Will ‘This is Us’ take out ‘Game of Thrones’?
The 70th annual awards show honoring the best and brightest in primetime television is Monday night, and nobody seems to notice or even care.
Perhaps that’s because the television landscape is so complex these days, with far too many stellar choices than could ever be recognized and appreciated by these awards.
Also, predicting the Emmys is getting more difficult as well. So why even bother?
Well, because it can be fun!
Already, some history has been made. Over the weekend at the Creative Arts Emmys, John Legend joined the exclusive and elusive EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony) club, winning his first Emmy as executive producer for “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert” (Outstanding Variety Special – LIVE). He also became the first black man to win an EGOT, and is now the youngest person ever to win (he’ll turn 40 in December).
Legend could win another on Monday, as he’s up for Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for his portrayal of Jesus Christ in that special.
Will Jesus win on Monday? Who else will take home statuettes?
Below are some predictions – some! In many of these categories, it just makes no sense to even try to guess what’s going to happen. And I’ve left off many more nominations.
But next week, we’ll see just how well I did with my picks! And you can email me your predictions at email@example.com.
Curb Your Enthusiasm, HBO
Silicon Valley, HBO
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Amazon Prime Video
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Netflix
This is a fantastic crop of comedies – some a little past their prime. But with Emmy darling “Veep” (with three consecutive Outstanding Comedy wins) not in contention this year, finally something different will be victorious.
I’m hoping that finally “black-ish” will get its due. It has been an amazing four seasons for the series – the most daring comedy on broadcast network television. As usual, this season it tackled issues most dramas are too afraid to touch.
One gets the feeling that it’s now or never for Emmy success for this fine series.
Otherwise, “Atlanta” – possibly the finest half-hour program on all of television – should win. I’d still wish for “black-ish” now, because I can see “Atlanta” has only scratched the surface of its creativity. Nevertheless, “Atlanta” had a profound and inspired second season.
The other front-runner would be the incredibly enjoyable “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, which won the Golden Globe for Best Television – Musical or Comedy earlier this year for his debut season.
The Americans, FX
The Crown, Netflix
Game of Thrones, HBO
The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu
Stranger Things, Netflix
This Is Us, NBC
With “Game of Thrones” not eligible last year, “The Handmaid’s Tale” was able to win in this category last year. But “GOT” is back, and while this might not have been as memorable a season as some of others, it was still immensely entertaining.
That said, there were much stronger shows this season. “The Crown” arguably improved in its second year. It was also the final season for “The Americans”, long neglected by the Emmys, and regarded by many as one of television’s best series. And don’t count out “The Handmaid’s Tale” for a repeat.
But truly, no series packed the consistent emotional punch as the second season of “This Is Us”. This manipulative tearjerker moves you with every single episode whether you like it or not. And that unbelievable post-Super Bowl cry-fest won’t soon be forgotten. Even Philadelphia Eagles fans probably cried after they watched it.
“This Is Us” has deserved a win like few other shows in recent memory. And if it does win, it will be the first for a broadcast network drama since “Lost” (ABC) in 2005 and “24” (Fox) in 2006.
Outstanding Leading 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
Whether he’s in Childish Gambino mode, or playing DJ, or acting, it’s clear that Donald Glover is one of the most talented humans on the planet! He won last year for playing lead character Earn in his spectacular creation “Atlanta”. And he showed even greater range this year. Don’t count out a repeat.
All the actors here are winners, especially Ted Danson in the quirky “The Good Place”.
But it’s past time for the Emmys to show some love for Anthony Anderson, the heart of the spectacular “black-ish”.
Outstanding Leading 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
This is one of the toughest categories.
Sterling K. Brown is back to defend his well-deserved Emmy win last year.
But his co-star Milo Ventimiglia delivered one of the more powerful and touching scenes on “This Is Us” this year and had us bawling after the Super Bowl.
But there are no losers here. And it would be great to see any of these gents win.
Jason Bateman has been extremely entertaining on the equally thrilling and surprising “Ozark”.
While many of us don’t ever know what the heck is really going on with “Westworld” most of the time, it’s very clear all of the time that whenever Ed Harris or Jeffrey Wright are on the screen, you want to pay attention.
But keep an eye on Matthew Rhys, nominated three times in a row for “The Americans”. The show has come to an end, and the Emmys loves to send long-neglected actors out with a bang.
Jon Hamm was nominated seven times before winning on his 8th and final nomination after “Mad Men” had ended its run.
Outstanding Leading 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)
Good boy Darren Criss “Glee” was positively creepy as serial killer Andrew Cunanan in “The Assassination of Gianni Versace”. So much so that it was hard to finish watching this too intense mini-series. (“American Crime Story”? This could have been part of FX’s “American Horror Story” franchise”)
But the devil is up against Jesus Christ. How can you bet against Jesus and John Legend? Especially after “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert” already won Outstanding Variety Special (Live). (Don’t count out his co-star Tony award winner Brandon Victor Dixon as Judas Iscariot in the Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie category either!)
Outstanding Leading 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
Julia Louis-Dreyfus has won more Emmy Awards than any performer in the history of television. She has eight for acting and three for producing. And if she and her show “Veep” had been nominated this year, if would be a safe bet that she’d be collecting the statuette Monday night.
But alas, as “Veep” delayed production of its final season while Louis-Dreyfus was in treatment for breast cancer, her unprecedented streak of six consecutive wins in this category will be broken. But wait ‘til next year.
In the meantime, each one of these amazing women has a good chance at a win.
Allison Janney is an Emmy fave. But keep an eye on Issa Rae and Rachel Brosnahan, who won the Golden Globe in their equivalent to this category in January.
Outstanding Leading 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
Another tough category!
Last year’s winner Elisabeth Moss could easily win again.
But there are some ladies here who won’t be nominated for these roles ever again. Tatiana Maslany won two years ago, but “Orphan Black” has ended its run. Keri Russell has never won, with three consecutive nominations for “The Americans”. And the wonderful Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II is done with “The Crown”, as the Royal Family will be aged next season, and the cast replaced with older actors.
What will happen Monday? It’s as much a mystery as what will happen next on these programs.
Outstanding 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
Louie Anderson won last year. But Alec Baldwin was hilarious as U.S. President Donald Trump.
Most stunning all year, though, was Brian Tyree Henry as the increasingly complex character Paper Boi on the fantastic “Atlanta”.
Outstanding 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
Matt Smith has been able to make people feel sympathy for Prince Philip!
There’s nothing more to say.
Outstanding Supporting Actress
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 Mullaly — Will & Grace
Everyone here is fantastic. But Alex Borstein, who’s had a long career (including “MADtv” to the voice of Lois Griffin on “Family Guy”, was mesmerizing on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”.
Borstein, who’s been portraying Lois since 1999, won her first Emmy for voice-over performance last week.
She could and should join the list of multiple Emmy winners in a single year.
Outstanding Supporting Actress Drama
Alexis Bledel — The Handmaid’s Tale
Millie Bobby Brown — Stranger Things
Ann Dowd Millie — The Handmaid’s Tale
Lena Headey — Game of Thrones
Vanessa Kirby — The Crown
Thandie Newton — Westworld
Yvonne Strahovski — The Handmaid’s Tale
Lena Headey and Thandie Newton have long deserved Emmys for their work.
But Vanessa Kirby was extra special this year as Princess Margaret on “The Crown”.
Outstanding Limited Series
Genius: Picasso, National Geographic
Patrick Melrose, Showtime
The Alienist ,TNT
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, FX
It creeped me out, but “The Assassination of Gianni Versace” probably has this one in the bag.
Outstanding Variety Talk
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
“Last Week Tonight” already won outstanding writing this year. There’s lots of momentum behind the reigning champ.
Outstanding Variety Sketch
At Home with Amy Sedaris, truTV
Drunk History, Comedy Central
I Love You, America, Hulu
Saturday Night Live, NBC
Tracey Ullman’s Show, HBO
“SNL” is the reigning champ, and had a truly fantastic season.
• Dwight Strachan is the host/producer of “Morning Blend” on Guardian Radio and station manager. He is a television producer and writer, and an avid TV history and film buff. He writes the weekly Nassau Guardian Pulse film review column “Reel to Real”. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on twitter @morningblend969.