Final Emmy Nomination Predictions: Which Shows Will Be Up for Awards?

This year’s Primetime Emmy Awards nominations are set to be unveiled Thursday, after another noisy season of campaigning with plenty of drama to go around. There are several new series looking for the embrace of the Television Academy, and still more returning after hiatuses long and short. What kind of a mixture will we be looking at on final ballots?

Here’s one final stab at guessing the major categories.

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)

Netflix is battling to find room for one of its new programs, like “Manhunter” or “Ozark,” but return bids for “The Crown” and “Stranger Things” are more likely. The only new series that has a fighting shot otherwise is AMC’s “Killing Eve,” a binge-watching hit with a dedicated fanbase. In all likelihood, however, we’ll be looking at a slate of previous nominees this year.

Comedy Series
“Atlanta” (FX)
“Barry” (HBO)
“Black-ish” (ABC)
“GLOW” (Netflix)
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon)
“Modern Family” (ABC)
“Silicon Valley” (HBO)


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In contrast to the drama category, this year’s comedy field promises to be popping with debut series. HBO (“Barry”), Netflix (“GLOW”) and Amazon (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”) all have strong contenders. There are a number of revivals to consider as well, from ABC’s embattled “Roseanne” (unlikely) and NBC’s “Will and Grace” (more likely), to Showtime’s “Episodes” and, maybe the strongest of the lot, HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Perhaps one of them or a critical darling like NBC’s “The Good Place” or Netflix’s “One Day at a Time” will finally unseat “Modern Family.”

Limited Series
“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” (FX)
“Godless” (Netflix)
“Howards End” (Starz)
“The Looming Tower” (Hulu)
“Twin Peaks” (Showtime)

This feels like the likely quintet but programs such as “Genius: Picasso” (NatGeo), “Patrick Melrose” (Showtime) and “Top of the Lake: China Girl” (Sundance) are in the mix as well. The story here will be Hulu expanding its Emmy game with “The Looming Tower,” a new potential for awards success after scoring with “The Handmaid’s Tale” last year. And if “Twin Peaks” misses the cut (it could), expect rioting from David Lynch’s obsessed fanbase.

Television Movie
“Black Mirror: USS Callister” (Netflix)
“Fahrenheit 451” (HBO)
“Flint” (Lifetime)
“Paterno” (HBO)
“The Tale” (HBO)

In this, a category that’s embarrassingly thin and should be rethought as a separate arena, expect HBO to be dominant as ever. The cable network has three strong contenders, including one that was a critical dud but may slide in anyway (“Fahrenheit 451”) and one acquired out of Sundance in a game-changing move for the Emmy landscape (“The Tale”). If anything is poised to surprise it could be one of two episodes eligible from Amazon’s anthology series “Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams.”

Lead Actor – Drama Series
Jason Bateman, “Ozark”
Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us”
Freddie Highmore, “The Good Doctor”
Matthew Rhys, “The Americans”
Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan”
Milo Ventimiglia, “This Is Us”

“Westworld” players Ed Harris and Jeffrey Wright got the bump up to lead from supporting this year, but that just leaves them facing a more competitive field here. Newcomers Bateman and Highmore have their sights set on a couple of spots in the lineup, but watch out for J.K. Simmons, lurking on the bubble for his dual portrayal in “Counterpart.”

Lead Actress – Drama Series
Emilia Clarke, “Game of Thrones”
Claire Foy, “The Crown”
Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Sandra Oh, “Killing Eve”
Keri Russell, “The Americans”
Evan Rachel Wood, “Westworld”

We’ll take a flier on Oh representing the popular underdog “Killing Eve,” edging out contenders like Laura Linney (“Ozark”) and Mandy Moore (“This Is Us”). She could even be joined by co-star Jodie Comer. Clarke will ride back into battle after “Game of Thrones” took a breather last year; then it’s all returning nominees after that.

Supporting Actor – Drama Series
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones”
Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones”
David Harbour, “Stranger Things”
Justin Hartley, “This Is Us”
Mandy Patinkin, “Homeland”
Jon Voight, “Ray Donovan”

There are about 15 names that could end up on the ballot here, so who knows what the right combination will be? The strongest bets are Dinklage, Harbour and Patinkin. “Stranger Things” star Noah Schnapp is a popular pick among prognosticators, so maybe Voight isn’t quite on cruise control and is due a miss. Or maybe “Game of Thrones” won’t be able to secure two spots in the lineup, leaving Coster-Waldau on the outside.

Supporting Actress – Drama Series
Alexis Bledel, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Millie Bobby Brown, “Stranger Things”
Ann Dowd, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Lena Headey, “Game of Thrones”
Chrissy Metz, “This Is Us”
Thandie Newton, “Westworld”

This is more or less the expected lineup, but former two-time winner Uzo Aduba (“Orange is the New Black”) is always a possibility. Vanessa Kirby from “The Crown” or Yvonne Strahovski from “The Handmaid’s Tale” could also rally support.

Lead Actor – Comedy Series
Anthony Anderson, “Black-ish”
Zach Galifianakis, “Baskets”
Donald Glover, “Atlanta”
Bill Hader, “Barry”
Eric McCormack, “Will and Grace”
William H. Macy, “Shameless”

Hader is the new kid on the block while McCormack is back with the revived “Will and Grace.” Matt LeBlanc (“Episodes”) and Larry David (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) are also in the mix repping revivals, while Ted Danson is still looking for a notice in NBC’s critically adored “The Good Place.” A drastic shake-up is unlikely, so maybe Galifianakis holds on after landing a nomination last year.

Lead Actress – Comedy Series
Pamelon Adlon, “Better Things”
Alison Brie, “GLOW”
Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Allison Janney, “Mom”
Debra Messing, “Will and Grace”
Tracee Ellis Ross, “Black-ish”

Ellie Kemper hasn’t missed for “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” yet so maybe it’s unwise to leave her out, but with Messing returning, and Brie and Brosnahan charging in with popular new series, the lineup starts to get tight. Not to mention Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin from “Grace and Frankie,” or Frankie Shaw in Showtime’s new series “SMILF.”

Supporting Actor – Comedy Series
Louie Anderson, “Baskets”
Titus Burgess, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Sean Hayes, “Will and Grace”
Brian Tyree Henry, “Atlanta”
Tony Shalhoub, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Henry Winkler, “Barry”

This category is absolute murder to predict this year. Recent winners like Anderson and Alec Baldwin (“Saturday Night Live”) could end up on the outside looking in. Shalhoub and Winkler are respected vets expected to cruise into the lineup, while former winner Hayes is a strong bet to return to the fray. Henry ought to find love in a category that boxed him out last year, but Marc Maron (“GLOW”) could fall either way depending on how much “GLOW” galvanizes voters; perhaps they’ll make him wait for the even-better second season. And of course, Burgess is a perennial at this point. Even without “Veep,” this bench is deep.

Supporting Actress – Comedy Series
Alex Borstein, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Betty Gilpin, “GLOW”
Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live”
Laurie Metcalf, “Roseanne”
Rita Moreno, “One Day at a Time”
Megan Mullally, “Will and Grace”

The weakest links here are probably Metcalf (in a show canceled in the wake of Roseanne Barr’s Twitter meltdown) and Moreno (in a program that hasn’t yet taken off with voters). “Arrested Development” star Jessica Walter could stir up enough support — and, after that New York Times interview, sympathy — to land in the field for the first time in over a decade. Leslie Jones (“Saturday Night Live”) and D’Arcy Carden (“The Good Place”) are outside possibilities as well.

Lead Actor – Limited Series/TV 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”
Al Pacino, “Paterno”

Virtuoso performances from Criss and Cumberbatch lead the way here. Banderas and Pacino are safe bets, along with Daniels (a likely double nominee this year with his supporting “Godless” performance in play as well). Meanwhile, Legend or Kyle MacLachlan (“Twin Peaks”) could really liven things up. We’ll lean to the former.

Lead Actress – Limited Series/TV Movie
Hayley Atwell, “Howards End”
Jessica Biel, “The Sinner”
Laura Dern, “The Tale”
Michelle Dockery, “Godless”
Elisabeth Moss, “Top of the Lake: China Girl”
Sarah Paulson, “American Horror Story: Cult”

It feels like this category has firmed up, but never count out an Academy favorite like Edie Falco (“Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders”).

Supporting Actor – Limited Series/TV Movie
Bill Camp, “The Looming Tower”
Jeff Daniels, “Godless”
Brandon Victor Dixon, “Jesus Christ Superstar”
Edgar Ramirez, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
Peter Sarsgaard, “The Looming Tower”
Michael Stuhlbarg, “The Looming Tower”

Multiple players from “Gianni Versace” and “The Looming Tower” are taking aim here. In fact, nearly the whole slate could be filled out with stars from the latter. The only contender that could really shake things up is Brandon Victor Dixon from “Jesus Christ Superstar,” but Michael Shannon is often an awards favorite even when the project isn’t, so he’s a possibility with “Fahrenheit 451.” And if voters can get past the ick factor, Jason Ritter could even find a spot for his unsettling turn in “The Tale.”

Supporting Actress – Limited Series/TV Movie
Penelope Cruz, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
Nicole Kidman, “Top of the Lake: China Girl”
Angela Lansbury, “Little Women”
Jennifer Jason Leigh, “Patrick Melrose”
Judith Light, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
Merritt Wever, “Godless”

Laura Dern will be angling for a double nomination to go along with her sure-fire bid for “The Tale,” but how much will voters really embrace “Twin Peaks”? Sharon Stone is an outside possibility for HBO’s “Mosaic.” If anyone is a weak link in the lineup it might be Leigh, overshadowed by Cumberbatch’s tour-de-force work.

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