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 DRAMA SERIES
UPDATED: Aug 26, 2021
AWARDS PREDICTION COMMENTARY: This looks to be the year that the royal family period piece “The Crown,” which tied “The Mandalorian” for most noms this year with 24, finally walks away with the top prize. (It will also mark the first time the streamer wins a top series category.) Hot off the winter awards circuit with wins for individual performers, the ensemble and the series, this is the show to beat.
Netflix has chosen “Balmoral Test,” “Fairytale,” “Favourites,” “Terra Nullius,” “The Hereditary Principle” and “War” for its submission in this category.
The next chapter in “Star Wars” universe saga landed 24 nominations to co-lead the pack this year. This proves that genre series, which aren’t always embraced by the Television Academy, has real legs. After winning seven Emmys last year (all in Creative Arts categories), “The Mandalorian” stands to increase its number now, though taking this trophy is still a longer shot.
Wisely, the streaming service has put up the episodes “The Marshal,” “The Heiress,” “The Jedi,” “The Tragedy,” “The Believer” and “The Rescue” to secure its final Emmy votes.
“The Boys‘ ” nom is a shining example of what can be achieved with the right awards campaign strategy. After the first season mustered a single nom, the second received five. Its reviews were also considerably more robust, with additional viewrs discovering the show during the pandemic. But of the genre shows, it still may not be the noisiest, nor draw enough final votes to win.
The six episodes Amazon Prime Video submitted include the Season 2 premiere episode “The Big Ride,” along with “Over the Hill with the Swords of a Thousand Men,” “We Gotta Go Now,” “The Bloody Doors Off,” “Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker” and the finale, “What I Know.”
Misha Green’s genre-blending adaptation “Lovecraft Country” received 18 noms, even though it has been canceled by HBO. That unfortunate news kept the show top of mind, as did the fact that it is the first drama (along with “Pose”) to have two Black leads nominated at the same time. The show has consistently made headlines during campaign season, but that may not be enough.
HBO has opted to submit the episodes “Sundown,” “Holy Ghost,” “Meet Me in Daegu,” “I Am.,” ”Jig-a-Bobo” and “Rewind 1921.”
“The Handmaid’s Tale,” the only previous winner in the race this year, pulled in an impressive 21 noms. Its story and performances felt refreshed in the fourth season, and that kept people talking as new episodes dropped weekly leading right up to the end of the eligibility period. Whether that momentum can be maintained is not a sure thing; voters will likely want to award a show for the first time instead.
The Hulu series has submitted the following episodes for the final round of voting: “The Crossing,” “Vows,” “Home,” “Testimony,” “Progress” and “The Wilderness.”
With the help of star Regé-Jean Page, freshman “Bridgerton” was a cultural phenomenon during the pandemic. Another example of a series that scored with critics and general TV binge-watchers alike, that organic buzz means something. But when it comes to Television Academy votes, that won’t be enough.
The six episodes submitted for the Phase 2 Emmy voting period are “Diamond of the First Water,” “Shock and Delight,” “Art of the Swoon,” “An Affair of Honor,” “The Duke and I” and “Swish.”
This nod for “This Is Us” is the fifth consecutive for the NBC family drama. Landing six noms (one more than in 2020), there is a push to get in as many accolades as possible before it’s too late as next year’s sixth and final season will be its last. But after so many years of sitting on the sidelines, it doesn’t seem likely to be called to bat now.
For its penultimate season, NBC has put forward the episodes “Forty: Part 1,” “Forty: Part 2,” “Birth Mother,” “In the Room,” “Brotherly Love” and “The Adirondacks.”
Ballroom culture period piece “Pose” returns to this ballot for its final season with an impressive nine noms overall (10 if you include its short-form spinoff). One also made history: Mj Rodriguez became the first transgender performer on a major acting ballot. The opportunity to set records and celebrate such an emotional run should see “Pose” scoring extra votes this time around.
For its final season, FX has submitted the episodes “On the Run,” “The Trunk,” “Take Me to Church,” “Something Borrowed, Something Blue,” “Something Old, Something New” and “Series Finale” for Emmy final voting.
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 (Best Drama 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: HBO's "Game of Thrones" holds the record for most wins for a series in a single year with 12 (in 2015, 2016 and 2019), most collective wins for a drama series with 59 (across eight seasons), most wins for a single episode with six (for "Battle of the Bastards" in 2016) and most wins for a series and drama series in its final season with 12 (in 2019). "Game of Thrones" is also tied for most wins for outstanding drama series with four - along with "Hill Street Blues," "L.A. Law," "Mad Men" and "The West Wing." "Hill Street Blues," "Mad Men" and "The West Wing" won their four awards consecutively. "The West Wing" also holds the record for most wins in its first season with nine, while it shares the record for most wins for acting across an entire drama series at nine, along with "Breaking Bad" and "The Sopranos."
There are four shows that have won this category three times: "The Defenders," "Dragnet," "Playhouse 90," which all won consecutively, and "Upstairs, Downstairs."
For nominations: "Game of Thrones" holds the record for most nominations overall for an entire drama series with 161. It also holds the most nominations for a drama series in a single year and its final season with 32 (2019). AMC's "Mad Men" holds the record for the most nominations without a win in a single year, going zero for 17 (in 2012). "NYPD Blue" holds the record for most nominations in its first season at 27 (in 1994), while "Law & Order" has the record for most nominations ever for an entire drama series at 11.
For networks, NBC has the most wins in this category with 21 with CBS following with 18. Hulu is the first and only streaming service to win this category with "The Handmaid's Tale" in 2017.
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.