×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Some years, it’s easy to predict Emmy nominations and winners. And then there’s 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic put a halt on in-person campaigning, and delayed some major contenders from making it into this year’s eligibility window. It also kept Television Academy members at home, where they presumably had a chance to watch more TV than usual. Plus, as the Academy begins vetting its voting body, a more active and perhaps younger base could bring some surprises.

The result might be a shake up of the status quo. Already, there won’t be repeat winners in the top scripted categories, as last year’s big victors — drama “Game of Thrones” and comedy “Fleabag” — ended their runs and are no longer eligible.

And yet… as we’ve mentioned time and time again, TV Academy members like to stick with past nominees and winners, who often continue in the race long after the zeitgeist has moved on.

This year is also tricky to predict because it doesn’t have a lot of buzzy freshman shows in the race. Keep your eye on the sophomore sensations, however: “Succession,” “Dead to Me,” “Pose” and “Ramy,” in particular.

This year, the Academy has extended the number of comedy and drama nominees to eight slots, which is critical in the era of peak TV (although I will continue my argument for an even 10). Nonetheless, expect more snubs than ever this year, thanks to a record year in submissions.

We’ll see on Tuesday where the TV Academy is going for sure, but for now here are some last-minute predictions on this year’s Emmy nominations. With the caveat that a lack of FYC events this year makes it tougher than ever to gauge the mood of voters, of course, and that I played it pretty safe here. It’s hard to pick the surprises after all — which is why, well, they call ’em surprises.

Outstanding Drama Series

“Better Call Saul” (AMC)
The Crown” (Netflix)
“The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu)
“Killing Eve” (AMC/BBC America)
“The Morning Show” (Apple TV Plus)
“Ozark” (Netflix)
“Pose” (FX)
“Succession” (HBO)

Could also be nominated: “Big Little Lies” (HBO); “Westworld” (HBO)
Nice surprise: “The Good Fight” (CBS All Access); “The Outsider” (HBO)

It’s an unusual roadblock of returning shows this year, as previous nominees “The Crown,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Stranger Things” and “Westworld” — all of which sat 2019 out — are in contention again, as is “Big Little Lies,” a 2017 winner in limited series, now in the drama race. Meanwhile, among last year’s drama nominees, “Better Call Saul,” “Killing Eve,” “Ozark,” “Pose,” “Succession” and “This Is Us” are all back. That’s a lot of recent nominees all angling for those eight slots. Apple TV Plus has been pushing “The Morning Show” hard, and if a new show manages to squeak in, it’s likely to be that one.

Outstanding Comedy Series

“Curb Your Enthusiasm” (HBO)
“Dead to Me” (Netflix)
“The Good Place” (NBC)
“Insecure” (HBO)
“The Kominsky Method” (Netflix)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon Prime Video)
“Ramy” (Hulu)
“Schitt’s Creek” (Pop TV)

Could also be nominated: “Better Things” (FX); “Black-ish” (ABC)
Nice surprise: “Dave” (FX); “Never Have I Ever” (Netflix)

After last year’s “Fleabag” sweep, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is itching to reclaim its prize. But “Schitt’s Creek” ended on such a high note, and voters may be eager to reward the little show that turned into a phenomenon. That puts “Maisel” and “Schitt’s” into this year’s frontrunner positions. Among other shows signing off, “The Good Place” has an edge over “Modern Family” and “Silicon Valley.” Meanwhile, the buzzy latest seasons of “Dead to Me,” “Insecure” and “Ramy” came at the right time — just before voting. And the legends of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “The Kominsky Method” have the benefit of voters who still make their picks by habit.

Outstanding Limited Series

“Hollywood” (Netflix)
“Little Fires Everywhere” (Hulu)
“Mrs. America” (FX)
“Unbelievable” (Netflix)
“Watchmen” (HBO)

Could also be nominated: “I Know This Much Is True” (HBO); “Unorthodox” (Netflix)
Nice surprise: “Quiz” (AMC); “Years and Years” (HBO)

This is perhaps the major category most upended by the pandemic, as the returns of “Fargo” and “Genius” (this time, about Aretha Franklin) would have absolutely been in the mix. Nonetheless, this is still a stacked category, with the powerful “Watchmen” — still can’t believe it’s one and done for this amazing show — leading the charge. All of these potential nominees have powerful messages and make for what promises to be a fun category to follow.

Outstanding Drama Actress

Jennifer Aniston, “The Morning Show”
Olivia Colman, “The Crown”
Jodie Comer, “Killing Eve”
Nicole Kidman, “Big Little Lies”
Laura Linney, “Ozark”
Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale”

Could also be nominated: Viola Davis, “How to Get Away with Murder;” Sandra Oh, “Killing Eve”
Nice surprise: Zendaya, “Euphoria”

How competitive is this category? There were 135 submissions this year, up from 88 in 2019. Last year’s winner, “Killing Eve’s” Jodie Comer, had a standout season and is likely back in the hunt, as is 2017 winner Elisabeth Moss (who wasn’t eligible last year). Then there’s Olivia Colman, looking to win the category again for “The Crown,” following Claire Foy’s 2018 victory as Queen Elizabeth II. Jennifer Aniston is expected to make her way into the race, as is “Big Little Lies” star Nicole Kidman. That doesn’t leave much more room, as ties (like last year, which brought the category to seven) are no longer allowed in the new nomination methodology. Don’t count out perennial nominees Viola Davis and Sandra Oh, but it feels like the heat surrounding “Ozark” might give Laura Linney a slight edge.

Outstanding Drama Actor

Jason Bateman, “Ozark”
Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us”
Brian Cox, “Succession”
Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”
Billy Porter, “Pose”
Jeremy Strong, “Succession”

Could also be nominated: Tobias Menzies, “The Crown;” Al Pacino, “Hunters”
Nice surprise: Patrick Stewart, “Star Trek: Picard”

Bateman, Odenkirk, Brown and Porter (last year’s winner) are all expected back from last year, which only leaves two open slots. And that’s where “Succession” mania will help propel the show’s patriarch and heir unapparent, Brian Cox and Jeremy Strong, into the mix. At least I h-to-the-o-p-e so.

Outstanding Comedy Actress

Pamela Adlon, “Better Things”
Christina Applegate, “Dead to Me”
Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Catherine O’Hara, “Schitt’s Creek”
Issa Rae, “Insecure”
Merritt Wever, “Run”

Could also be nominated: Linda Cardellini, “Dead to Me;” Lily Tomlin, “Grace and Frankie”
Nice surprise: Awkwafina, “Nora from Queens;” Zoe Kravitz, “High Fidelity”

Last year’s winner, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, is out of the race, which elevates Brosnahan, who took the category in 2018, back to the top. Expect Applegate and O’Hara to repeat their nods, while Adlon — nominated in 2017 and 2018 — could get back in there as well. (Ditto Rae, who earned a nom in 2018). Merritt Wever has become a perennial favorite, and with multiple projects in contention, could be on voters’ radars. But Tomlin, another frequent nominee, might also be back in the hunt. And given how much “Dead to Me” is about the relationship between their two characters, it might make sense to nominate Cardellini along side Applegate.

Outstanding Comedy Actor

Anthony Anderson, “Black-ish”
Ted Danson, “The Good Place”
Larry David, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”
Michael Douglas, “The Kominsky Method”
Eugene Levy, “Schitt’s Creek”
Ramy Youssef, “Ramy”

Could also be nominated: Steve Carell, “Space Force;” Don Cheadle, “Black Monday”
Nice surprise: Dave Burd, “Dave;” Rob McElhenney, “Mythic Quest”

After winning two years in a row, Bill Hader isn’t eligible this year, leaving room for at least one new nominee: And we’ll give that slot to Ramy Youssef, the “Ramy” star who saw his fortunes rise after winning the Golden Globe earlier this year. Meanwhile, back in the race after a year off is Larry David, who seems to automatically earn a nomination. That leaves returnees Anderson, Danson, Douglas and Levy. Just bubbling under, Steve Carell is in contention, but the reviews for “Space Force” were tepid. And Cheadle may be hampered by a sporadic scheduling pattern this season for “Black Monday.”

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Cate Blanchett, “Mrs. America”
Regina King, “Watchmen”
Kerry Washington, “Little Fires Everywhere”
Merritt Wever, “Unbelievable”
Reese Witherspoon, “Little Fires Everywhere”

Could also be nominated: Kaitlyn Dever, “Unbelievable;” Octavia Spencer, “Self-Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker”
Nice surprise: Shira Haas, “Unorthodox”

One of the categories now at five slots due to the new TV Academy rules (which require a certain threshold of entrants to determine number of nominees), this makes a competitive category even more so. Awards catnip Regina King is there, with “Mrs. America’s” Cate Blanchett perhaps her toughest competition. And there’s Wever again, while Reese Witherspoon — also in the race for “Big Little Lies” and “The Morning Show” — might find her best nominations odds here, for “Little Fires Everywhere.” Her co-star, Kerry Washington, is also expected to make it in.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Russell Crowe, “The Loudest Voice”
Jeremy Irons, “Watchmen”
Hugh Jackman, “Bad Education”
Aaron Paul, “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie”
Mark Ruffalo, “I Know This Much Is True”

Could also be nominated: Andre Holland, “The Eddy;” Jeremy Pope, “Hollywood”
Nice surprise: Matthew Macfadyen, “Quiz”

A stuffed category without an obvious front runner, the limited series/movie actor category could come down to either star power, or familiarity with the project, or difficulty level. Last year, Jharrel Jerome won this award for “When They See Us,” beating out superstars including Hugh Grant, Benicio del Toro and Mahershala Ali. Anything’s possible.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama

Helena Bonham Carter, “The Crown”
Laura Dern, “Big Little Lies”
Ann Dowd, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Julia Garner, “Ozark”
Thandie Newton, “Westworld”
Fiona Shaw, “Killing Eve”
Sarah Snook, “Succession”
Meryl Streep, “Big Little Lies”

Could also be nominated: Janet McTeer, “Ozark;” Rhea Seehorn, “Better Call Saul”
Nice surprise: Cynthia Erivo, “The Outsider;” J. Smith-Cameron, “Succession”

Get ready. Thanks to a tremendous 394 submissions in the supporting drama actress category, this is one that is ballooning to eight nominations. Given that the returning “Game of Thrones” took four of six slots last year, that means there’s a serious changing of the guard in this category. Beyond returnees Julia Garner and Fiona Shaw, that leaves room for six more names. Some will go to 2018 nominees who weren’t eligible in 2019 — such as Thandie Newton from “Westworld.” Then there are the new cast members on shows entering the race this year that were benched last year: Helena Bonham Carter on “The Crown” and Meryl Streep on “Big Little Lies.” Throw Sarah Snook from “Succession” into the mix… and already, even at eight, there’s not enough room for others.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama

Jonathan Banks, “Better Call Saul”
Billy Crudup, “The Morning Show”
Kieran Culkin, “Succession”
Giancarlo Esposito, “Better Call Saul”
David Harbour, “Stranger Things”
Matthew Macfadyen, “Succession”
Bradley Whitford, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Jeffrey Wright, “Westworld”

Could also be nominated: Mandy Patinkin, “Homeland;” Tom Pelphrey, “Ozark”
Nice surprise: Tony Dalton, “Better Call Saul;” Asia Kate Dillon, “Billions”

Back-to-back winner Peter Dinklage is out of the race, and the end of “Game of Thrones” once again opens the door to a few more entries. Expect the “Better Call Saul” duo of Jonathan Banks and Giancarlo Esposito to be back, while “Stranger Things” star David Harbour returns after a year off. “Succession” is expected to be well represented here via Banks and Macfadyen; Crudup was too good to ignore in “The Morning Show;” and Whitford and Wright are audience faves.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy

Alex Borstein, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
D’Arcy Carden, “The Good Place”
Jane Lynch, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Betty Gilpin, “GLOW”
Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live”
Marin Hinkle, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Rita Moreno, “One Day at a Time”
Annie Murphy, “Schitt’s Creek”

Could also be nominated: Emily Hampshire, “Schitt’s Creek;” Yvonne Orji, “Insecure”
Nice surprise: Regina Hall, “Black Monday;” Charlotte Nicdao, “Mythic Quest”

There were eight nominees last year, and under the new rules there will once again be eight nominees. Alex Borstein is back, of course, looking to make it a three-peat for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” but Kate McKinnon — who won the award back-to-back in 2016 and 2017 — also remains in the hunt via “Saturday Night Live.” “Maisel” will likely have several noms to crow about, while Gilpin will return for “GLOW.” Without “Fleabag,” “Barry” and “Veep,” there is room for some new entrants: “Schitt’s Creek” could bring one or two stars in, while it may finally be time for Rita Moreno, already an EGOT winner.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy

Mahershala Ali, “Ramy”
Louie Anderson, “Baskets”
Alan Arkin, “The Kominsky Method”
Alec Baldwin, “Saturday Night Live”
Sterling K. Brown, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Dan Levy, “Schitt’s Creek”
Tony Shalhoub, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Kenan Thompson, “Saturday Night Live”

Could also be nominated: John Malkovich, “Space Force;” James Marsden, “Dead to Me”
Nice surprise: Chris Elliott, “Schitt’s Creek;” William Jackson Harper, “The Good Place”

Another category expanding from six eight nominees; but with “Barry” and “Veep” out of the running, that leaves just the return of last year’s winner, “Mrs. Maisel’s” Tony Shalhoub, and “Kominsky Method’s” Alan Arkin. Sterling K. Brown could also find himself in the running here, while Dan Levy will ride the “Schitt’s Creek” wave to a nomination, and it feels like previously nominated Anderson, Baldwin and Thompson might find their way back in.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Rose Byrne, “Mrs. America”
Toni Collette, “Unbelievable”
Melissa Leo, “I Know This Much Is True”
Patti LuPone, “Hollywood”
Margo Martindale, “Mrs. America”
Jean Smart, “Watchmen”

Could also be nominated: Uzo Aduba, “Mrs. America;” Allison Janney, “Bad Education”
Nice surprise: Hong Chau, “Watchmen;” Emma Thompson, “Years and Years”

This is a harder one to predict, but clearly “Mrs. America,” “Unbelievable,” “Watchmen,” “Bad Education,” “Hollywood,” “I Know This Much is True” and others have plenty of contenders. Collette and Smart are especially the ones to watch.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Darren Criss, “Hollywood”
Tim Blake Nelson, “Watchmen”
Jim Parsons, “Hollywood”
Jesse Plemons, “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie”
John Slattery, “Mrs. America”
John Turturro, “The Plot Against America”

Could also be nominated: Titus Burgess, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt;” Joe Mantello, “Hollywood”
Nice surprise: Jovan Adepo, “Watchmen;” Robert Forster, “El Camino”

Another bit of a guessing game this year, as we won’t know until Tuesday how much Emmy voters gravitated to “Hollywood” or some of the other limited and TV movie contenders.

Outstanding Television Movie

“American Son” (Netflix)
“Bad Education” (HBO)
“El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie” (Netflix)
“Transparent Musicale Finale” (Amazon Prime Video)
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” (Netflix)

Could also be nominated: “Patsy and Loretta” (Lifetime)
Nice surprise: “Selah and the Spades” (Amazon Prime Video)

With “Black Mirror” first deemed eligible — and then, ineligible — for the category, there’s plenty of confusion about the TV movie space. As we’ve written, the streamers are stingy when it comes to entering their movies into the Emmy race, and ultimately the field is rather narrow. (Still, Netflix looks to dominate, as even HBO has pulled back from its movie output in favor of limited series.) Three of the contenders are movie spin-offs of TV shows, for example.

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)

Could also be nominated: “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” (TBS); Late Night with Seth Meyers” (NBC)
Nice surprise: “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj” (Netflix); “Desus and Mero” (Showtime)

Sadly, the recent rule change means that the variety talk category will actually lose a slot. Which means a category that hasn’t seen much turnover will instead lose a show — and even more concerning, it will likely be the only show hosted by a woman. This could be the scenario that leads the Academy to rethink some elements of the new submission threshold rule, and keep a key category like variety talk to more nominees, regardless of how few submissions there are.

Outstanding Variety/Sketch Series

“At Home with Amy Sedaris” (Tru TV)
“A Black Lady Sketch Show” (HBO)
“Drunk History” (Comedy Central)
“Saturday Night Live” (NBC)

Could also be nominated: “Alternatino with Arturo Castro” (Comedy Central)
Nice surprise: “Sherman’s Showcase” (IFC)

And here’s a category that has gone down to just four nominees, due to the new threshold. “Saturday Night Live” is a perennial winner, and this year the unique experiment of its “at-home” episodes will probably solidify things.

Outstanding Competition Program

“American Ninja Warrior” (NBC)
“The Masked Singer” (Fox)
“Nailed It” (Netflix)
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” (VH1)
“Top Chef” (Bravo)

Could also be nominated: “The Voice” (NBC); “Project Runway” (Bravo)
Nice surprise: “Holey Moley” (ABC); “Lego Masters” (Fox)

Alas, another category that has been downsized from six to five — meaning that even though “The Amazing Race” isn’t eligible this year, that slot has simply been eliminated. Nonetheless, I predict at least one change, as the hype surrounding “The Masked Singer” may at least push it above another singing competition, “The Voice.” The rest of the category will sadly probably remain the same, which means we can probably only dream of nominations for “Lego Masters” and, yes, “Holey Moley.”