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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UPDATED: Aug 26, 2021

AWARDS PREDICTION COMMENTARY: A winner at the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards, Josh O’Connor has been a critical favorite for his portrayal of Prince Charles in Netflix’s front-running royal family period piece “The Crown.” With his show co-leading the nomination tally (alongside “The Mandalorian”) with 24, this could be a repeat of the “Schitt’s Creek” lovefest last year. If the British family can rule the Emmys as many think they will, watch for O’Connor’s star to rise.

The Tony Award-winning Billy Porter won this award in 2019 and has been nominated every year since. Then, he became the first openly gay actor to win in the category. Now, if he takes the trophy again, he would be just the second Black actor to win this category multiple times. Porter has gained a ton of support within the Hollywood community, and his goodbye to ballroom emcee Pray Tell in the FX period drama “Pose” was equally talked-about and emotional. He is a front-runner and therefore likely to make history again.

If there was a breakthrough performer of the entire year in TV, it’s Regé-Jean Page. The announcement that he would not return to play Duke Simon Basset in the second season of Netflix’s Regency-era drama “Bridgerton” sent social media into a second frenzy. (The first was when the show launched and everyone lapped up the romance.) Some of that buzz has died down now, but Page could be a classic “come up the middle” type of contender that snags the statue for himself in the end.

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THIS IS US, Sterling K. Brown, Susan Kelechi Watson in ‘Memphis’, (Season 1, Episode 116, aired February 21, 2017), ph: Ron Batzdorff / ©NBC / courtesy Everett Collection ©NBC/Courtesy Everett Collectio

Jonathan Majors received his first Emmy nom for his portrayal of Atticus Freeman in the now-canceled genre-blending HBO series “Lovecraft Country.” After showcasing his range in films such as “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” and “Da 5 Bloods,” an embrace from the Television Academy will surely lead to more fruitful and dynamic roles. If the series sees a groundswell of support after HBO pulled the plug, it could lead to a couple of surprise wins. Perhaps Majors can be one of them.

Two-time Emmy winner Sterling K. Brown is back on the ballot as the beloved Randall Pearson in NBC’s tearjerker “This Is Us” for the second-to-last time. With the announcement that next season will be the final one, nostalgia starts to kick in, and that could influence several voters. It also helps that he is a double nominee. (His other is in the narrator category.) If he wins this race again (as he did in 2017), he’ll become only the second Black actor to receive multiple category accolades in the org’s 73-year history.

A previous winner in this category (in 2018 for “The Americans”), Matthew Rhys is loved by the TV Academy, and that goodwill certainly helped propel him onto this ballot. Rhys’ magic has worked with shows that struggled to garner large audiences, proven by his three nominations for “The Americans,” winning in the final season against heavy hitters such as Jason Bateman (“Ozark”) and fellow current nominee Brown. The nomination may be his reward this time around, though.

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.


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Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles on “The Crown” Alex Bailey/Netflix


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: Bryan Cranston (AMC's "Breaking Bad") and Dennis Franz (ABC's "NYPD Blue") hold the record for the most wins in this category with four, with the former winning three consecutively and the latter two. Five actors have won three times -- Bill Cosby, Peter Falk, James Gandolfini, James Spader and Robert Young.

Four actors have been nominated in this category eight times - Raymond Burr, Peter Falk, Dennis Franz, and Jon Hamm. James Garner has the second most nods with seven. Michael C. Hall, Hugh Laurie, Martin Sheen and Kiefer Sutherland have the most nominations at six, without winning (although Sheen has won an Emmy for guest actor in a comedy series for "Murphy Brown" in 1994).

"NYPD Blue" has the leading series to have nominations in this category with 14, followed by "St. Elsewhere" at 10 and "Columbo," "Law & Order" and "Mad Men" at eight apiece.

2021 Primetime Emmy Awards Predictions

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.