Zoë’s Final Emmy Predictions

Even though Oscar punditry has started in earnest with the one-two-three punch of the Venice International Film Festival, the Telluride Film Festival, and the Toronto International Film Festival, we do still have an Emmys ceremony to get through before we can really divert all our attention to the Academy Awards, and while a few categories sure seem “locked-up,” there are still some potential upsets looming worth discussing. So, without further ado, here are my final predictions for the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards.

DRAMA SERIES

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES

The cast of Succession

There’s strong support for Severance and Squid Game in this category as well, but Succession is still no slouch, and it remains one of the most beloved – and most watched – shows in the industry. I’m still sticking with it taking top honors, while Severance and Squid Game get their dues elsewhere in other specific categories (and Succession‘s recent Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series win helped solidify that suspicion).

Will Win: Succession

Could Win: Severance

Should Win: Severance

Should’ve Been Here: This Is Us

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES 

Lee Jung-jae in Squid Game

This is where I think voters will opt to honor Squid Game – for its marvelous leading man (who will be off to a galaxy far, far away after this). I also still feel like Bob Odenkirk is a strong competitor – unless voters choose to honor him next year, for the entirety of Better Call Saul‘s final season – while Succession‘s Jeremy Strong could also win once more, but the momentum feels like it’s with Lee Jung-jae, especially after that surprise SAG win.

Will Win: Lee Jung-jae – Squid Game

Could Win: Bob Odenkirk – Better Call Saul

Should Win: Lee Jung-jae – Squid Game

Should’ve Been Nominated: Jonathan Bailey – Bridgerton

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES

Melanie Lynskey in Yellowjackets

We’ve gone back-and-forth on this one for weeks, but I’ve finally settled on Melanie Lynskey, and I’m sticking with it. Ever since the nominations were announced (and a little before, to be honest), the momentum has been with Melanie, and after win after win and splashy profile after splashy profile, that train doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon. Zendaya admittedly has an insanely showy episode submission, but given that she’s already an Emmy winner, we think voters might opt to recognize Lynskey’s equally riveting work – and commendable career – instead.

Will Win: Melanie Lynskey – Yellowjackets

Could Win: Zendaya – Euphoria

Should Win: Melanie Lynskey – Yellowjackets

Should’ve Been Nominated: Mandy Moore – This Is Us

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

Matthew Macfadyen in Succession Season 3

Many of my fellow pundits are predicting Kieran Culkin here – and with good reason, given that many of his signature moments this season of Succession became instantly iconic memes – but I keep coming back to Matthew Macfadyen. After that shocking season finale, his Tom really became a major power player on the show unlike ever before, and he’s crucial to the conclusion working as well as it does. I think that could be too dramatic a moment to dismiss, but I recognize that this is an insanely close race.

Will Win: Matthew Macfadyen – Succession

Could Win: Kieran Culkin – Succession

Should Win: Matthew Macfadyen – Succession

Should’ve Been Nominated: Jamie Campbell Bower – Stranger Things

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES

Julia Garner in Ozark Season 4

I know Julia Garner already won this award two years in a row, and that has everyone thinking she might be vulnerable for round three, but come on – when you deliver the performance she did this season of Ozark (her best ever on the show, in my opinion), another Emmy is justified. With that being said, she does still have some competition (watch out out for Succession‘s Sarah Snook and Squid Game‘s Jung Ho-yeon), but I’d actually keep an eye on Euphoria‘s Sydney Sweeney most of all – a major “it girl” at the moment who, like Garner, is this year’s only double acting Emmy nominee.

Will Win: Julia Garner – Ozark

Could Win: Sydney Sweeney – Euphoria

Should Win: Julia Garner – Ozark

Should’ve Been Nominated: Sadie Sink – Stranger Things

OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A DRAMA SERIES

Adam Scott in Severance

This is really between Severance‘s Ben Stiller and Squid Game‘s Hwang Dong-hyuk, and I think there’s a razor thin difference between the two right now, but since I’m already giving Squid Game a win above in Lead Actor in a Drama Series, I think this will be Severance‘s big award of the evening – and in voting for it here, the Television Academy will also be able to honor a big name in the form of Ben Stiller on the telecast. Hwang Dong-hyuk is right there (“Red Light, Green Light” is probably the “splashier” “director’s showcase”), but I’m sticking with Stiller.

Will Win: Ben Stiller – Severance (“The We We Are”)

Could Win: Hwang Dong-hyuk – Squid Game (“Red Light, Green Light”)

Should Win: Karyn Kusama – Yellowjackets (“Pilot”)

Should’ve Been Nominated: Shawn Levy – Stranger Things (“Chapter Four: Dear Billy”)

OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A DRAMA SERIES

Matthew Macfadyen and Sarah Snook in Succession Season 3

Writing is Succession‘s strong suit – it’s one of the best written shows on television today, and there’s no taking that title from it. And given that this submission is that sterling season finale (which was pretty much widely agreed to be the strongest episode of this third season), Succession‘s win here seems all but secured – though I would love to see a Severance upset, and I do think it’s the runner-up.

Will Win: Jesse Armstrong – Succession (“All the Bells Say”)

Could Win: Dan Erickson – Severance (“The We We Are”)

Should Win: Dan Erickson – Severance (“The We We Are”)

Should’ve Been Nominated: Dan Fogelman – This Is Us (“The Train”)

COMEDY SERIES

OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES

The cast of Abbott Elementary

It’s happening! After Abbott Elementary‘s “surprise” Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series win at the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy awards, its path to the win in Outstanding Comedy Series seems clearer than ever – especially when you figure in the acting and writing wins I’ll be giving it below. I don’t care if it has far fewer noms than its top competitors in the category like Ted Lasso and Hacks – the passion for Abbott Elementary is palpable, and the momentum has been with it for weeks. It’s getting that gold.

Will Win: Abbott Elementary

Could Win: Ted Lasso

Should Win: Abbott Elementary

Should’ve Been Nominated: The Sex Lives of College Girls

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

Bill Hader in Barry Season 3

You can debate Barry‘s category placement until you’re blue in the face, but the fact of the matter is that Bill Hader had the most complex and compelling performance of the season in this category, and at the end of the day, that’s all that’s gonna matter. Jason Sudeikis got to delve a bit more into drama as well in this season of Ted Lasso, but he’s already been amply awarded for this show, and Hader is back to reclaim his crown. He may already have two Emmys under his belt for this same role, but he evolved exponentially as an actor this season, and he’ll be awarded for it.

Will Win: Bill Hader – Barry

Could Win: Jason Sudeikis – Ted Lasso

Should Win: Bill Hader – Barry

Should’ve Been Nominated: John Cena – Peacemaker

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

Jean Smart in Hacks Season 2

There’s been some discussion that Abbott Elementary‘s Quinta Brunson could stage an upset here – especially after her TCA victory, which has historically preceded an acting win at the Emmys for the past five years – but given that this is the only win I’m predicting for the still-beloved Hacks as of now, I feel like I have to stick with Jean Smart (and it’s not like her powerhouse performance – which somehow improved on her already audacious acting in Season 1 – doesn’t speak for itself). Still, if Abbott REALLY overperforms, I won’t be surprised at all to see it nab this, too.

Will Win: Jean Smart – Hacks

Could Win: Quinta Brunson – Abbott Elementary

Should Win: Jean Smart – Hacks

Should’ve Been Nominated: Renée Rapp – The Sex Lives of College Girls

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

Brett Goldstein in Ted Lasso

It feels weird for this to be the only win I’m predicting for Ted Lasso, but I think that speaks to the strength of this year’s Comedy Series contenders – and to the strength of Mr. Brett Goldstein, as well. When some characters stagnated (or even regressed) on Season 2 of Ted Lasso, Roy Kent remained the MVP by far, with the writers and Goldstein continually taking the coarse soccer coach into compelling new directions that allowed him to steal scene after scene after scene. I’d love to see Henry Winkler or Anthony Carrigan from Barry put up a fight, but Goldstein can start practicing his acceptance speech.

Will Win: Brett Goldstein – Ted Lasso

Could Win: Henry Winkler – Barry

Should Win: Anthony Carrigan – Barry

Should’ve Been Nominated: Ncuti Gatwa – Sex Education

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

Janelle James in Abbott Elementary

I see the case for Hannah Waddingham – and even Hacks‘ Hannah Einbinder, to a degree – but c’mon, if Abbott Elementary is closest to the win in any category, it HAS to be here, right? Janelle James’ Ava was one of the standout characters on TV this season in any show, and her quotes have already become immortalized. In terms of pure iconicism, James and Ava can’t be beat, and I think that, with the wave of support for Abbott overall, they’ll be swept along.

Will Win: Janelle James – Abbott Elementary

Could Win: Hannah Waddingham – Ted Lasso

Should Win: Janelle James – Abbott Elementary

Should’ve Been Nominated: Sarah Goldberg – Barry

OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A COMEDY SERIES

Barry Episode "710N"

I mean, did you SEE “710N”? Simply put, Hader’s work there speaks for itself. I am still keeping an eye on last year’s winner, Lucia Aniello, but in all honesty, “710N” is on a whole other level here. It doesn’t even matter if he wins acting as well, because different branches vote for their specific categories here at the Emmys, so there’s no “I’ll vote for Hader here and another person there” mentality.

Will Win: Bill Hader – Barry (“710N”)

Could Win: Lucia Aniello – Hacks (“There Will Be Blood”)

Should Win: Bill Hader – Barry (“710N”)

Should’ve Been Nominated: James Gunn – Peacemaker (“It’s Cow or Never”)

OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A COMEDY SERIES

Quinta Brunson in Abbott Elementary

Last year’s winners, Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs, and Jen Statsky are back and better than ever with the wittily-written Hacks, which somehow improved on its already stellar first season, but methinks Quinta Brunson has this one in the bag. With the Hacks team being taken care of last year – and Abbott on the rise everywhere – I believe this is one of the best places to recognize Brunson specifically, where voters honor her stellar set-up for one of the strongest sitcoms in year.

Will Win: Quinta Brunson – Abbott Elementary (“Pilot”)

Could Win: Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs, and Jen Statsky – Hacks (“The One, the Only”)

Should Win: Quinta Brunson – Abbott Elementary (“Pilot”)

Should’ve Been Nominated: Mindy Kaling and Justin Noble – The Sex Lives of College Girls (“Welcome to Essex”)

LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES

OUTSTANDING LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES

The ensemble of The White Lotus

I was always skeptical if The White Lotus would be totally embraced by the Television Academy – its a purposely provocative show, while Dopesick also deals with timely subject matter in a more palatable manner for mainstream audiences – but 20 nominations later, it’s clear that The White Lotus is in the lead, and I don’t think it’s slowing down any time soon. It’s absurdly well-acted, wonderfully written, and speaks to the moment in a way few other shows on right now do. It’s striking while the iron is hot.

Will Win: The White Lotus

Could Win: Dopesick

Should Win: The White Lotus

Should’ve Been Nominated: Maid

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES OR MOVIE

Michael Keaton in Dopesick

Come on – this is Keaton’s. He won the Golden Globe, he won the SAG, and he’s coming right for that Emmy as well. After Pam and Tommy overperformed, Sebastian Stan is likely his closest competition (and not Colin Firth or Andrew Garfield, as once presumed), but the momentum is with Keaton, and the industry is behind him fully. This will be Dopesick‘s big win.

Will Win: Michael Keaton – Dopesick

Could Win: Sebastian Stan – Pam and Tommy

Should Win: Michael Keaton – Dopesick

Should’ve Been Nominated: Ben Foster – Survivor

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES OR MOVIE

Amanda Seyfreid in The Dropout

I will mourn Margaret Qualley’s Emmy chances until the end of my days, but a race between Amanda Seyfried and Lily James is far from the worst thing in the world. Seyfried has the edge in a bit of a buzzier show/role, but James is more transformative (in a show that, as we just said, did overperform), so it’s possible there’s an upset, but I think the support is there for the recent Oscar nominee to finally nab one of her first major industry awards.

Will Win: Amanda Seyfried – The Dropout

Could Win: Lily James – Pam and Tommy

Should Win: Margaret Qualley – Maid

Should’ve Been Nominated: Jessica Chastain – Scenes from a Marriage

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES OR MOVIE

Murray Bartlett in The White Lotus

Even though he’s in the supporting category, Murray Bartlett is the actor that feels the most like “the lead” in The White Lotus, and as such, he seems to give the most complex performance in this category, clearing his path to the win significantly. Like in Lead Actor and Lead Actress, Pam and Tommy‘s overperformance overall likely makes its contender here (Seth Rogen) the runner-up, but The White Lotus is a juggernaut – and Bartlett himself has so much individual goodwill – that he should be fine.

Will Win: Murray Bartlett – The White Lotus

Could Win: Seth Rogen – Pam and Tommy

Should Win: Murray Bartlett – The White Lotus

Should’ve Been Nominated: Sam Worthington – Under the Banner of Heaven

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES OR MOVIE

Jennifer Coolidge in The White Lotus

Can we just crown Coolidge already? I mean, come on, this is her MOMENT. She nearly got a standing ovation last year (after The White Lotus had already aired) just for presenting. There’s some fear that, with an unexpected five nominations for The White Lotus in this category, there could be some “vote-splitting” – opening the win up to the still-strong Kaitlyn Dever from Dopesick – but that’s not a theory I subscribe to. The love for Coolidge specifically is so significant that she should easily rise above the competition from her own show.

Will Win: Jennifer Coolidge – The White Lotus

Could Win: Kaitlyn Dever – Dopesick

Should Win: Jennifer Coolidge – The White Lotus

Should’ve Been Nominated: Andie MacDowell – Maid

OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES OR MOVIE

Sydney Sweeney and Brittany O'Grady in The White Lotus

I think Dopesick is closer to nabbing this additional win as opposed to the win in the next category, but I do still feel like The White Lotus love is so damn strong that it could just simply… sweep. Danny Strong’s direction in the Dopesick finally is admittedly admirable – and some could say writing is The White Lotus‘ strong suit instead (as we’ll get to in a moment) – but I think The White Lotus is a more beloved project overall, and that’s why I won’t be overthinking this.

Will Win: Mike White – The White Lotus

Could Win: Win: Danny Strong – Dopesick (“The People vs. Purdue Pharma”)

Should Win: John Wells – Maid (“Sky Blue”)

Should’ve Been Nominated: Isabel Sandoval – Under the Banner of Heaven (“Revelation”)

OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES OR MOVIE

Alexandra Daddario and Jake Lacy in The White Lotus

As I just said above, writing is The White Lotus‘ strong suit (along with its acting), and that’s why, on top of its overperformance, it 100% has this category on lock. Mike White’s scathing social commentary is exactly what writing awards aim to honor, and it’s hard to imagine anyone walking away from the show not constantly thinking about its many timely – and tragic – themes.

Will Win: Mike White – The White Lotus

Could Win: Danny Strong – Dopesick (“The People vs. Purdue Pharma”)

Should Win: Mike White – The White Lotus

Should’ve Been Nominated: Colin McKenna – Maid (“Thief”)

COMPETITION/VARIETY SERIES

OUTSTANDING COMPETITION PROGRAM

Season 14 of RuPaul's Drag Race

RuPaul’s Drag Race has won this award four years in a row, and after RuPaul just picked up his seventh consecutive Emmy in the Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program category, it’s stronger than ever. This one is a layup.

Will Win: RuPaul’s Drag Race

Could Win: The Amazing Race

Should Win: RuPaul’s Drag Race

Should’ve Been Nominated: Legendary

OUTSTANDING VARIETY TALK SERIES

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Oh look, another layup! Last Week Tonight with John Oliver just won its sixth Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series last week and it’s won this category six times in a row as well. Doubt Oliver and you’ll lose an easy win on your Emmy ballot.

Will Win: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Could Win: Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Should Win: The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

Should’ve Been Nominated: The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

OUTSTANDING VARIETY SKETCH SERIES

Jerrod Carmichael on Saturday Night Live

Oh look, yet another layup! Or is it? Yes, even though Saturday Night Live has won this seven times overall (and five times in a row), A Black Lady Sketch Show broke its five-time winning streak in Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series last week at the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards, which could mean that an upset’s in the cards. I still worry voters could be lazy and simply namecheck SNL, but hey, it’s never looked better for ABLSS.

Will Win: Saturday Night Live

Could Win: A Black Lady Sketch Show

Should Win: A Black Lady Sketch Show

Should’ve Been Nominated: Murderville

OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A VARIETY SPECIAL

Jerrod Carmichael in Rothaniel

I’m a bit shocked Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special lost in Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded) – which instead went to Adele: One Night Only – so maybe the love for the late comedian really does manifest to a win here? Still, I’m sticking with Jerrod Carmichael, given that his tender special – which featured his widely covered “coming out” – generated the most attention of any in this sextet, and since he was snubbed in Outstanding Variety Special, this is the only place to recognize him.

Will Win: Jerrod Carmichael – Jerrod Carmichael: Rothaniel

Could Win: Norm Macdonald – Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special

Should Win: Jerrod Carmichael – Jerrod Carmichael: Rothaniel

Written by
Though Zoë Rose Bryant has only worked in film criticism for a little under three years - turning a collegiate passion into a full-time career by writing for outlets such as Next Best Picture and Awards Watch - her captivation with cinema has been a lifelong fascination, appreciating film in all its varying forms, from horror movies to heartfelt romantic comedies and everything in between. Born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, she made the move to Los Angeles in 2021 after graduating college and now spends her days keeping tabs on all things pop culture and attempting to attend every screening under the sun. As a trans critic, she also seeks to champion underrepresented voices in the LGBTQ+ community in film criticism and offer original insight on how gender and sexuality are explored in modern entertainment. You can find Zoë on Twitter, Instagram, and Letterboxd at @ZoeRoseBryant.

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