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 LIMITED SERIES OR TV MOVIE
UPDATED: Aug 26, 2021
AWARDS PREDICTION COMMENTARY: The shocking snubs of a few initial front-runners mean a greater likelihood for an unexpected winner to emerge. Why not the man from the most-nominated series in this category? Paul Bettany landed his first Emmy attention for portraying one half of the titular superhero couple. Bringing this role to TV afforded him the opportunity to deliver the defining line of the series (and perhaps of television this year): “But what is grief, if not love persevering?” Such buzz may be enough to squeeze by
Getting his second nod in this category in three years, Hugh Grant was one of the consensus high points of HBO’s adaptation. He’s well liked in the industry, and he turned out the performance of his career by taking on a character who was a sociopath and a murderer but also a family man. Though the series aired a while ago, Grant is still top of mind for the win, a likely benefactor from the “Hamilton” men splitting votes and any genre bias that still exists within the voting members.
Even as “Halston,” the Netflix biopic, took a pounding from critics, one thing that was widely agreed upon was that Scottish actor Ewan McGregor shined. His immersive turn, portraying a fashion icon through decades of his life, paid off with this nom, but it could be seen as reward enough. Some voters may feel he has a ballot spot that should have been reserved for other contenders and the show overall is lacking the buzz factor. (This was its biggest Emmy attention, despite five total noms.)
The filmed version of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning musical landed in homes in the middle of the pandemic where it provided joy when it was needed the most. Miranda is up against a co-star, but it helps that he is a former winner (for penning the song “Bigger” for the 67th annual Tony Awards) and that he has consistently made headlines amid voting, first for “In the Heights” and more recently for “Vivo.” If he wins, he will be three-quarters of the way to EGOT status.
Leslie Odom Jr.’s Aaron Burr is the true pillar and highlight of the acclaimed Broadway musical that got the movie treatment at Disney Plus. He won a Tony Award for his towering performance and, coming off his double Oscar nomination for “One Night in Miami” in acting and original song, he has momentum and increased industry love. While he’ll need to battle vote-siphoning from his co-star and industry grumblings that this project doesn’t “belong at the Emmys,” he may be closer to the top than people presume.
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 Limited 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: This category has had many rule changes and inceptions in its history, but it's worth noting that Laurence Olivier has the most wins in this category, with four with Peter Ustinov behind him with three.
For nominations: Hal Holbrook has the most nominations in this category of any actor with seven, while Benedict Cumberbatch and Laurence Olivier follow close behind with six apiece.
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.