2018 Emmy Awards Predictions


The 70th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards are this evening, honoring the best in television from the 2017-2018 season.

Though there are a few sure bets (this is the Emmys, after all), many of the top categories offer some suspense as to what names the final envelope contains. Drama Series looks to be a race between “Game of Thrones” and “The Handmaid’s Tale”; while on the Comedy side it’s “Atlanta” versus “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” The only thing I’m rooting for is a win in any category for “The Americans”. “SNL”’s Michael Che and Colin Jost host tonight’s shenanigans, which will air live on NBC beginning at 8pm ET. My full predictions are below…

Outstanding Drama Series
"The Americans" (FX)
"The Crown" (Netflix)
√ ”Game of Thrones” (HBO)
"The Handmaid's Tale" (Hulu)
"Stranger Things" (Netflix)
"This Is Us" (NBC)
"Westworld" (HBO)

     The two returning champs face off against each other for the first time - last year’s winner “The Handmaid’s Tale” vs HBO’s juggernaut “Game of Thrones” (which sat last year out due to its release schedule). “Handmaid’s” continues to provoke timely conversation and the performances are all universally praised (some of which will likely win again this evening), but it might just be too depressing for some or pale in comparison to the epic spectacle that “Thrones” puts forth each episode. This is also the first time “GoT” didn’t air its season in the spring, so voters will have to remember how much they adore a season that aired nearly a year ago.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
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"

     An embarrassment of riches in this category, where none of these ladies should be counted out and many are overdue for some Emmy recognition. Sandra Oh has some real momentum, and this is voters last chance to award Foy or Russell in these roles, but this is still Moss’s to lose. And she probably won’t.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Jason Bateman, "Ozark"
Sterling K. Brown, "This Is Us"
Ed Harris, "Westworld"
√ Matthew Rhys, "The Americans"
Milo Ventimiglia, "This Is Us"
Jeffrey Wright, “Westworld”

     The Emmys are known for repeating the same winners year after year, and that bodes well for the consistently excellent Sterling K. Brown (who won last year), but I’m siding with my heart and hoping that at least one of the Soviet spy couple (and real life couple) from “The Americans” gets to take home some hardware.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
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 truly stacked lineup of formidable performances - the only one I can’t envision winning is Millie Bobby Brown. The “Handmaid’s Tale” ladies could split votes and boost an overdue Headey, an ascendant Kirby, or the magnetic Newton, but I’m guessing if Dowd had enough votes to win last year, she’ll be able to pull off a repeat. It’s actually her costar Strahovski who has the edge with other awards predictors though.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
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"

     In the absence of a true frontrunner, I’m guessing the Emmys resort back to what’s familiar and give Dinklage a third win here. Though David Harbour has a slim lead among awards prognosticators, any of these gents could take it.

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series
"The Crown" — "Paterfamilias" (Stephen Daldry)
√ "Game of Thrones" — "Beyond the Wall" (Alan Taylor)
"Game of Thrones" — "The Dragon and the Wolf" (Jeremy Podeswa)
"The Handmaid's Tale" — "After" (Kari Skogland)
"Ozark" — "The Toll" (Jason Bateman)
”Ozark” — “Tonight We Improvise” (Daniel Sackheim)
"Stranger Things" — "Chapter Nine: The Gate" (The Duffer Brothers)

     The two “Thrones” episodes probably pull votes from each other and allow for a “Handmaid’s Tale” victory, but…ice dragon. So, I’m predicting the ice dragon.

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
√ "The Americans" -- "START" (Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg)
"The Crown" -- "Mystery Man" (Peter Morgan)
"Game of Thrones" -- "The Dragon and the Wolf" (David Benioff and D.B. Weiss)
"The Handmaid's Tale" -- "June" (Bruce Miller)
"Killing Eve" -- "Nice Face" (Phoebe Waller-Bridge)
"Stranger Things" -- "Chapter Nine: The Gate" (The Duffer Brothers)

     Other than the “Stranger Things” selection, there’s a strong case to be made for each of these nominees, but I’m crossing my fingers that voters don’t pass up their final chance to give “The Americans” showrunners Fields and Weisberg an overdue and well deserved Emmy.

Outstanding Comedy Series
√ "Atlanta" (FX)
”Barry” (HBO)
"black-ish" (ABC)
"Curb Your Enthusiasm" (HBO)
"GLOW" (Netflix)
”The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon)
"Silicon Valley" (HBO)
"Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" (Netflix)

     “Atlanta” vs “Maisel” is a tight battle, and either would represent a first (a win for “Atlanta” would be the first Comedy Series win from a basic cable network, and a “Maisel” win would be the first for a streaming service). The smart money is probably on the more broadly accessible “Mrs. Maisel”, but I vastly prefer “Atlanta”…so I’ll side with it here.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Pamela Adlon, "Better Things"
√ Rachel Brosnahan, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"
Allison Janney, "Mom"
Issa Rae, "Insecure"
Tracee Ellis Ross, "black-ish"
Lily Tomlin, "Grace & Frankie"

     Even if “Maisel” is unable to sneak past “Atlanta” for the top Comedy Emmy, Brosnahan should give the Amazon series a win in this category.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Anthony Anderson, "black-ish"
Ted Danson, "The Good Place"
Larry David, "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
√ Donald Glover, "Atlanta"
Bill Hader, “Barry”
William H. Macy, "Shameless"

     Hader and Glover are the titans of the comedy fields this year (each nominated for writing, directing, producing, and starring on their respective shows in addition to a guest actor nomination for hosting “SNL”), but I’d definitely give last year’s winner Glover the lead here.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
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”

     While Metcalf and Mullally are both beloved former winners in their respective rebooted roles, this likely comes down to either a three-peat for McKinnon or a “Maisel” sweep of sorts in awarding Borstein. I’d give the edge to the “SNL” MVP, though if there’s a surprise it’s probably Gilpin, who is somehow even better in the second season of “GLOW” - which aired while voters were filling out ballots (she’s nominated here for season one).

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
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”

     The Fonz doesn’t have an Emmy, and Winkler is great on “Barry”, though he’s got competition from most of this field. I think/hope voters are over Baldwin’s schtick and pray they’ll one day give Burgess a statue, but if it’s not Winkler this year, it’ll be Tyree Henry or Shalhoub.

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series
"Atlanta" — "FUBU" (Donald Glover)
√ ”Atlanta” — “Teddy Perkins” (Hiro Murai)
"Barry" — "Chapter One: Make Your Mark" (Bill Hader)
"The Big Bang Theory" — "The Bow Tie Asymmetry" (Mark Cendrowski)
"GLOW" — "Pilot" (Jesse Peretz)
"The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" — "Pilot" (Amy Sherman-Palladino)
"Silicon Valley" — "Initial Coin Offering" (Mike Judge)

     Often unwise to bet against a pilot episode here (especially if voters really fell for “Maisel” or are hoping to award Hader somewhere), but “Teddy Perkins” was possibly the best, and certainly the most memorable, episode of TV last year.

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
"Atlanta" — "Alligator Man" (Donald Glover)
"Atlanta" — "Barbershop" (Stefani Robinson)
"Barry" — "Chapter One: Make Your Mark" (Alec Berg and Bill Hader)
"Barry" — "Chapter Seven: Loud, Fast, and Keep Going" (Liz Sarnoff)
√ "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" — "Pilot" (Amy Sherman-Palladino)
"Silicon Valley" — "Fifty-One Percent" (Alec Berg)

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program
"The Amazing Race" (CBS)
"American Ninja Warrior" (NBC)
"Project Runway" (Lifetime)
√ "RuPaul's Drag Race" (VH1)
"Top Chef" (Bravo)
"The Voice" (NBC)

     It’s got to win one of these years, right?

Outstanding Variety Talk Series
"The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” (Comedy Central)
"Full Frontal with Samantha Bee" (TBS)
"Jimmy Kimmel Live!" (ABC)
√ "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" (HBO)
”The Late Late Show with James Corden” (CBS)
"The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" (CBS)

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series
"At Home with Amy Sedaris" (truTV)
"Drunk History" (Comedy Central)
"I Love You, America with Sarah Silverman" (Hulu)
"Portlandia" (IFC)
√ "Saturday Night Live" (NBC)
"Tracey Ullman's Show" (HBO)

Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special
√ "Dave Chappelle: Equanimity" (Stan Lathan)
"Jerry Seinfeld: Jerry Before Seinfeld" (Michael Bonfiglio)
"Steve Martin & Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life" (Marcus Raboy)
"Super Bowl LII Halftime Show Starring Justin Timberlake" (Hamish Hamilton)
"The Oscars" (Glenn Weiss)

Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special
"Full Frontal with Samantha Bee: The Great American* Puerto Rico (*It’s Complicated)" (TBS)
”John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous at Radio City" (Netflix)
"Michelle Wolf: Nice Lady" (HBO)
"Patton Oswalt: Annihilation" (Netflix)
√ "Steve Martin & Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life" (Netflix)

Outstanding Limited Series
"The Alienist" (TNT)
√ "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story" (FX)
"Genius: Picasso" (Nat Geo)
"Godless" (Netflix)
"Patrick Melrose" (Showtime)

     While not as universally loved as the “People vs O.J. Simpson” season of “American Crime Story”, “Gianni Versace” was still a richly textured and high quality series that should take this with ease. Look out for “Godless” though…

Outstanding Lead Actress in a 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"

     Dern picked up her first Emmy last year in the Supporting field for “Big Little Lies”, and while she’s not as much of a sure thing this time out, it’s probably safe for her to clear another space on her mantle for Emmy #2. That said, Dockery never won for “Downton Abbey” and “Godless” was well liked with voters, while Regina King has pulled off an Emmy upset more than once before, so there’s more for a surprise.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a 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, "Black Mirror: USS Callister"

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a 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 Mirror: Black Museum"

     “Gianni Versace” could clean up in many of the Limited Series races much the same way “People vs O.J.” did a few years back, and, indeed, I’d say Cruz and Light are the frontrunners in this race. I think TV vet/Tony winner/Emmy-less Judith Light nets more votes than movie star/Oscar winner Penélope Cruz, but Merritt Wever, a surprise winner for “Nurse Jackie” in 2013, could pull off another upset if Light and Cruz splinter enough of the other’s support.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a 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"
√ Édgar Ramírez, "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story"
Michael Stuhlbarg, "The Looming Tower"
Finn Wittrock, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”

Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special
√ ”The Assassination of Gianni Versace" — “The Man Who Would be Vogue” (Ryan Murphy)
"Godless" (Scott Frank)
"Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert" (David Leveaux)
"The Looming Tower" -- "9/11" (Craig Zisk)
"Paterno" (Barry Levinson)
"Patrick Melrose" (Edward Berger)
”Twin Peaks” (David Lynch)

Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special
"American Vandal" — “Clean Up” (Kevin McManus and Matthew McManus)
"The Assassination of Gianni Versace" — "House by the Lake" (Tom Rob Smith)
√ "Black Mirror" — "USS Callister" (William Bridges and Charlie Brooker)
"Godless" (Scott Frank)
"Patrick Melrose" (David Nicholls)
"Twin Peaks" (David Lynch)