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Emmy Nomination Predictions 2019: Bold Picks in Major Categories, and At Least One Obvious One

Game of Thrones” and Netflix. If you’re in the Emmy predictions business, it’s a no-brainer that Tuesday will be a good morning for those two entities.

Beyond that, if Emmy voters were ever to prove the status quo wrong, perhaps this is the year. Television Academy members are notorious for sticking with the familiar and tried-and-true when it comes to nominees and winners, as shows frequently continue to stay in contention long after they should. That’s why Emmy prognosticators are usually wise to stick to past nominees rather than go on a limb and predict any sort of major category shakeup.

But times — and the makeup of the Academy — are changing, and perhaps we’ll see the arrival of fresh blood on Tuesday when this year’s Emmy nominations are announced. Programs like “Fleabag,” “Schitt’s Creek,” “Russian Doll,” “Pose,” Succession,” “Homecoming,” “The Good Fight,” “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj,” and “Desus & Mero” are currently in the zeitgeist and deserve to be in the conversation alongside some of the tried-and-true contenders.

The era of peak TV, combined with limited space for nominees, means there will be plenty of snubs come announcement day, however. And when it comes time to predict this year’s nomination slate, we’re going mostly with the predictable. Prove us wrong, TV Academy. Prove us wrong.

Outstanding Drama Series

Game of Thrones” (HBO)
“Killing Eve” (AMC/BBC America)
“Ozark” (Netflix)
“This Is Us” (NBC)
“Better Call Saul” (AMC)
“Pose” (FX)
“Succession” (HBO)

Could also be nominated: “Homecoming” (Amazon Prime); “Bodyguard” (Netflix)
Nice surprise: “The Good Fight” (CBS All Access)

With “The Americans,” “The Crown,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Stranger Things” and “Westworld” all out of contention this year, the category will almost fully flip — leaving room for the return of old favorites like “Better Call Saul” and putting shows you thought were nominated last year but weren’t, like “Killing Eve” and “Ozark,” fully into the mix. But “Game of Thrones,” even with fan outrage over the finale, is still the one to beat.

Outstanding Comedy Series

“Veep” (HBO)
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon Prime)
“Barry” (HBO)
“GLOW” (Netflix)
“Black-ish” (ABC)
“The Kominsky Method” (Netflix)
“The Good Place” (NBC)

Could also be nominated: “Fleabag” (Amazon Prime); “Russian Doll” (Netflix)
Nice surprise: “Schitt’s Creek” (Pop); “Better Things” (FX)

As we’ve been saying all along, this category really comes down to previous winner “Veep” vs. last year’s winner, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” I’m going a bit on a limb in putting “The Good Place” on the list, but that show continues to gain momentum thanks to streaming viewers. “Black-ish” remains a show that voters continue to nominate. With only seven slots, that leaves buzzy “Fleabag” and “Russian Doll” as potential nominees as well, perhaps pushing the two broadcast shows out.

Outstanding Limited Series

“Escape at Dannemora” (Showtime)
“Chernobyl” (HBO)
“When They See Us” (Netflix)
“A Very English Scandal” (Amazon Prime)
“Fosse/Verdon” (FX)

Could also be nominated: “Sharp Objects” (HBO); “True Detective” (HBO)
Nice surprise: “The Act” (Hulu); “Dirty John” (Bravo); “I Am The Night” (TNT)

With no “American Crime Story” or “Genius” franchise this year, there’s room for more originals — all of which are still based on real-life events. “When They See Us” and “Chernobyl” came late in the FYC season, but were heavily discussed in Hollywood right as voting got underway. “Fosse/Verdon” is about a topic Hollywood loves: Hollywood. And “A Very English Scandal” was a tour de force for both Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw.

Outstanding Drama Actress

Sandra Oh, “Killing Eve”
Laura Linney, “Ozark”
Julia Roberts, “Homecoming”
Emilia Clarke, “Game of Thrones”
Jodie Comer, “Killing Eve”
Christine Baranski, “The Good Fight”

Could also be nominated: Robin Wright, “House of Cards”; Sarah Paulson, “American Horror Story: Apocalypse”
Nice surprise: Mj Rodriguez, “Pose”

Last year’s winner, Claire Foy, is ineligible — actually, everyone nominated in the category in 2018 except Oh can’t return, giving the “Killing Eve” star instant favorite status. It also leaves room for superstars like Laura Linney and Julia Roberts, along with “Game of Thrones” favorite Emilia Clarke (previously nominated as supporting actress), Oh’s “Eve” co-star Jodie Comer and another industry favorite, Christine Baranski.

Outstanding Drama Actor

Jason Bateman, “Ozark”
Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”
Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us”
Kit Harington, “Game of Thrones”
Billy Porter, “Pose”
Richard Madden, “Bodyguard”

Could also be nominated: Milo Ventimiglia, “This Is Us”; J.K. Simmons, “Counterpart”
Nice surprise: Stephan James, “Homecoming”

Odenkirk has been nominated every year of “Better Call Saul” eligibility, while Sterling K. Brown has also been nommed every year of “This Is Us” (including a win in 2017). Bateman, nominated last year for “Ozark,” should also be back. The rest of the list is speculation, but Billy Porter is currently on a career high, while Kit Harington just ended his run as Jon Snow on “Game of Thrones” and Richard Madden had a big year with both “Bodyguard” and the theatrical “Rocketman.”

Outstanding Comedy Actress

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”
Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Allison Janney, “Mom”
Pamela Adlon, “Better Things”
Tracee Ellis Ross, “Black-ish”
Natasha Lyonne, “Russian Doll”

Could also be nominated: Phoebe Waller-Bridge, “Fleabag”; Lily Tomlin, “Grace and Frankie”
Nice surprise: Christina Applegate, “Dead to Me”; Catherine O’Hara, “Schitt’s Creek”; Regina Hall, “Black Monday”

Another extremely competitive category, and returning “Veep” star Julia Louis-Dreyfus, in her final season, is the odds-on favorite to win. But voters still also love last year’s winner, Rachel Brosnahan, as well as frequent nominees Allison Janney and Tracee Ellis Ross. They also love multi-hyphenate Pamela Adlon, which is why we’re making room for one more similar visionary star: Natasha Lyonne, who ought to be recognized in some way for “Russian Doll.” Ditto Phoebe Waller-Bridge, but since that show premiered in mid-May, so late in the FYC process, we’re sticking it in the “just bubbling under” realm for now.

Outstanding Comedy Actor

Bill Hader, “Barry”
Michael Douglas, “The Kominsky Method”
Ted Danson, “The Good Place”
Anthony Anderson, “Black-ish”
Jim Carrey, “Kidding”
Don Cheadle, “Black Monday”

Could also be nominated: William H. Macy, “Shameless”; Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory”
Nice surprise: Ramy Youssef, “Ramy”; Eugene Levy, “Schitt’s Creek”

Last year’s winner, Bill Hader, remains the frontrunner, but don’t count out love for icon Michael Douglas, who won the Golden Globe earlier this year. We’re also bringing back Ted Danson and Anthony Anderson to the mix, adding in another huge star in Jim Carrey, and taking a risk by removing perennial nominee William H. Macy in favor of another Showtime star, Don Cheadle.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Patricia Arquette, “Escape at Dannemora”
Michelle Williams, “Fosse/Verdon”
Connie Britton, “Dirty John”
Amy Adams, “Sharp Objects”
Emma Stone, “Maniac”
Julianna Margulies, “The Hot Zone”

Could also be nominated: Joey King, “The Act”; Ruth Wilson, “Mrs. Wilson”
Nice surprise: Marisa Tomei, “Live in Front of a Studio Audience”

What a year for Patricia Arquette, whose turn as the star of “Escape at Dannemora” was undeniable. Also throwing in TV superstars Connie Britton and Julianna Margulies here, as a nod to two names Academy members will likely gravitate to. And then throw in three more A-list names: Michelle Williams, Amy Adams, and Emma Stone.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Mahershala Ali, “True Detective”
Hugh Grant, “A Very English Scandal”
Benicio Del Toro, “Escape at Dannemora”
Ian McShane, “Deadwood: The Movie”
Jared Harris, “Chernobyl”
Sam Rockwell, “Fosse/Verdon”

Could also be nominated: Anthony Hopkins, “King Lear”; Benedict Cumberbatch, “Brexit”
Nice surprise: Jharrel Jerome, “When They See Us”

The limited series or movie acting categories usually boast a healthy mix of TV veterans and film superstars dipping their toes into the small screen. That’s what this mix is all about, starting with Mahershala Ali, who can seemingly do nothing but win at awards shows. Throw in Hugh Grant, doing his first TV in years, and then Benicio Del Toro, Jared Harris and Sam Rockwell doing what they do best. And finally, bring back an old favorite: Ian McShane, reprising his iconic “Deadwood” role as Al Swearingen.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama

Lena Headey, “Game of Thrones”
Maisie Williams, “Game of Thrones”
Sophie Turner, “Game of Thrones”
Rhea Seehorn, “Better Call Saul”
Julia Garner, “Ozark”
Susan Kelechi Watson, “This Is Us”

Could also be nominated: Gwendoline Christie, “Game of Thrones”; Chrissy Metz, “This Is Us”
Nice surprise: Fiona Shaw, “Killing Eve”; Indya Moore, “Pose”

Lena Headey would be the only returning nominee from last year; but with no “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which earned three supporting drama actress nominations last year, that clears the path for more “Game of Thrones” performers. Perhaps it’s also finally time the Academy recognizes Rhea Seehorn, while Julia Garner is also on fire, between “Ozark” and “Dirty John.” And Susan Kelechi Watson is one of the secret weapons on “This Is Us,” helping elevate co-star Sterling K. Brown as well.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama

Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones”
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, “Game of Thrones”
Jonathan Banks, “Better Call Saul”
Bobby Cannavale, “Homecoming”
Kieran Culkin, “Succession”
Giancarlo Esposito, “Better Call Saul”

Could also be nominated: Justin Harley, “This Is Us”; Michael Kelly, “House of Cards”
Nice surprise: Asia Kate Dillon, “Billions”; Michael Sheen, “The Good Fight”

Last year’s winner, Peter Dinklage, is an easy bet for return, along with co-star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who was also nominated last year. Jonathan Banks, who has consistently been nominated for “Better Call Saul” (and before that, “Breaking Bad”) is also a no-brainer. Giancarlo Esposito has also been previously nominated for playing Gus Fring, back on “Breaking Bad,” and could potentially return.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy

Alex Borstein, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live”
Betty Gilpin, “GLOW”
Laurie Metcalf, “The Conners”
Anna Chlumsky, “Veep”
Aidy Bryant, “Saturday Night Live”

Could also be nominated: Marin Hinkle, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”; Olivia Colman, “Fleabag”; Leslie Jones, “Saturday Night Live”
Nice surprise: D’Arcy Carden, “The Good Place”; Rita Moreno, “One Day at a Time”

Most of these predictions are simply a repeat from last year, with the exception of Anna Chlumsky, a previous perennial nominee who wasn’t eligible in 2018. Alex Borstein won last year — and that makes her this year’s frontrunner again — although Kate McKinnon, who won the previous two years, is also in the hunt.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy

Henry Winkler, “Barry”
Alan Arkin, “The Kominsky Method”
Tony Shalhoub, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Tony Hale, “Veep”
Kenan Thompson, “Saturday Night Live”
Titus Burgess, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”

Could also be nominated: Matt Walsh, “Veep”; Timothy Simons, “Veep”
Nice surprise: Anthony Carrigan, “Barry”; William Jackson Harper, “The Good Place”

Henry Winkler is having the time of his life, and who wants to deny him that? The “Barry” star won last year, and has another shot at the Emmy this year. Throw in Alan Arkin and the return of Tony Hale, and then there are Emmy favorites Tony Shalhoub, Titus Burgess and Kenan Thompson.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Patricia Arquette, “The Act”
Emily Watson, “Chernobyl”
Patricia Clarkson, “Sharp Objects”
Sally Field, “Maniac”
Emma Thompson, “King Lear”
Carmen Ejogo, “True Detective”

Could also be nominated: Robin Weigert, “Deadwood: The Movie”; Vera Farmiga, “When They See Us”
Nice surprise: Marla Gibbs, “Live in Front of a Studio Audience”

Patricia Arquette can seemingly do no wrong, and is a leader here, in a solid group that features another Patricia (Clarkson) also doing amazing work, and legends like Sally Field and Emma Thompson.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

George Clooney, “Catch-22”
Ben Whishaw, “A Very English Scandal”
Paul Dano, “Escape at Dannemora”
Kyle Chandler, “Catch-22”
Michael Kenneth Williams, “When They See Us”
Gerald McRaney, “Deadwood: The Movie”

Could also be nominated: Norbert Leo Butz, “Fosse/Verdon”; Stellan Skarsgard (“Chernobyl”); Stephen Dorff (“True Detective”)
Nice surprise: John Leguizamo, “When They See Us”

Don’t bet against the Cloon Dog. “Catch-22” was a labor of love for him, and even though he wasn’t the star, he’s still beloved enough — and is seen enough — to generate this nomination. Among other picks, Kyle Chandler and Gerald McRaney are industry favorites. And Michael Kenneth Williams’ role in “When They See Us” is absolutely heartbreaking.

Outstanding Television Movie

“Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” (Netflix)
“Deadwood: The Movie” (HBO)
“King Lear” (Amazon Prime)
“Brexit” (HBO)
“My Dinner with Herve” (HBO)

Could also be nominated: “Native Son” (HBO)
Nice surprise: “O.G.” (HBO)

In a category still dominated by HBO when it comes to nominations, “Black Mirror” installments have won the past two years — so the franchise still has the edge. But this is the category perhaps most impacted by rule changes this year, as the decision to institute the so-called “Black Mirror rule,” limiting eligible films to over 75 minutes, has put a spotlight on the strategy of submitting anthology series episodes as “TV movies.” That will likely hurt others attempting to do the same thing, including “The Romanoffs.”

Outstanding Variety/Talk Series

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
Late Show with Stephen Colbert (CBS)
Late Late Show with James Corden (CBS)
Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC)
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Comedy Central)
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (TBS)

Could also be nominated: “Late Night with Seth Meyers” (NBC); “Real Time with Bill Maher” (HBO)
Nice surprise: “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj” (Netflix); “Desus and Mero” (Showtime)

Until the Academy finally separates the talk “explainer” shows from the talk variety shows, this will be a bit of a lopsided category. But one thing’s for certain: “Last Week Tonight” is going nowhere. These are the exact same nominees as last year, and I don’t think that will change.

Outstanding Variety/Sketch Series

“Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
“At Home with Amy Sedaris” (Tru TV)
“Documentary Now” (IFC)
“Who Is America” (Showtime)
“Drunk History” (Comedy Central)
“Tracey Ullman’s Show” (HBO)

Could also be nominated: “I Think You Should Leave” (Netflix)
Nice surprise: “I Love You, America” (Hulu)

“Saturday Night Live” is the Emmy 800 lb. gorilla, but it’s not a guaranteed winner: “Inside Amy Schumer” and “Key & Peele” won this category in its first two years of existence. “I Love You, America” was nominated last year, and it would be amazing to see it follow in the footsteps of another canceled sketch series, “The Ben Stiller Show,” which won an Emmy in 1993 despite being axed.

Outstanding Competition Program

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” (VH1)
“The Voice” (NBC)
“The Amazing Race” (CBS)
“Top Chef” (Bravo)
“American Ninja Warrior” (NBC)
“The Masked Singer” (Fox)

Could also be nominated: “Project Runway” (Bravo); “Ellen’s Game of Games” (NBC)
Nice surprise: “Nailed It” (Netflix)

Another category that also rarely changes, I would have kept this the same as last year — except that “The Masked Singer” was such a phenomenon that it might just get enough votes to push out one of the veteran shows dominating the category. “RuPaul’s Drag Race” is currently on a roll, like “Top Chef” and “The Amazing Race” before it, so expect to see that continue for now.

Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program

RuPaul Charles, “RuPaul’s Drag Race”
Ellen DeGeneres, “Ellen’s Game of Games”
Queer Eye team, “Queer Eye”
Jane Lynch, “Hollywood Game Night”
W. Kamau Bell, “United Shades of America”

Could also be nominated: Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman, “Making It”; Phil Keoghan, “The Amazing Race”
Nice surprise: Marie Kondo, “Tidying Up”

RuPaul Charles has won this category the past three years, and remains the frontrunner. Ellen DeGeneres and Jane Lynch will also likely return, while I think the “Queer Eye” guys have made enough of a pop culture impression to make it in. Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn are no longer the hosts of “Project Runway” and are out, but I think Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman might sneak in there thanks to their star power.

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