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: Five Emmy nominations later, Michael K. Williams has yet to step on stage to accept a statue. He has been the de facto front-runner for previous roles (“The Night Of,” “When They See Us”), so voters may see an opportunity to present a career Emmy here. That his HBO series was canceled in-between voting rounds has had people talking about its the standout performances anew, one of which was Williams. He may be the easiest one to reward.

Giancarlo Esposito is the Disney Plus series’ lone acting accolade out of 24 total noms. Between the love the Television Academy is showing the show and its interest in Esposito (he has four prior noms, including for this role in the guest race last year), it may be his time to take home the trophy. He submitted the most memorable episode of the second season, “Chapter 16: The Rescue,” which is also nominated for writing.

O-T Fagbenle has been climbing the ranks of Hollywood’s most exciting artists and picked up extra exposure this year for his turns in “Maxxx” and “Black Widow.” That likely helped him beat out other prominent names to receive this nom. He, too, submitted an episode also up for a writing Emmy (“Home”), but unfortunately it won’t give him an edge when he’s competing against so many co-stars.

John Lithgow is undoubtedly one of the greatest actors of his generation and already has six Emmys to show for it. Now he’s back on the ballot for HBO’s prequel “Perry Mason,” which picked up four noms. With different episode submissions for each (Lithgow’s is “Chapter Four”), it’s not a done deal that voters will take the time to go back and watch each entry, though.

Tobias Menzies was one of the big snubs last year, but he has his first Emmy nom now, in a transformative year for “The Crown,” as next season sees recasting. So, it stands an excellent chance of being the “Schitt’s Creek” of 2021, winning all four acting categories. Also helpful is that his submission, “Gold Stick,” is also Charles Dance’s submission, and that boost of visibility will help Menzies’ chances for the win.

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The respect Max Minghella garnered for work both in front of and behind the camera over the years could make him a potential spoiler in this race. His episode submission, “The Crossing,” is one of the six submitted for drama series, which also aids in his chances. However, navigating the competition among his co-stars will prove tricky

Chris Sullivan has a long résumé of roles well before he stepped onto set of NBC family drama “This Is Us.” This works in his favor, as he is well-known and wellliked among his peers. His submitted episode, “In the Room,” was full of milestones, in addition to the usual emotions, but there may be too much competition this year for him to squeak by some of the louder, more extensive performances.

Three-time Emmy winner Bradley Whitford has been nominated for Hulu’s dystopian drama for the past three years. (He won in 2019 when he submitted in the guest category.) Of all the “Handmaid’s” actors on this ballot, Whitford stands the strongest chance at victory, and his entry of the emotional “Testimony” only increases those odds. But it can’t be said enough that vote-splitting among those from the same show is a very real obstacle for him to overcome.

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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AWARDS CATEGORY HISTORY (Supporting Actor Drama 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: Peter Dinklage is the most awarded actor in this category, with four individual wins for his turn as Tyrion Lannister on HBO's "Game of Thrones." Art Carney, Don Knotts and Aaron Paul are the second most awarded with three wins each. "Game of Thrones," "L.A. Law" and "The West Wing" each have four wins for its actors in this category over its runs, the most of any television series.

For nominations: Peter Dinklage is the most nominated person in this category with eight nominations, all for each season of "Game of Thrones." Five actors are tied behind him with six nominations: Jonathan Banks, Ed Begley Jr, Will Geer, Jimmy Smits, and Bruce Weitz. Banks and Begley Jr are the only two to have not won yet in any Primetime Emmy category.

"Hill Street Blues" is the series that has received the most nominations in this category over its run, with 16 nominations with "L.A. Law" and "The West Wing" close behind with 15 and 14 nods, respectively.

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.