The 74th Annual Emmy Awards are finally upon us as Hollywood comes together to celebrate the year’s best in television.
There has been plenty to talk about since J.B. Smoove and Melissa Fumero announced this year’s nominees in a brutally unfunny fashion on July 12.
“Succession” leads all shows with 25 nominations, but it wasn’t the only established title to come back strong this year. “Barry,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” and “Ted Lasso” all turned in memorable, inventive and thoroughly entertaining seasons that have put them all in great position coming into tonight.
Plenty of new shows and limited seasons have also burst onto the scene. “Severance” has positioned itself as a dark-horse entrant in multiple categories, while “The White Lotus” seems to have caught the Television Academy’s eye in a big way.
Here are some of tonight’s biggest battles for awards and predictions for how they’ll turn out:
The award for Outstanding Drama Series is arguably the most prestigious that will be handed out tonight. And the main shows in contention are the genre’s gold standard.
“Better Call Saul” is my favorite for the category. It has done what no one thought was possible, spinning off from one of the greatest TV shows of all time, “Breaking Bad,” and taking its beloved characters to new heights.
The beautifully-written character study of an ambitious, morally questionable attorney has long served as a vehicle for phenomenal performances from its powerhouse cast, especially from Bob Odenkirk as the titular Saul Goodman and Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler, his partner in law and love. Both of them will almost certainly go home with trophies for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, respectively.
“Succession,” HBO’s deliciously diabolical drama about the inner workings of a cutthroat media magnate’s family, will be tough to beat, though.
It’s the only show to have three episodes nominated for the directing prize in the genre, which makes it clear where the Academy’s hearts lie. A truly loaded ensemble cast also netted the show seven non-guest acting nominations, but Matthew Macfadyen’s incredibly layered portrayal of the offbeat, yet determined in-law Tom Wambsgans will likely be the only one to get the show a win.
The rest of the field is also stacked with talent.
“Severance” may steal the directing prize from “Succession,” as it’s a visual triumph. And “Killing Eve” might leave the air with an award for one of its lead actresses, with Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer both in contention.
The conversation has to start and end right there.
The newest season of the HBO comedy may be one of the greatest single seasons of television ever made. That it will win Outstanding Comedy Series is a forgone conclusion. Anything else would be an affront to television itself.
Bill Hader has proved he can do it all. He plays the titular assassin-turned-actor with such demented attention to detail, it’s genuinely harrowing at times. His writing has helped elevate the art of the television comedy, introducing dramatic elements with resounding emotional strength while still being downright hilarious. Hader’s also grown into his own as a director, with a spellbinding, minimalistic chase scene from late in the season all but guaranteeing he’ll win awards for all three of these disciplines.
Either Anthony Carrigan or Henry Winkler will almost certainly win the award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy, and the snubbed Sarah Goldberg turned in a better performance than anyone nominated for the genre’s Outstanding Supporting Actress award. (And the fact that they nominated anyone from Saturday Night Live instead of her, even if it is Kate McKinnon… foul.)
It’s important to recognize the great work of shows like “Abbott Elementary” and “Ted Lasso,” which have managed to differentiate themselves from traditional sitcoms in ways that have made them truly stand out. And "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" has again highlighted the unbelievable chemistry of Rachel Brosnahan and Alex Borstein.
But come on. It's "Barry." It's got to be "Barry."
The oft-forgotten limited series discipline has some gems that may otherwise be forgotten tonight, so they bear mentioning.
“The White Lotus” is my favorite for Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series, particularly because of its unbelievably talented ensemble cast. Jennifer Coolidge and Murray Bartlett deserve the two acting awards for the genre, as their performances were truly special, but any one of the show’s eight nominated actors (that's eight out of 14 acting nominations) could take home a trophy.
“The Staircase,” — the true-crime fictionalization of the story of the death of Durham-based Kathleen Peterson — and “Dopesick,” Hulu’s show about the opioid crisis, are also worth watching out for, as either could very well supplant “The White Lotus” as the genre’s big winner tonight.
Regardless of how the night turns out, it’ll be hard for the Television Academy to hand out awards to anyone that doesn’t deserve it.
I’m sure they’ll try anyway, though, in true awards show fashion, at 8 p.m. on NBC and Peacock.
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