Variety's Awards Circuit is home to the official predictions for the upcoming Emmys ceremonies from film awards editor Clayton Davis. Following history, buzz, news, reviews and sources, the Emmy predictions are updated regularly with the current year's list of contenders in all categories. Variety's Awards Circuit Prediction schedule consists of four phases, running all year long: Draft, Pre-Season, Regular Season and Post Season. The eligibility calendar and dates of awards will determine how long each phase lasts and is subject to change.
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2021 EMMYS PREDICTIONS:
OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES
UPDATED: Aug 26, 2021
AWARDS PREDICTION COMMENTARY: “Ted Lasso,” the earnest, feel-good series, charmed audiences during the height of the pandemic. That resulted in notable winter awards wins for co-creator and star Jason Sudeikis and 20 Emmy noms, which set a record for most-nominated freshman comedy. It has been the assumed winner for so long, it’s hard to imagine it won’t go all the way.
With the second season currently airing, reinvigorating that passion again, the streamer’s leading contender is eyeing to break the record held by “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” which is currently the most-awarded freshman comedy with nine. Of course, it would be shocking if it didn’t, at minimum, tie the record. So it’s wise to bet on “Lasso.”
The comedy front-runner has chosen to submit the following titles for final Emmy voting: “Pilot,” “Trent Crimm: The Independent,” “Tan Lines,” “Make Rebecca Great Again,” “All Apologies” and “The Hope That Kills You.”
“Hacks,” the generational stand-up comedy series, seemed like the little-show-that-could when it launched. Sure, it had the powerhouse Jean Smart leading the cast, but that those around her were just as game-changing for the genre came as more of a surprise. With its 15 noms, the show shot to the front of the pack, shaking up a race that was thought to be already decided.
Awards bodies love to embrace projects that are about their industry, which “Hacks” does brilliantly. Unfortunately, that could make it a high probability to upset in categories that once seemed made for stories surrounding soccer and murders. With the expansion of the available slots, this year also marks the most freshmen series ever to be recognized in this category since 1971 (including winner “All in the Family,” along with “Arnie,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “The Odd Couple”).
In addition to the pilot episode “There Is No Line,” the HBO Max series has also put forward “Primm,” “Falling,” “New Eyes,” “1.69 Million,” and “I Think She Will.”
Especially amid the pandemic, there is true and new passion for the “Karate Kid” continuation series “Cobra Kai,” and the streaming giant’s aggressive campaigning undoubtedly made the difference in getting it onto this ballot in addition to stunt coordination, where it was nominated for its first two seasons. But that won’t be enough to take down bigger players.
The continuation series has opted for the episodes “Nature vs. Nurture,” “The Right Path,” “Miyagi-Do,” “King Cobra,” “Feel the Night” and “December 19” for the TV Academy final voting.
When streaming adaptation “The Flight Attendant” saw so much love on the winter awards circuit, it looked to be the obvious challenger to front-runner “Ted Lasso.” But, here the show picked up nine noms, which was fewer than what many pundits were predicting. That lower visibility and still-decreasing momentum may hurt its chances to land on stage in September.
The first season could have also been penalized by many, feeling it should have competed in drama series rather than the comedy categories, given its more serious overtones and runtime. However, as the show executes a strategy to outmaneuver “Hacks” and “Ted Lasso” in lead comedy actress, writing and directing races (Susanna Fogel did win the DGA Award), it hopes to be the triumphant victor and not just the runner-up in various spots.
The HBO Max show has chosen “In Case of Emergency,” “Rabbits,” “Funeralia,” “Conspiracy Theories,” “Other People’s Houses” and “After Dark” for its Emmy offerings.
The seventh season of family sitcom “Black-ish” picked up five noms (six if you include the animated special). With those, Anthony Anderson became the most nominated Black actor in his category. It is unclear if many of the Television Academy members are aware of that feat, but it also feels like a stretch to think that will help the show get over the hump when it is not top of mind.
ABC has decided to submit the episodes “Hero Pizza,” “Age Against the Machine,” “Our Wedding Dre,” “What About Gary?,” “First Trap” and “Things Done Changed” for final consideration.
The final season of Chuck Lorre’s buddy comedy “The Kominsky Method” reset itself by introducing the formidable dynamic of ex-spouses, as opposed to lifelong best friends. It scored six noms overall, more than its previous season. But many of those noms, including this one, will have to serve as celebration enough, as fresher content has caught more voters’ eyes.
For the third and final season, Netflix has gone with the episodes “In all the old familiar places,” “You only give me your funny paper,” “And it’s getting more and more absurd,” “The round toes, of the high shoes,” “Near, far, wherever you are” and “The Fundamental Things Apply” for consideration.
When streaming cringe-comedy “Pen15” debuted on the Emmys circuit in 2019, it only pulled in a single nom (for comedy writing), but this year it picked up three. Had co-creators and leads Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle made it onto the acting ballot, the show would stand more of a chance here. Instead, it lends itself to greater awareness of the series for next time.
This will indeed serve as an awareness signal for viewers to discover the show on Hulu, though. For its first showing in comedy series, Hulu has sent the episodes “Wrestle,” “Vendy Wiccany,” “Three,” “Sleepover,” “Play” and “Opening Night” for voters to consider.
After the HFPA nominated “Emily in Paris” at the Golden Globes, there was an outcry within the industry and on social media. But that only pushed the show further into the spotlight. Its inclusion on this ballot seems to serve as a middle fin – ger to awards snobbery that has existed in years past. It won’t be enough to win, but the statement it has already made is palpable.
Netflix chose “Emily in Paris,” “Masculin Feminin,” “Sexy or Sexist,” “Ringarde,” “Family Affair” and “Cancel Couture” for its episode submissions.
The viewing platform for Emmy nominees opens on Aug. 13, with final-round voting beginning on Aug. 19 at 9 a.m. PT until Aug. 30 at 10 p.m. PT.
Check out the full rankings of the category’s nominees in the chart below.
ALL SUBMISSIONS & RANKINGS:
AWARDS CATEGORY HISTORY (Comedy Series)
The Primetime Emmy Awards, better known simply as the Emmys, is television's most prestigious artistic award. There are many records held for both wins and nominations in the near eight decades.
For wins: NBC's "Frasier" and ABC's "Modern Family" hold the record for the most awards in best comedy series, both of which won five times consecutively. The classic sitcoms "All in the Family" and "Cheers" have four wins, although not consecutive.
For nominations: The most shows that have been nominated in this category are "Cheers" and "M*A*S*H," with 11 over their runs. The former winning four and the latter once. "Curb Your Enthusiasm" is the most nominated show in this category with nine but has not won (as of 2021).
NBC is the network with the most wins in this category, with 26, CBS following with 22. Amazon Prime Video is the first and only streaming service to win this category with "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" (in 2018) and "Fleabag" (in 2019).
2021 Primetime Emmy Awards Predictions
- Outstanding Drama Series
- Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
- Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
- Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
- Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
- Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
- Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
- Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series
- Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
- Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series
- Outstanding Comedy Series
- Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
- Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
- Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
- Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
- Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
- Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
- Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series
- Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
- Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series
- Outstanding Television Movie
- Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series
- Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
- Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
- Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
- Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
- Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series or Anthology Series or Movie
- Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special
- Outstanding Casting for a Limited, Anthology or TV Movie
- Outstanding Competition Program
- Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series
- Outstanding Variety Talk Series
- Outstanding Animated Program
- Outstanding Short Form Animated Program
About the Primetime Emmy Awards (Emmys)
The Primetime Emmy Awards, better known as the Emmys, is given out by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS). Since 1949, the awards recognize excellence in American primetime television programming. They are divided into three classes - Primetime Emmy Awards, the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards (honors artisan achievements) and the Primetime Engineering Emmy Awards (recognizes significant engineering and technological contributions). The typical eligibility period is between June 1 and May 31 of any given year. The Television Academy comprises over 25,000 members, representing 30 professional peer groups, including performers, directors, producers, art directors and various artisans and executives.
- The 73rd Emmy Awards are scheduled to air on Sunday, Sept. 19 at 8:00 pm est on CBS and on-demand on sister streamer Paramount Plus.