The 71st Primetime Emmy Awards are just around the corner, and Screen Rant predicts the winner in each major category, and the inevitable show or performer who should have won. Over the past few years, the Emmys have delivered some genuine surprises — like Matthew Rhys’s win for The Americans — but have mostly stuck to what's familiar, often handing out awards to the same shows and cast members for years on end (we're looking at you, Modern Family). 2019 may prove to be no different, especially since Game of Thrones ended its momentous run with a contentious final season that nevertheless netted the series 32 nominations, all of which were added to HBO’s monumental 137 nominations overall.
But while Thrones is the odds-on favorite to win in the Outstanding Drama category, the supporting actor and actress categories are another matter altogether. Though Thrones cast members dominate both categories, it’s a toss-up whether or not anyone aside from past winner Peter Dinklage actually stands a chance at winning (it’s important to remember that it’s always an honor to be nominated, apparently). Similarly, Killing Eve has both of its lead actresses vying for the same award, making the lead actress category one worth watching closely.
Overall, there are a few chances for some surprises at the Emmys this year, with Ted Danson being up for his role in The Good Place, and Netflix having a solid chance to win big for When They See Us. Both are facing stiff competition from the likes of returning winner Bill Hader and Chernoby, however.
Nominees: Better Call Saul, Bodyguard, Game of Thrones, Killing Eve, Ozark, Pose, Succession, This is U
What Will Win: Game of Thrones (HBO)
Though the online ire of vocal fans disappointed in the final six episodes of HBO’s benchmark show seemingly raged hotter than dragon fire, it only proved that everyone was watching Game of Thrones come to an end. That, plus the show’s staggering 32 nominations this year, and its surprising win in the same category for season 7, will be reason enough to believe the Emmys will send the biggest show in the world off with one last win.
What Should Win: Succession (HBO)
It’s not as though Emmy voters are lacking in choice when it comes to Outstanding Drama, what with Better Call Saul, Killing Eve, and Pose in the group. But it’s hard to ignore the irony the title of HBO’s current best show (and the best show on TV at the moment) offers while being forced to wait another year as the network’s aging superstar takes a contentious victory lap.
Nominees: Barry, Fleabag, The Good Place, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Russian Doll, Schitt’s Creek, Veep
What Will Win: Veep (HBO)
While there’s a good chance last year’s winner, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, will make good on its impressive Emmy campaigning with back-to-back wins, it would be a mistake to think perennial Emmy favorite Veep won’t be on stage for reasons similar to that of Game of Thrones. Due in part to the academy’s fondness for star Julia Louis-Dreyfus and that its final season was certainly less divisive than its drama counterpart, the political comedy is likely to walk away with one more win.
What Should Win: Fleabag (Amazon)
It took a long time for Phoebe Waller-Bridge to return to Fleabag and given that she delivered a phenomenal follow-up packed with emotional depth, humor, and terrific performances, makes it worth the wait. With the series closed out and its creator, writer, and star interested in moving on to other projects, this gem deserves to take home the trophy.
Outstanding Limited Series & TV Movie
Nominees: (Limited Series) Chernobyl, Escape at Dannemora, Fosse/Verdon, Sharp Objects, When They See Us
(TV Movie) Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, Brexit, Deadwood, King Lear, My Dinner with Herve
What Will Win (Limited Series): Chernobyl (HBO)
Though it might seem like a no-brainer for the Emmys to hand Netflix a long-coveted trophy for Ava DuVernay’s dramatic depiction of the Central Park Five case. Chernobyl captivated audiences earlier this year with its dramatic retelling of the fateful meltdown (both bureaucratic and otherwise) at the nuclear facility in the ‘80s. Couple that with memorable performances from Jared Harris and Stellan Skarsgård and HBO could be taking home a big win.
What Should Win (Limited Series): When They See Us (Netflix)
Though it faces some stiff completion from period dramas like HBO’s thrilling Chernobyl as well as FX’s well acted Fosse/Verdon, When They See Us benefits from feeling most of this moment as well. That sense of timeliness makes this dramatization perhaps the more compelling choice at this year’s Emmys.
What Will Win (TV Move): Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (Netflix)
Emmy voters are nothing if not consistent, and Netflix’s Black Mirror has taken home trophies for San Junipero and USS Callister the past two years, giving Bandersnatch an edge over its closest competitor, Deadwood. Add the experimental nature of the choose-your-own-adventure component and Bandersnatch is the likely winner this year.
What Should Win (TV Move): Deadwood: The Movie (HBO)
It took more than ten years for Deadwood to reach its true conclusion after the series came to an unceremonious end with season 3. Somehow, though, creator David Milch managed to not only wrangle up the series’ core cast for the movie, he also managed to deliver an emotionally satisfying conclusion to one of the greatest feathers in HBO’s original series cap.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama
Nominees: Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones), Jodie Comer (Killing Eve), Viola Davis (How to Get Away with Murder), Laura Linney (Ozark), Mandy Moore (This is Us), Sandra Oh (Killing Eve), Robin Wright (House of Cards)
Who Will Win: Sandra Oh, Killing Eve (BBC America)
Though it will be a year late, Sandra Oh’s Lead Actress Emmy win (a first for an Asian woman) feels inevitable. It comes on the heels of Oh’s wins for her performance in the title role of BBC America’s smash hit at the Golden Globes, SAG, and Critics’ Choice Awards, and as such makes this a (deserved) correction on behalf of the Emmys
Who Should Win: Jodie Comer, Killing Eve (BBC America)
Though Killing Eve isn’t the only show to have two stars competing against one another, it is the only in a category as big as this. And while Oh’s performance is absolutely deserving of recognition, that acknowledgement will likely come in a year when her co-star dominated the screen with her portrayal as the deranged and very fashionable assassin Villanelle. If nothing else, it puts the Emmys a year behind again, meaning if Comer is to win, she may have to wait until next year.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama
Nominees: Jason Bateman (Ozark), Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us), Kit Harington (Game of Thrones), Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul), Billy Porter (Pose), Milo Ventimiglia (This Is Us)
Who Will Win: Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us (NBC)
Brown took home the Emmy in 2017, and although the field is stacked against him, with perennial bridesmaid Bob Odenkirk and Billy Porter in the mix, it’s a good bet that he’ll be on stage again to accept the award. There’s a chance that Harington could swoop in and take the prize, proving once and for all no one should ever mess with a show with dragons, but Brown nevertheless seems like the best bet.
Who Should Win: Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul (AMC)
Like The Americans, Better Call Saul is certainly deserving of multiple awards, and yet it seems overlooked every year. Like The Americans, though, Saul may well see its fortunes change late in its run. While that may not be likely this year, Odenkirk’s masterful descent into Saul Goodman was at an all-time high in season 4, and he definitely deserves to take home the Emmy.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama
Nominees: Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones), Lena Heady (Game of Thrones), Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones), Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones), Fiona Shaw (Killing Eve), Julia Garner (Ozark)
Who Will Win: Julia Garner, Ozark (Netflix)
Garner is arguably the standout on Netflix’s blue-tinted crime drama, and she deserves to be regarded as such. With memorable past roles on The Americans and Maniac, Garner will likely see Game of Thrones go home empty handed in this category, even though the series has stacked the bench.
Who Should Win: Gwendonline Christie, Game of Thrones (HBO)
While, yes, Game of Thrones’ final season wasn’t all fans hoped it could have been, Gwendoline Christie’s emotional performance in the best episode of the final six, ‘A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,’ should earn her a trip on stage to accept the award.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama
Nominees: Jonathan Banks (Better Call Saul), Giancarlo Esposito (Better Call Saul), Alfie Allen (Game of Thrones), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones), Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), Michael Kelly (House of Cards), Chris Sullivan (This Is Us)
Who Will Win: Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones (HBO)
Like the supporting actress category, Game of Thrones has pitted co-stars against one another. It’s a common enough situation for Dinklage and his on-screen brother Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, but this time they’re also facing off against first-time nominee Alfie Allen. Nevertheless, the only actor to win for a performance on the show will be the one to walk up on stage one last time.
Who Should Win: Giancarlo Esposito, Better Call Saul (AMC)
Esposito has been here before, albeit for his performance as Gustavo Fring in Breaking Bad. Rarely (if ever) has an actor whose character and demise were so memorable (and over-the-top) on the original series surpassed his performance in a prequel series. But Esposito has done just that by bringing Bad fans to Saul for a closer look at events that made Fring into the menacing presence he would eventually become.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy
Nominees: Christina Applegate (Dead to Me), Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep), Natasha Lyonne (Russian Doll), Catherine O’Hara (Schitt’s Creek), Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag)
Who Will Win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep (HBO)
Louis-Dreyfus is the undisputed champ for this category, having won six previous trophies for her role as Selina Meyer in HBO’s recently concluded political comedy. Though the award went to Rachel Brosnahan last year, it’s unlikely she’ll repeat, or 2019 will see a new actress take the stage as the narrative around Louis-Dreyfus, and the promise of setting a record, will see her earn one last award for Veep.
Who Should Win: Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll (Netflix)
Natasha Lyonne turned in the best performance of her career with Netflix's Russian Doll, serving as creator, executive producer, and writer at the same time. The result was one of the best new shows of the year, and a defining moment in Lyonne's career that deserves to be recognized with a win at the Emmys.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy
Nominees: Anthony Anderson (Black-ish), Don Cheadle (Black Monday), Ted Danson (The Good Place), Michael Douglas (The Kominsky Method), Bill Hader (Barry), Eugene Levy (Schitt’s Creek)
Who Will Win: Bill Hader, Barry (HBO)
Hader may have surprised many (including himself) with a win last year in the title role on HBO’s Barry, but it will be less of a surprise to see him take the stage again for his performance in season 2. There’s some tough competition, but Douglas, Levy, and Danson might not have the juice to take down the reigning champ.
Who Should Win: Ted Danson, The Good Place (NBC)
This is a stacked category with fine performances all around, but it’s hard to ignore just how great Danson is a the reformed demon Michael on NBC’s existential comedy. With the series beginning its fourth and final season not long after the award ceremony, Danson will have one last chance to pick up a well-deserved Emmy, but hopefully he won’t have to wait another year.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy
Nominees: Sarah Goldberg (Barry), Sian Clifford (Fleabag), Olivia Colman (Fleabag), Betty Gilpin (GLOW), Kate McKinnon (SNL), Marin Hinkle (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Alex Borstein (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)
Who Will Win: Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
This is perhaps the most competitive category this year, with past winner Kate McKinnon in competition alongside Fleabag's Sian Clifford and Oscar winner Olivia Colman. But considering just how many nominations The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has (two here), it stands to reason that Borstein will walk away with the prize.
Who Should Win: Betty Gilpin, GLOW (Netflix)
Gilpin's been here before, and for good reason. Though she hasn't walked away with the trophy for her performance as Debbie Eagan in Netflix's always great GLOW, she's deserved it. And she deserves it even more this year, as she's led a number of memorable episodes that've positioned her as one of Netflix's most talented players.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy
Nominees: Henry Winkler (Barry), Anthony Carrigan (Barry), Stephen Root (Barry), Alan Arkin (The Kominsky Method), Tony Shalhoub (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)
Who Will Win: Henry Winkler, Barry (HBO)
Like Hader, Winkler is a favorite to repeat for his role in HBO's Barry. It's understandable, too, as Winkler has consistently delivered some of the best work of his career, and helped give the dark comedy some of its biggest laughs. Winkler is up against some tough competition, in Alan Arkin, Tony Shalhoub, and co-stars Anthony Carrigan and Stephen Root, but he's still the odds-on favorite.
Who Should Win: Anthony Carrigan, Barry (HBO)
Sometimes a character actor should be rewarded for creating such a memorable character. In this case it's Carrigan's hilarious NoHo Hank, a Chechen gangster with a heart of gold and a soft spot for his hero, Barry. Carrigan's been on a winning streak as of late, practically stealing every scene he's in, which is no small feat considering the talent he's up against.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
Nominees: Mahershala Ali (True Detective), Benicio Del Toro (Escape at Dannemora), Hugh Grant (A Very English Scandal), Jared Harris (Chernobyl), Jharrel Jerome (When They See Us), Sam Rockwell (Fosse/Verdon)
Who Will Win: Mahershala Ali, True Detective (HBO)
When compared against any of the other limited series nominees, True Detective season 3 is perhaps the weakest of the bunch, but Ali puts it into contention with a powerful performance that frequently rises above the material he had to work with. Ali embodies his character in each stage of his life, making the aging makeup seem like an afterthought in many cases, all but securing him the win.
Who Should Win: Mahershala Ali, True Detective (HBO)
While Grant was terrific in A Very English Scandal and Harris delivered a terrific performance in Chernobyl it's hard to argue anyone deserves this over Ali. Sure, there's a chance voters will find an emotional favorite in Rockwell's performance as Bob Fosse, but this one feels like Ali's.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
Nominees: Amy Adams (Sharp Objects), Patricial Arquette (Escape at Dannemora), Aunjaneue Ellis (When They See Us), Joey King (The Act), Niecy Nash (When They See Us), Michelle Williams (Fosse/Verdon)
Who Will Win: Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon (FX)
There's really no wrong answer in this category, as every performance is award worthy, though it's Arquette, Adams, and Williams who emerge as the most likely to take home the statue. Arquette already won at the Golden Globes, so Emmy voters might want to play catch up there, but Williams's performance in Fosse/Verdon was consistently engaging and lovely to watch.
Who Should Win: Amy Adams, Sharp Objects (HBO)
She was superb in Sharp Objects. Just give her a damn award already!
The 71st Primetime Emmy Awards airs live on FOX Sunday, September 22 @8pm ET.