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 LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
UPDATED: Aug 26, 2021
AWARDS PREDICTION COMMENTARY: How many ways can awards journalists write that Jason Sudeikis is going to win not just one, but multiple Emmys for Apple TV Plus’ feel-good sports comedy? He picked up all the winter awards, the show is a frontrunner in the comedy series race, and the second season is dropping episodes weekly during voting. While there may be some “Ted Lasso” fatigue, it seems unlikely to be enough to dent Sudeikis’ very strong chances here.
Anthony Anderson has quickly become one of America’s beloved TV dads. This is his seventh consecutive nomination for the ABC family sitcom, but he has three more noms as an executive producer, and with that total of 10, he is one of the most-celebrated Black actors in the Academy’s history. (He also holds the record for the most noms in this category for a Black performer.) This category has only seen two Black actors take this trophy home before, so it could be the time to add a third.
Final seasons pack a punch, and Michael Douglas’ swan song as the titular acting coach who finally gets a huge break in Chuck Lorre’s Netflix series certainly fits the bill. He previously picked up a trophy for “Behind the Candelabra” in 2013 but has yet to step on stage to accept a statue for this role, despite three consecutive noms. There was added interest in his on-screen reunion with Kathleen Turner. A wave of sentiment and a push to spread the Emmy wealth could benefit Douglas’ shot at this prize.
William H. Macy represents the lone Emmy love for the final season of a Showtime institution. This is his sixth overall nom for the role of absent patriarch Frank Gallagher on the dark comedy, though his first since 2018. Clearly the final season aspect gave him a boost. His track record with the Academy goes back decades and he won two awards in 2003 for “Door to Door.” So, don’t count him out yet, as industry respect, which he has in droves, can go a long way.
A double-acting nominee for his inaugural season headlining a NBC primetime comedy and for his work on “Saturday Night Live” (where he is up in the supporting comedy actor race), Kenan Thompson is truly having his moment. He faces such stiff competition in this category, and “Kenan” is still new, so this nod may only serve to improve his chances in the other category. Still, it’s a nice milestone for an actor who has long been in this industry and is finally getting the recognition he has always deserved.
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 (Lead Actor Comedy)
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: Four actors have won the most prizes in this category, with four in all of Emmy history - Michael J. Fox, Kelsey Grammer, Carroll O'Connor and Jim Parsons. Fox and O'Connor have won three consecutive years. Except for Fox, Grammer ("Frasier"), O'Connor ("All in the Family") and Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory") won for the same television series. Fox won three for "Family Ties" and the other for "Spin City." Four men have three times - Don Adams, John Lithgow, Tony Shalhoub and Dick Van Dyke.
For nominations: Ted Danson has the most nominations ever in this category with 14 (winning twice for "Cheers"). Alan Alda and Kelsey Grammer are next in line with 11, while Michael J. Fox, Carroll O'Connor and Tony Shalhoub have eight each.
John Goodman, Matt LeBlanc and Hal Linden have the most nominations without ever winning for lead actor in a comedy series. Goodman ("Roseanne") and Linden ("Barney Miller") were all nominated for the same series. LeBlanc's nods are split between "Friends" (3) and "Episodes" (4).
"Cheers" and "M*A*S*H" are the leading series with nominations in this category, with 11 with "Frasier" and "The Odd Couple" (1970-1975) nabbing 10. NBC has won this category the most for any network with 26, while CBS and ABC have 19 and 11 wins. Amazon Prime Video is the first and only streaming platform to win this category for Jeffrey Tambor ("Transparent") in two consecutive years.
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.