Entertainment Television

EMMY PREDICTIONS: TV race open now that 'Games of Thrones' not eligible

By Murissa Barrington, Postmedia Network

Actress Nicole Kidman(left) attends the premiere of HBO's 'Big Little Lies' at TCL Chinese Theatre on February 7, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images), Actress Jessica Lange (right) arrives at the Premiere of FX Network's 'Feud: Bette And Joan' at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on March 1, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Actress Nicole Kidman(left) attends the premiere of HBO's 'Big Little Lies' at TCL Chinese Theatre on February 7, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images), Actress Jessica Lange (right) arrives at the Premiere of FX Network's 'Feud: Bette And Joan' at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on March 1, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

On your mark, get set, nominate!

Yep, it’s Emmy season again, when the best on the small screen are honoured by The National Academy of Arts and Sciences (NATAS) — and/or are snubbed!

Veep’s Anna Chlumsky and Criminal Minds’ Shemar Moore will be presenting 2017’s official Emmy Award nominees this morning at 11:30 a.m. ET in North Hollywood, California. The event can be viewed online via live stream at www.Emmys.com. (Emmy winner Stephen Colbert will be hosting the 69th annual live kudofest on CBS and CTV airing on Sept. 17 at 8 p.m. ET.) If our couch imprints are any indication, there’s no doubt we’re in the middle of another golden era of TV and streaming – with no end in sight.  

With networks taking more chances on less-conventional programming, and online-only shows continuing to explode, categories are now inundated with endless nominees. 

Since HBO’s juggernaut  Game of Thrones is ineligible this year, there’ll be more room for new blood and/or previously ignored contenders on the ballot.

Goldderby.com’s managing editor Chris Beachum predicts newcomers will reign and sweep: “The Crown, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Feud: Bette and Joan will receive the most nominations.”

Freshman shows like HBO’s Westworld and FX’s Atlanta are just a couple that are expected to make the cut on their first attempt.

That’s because Beachum reveals new Emmy rule changes have helped to “open up the process” for all – not just the usual suspects.

“Now virtually everyone votes online,” he sets up. “The biggest change is that voters no longer have restrictions on how many contenders they vote for in each category.”

That means academy voters have two options: be more economic with their choices or dilute the pool with myriad contenders.

Saturating the process is the endless streaming world, which has taken on a life of its own in recent years. And while new projects seem to appear every week, there hasn’t been a new category created to honour major online content specifically. Beachum says that’s because NATAS maintains streamers should be judged the same as their on-air peers.

Other than campaigning for noms in industry bibles with ads, at least one showrunner is risking it all for some Emmy love.

Leftovers producer Damon Lindelof is willing to strip 

Justin Theroux naked: the showrunner teased that, if nominated, Theroux’s character would lose those infamous sweatpants he wore during the final season. (Don’t tell Jen Aniston!)

But some are worried that with a slew of Oscar winners and film superstars — like Feud’s Susan Sarandon — starring in first-rate TV projects, lesser-known but equally great actors like Gilmore Girls’ Lauren Graham will be snubbed.

With an ocean of possibilities, 24 Hours compiled the predictions of various TV critics to come up with a realistic yet optimistic dream ballot that can help you with your office Emmy nom pool:

DRAMA SERIES

1. The Americans

2. Better Call Saul

3. The Handmaid’s Tale

4. The Leftovers

5. Orange Is The New Black

6. This Is Us

7. Westworld

Underdogs: Stranger Things, The Crown

Experts at Vanity Fair are betting on the lavish, British period-piece The Crown to earn a nom and possibly even a streak. Canadian rival The Handmaid’s Tale, based off of the best-selling novel by Margaret Atwood, is a basically a shoo-in for a nomination. The show starring Elisabeth Moss has a perfect 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and is being hailed as one of the must-watch shows of the season.

LEAD ACTOR - DRAMA

1. Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us

2. Matthew Rhys, The Americans

3. Rupert Friend, Homeland

4. Justin Theroux, The Leftovers

5. Dan Stevens, Legion

6. Freddie Highmore, Bates Motel

Underdogs: Rami Malek, Mr. Robot; Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

On the heels of last year’s Supporting Actor win, Sterling K. Brown could elevate to the big leagues. This time around, Brown delivers yet another palpable yet vulnerable performance that will resonate with voters.

LEAD ACTRESS - DRAMA

1. Carrie Coon, The Leftovers

2.Viola Davis, How To Get Away With Murder

3. Claire Foy, The Crown

4. Mandy Moore, This Is Us

5. Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale

6. Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld

Underdogs: Keri Russell, The Americans

This category is jam-packed with talent, but across the board, experts agree on two top contenders. “On the drama side, count on Foy (Golden Globe and SAG winner) and Moss,” predicts Beachum.

COMEDY SERIES

1. Atlanta

2. Modern Family

3. Girls

4. The Good Place

5. Black-ish

6. Master Of None

7. Veep

Underdogs: Superstore and Insecure

Both Modern Family and Veep have had their winning runs. Voters may be tired of them which makes Atlanta a clear favourite thanks to Golden Globe Award winner Donald Glover’s refreshing tale about a broke Princeton dropout who decides to manage his cousin and local rapper Paper Boi.

LEAD ACTOR - COMEDY

1. Donald Glover, Atlanta

2. Hank Azaria, Brockwire

3. Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

4. Tommy Dewey, Casual

5. Ted Danson, The Good Place

6. Anthony Anderson, Black-ish

Underdogs: Alec Baldwin, Saturday Night Live

Baldwin’s impersonation of Donald Trump was a hit with viewers for months but can the multiple Emmy winner’s satirical take on the U.S. president outshine heavier, more realistic performances? If not, we suspect Tambor’s performance in Transparent or Black-ish’s Anderson to lead the way.

LEAD ACTRESS - COMEDY

1. Kristen Bell, The Good Place

2. Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie

3. Ellie Kemper, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

4. Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish

5. Issa Rae, Insecure

6. Michaela Watkins, Casual

7. Julia Lois-Dreyfus, Veep

Underdogs: Kate McKinnon, SNL; Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-girlfriend; and Justina Machado, One Day At A Time

Julia Louis-Dreyfus won this category for the past four years — can she do it again? Or will voters be distracted by the colourful lead options: Wishful thinking has me hoping Rae will win for her hilarious bathroom mirror raps and awkward attempts of ‘fitting in.’ But it’s likely the Emmy will stick to what they know and love. Beachum says, “Look for the continued support of Julia, Tracee and Kate.”

LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE

1. American Crime

2. Big Little Lies

3. Fargo

4. Feud: Bette And Joan

5. Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life

6. The Night Of

Gilmore Girls’ return to the small screen was arguably the most anticipated series reboot of the year. But the Netflix series was ignored by Emmy voters for most of its CW run so Vanity Fair says The Night Of and Feud: Bette and Joan are the only entrants worth betting on.

LEAD ACTRESS IN LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE

1. Lauren Graham, Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life

2. Felicity Huffman, American Crime

3. Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies

4. Jessica Lange, Feud: Bette And Joan

5. Oprah Winfrey, The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks

6. Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies

It’ll take a miracle for anyone to beat Lange for her mesmerizing portrayal of Joan Crawford in Feud: Bette and Joan. But don’t count out Kidman, who was equally as transformative in Big Little Lies.

LEAD ACTOR IN LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE

1. Riz Ahmed, The Night Of

2. Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: The Lying Detective

3. Robert De Niro, The Wizard Of Lies

4. Geoffrey Rush, Genius

5. John Turturro, The Night Of

6. Ewan Mcgregor, Fargo

REALITY-COMPETITION PROGRAM

1. The Voice

2. The Amazing Race

3. Top Chef

4. American Ninja Warrior

5. Dancing With the Stars

6. RuPaul’s Drag Race

Underdogs: Project Runway, Survivor, and Celebrity Family Feud

HOST FOR A REALITY OR REALITY-COMPETITION PROGRAM

1. RuPaul Charles, RuPaul’s Drag Race

2. Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, Project Runway

3. Tom Bergeron, Dancing With the Stars

4. Alec Baldwin, Match Game

5. Steve Harvey, Little Big Shots

6. LL Cool J, Lip Sync Battle

Underdogs: Phil Keoghan, The Amazing Race; Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg, Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party