally impressive for its structure, its control of tone, its deployment of period details, the breadth of its research and the depth of its feelings – it is one of the finest TV productions to debut in the streaming era.
Who Will Win: When They See Us, Ava DuVernay; read above for why I think DuVernay deserves the Emmy for her outstanding work directing and creating the Netflix miniseries.
Snubbed: Sharp Objects was one of the best miniseries to debut in the summer of 2018 and had some of the best and strongest performances. Jean-Marc Vallee’s directing upheld the nominated actress’s performances with a fantastic gothic realism.
OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A COMEDY SERIES
- Barry (Episode: “ronny/lily”), Written by Alec Berg and Bill Hader (HBO)
- Fleabag (Episode: “Episode 1”), Written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Amazon)
- The Good Place (Episode: “Janet(s)”), Written by Josh Siegal and Dylan Morgan (NBC)
- PEN15 (Episode: “Anna Ishii-Peters”), Written by Maya Erskine, Anna Konkle, and Stacy Osei-Kuffour (Hulu)
- Russian Doll (Episode: “Nothing in This World is Easy”), Written by Natasha Lyonne, Leslye Headlan and Amy Poehler (Netflix)
- Russian Doll (Episode: “A Warm Body”), Written by Allison Silverman (Netflix)
- Veep (Episode: “Veep”), Written by David Mandel (HBO)
Who Should Win: Fleabag (Episode: “Episode 1”), written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge OR Veep (Episode: “Veep”), written by David Mandel; some of the strongest comedic writing was on display this year and luckily the Television Academy recognized some greats like Russian Doll, PEN15 and The Good Place (finally!) but I don’t think they’ll surprise. Veep is signing off with a strong yet shortened final season and of course the Academy will want to reward the Finale with some Emmy-love besides the fact that it was one of the strongest and best episodes of the season and filled with so much of what made Veep so successful and fun to watch. Fleabag‘s second season is written entirely by Phoebe Waller-Bridge who has one of the most unique voices in comedy right now and I would love for the Academy to award her for her work.
Who Will Win: Veep (Episode: “Veep”), written by David Mandel; see above and besides, it’s the Selina Meyer farewell tour so they have to show her some Emmy love!
OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A DRAMA SERIES
- Better Call Saul (Episode: “Winner”), Written by Peter Gould and Thomas Schnauz (AMC)
- Bodyguard (Episode: “Episode 1”), Written by Jed Mercurio (Netflix)
- Game of Thrones (Episode: “The Iron Throne”), Written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (HBO)
- The Handmaid’s Tale (Episode: “Holly”), Written by Bruce Miller and Kira Snyder (Hulu)
- Killing Eve (Episode: “Nice and Neat”), Written by Emerald Fennell (BBC America)
- Succession (Episode: “Nobody is Ever Missing”), Written by Jesse Armstrong (HBO)
Who Should Win: Succession (Episode: “Nobody is Ever Missing”), Written by Jesse Armstrong OR Better Call Saul (Episode: “Winner”), Written by Peter Gould and Thomas Schnauz; the other HBO show, and its wry, dark season one finale written by Armstrong is a strong showcase of wit, comedy, drama and emotional depth and I hope the Academy can see that but also in contention should be the finale of the fourth season of Better Call Saul. The episode is filled with sharp writing, and a brilliantly deceptive speech by Odenkirk’s character in front of the bar board but honestly it deserves an Emmy alone for the final line of the episode: “S’all good, man,” an origins tory in and of itself.
Who Will Win: Game of Thrones (Episode: “The Iron Throne”), written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss; it is a common practice that the Outstanding Drama winner will also win for writing but the unfortunate thing is that the script of the finale was definitely not its strongest asset, which i hope will open the door for another winner. But given the farewell tour of the hit HBO show, I would not be surprised if the TV Academy awards the Emmy to Benioff and Weiss for their work on the finale as an overall thank you for re-shaping and changing the production values of TV.
OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A LIMITED SERIES, MOVIE, OR DRAMATIC SPECIAL
- Chernobyl, Written by Craig Mazin (HBO)
- Escape at Dannemora (Episode: “Part 6”), Written by Brett Johnson, Michael Tolkin and Jerry Stahl (Showtime)
- Escape at Dannemora (Episode: “Part 7”), Written by Brett Johnson and Michael Tolkin (Showtime)
- Fosse/Verdon (Episode: “Providence”), Written by Joel Fields and Steven Levenson (FX)
- A Very English Scandal, Written by Russell T Davies (Amazon)
- When They See Us (Episode: “Part Four”), Written by Ava DuVernay and Michael Starrbury (Netflix)
Who Should Win: Craig Mazin, Chernobyl OR Ava DuVernay & Michael Starrbury, When They See Us; Craig Mazin’s HBO miniseries is a substantial achievement in its own right, blending history, journalistic muckraking and black comedy to create a stand-out and strong five episode miniseries that has re-invigorated the public’s interest with the 80’s nuclear disaster. The fourth and final episode of Ava DuVernay’s and Michael Starrbury’s script for When They See Us is full of so much heart and strength, the centerpiece of which is a 45-minute tour de force performance about the experience of Korey Wise and ending with a series of genuinly cathartic moments.
Who Will Win: Craig Mazin, Chernobyl; besides the aforementioned reasons, Mazin’s teleplays are a screenwriter’s dream – perfect amount of plot development and character development without ruining the stories, a healthy balance of subplots, a narrative that continues to push forward no matter what the problem is and the perfect amount of dark comedy sprinkled into a sad and tragic based-on-real-events story.
Snubbed: Any episode of Sharp Objects, especially any of them written by Gillian Flynn; it is sometimes hard for an author to adapt his or her work for the screen yet Gillian Flynn continues to surprise (after adapting her novel Gone Girl for the big screen) with her most recent adaptation of her novel – a slow burn mystery that keeps you on edge and intrigued with every passing minute in the gothic adaptation of her New York Times bestseller.
And there you have it folks! Tune in Sunday night at 5PM PST to find out if your favorites will take home the Emmy gold and if Game of Thrones will became the most decorated show in the history of the Emmy’s!