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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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DRAFT>>>PRE-SEASON>>>REGULAR SEASON>>>POST SEASON

2021 EMMYS PREDICTIONS:
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

UPDATED: July 29, 2021

AWARDS PREDICTION COMMENTARY: Four of the six slots for lead drama actor went to Black actors, two of whom are former winners — Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”) and Billy Porter (“Pose”). If either of those two wins, he would be only the second Black actor to repeat a victory in this category. (The previous was “I Spy’s” Bill Cosby, who won three times: 1966, 1967 and 1968.). Other than that, no huge surprises in terms of the six that were cited, but it looks to be a race between Critics Choice and Globe winner Josh O’Connor (“The Crown”) and former Emmy winner Porter. When it comes to Emmys, there’s always room for surprise winners and Rege-Jean Page (“Bridgerton”) has been brewing for weeks, especially with the show getting a series nom.

The viewing platform for Emmy nominees opens on Aug. 13, with final-round voting, beginning on Aug. 19 at 9:00 am PT until Aug. 30 at 10:00 pm PT.

Check out the full rankings of the category’s nominees in the chart below.


ALL SUBMISSIONS & RANKINGS:

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©Netflix/Courtesy Everett Colle

AWARDS CATEGORY HISTORY (Lead Actor Drama)

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.