This Sunday (tonight), the 69th annual Primetime Emmy Awards will air as the best in television are rewarded for their achievements over the last year. As we’ve learned with past Emmy airings, anything is possible, and surprise winners are plentiful.
This year, HBO is the leading network with 46 nominations in total while in terms of programs, FX’s “Feud: Bette and Joan” and HBO’s “Veep” each lead with 10.
Down below, we’ll break down all the categories, with predicted winners and thoughts:
Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special
PREDICTED WINNER: “Big Little Lies” – Written by David E. Kelley (HBO)
HBO’s “Big Little Lies” will have a good night at the Emmys but “Feud” has the potential to spoil in a few places. Kelley’s screenplay is beloved and just could sneak past the other contenders. We’re also open to a surprise win for “The Night Of.”
Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series
PREDICTED WINNER: “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
This is where the everything falls for “Saturday Night Live.” A historic year for the show, it may have one of its best evenings in the show’s history. Sitting, ready to pounce, is host Stephen Colbert or even the wit of John Oliver, both of which are well worth the award.
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
PREDICTED WINNER: “The Crown” (Episode: “Assassins”), Written by Peter Morgan (Netflix)
This is a deathmatch if there ever was one. “The Crown” feels conventional while the uniqueness of “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Stranger Things” would be a sure thing in any other year. And then there’s “Westworld,” prime for its own major win somewhere. In the end, let’s go with the words of Peter Morgan to edge out The Duffer Brothers and Bruce Miller.
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
PREDICTED WINNER: “Atlanta” (Episode B.A.N.”), Written by Donald Glover (FX)
Believe it or not, the writing categories for comedy seem to be a “consolation prize” of sorts for a show they REALLY want to embrace in the top category but don’t (i.e. past winners like “Louie” and “Master of None”). Under that umbrella, FX’s “Atlanta” looks like it can reward Donald Glover if they’re unable to move away from Jeffrey Tambor in Lead Actor. Let’s go with that to just beat out either episode of “Veep” and reigning champ Aziz Ansari.
Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special
PREDICTED WINNER: “Big Little Lies,” Directed by Jean-Marc Vallee (HBO)
If they are truly able to separate the dismal ending of “The Night Of” from its truly masterful beginning, Steve Zaillian is a real threat to snatch this. Because I believe some may not, Oscar-nominee Jean-Marc Vallee will become an Emmy winner for his work on “Big Little Lies.”
Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series
PREDICTED WINNER: “Saturday Night Live” (Episode: “Host: Jimmy Fallon”), Directed by Don Roy King (NBC)
More SNL but I’d watch out for Paul Pennolino’s work on “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.”
Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series
PREDICTED WINNER: “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Episode: “Offred”), Directed by Reed Morano (Hulu)
As much as Reed Morano SHOULD be running away with this, there’s a possibility that Stephen Daldry’s magic transcends to the Television Academy or that Morano’s counterpart Kate Dennis takes her own prize for her own episode. The Duffer Brothers would be an inspired, terrific choice as well. Against my better judgment, we’re thinking Morano takes it in the end.
Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series
PREDICTED WINNER: “Veep” (Episode: “Groundbreaking”), Directed by David Mandel (HBO)
This is where “Veep” is going to nab its love, the question is where and who? Closing my eyes and throwing a dart, we’re landing on David Mandel’s episode, “Groundbreaking.”
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
PREDICTED WINNER: Laura Dern as Renata Klein on “Big Little Lies” (Episode: “Once Bitten”) (HBO)
This is where the near-almost AMPAS President Laura Dern gets her proper due for her work on HBO’s groundbreaking mini-series. There is something about Judy Davis’ work in “Feud: Bette and Joan” that could offer up a case and steal.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
PREDICTED WINNER: Stanley Tucci as Jack L. Warner on “Feud: Bette and Joan” (Episode: “Pilot”) (FX)
You have to predict some surprises along the way and looking at either of the men from “Feud” offers up that opportunity while Bill Camp’s understated work in “The Night Of” is one of the show’s true highlights. Let’s go with an actor’s favorite actor like Stanley Tucci.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
PREDICTED WINNER: Thandie Newton as Maeve Millay on “Westworld” (Episode: “Trace Decay”) (HBO)
While the internet wants to see Millie Bobby Brown and the Hollywood admirers want to see Ann Dowd, HBO has probably managed to get enough support behind Thandie Newton’s work on “Westworld.” Chrissy Metz is also a real threat for “This Is Us” but did she submit the wrong episode?
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
PREDICTED WINNER: John Lithgow as Winston Churchill on “The Crown” (Episode: “Assassins”) (Netflix)
Call this Maggie Smith default Part 2. In the event it is not the national treasure, then Ron Cephas Jones garnered lots of support and love for his work on “This Is Us.” Michael Kelly has also been one of the best things about “House of Cards,” even with people getting cold on the show itself. I’d keep an eye on both of those gentlemen.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
PREDICTED WINNER: Kate McKinnon as Various Characters on “Saturday Night Live” (Episode: Host: Dave Chappelle”) (NBC)
Hillary Clinton, singing “Hallelujah,” is one of the defining moments of this past season of “Saturday Night Live.” Looks like McKinnon will make it back-to-back wins.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
PREDICTED WINNER: Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live” (Episode: “Host: Melissa McCarthy”) (NBC)
I don’t think there’s a bigger lock in the evening but dammit if they don’t recognize the brilliant work of Tituss Burgess on the best season of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” yet.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series
PREDICTED WINNER: Nicole Kidman as Celeste Wright on “Big Little Lies” (HBO)
Kidman will be one step closer to that EGOT but what if Reese Witherspoon is stealing votes, making way for a jaw-dropper like Carrie Coon? Food for thought.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
PREDICTED WINNER: John Turturro as John Stone on “The Night Of” (HBO)
This race is one of the tighter ones as honestly, any of the six men can win. Playing twins is mighty impressive and real-life people like Bernie Madoff and Albert Einstein are worth noting but in the end, let’s go with John Turturro who replaced James Gandolfini on “The Night Of” after his untimely passing.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
PREDICTED WINNER: Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II on “The Crown” (Episode: “Assassins”) (Netflix)
The race that everyone is watching. Will it be Claire Foy or Elisabeth Moss? Both brilliant, both worthy (my personal preference is Moss), but Foy just seems primed to take this.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
PREDICTED WINNER: Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill on “Better Call Saul” (Episode: “Expenses”) (AMC)
There are vocal admirers of Sterling K. Brown and Milo Ventimiglia on “This Is Us,” and they’re totally feasible winners in the end but something has been telling me that Bob Odenkirk has entered the spotlight in a big way and Emmy will notice. Critics Choice did last year.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
PREDICTED WINNER: Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer on “Veep” (Episode: “Groundbreaking”) (HBO)
Let’s make a million Emmys why don’t we? Maybe Allison Janney? Probably not.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
PREDICTED WINNER: Zach Galifianakis as Chip Baskets and Dale Baskets on “Baskets” (Episode: “Freaks”) (FX)
The internet wants Donald Glover while critics seem to want Aziz Ansari but I’m going with a curveball critics play for Zach Galifianakis in “Baskets.” Over Tambor you say? Yep. I’m ready to be wrong about it.
Outstanding Reality-Competition Program
PREDICTED WINNER: “RuPaul’s Drag Race”
Going with another curveball but “The Voice” or “Amazing Race” could default.
Outstanding Television Movie
PREDICTED WINNER: “Black Mirror: San Junipero” (Netflix)
Against my better judgment, I’m not defaulting on either of the HBO films. If it is one of them, I’m thinking “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.”
Outstanding Limited Series
PREDICTED WINNER: “Big Little Lies”
I think it’s signed, sealed, and delivered. Unless “Feud” says otherwise.
Outstanding Variety Sketch Series
PREDICTED WINNER: “Saturday Night Live”
The iconic show had a record-breaking season, with nearly every cast and crew member stepping up to be our voice and bring some laughs to a very dark time in America. They will likely be rewarded handsomely.
Outstanding Variety Talk Series
PREDICTED WINNER: “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” (HBO)
This is a tough one. James Corden continues to build his audience while Samantha Bee brilliantly taps into an underrepresented voice in the world. Colbert could reap the benefits of being the host but in the end, John Oliver might just slip by. Honestly, anyone but Bill Maher is acceptable.
Outstanding Drama Series
PREDICTED WINNER: “The Crown” (Netflix)
It’s a sprint to the finish line as “The Crown,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and “This Is Us” all stand an equal shot of taking the prize. NBC would be the first network show in over a decade to win while the streaming services look to continue to capitalize on the “golden age” of television. While the heart wants “The Handmaid’s Tale,” the magic of Netflix is hard to deny and they’ll likely pick up their first series win with “The Crown.”
Outstanding Comedy Series
PREDICTED WINNER: “Veep” (HBO)
While “Modern Family” feels like it’s “back,” it seems like the TV Academy moved on and they’re ready for something fresh and innovative. Prior to nominations, I would have thought “Silicon Valley” was inching towards its first major prize but the recent announcement about the end of “Veep” seems like it’s looking for two more major wins on its series before they close the doors. If the Academy is in a REALLY fresh mood, “Atlanta” and even “Black-ish” could pull in some love. “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” also had its best season yet and “Lemonade” is just another reminder of that.