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 DIRECTING FOR A COMEDY SERIES
UPDATED: Aug 26, 2021
AWARDS PREDICTION COMMENTARY: Zach Braff is a beloved staple in Hollywood and has shown to be reliable in creating exciting and funny television both on screen and behind the camera. Still, this is only his second Emmy nom, his first for directing. He has some heat coming off his recent DGA nom for the same “Ted Lasso” episode he is up for here, “Biscuits,” but now he’s up against two other directors from the show, and they could cancel one another out.
MJ Delaney’s nom comes for “Ted Lasso’s” first season closer, “The Hope That Kills You,” providing a pivotal turning point for several characters. But going by Emmy history, voters typically favor the pilot for its tone-setting and world-building foundation (see “UglyBetty,” “Glee” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”). The threat of splitting the votes is very real for Delaney.
First-time nominee Declan Lowney helms one of the best episodes of the first season of “Ted Lasso,” “Make Rebecca Great Again,” which features a perfect blend of comic beats and dramatic heft. A two-time BAFTA winner, he might be able to find traction with the British voting bloc of the Emmys. His DGA snub hurts a bit, though, and he is smack in the middle of a trio of “TedLasso” directors, which steals attention and likely ballot checks.
From garnering recognition in film for “Booksmart,” for which she received a BAFTA nom, to her DGA Award-winning direction on “In Case of Emergency,” the kickoff episode of the first season of HBO Max adaptation “The Flight Attendant,” Susanna Fogel is a force with which to be reckoned. The series may have slightly underperformed in noms, but this is an important one, and perhaps an easy one for voters to reward.
This is the veteran television director James Widdoes’ first Emmy nom and only second award recognition in total out of a long career. Somewhat strangely, his nom is not for the series finale “Mom,” which is usually low-hanging fruit for members. Recognized for “Scooby-Doo Checks and Salisbury Steak,” he’s just one of two nominees for the CBS show, along with lead comedy actress Allison Janney. Without a bigger footprint for the final season, he is a long shot to win.
Lucia Aniello mustered two noms for the pilot episode “There Is No Line” — here and in the writing race. It’s been three years since a woman won this category (Amy Sherman-Palladino in 2018 for “TheMarvelous Mrs. Maisel”), but she’ll be fighting off votes going to Delaney. However, with “Hacks” taking off the way it did, we don’t suspect this will be her last rodeo with the Television Academy.
Veteran director James Burrows has 11 Emmy noms under his belt,though the previous one in this category came in 1994 for “Frasier,” which does put him at a bit of a disadvantage. The last time a multicam director took this trophy was in the late 1990s. His reputation might have helped significantly with the nom, but considering the competition that’s alongside him and the love of single-cam, the nomination is the reward.
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:
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.