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2019 Emmy Predictions: Returns, Reboots and Reigning Champs

Last year at the Emmys a huge presence was missing, the reigning Drama Series champion (two years running) Game of Thrones. Missing out on last season’s Emmy race opened the door for Hulu to capture its first series win in The Handmaid’s Tale, which earned a massive eight wins for its freshman season, second only to the first season of The West Wing (1999), which won nine. Game of Thrones is back this season, with its shortened 7-episode penultimate season (that aired last summer) going up against the second season of The Handmaid’s Tale (which doesn’t even start airing until April 24th) and the final season of The Americans. Maybe more importantly though is that Game of Thrones has essentially run unopposed as HBO’s #1 drama series to push. With it missing last year, the first season of Westworld picked up that slack by picking up an astonishing 21 nominations and going home with four wins. It was almost a total handoff and this year the two shows will be competing against each other for the first time, inevitably digging into each other’s likely nomination totals and possible wins.

HBO also factors heavily into the Comedy Series race as the current champ there, Veep, will not air during this season’s eligibility. That opens the door for a new series (or a series previously denied) to win. Right now that race seems to be between Amazon’s first season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and FX’s second season of Atlanta. Mrs. Maisel dazzled the 2017 calendar year awards season with Comedy Series and Lead Actress wins (for Rachel Brosnahan) from the Golden Globes and the Critics’ Choice, a DGA nomination and a PGA win for Episodic Comedy beating out Veep. Atlanta did not have a season fall in eligibility period (its second season just started) but it’s first season won that same award plus Lead Actor in a Comedy and Directing of a Comedy Series at last year’s Emmy Awards.

But, while we’re all distracted with these two shows at the top it’s hard to dismiss that the comedy categories are heavy with major reboots that could break through and be Emmy darlings once again. Will & Grace, in its first run, was an Emmy winner in Comedy Series, Lead Actor, Lead Actress, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress. Its reboot ratings were solid enough to earn the show more seasons and NBC will push this hard. ABC’s Roseanne came back after 20 years and scored a massive 18 million viewers last night. Both shows are multi-cam, live audience shows attempting to bring that format back in a big way. I just reported this week that one of the new rule changes for this year’s Emmys will be that at least one multi-cam comedy series must be nominated for directing. Look to one, or both, of these shows to get in. But, let’s not forget One Day at a Time on Netflix. The original 1975 series was a big winner with the Golden Globes and won two Emmy awards during its run (for directing and Supporting Actor – Pat Harrington, Jr.). This reboot, in its second season of consideration (and having just got a third season renewal), is a fascinating counterpoint to Roseanne. Roseanne is the pro-Trump flyover state audience laughter comedy whereas the reboot of One Day at a Time is the anti-Trump, pro-immigrant audience laughter comedy with a now Cuban-American family. If Netflix wants, they can make this nomination happen. But, it also has the first season of GLOW, which was a big awards hit last year, landing a Golden Globe nomination for star Alison Brie, four Screen Actors Guild nominations (the most of any comedy) plus Critics Choice and Writers Guild nominations. Smart money would say this is where Netflix will concentrate their push (they also have Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) but for a company that literally has billions of dollars at their disposal it wouldn’t be that difficult to spread the wealth a bit. Curb Your Enthusiasm took a 6-year hiatus and is now back to land more Emmy nominations. In the wake of Veep being out it’s chances grow. That is, if Silicon Valley (which has done very well in the writing and directing categories) doesn’t hold it off. One final question remains; will this be the year Modern Family is dropped?

Here are the main contenders for 2018 Emmy Nominations, with frontrunners in bold

Outstanding Drama Series

The Americans (FX)
The Crown (Netflix)
The Deuce (HBO)
Game of Thrones (HBO)
The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
Homeland (Showtime)
Mindhunter (HBO)
Orange is the New Black (Netflix)
Ozark (Netflix)
Queen Sugar (OWN)
Stranger Things (Netflix)
This Is Us (NBC)
Trust (FX)
Westworld (HBO)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Jason Bateman, Ozark (Netflix)
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us (NBC)
Paul Giamatti, Billions (Showtime)
Kit Harington, Game of Thrones (HBO)
Freddie Highmore, The Good Doctor (ABC)
Damian Lewis, Billions (Showtime)
Rami Malek, Mr. Robot (USA)
Matthew Rhys, The Americans (FX)
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan (Showtime)
J.K. Simmons, Counterpart (Starz)
Matt Smith, The Crown (Netflix)
Donald Sutherland, Trust (FX)
Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us (NBC)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Caitriona Balfe, Outlander (Starz)
Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones (HBO)
Claire Danes, Homeland (Showtime)
Claire Foy, The Crown (Netflix)
Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Deuce (HBO)
Laura Linney, Ozark (Netflix)
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black (BBC)
Mandy Moore, This Is Us (NBC)
Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
Keri Russell, The Americans (FX)
Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld (HBO)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones (HBO)
Harris Dickinson, Trust (FX)
Asia Kate Dillon, Billions (Showtime)
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones (HBO)
David Harbour, Stranger Things (Netflix)
Ed Harris, Westworld (HBO)
Justin Hartley, This Is Us (NBC)
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland (Showtime)
Noah Schnapp, Stranger Things (Netflix)
Jeffrey Wright, Westworld (HBO)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black (Netflix)
Alexis Bledel, The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things (Netflix)
Ann Dowd, The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones (HBO)
Vanessa Kirby, The Crown (Netflix)
Elizabeth Marvel, Homeland (Showtime)
Chrissy Metz, This Is Us (NBC)
Thandie Newton, Westworld (HBO)
Winona Ryder, Stranger Things (Netflix)
Susan Sarandon, Ray Donovan (Showtime)
Maggie Siff, Billions (Showtime)
Yvonne Strahovski, The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
Hilary Swank, Trust (FX)
Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones (HBO)

Outstanding Comedy Series

Atlanta (FX)
Barry (HBO)
Black-ish (ABC)
Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
GLOW (Netflix)
The Good Place (NBC)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
Modern Family (ABC)
One Day at a Time (Netflix)
Roseanne (ABC)
Silicon Valley (HBO)
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
Will & Grace (NBC)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Anthony Anderson, Black-ish (ABC)
Ted Danson, The Good Place (NBC)
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
Zach Galifianakis, Baskets (FX)
Donald Glover, Atlanta (FX)
John Goodman, Roseanne (ABC)
Bill Hader, Barry (HBO)
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes (Showtime)
William H. Macy, Shameless (Showtime)
Eric McCormack, Will & Grace (NBC)
Tracy Morgan, The O.G. (TBS)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Pamela Adlon, Better Things (FX)
Roseanne Barr, Roseanne (ABC)
Kristen Bell, The Good Place (NBC)
Alison Brie, GLOW (Netflix)
Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
Jane Fonda, Grace and Frankie (Netflix)
Tiffany Haddish, The O.G. (TBS)
Allison Janney, Mom (CBS)
Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
Justina Machado, One Day at a Time (Netflix)
Debra Messing, Will & Grace (NBC)
Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek (Pop TV)
Issa Rae, Insecure (HBO)
Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish (ABC)
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie (Netflix)
Constance Wu, Fresh Off the Boat (ABC)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Ty Burrell, Modern Family (ABC)
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
Laurence Fishburne, Black-ish (ABC)
Tony Hale, Arrested Development (Netflix)
Sean Hayes, Will & Grace (NBC)
Brian Tyree Henry, Atlanta (FX)
Marc Maron, GLOW (Netflix)
Kumail Nanjiani, Silicon Valley (HBO)
Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
Lakeith Stanfield, Atlanta (FX)
Henry Winkler, Barry (HBO)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Zazie Beetz, Atlanta (FX)
Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
Aidy Bryant, Saturday Night Live (NBC)
D’Arcy Carden, The Good Place (NBC)
Sara Gilbert, Roseanne (ABC)
Betty Gilpin, GLOW (Netflix)
Cheryl Hines, Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
Leslie Jones, Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Jane Krakowski, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
Jenifer Lewis, Black-ish (ABC)
Judith Light, Transparent (Amazon)
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Laurie Metcalf, Roseanne (ABC)
Rita Moreno, One Day at a Time (Netflix)
Megan Mullally, Will & Grace (NBC)
Cecily Strong, Saturday Night Live (NBC)

Outstanding Limited Series

Alias Grace (Netflix)
American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace (FX)
American Horror Story: Cult (FX)
American Vandal (Netflix)
Collateral (Netflix)
Genius: Picasso (National Geographic)
Godless (Netflix)
Howards End (Starz)
Little Women (BBC)
The Looming Tower (Hulu)
Patrick Melrose (HBO)
Seven Seconds (Netflix)
The Sinner
Twin Peaks: The Return (Showtime)

Outstanding Television Movie

Black Mirror (Netflix)
The Child in Time
Cocaine Godmother (Lifetime)
Fahrenheit 451 (HBO)
Flint (Lifetime)
A Futile and Stupid Gesture
I Am Elizabeth Smart (Lifetime)
Notes from the Field (HBO)
Paterno (HBO)
Story of a Girl
The Tale (HBO)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series/TV Movie

Antonio Banderas, Genius: Picasso (National Geographic)
Bryan Cranston, Electric Dreams
Darren Criss, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (FX)
Benedict Cumberbatch, Patrick Melrose (HBO)
Jeff Daniels, The Looming Tower (Hulu)
Michael B. Jordan, Fahrenheit 451 (HBO)
John Legend, Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert (NBC)
Kyle MacLachlan, Twin Peaks: The Return (Showtime)
Al Pacino, Paterno (HBO)
Evan Peters, American Horror Story: Cult (FX)
Michael Shannon, Waco

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series/TV Movie

Clare-Hope Ashitey, Seven Seconds (Netflix)
Hayley Atwell, Howards End (Starz)
Jessica Biel, The Sinner (USA)
Sofia Boutella, Fahrenheit 451 (HBO)
Laura Dern, The Tale (HBO)
Anna Deavere Smith, Notes from the Field (HBO)
Michelle Dockery, Godless (Netflix)
Edie Falco: Law & Order: True Crime – The Menendez Murders (NBC)
Sarah Gadon, Alias Grace (Netflix)
Elisabeth Moss, Top of the Lake: China Girl (Sundance)
Kelly Macdonald,  A Child in Time
Carey Mulligan, Collateral (Netflix)
Anna Paquin, Electric Dreams
Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Cult (FX)
Queen Latifah, Flint (Lifetime)
Sharon Stone, Mosaic (HBO)
Catherine Zeta-Jones, Cocaine Godmother (Lifetime)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series/TV Movie

Bill Camp, The Looming Tower (Hulu)
Jeff Daniels, Godless (Netflix)
Cody Fern, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (FX)
Russell Hornsby, Seven Seconds (Netflix)
Tahar Rahim, The Looming Tower (Hulu)
Edgar Ramirez, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (FX)
Jason Ritter, The Tale (HBO)
Peter Sarsgaard, The Looming Tower (Hulu)
Michael Shannon, Fahrenheit 451 (HBO)
Michael Stuhlbarg, The Looming Tower (Hulu)
Sam Waterston, Godless (Netflix)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series/TV Movie

Ellen Burstyn, The Tale (HBO)
Laura Dern, Twin Peaks: The Return (Showtime)
Riley Keough, Paterno (HBO)
Nicole Kidman, Top of the Lake: China Girl (Sundance)
Jennifer Jason Leigh, Patrick Melrose (HBO)
Judith Light, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (FX)
Penelope Cruz, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (FX)
Laura Harrier, Fahrenheit 451 (HBO)
Regina King, Seven Seconds (Netflix)
Angela Lansbury, Little Women (BBC)
Julia Ormond, Howards End (Star)
Anna Paquin, Alias Grace (Netflix)
Tracey Ullman, Howards End (Starz)
Naomi Watts, Twin Peaks: The Return (Showtime)
Merritt Wever, Godless (Netflix)

About Erik Anderson

Erik thanks his mother for his love of all things Oscar, having watched the Academy Awards together since he was in the single digits; making lists, rankings and predictions throughout the show. This led him down the path to obsessing about awards. Much later, he found himself at GoldDerby, led by Tom O’Neill and then migrated over to Oscarwatch (now AwardsDaily), headed up by Sasha Stone before breaking off to create AwardsWatch. He is a member of the International Cinephile Society, GALECA (The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics), the International Press Academy and is the founder/owner of AwardsWatch.

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