Emmy Predictions from a Game of Thrones avoider

You may or may not be watching the Emmy Awards on Sunday night but chances are you will be sampling some of it.

That’s the way it works these days.  You try a little and then you switch to something else.  Or you switch to this and then you get hooked.

Or you binge it all Monday night at 11pm when you can’t begin to think of sleep and don’t want to think at all.

Or you do it in clips that people post on social media, as an afterthought.  This can be done in the tradition of hate watching or in admiration of a particular saucy or emotional acceptance speech you HAVE TO SEE at that moment.  Though it might also be an embarrassing tumble across the stage or a mangling of someone’s name, or two, three or four names that becomes MUST SEE TV, err, clip.

Never Forget… that hair

The game of television has changed.  So many options and so, so much more time to waste/spend on them.

Still, what is particularly outstanding about this year’s list of nominees is the sheer number of networks and platforms involved.  Remember when it was just NBC, CBS and ABC with a little PBS thrown in?

I do.

Then Fox became a player.  HBO, Showtime and the rest of pay cable quickly followed.  Not to mention basic cable.  Yes, this year they are well represented with major nominees from AMC, TBS, FX and even BBC America.

Sadly still no love for Hallmark’s wall to wall Christmas movies #CandaceCameronisVERYRich

Though truly there is a new frontier that’s arrived and will not let up until it’s total domination.  That would be Netflix, Amazon and Hulu.

It’s tiring to name every streaming show and special that’s award worthy that you will never catch up with.  Unless, of course, that special or show wins an award Sunday night.  Then it becomes the star of the platform and gets featured for at least, well, a few hours.  Maybe even a few days.

All of the above and more has made it nearly impossible to predict who the Emmy winners will be.  You don’t watch everything out there that’s nominated and neither do the voters.  Though this is why we can do just well at predicting them as any other viewer or professional prognosticator.

In that spirit, here is your Sunday night (or Monday, or Tuesday night), cheat sheet:

 

 

 

Outstanding Competition Program

Shantay, you stay

The Amazing Race • CBS

American Ninja Warrior • NBC

Nailed It! • Netflix

RuPaul’s Drag Race • VH1

Top Chef • Bravo

The Voice • NBC

For bringing drag into the mainstream  (Note: Never thought I’d write or read that sentence) –

Winner:  RuPaul’s Drag Race

 

Outstanding Writing For A Variety Series

Documentary Now! • IFC

Full Frontal With Samantha Bee • TBS

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver • HBO

Late Night With Seth Meyers • NBC

The Late Show With Stephen Colbert • CBS

Saturday Night Live • NBC

They all have their moments.  But ultimately it’s –

Winner:  Last Week With John Oliver

 

Outstanding Directing For A Variety Series

Documentary Now!, “Waiting For The Artist,” Alex Buono and Rhys Thomas • IFC

Drunk History, “Are You Afraid Of The Drunk?” Derek Waters • Comedy Central

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, “Psychics,” Paul Pennolino • HBO

The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, “Live Midterm Election Show,” Jim Hoskinson • CBS

Saturday Night Live, “Host : Adam Sandler,” Don Roy King • NBC

Who Is America?, “Episode 102,” Sacha Baron Cohen, Nathan Fielder, Daniel Gray Longino and Dan Mazer • Showtime

We have NO idea.  You choose.

Oh, okay.

Winner:  Saturday Night Live, Don Roy King

This was one of the sweetest TV moments of the year #almostforgot

Outstanding Variety Talk Series

The Daily Show With Trevor Noah • Comedy Central

Full Frontal With Samantha Bee • TBS

Jimmy Kimmel Live! • ABC

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver • HBO

The Late Late Show With James Corden • CBS

The Late Show With Stephen Colbert • CBS

Simply put, John Oliver killed it this year and the majority of voters know it and love him for it.

Winner: Last Week with John Oliver

 

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series

At Home With Amy Sedaris • truTV

Documentary Now! • IFC

Drunk History • Comedy Central

I Love You, America With Sarah Silverman • Hulu

Saturday Night Live • NBC

Who Is America? • Showtime

Until Trump is out of office, SNL feels like a lock in this category.  We coastal elites do what we can.

Winner:  Saturday Night Live

 

Outstanding Television Movie

What’s old is new again #2019TVMotto

Bandersnatch (Black Mirror) • Netflix

Brexit • HBO

Deadwood • HBO

King Lear • Prime Video

My Dinner With Hervé • HBO

It’s gonna be the return of HBO’s Deadwood. The voters really don’t want to give it to the interactive Black Mirror.  Partly because that would mean they have to deal with interactive television.

Winner:  Deadwood

 

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Limited Series Or Movie

Different kind of Brexit

Stellan Skarsgård, Chernobyl • HBO

Paul Dano, Escape At Dannemora • Showtime

Ben Whishaw, A Very English Scandal • Prime Video

Asante Blackk, When They See Us • Netflix

John Leguizamo, When They See Us • Netflix

Michael K. Williams, When They See Us • Netflix

This is another really tough category of wonderful performances that couldn’t be more different.  The most unusual of the bunch is Ben Whishaw’s gay boy toy who would NOT be ignored or discounted or marginalized, even back in the 1960s..  Truth be told, he was pretty funny, too, and the voters like that.

Winner:  Ben Whishaw, A Very English Scandal

 

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Limited Series Or Movie

Patricia Arquette, The Act • Hulu

Emily Watson, Chernobyl • HBO

Margaret Qualley, Fosse/Verdon • FX Networks

Patricia Clarkson, Sharp Objects • HBO

Marsha Stephanie Blake, When They See Us • Netflix

Vera Farmiga, When They See Us • Netflix

It will likely be the always terrific Patricia Clarkson for her performance as the devious Mom in Sharp Objects.  Nevertheless, The Chair has a feeling that Emily Watson’s deliberate, truth-telling scientist in Chernobyl won’t be denied.

Winner:  Emily Watson, Chernobyl

 

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Limited Series Or Movie

This is a tough one

Jared Harris, Chernobyl • HBO

Benicio del Toro, Escape At Dannemora • Showtime

Sam Rockwell, Fosse/Verdon • FX Networks

Mahershala Ali, True Detective • HBO

Hugh Grant, A Very English Scandal • Prime Video

Jharrel Jerome, When They See Us • Netflix

Dreading this category.  You could make a convincing case for each actor to win.  Still, using dramatic long form dramatic television acting as the barometer it boils down to Jared Harris in Chernobyl and Jharrel Jerome in When They See Us.  Both gave us heartbreaking, career-defining performances in totally different vehicles.  For pure intensity of emotion and riveting breakout moments –

Winner: Jharrel Jerome, When They See Us

 

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Limited Series Or Movie

Joey King, The Act • Hulu

Patricia Arquette, Escape At Dannemora • Showtime

Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon • FX Networks

Amy Adams, Sharp Objects • HBO

Aunjanue Ellis, When They See Us • Netflix

Niecy Nash, When They See Us • Netfli

Yes, they were all good.  But bringing the real Gwen Verdon back to life for us?  Please.

Winner:  Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon

Start practicing that speech Michelle!

 

Outstanding Writing For A Limited Series, Movie Or Dramatic Special

Chernobyl, Craig Mazin • HBO

Escape At Dannemora, “Episode 6,” Brett Johnson, Michael Tolkin and Jerry Stahl • Showtime

Escape At Dannemora, “Episode 7,” Brett Johnson and Michael Tolkin • Showtime

Fosse/Verdon, “Providence,” Steven Levenson and Joey Fields • FX Networks

A Very English Scandal, Russell T. Davies • Prime Video

When They See Us, “Part Four,” Ava DuVernay and Michael Starrbury • Netflix

Oh gosh, who knows???  We live in a TV landscape with seemingly endless, brilliantly done limited series.  All were unique and had incredibly strong episodes.  But for the overall cohesive body of work on every episode –

Winner:  Craig Mazin, Chernobyl

 

Outstanding Directing For A Limited Series, Movie Or Dramatic Special

Make way for the next EGOT winner (step 1)

Chernobyl, Johan Renck • HBO

Escape At Dannemora, Ben Stiller • Showtime

Fosse/Verdon, “Glory,” Jessica Yu • FX Networks

Fosse/Verdon, “Who’s Got The Pain,” Thomas Kail • FX Networks

A Very English Scandal, Stephen Frears • Prime Video

When They See Us, Ava DuVernay • Netflix

It comes down to whether the evocation of nuclear disaster or American racism had the biggest effect on the voters.  This year it’s the racism.

Winner:  Ava DuVernay, When They See Us

 

Outstanding Limited Series

About to walk into Emmy history

Chernobyl • HBO

Escape At Dannemora • Showtime

Fosse/Verdon • FX Networks

Sharp Objects • HBO

When They See Us • Netflix

The good news is that there are numerous award-worthy entries in this category.  The bad news is that only one will win.  Given the voting membership of the TV Academy and the timeliness of the material despite it being a period piece, Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us will likely not go unseen.

Winner: When They See Us

 

 

 

 

Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series

Barry, “ronny/lily,” Alec Berg and Bill Hader • HBO

Fleabag, “Episode 1,” Phoebe Waller-Bridge • Prime Video

The Good Place, “Janet(s),” Josh Siegal and Dylan Morgan • NBC

PEN15, “Anna Ishii-Peters,” Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle • Hulu

Russian Doll, “Nothing In This World Is Easy,” Leslye Headland, Natasha Lyonne and Amy Poehler • Netflix

Russian Doll, “A Warm Body,” Allison Silverman • Netflix

Veep, “Veep,” David Mandel • HBO

Phoebe Waller-Bridge created Killing Eve AND Fleabag.  The unexpected six-episode second season of Fleabag was a perfect package of writing genius.  Ask EVERYONE.   Not to take away from the other very worthy nominees, but –

Winner:  Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag, Episode 1

Only she can pull this off

 

Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series

Barry, “The Audition,” Alec Berg • HBO

Barry, “ronny/lily,” Bill Hader • HBO

The Big Bang Theory, “The Stockholm Syndrome,” Mark Cendrowski • CBS

Fleabag, “Episode 1,” Harry Bradbeer • Prime Video

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, “All Alone,” Amy Sherman-Palladino • Prime Video

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, “We’re Going To The Catskills!” Daniel Palladino • Prime Video

Boy, the “We’re Going to the Catskills” episode of Maisel was masterfully directed.  Yet the Academy has a love affair with Barry and Bill Hader that feels unstoppable.

Winner:  Bill Hader, Barry,” ronny/lily”

 

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series

For this sequence alone…

Anthony Carrigan, Barry • HBO

Stephen Root, Barry • HBO

Henry Winkler, Barry • HBO

Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method • Netflix

Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel • Prime Video

Tony Hale, Veep • HBO

The Television Academy LOVES Tony Shalhoub and he had a number of especially strong episodes this time out.

Winner:  Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

 

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series

Sarah Goldberg, Barry • HBO

Sian Clifford, Fleabag • Prime Video

Olivia Colman, Fleabag • Prime Video

Betty Gilpin, GLOW • Netflix

Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel • Prime Video

Marin Hinkle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel • Prime Video

Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live • NBC

Anna Chlumsky, Veep • HBO

Eight nominees in a category?  Really?  But it doesn’t feel like anyone can beat what Alex Borstein does with the snidest New Yorker ever on TV.  Not even Oscar winner Olivia Colman or SNL’s Queen of Everything Kate McKinnon.

Winner:  Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

.. but only because I was robbed.. right Chairy? #wealreadymissyouLeslie

 

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series

Bill Hader, Barry • HBO

Don Cheadle, Black Monday • Showtime

Anthony Anderson, black-ish • ABC

Ted Danson, The Good Place • NBC

Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method • Netflix

Eugene Levy, Schitt‘s Creek • Pop TV

Hollywood loves a loveable assassin who wants to be an actor.  Or is it up and coming loveable actors who employ all the traits of a trained assassin that they love?

Winner:  Bill Hader, Barry

 

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series

She’s gonna need more hands

Christina Applegate, Dead To Me • Netflix

Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag • Prime Video

Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel • Prime Video

Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll • Netflix

Catherine O’Hara, Schitt ‘s Creek • Pop TV

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep • HBO

Julia Louis-Dreyfus is among the most Emmy honored in history and had a triumphant final season after battling cancer in real life.  Plus, this is the last opportunity to award her work on Veep.  Despite the heavy competition, it’s –

Winner:  Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

 

Outstanding Comedy Series

Who’s it gonna be?

Barry • HBO

Fleabag • Prime Video

The Good Place • NBC

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel • Prime Video

Russian Doll • Netflix

Schitt‘s Creek • Pop TV

Veep • HBO

It should be Fleabag, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel or Russian Doll, with Schitt’s Creek or The Good Place as the dark horses.  But it will be between Barry and Veep.  Why?  Because the TV Academy NEVER honors the comedy series that I believe in my heart of hearts should win.  (Note: Except last year when Maisel won).  So I bet they give it to the last season of –

Winner:  Veep  (Note:  Barry is a very close second and could win).

 

 

 

Outstanding Writing For A Drama Series

You can’t beat Villanelle in this scene

Better Call Saul, “Winner,” Peter Gould and Thomas Schnauz • AMC

Bodyguard, “Episode 1,” Jed Mercurio • Netflix

Game Of Thrones, “The Iron Throne,” David Benioff and D.B. Weiss • HBO

The Handmaid’s Tale, “Holly,” Bruce Miller and Kira Snyder •

Killing Eve, “Nice And Neat,” Emerald Fennell • BBC America

Succession, “Nobody Is Ever Missing,” Jesse Armstrong • HBO

Without giving too much away, the “Nice and Neat” episode of Killing Eve was one twisted piece of writing in the very best way.  Of course, so was Episode 1 of Bodyguard.  Ditto the pilot of Succession.  Aaargh!!!!!  Okay, let’s once again go out on a limb here.

Winner:  Killing Eve, Emerald Fennell

 

Outstanding Directing For A Drama Series

Game Of Thrones, “The Iron Throne,” David Benioff and D.B. Weiss • HBO

Game Of Thrones, “The Last Of The Starks,” David Nutter • HBO

Game Of Thrones, “The Long Night” Miguel Sapochnik • HBO

The Handmaid’s Tale, “Holly,” Daina Reid • Hulu

Killing Eve, “Desperate Times,” Lisa Brühlmann • BBC America

Ozark, “Reparations,” Jason Bateman • Netflix

Succession, “Celebration,” Adam McKay • HBO

Oh gosh, again?  Well, no.  Despite the odds makers saying it will be that really long  83-minute episode on that show that has three nominees in this category we’re not having it.  The pilot to Succession IS a justly sad commentary, an the evocation of an American Armageddon of amorality.

Winner:  Adam McKay, Succession

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series

Gwendoline Christie, Game Of Thrones • HBO

Lena Headey, Game Of Thrones • HBO

Sophie Turner, Game Of Thrones • HBO

Maisie Williams, Game Of Thrones • HBO

Fiona Shaw, Killing Eve • BBC America

Julia Garner, Ozark • Netflix

It would be great to live in a world where four in a category was seen as overkill and Fiona Shaw could win for one of the most delicious deadpan performances on TV in Killing Eve.  But she won’t and we don’t.  Instead bet on the scene-stealer in you know what — and this one stabbed her way to the top (or so I’m told, I have no idea)

Winner:  Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones

The Chair has no idea what this is #justthetruth

 

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series

Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul • AMC

Giancarlo Esposito, Better Call Saul • AMC

Alfie Allen, Game Of Thrones • HBO

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game Of Thrones • HBO

Peter Dinklage, Game Of Thrones • HBO

Michael Kelly, House Of Cards • Netflix

Chris Sullivan, This Is Us • NBC

The rule is when you have three or more actors from a show nominated in the same category, one of them has to win.   So let’s go with the brooding intensity of –

Winner:  Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones

 

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series

Miss Eve Pilastri

Emilia Clarke, Game Of Thrones • HBO

Robin Wright, House Of Cards • Netflix

Viola Davis, How To Get Away With Murder • ABC

Jodie Comer, Killing Eve • BBC America

Sandra Oh, Killing Eve • BBC America

Laura Linney, Ozark • Netflix

Mandy Moore, This Is Us • NBC

Sandra Oh is a beautiful, irresistible mess on Killing Eve.  That is all.

Winner:  Sandra Oh, Killing Eve

 

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series

You know you want this acceptance speech

Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul • AMC

Kit Harington, Game Of Thrones • HBO

Jason Bateman, Ozark • Netflix

Billy Porter, Pose • FX

Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us • NBC

Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us • NBC

We’re a sucker for Milo Ventimiglia on This Is Us. Or maybe it’s his character, the now deceased but never really dead great dad, Jack Pearson.  Though maybe we just have our own Dad issues.  (Note:  Maybe?).

Still, it’s not Milo’s year.  That honor goes to Billy Porter for his work on Pose.  Playing a gay man in the AIDS era on weekly television is a first that will be rewarded.

Winner:  Billy Porter, Pose

Outstanding Drama Series
Better Call Saul • AMC
Bodyguard • Netflix
Game Of Thrones • HBO
Killing Eve • BBC America
Ozark • Netflix
Pose • FX Networks
Succession • HBO
This Is Us • NBC

Oh, please.  Is there even a possibility Game of Thrones won’t win?  It’ll be worth it to never have to read another story on it again.

Yes, yes, riveting storytelling, intelligently done, blah, blah, blah.   But we’d give it to Succession, the timeliest and sickest reflection on where we, as a society, truly are at this moment in time.  And…we’re not voting.

Winner:  Game of Thrones

Pose – House Evangelista vs. House of Ferocity

 

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