Emmys: Who Will Win, Who Should Win, and Who Got Snubbed

As the 70th Primetime Emmys draw near, our guide to the biggest shocks and surprises

The Americans (FX)
The Americans (FX)

    There’s just too much TV these days. We’re not complaining about it, at least not really, but it’s the truth. When a series used to develop what we once referred to as “water-cooler buzz,” you were waiting and discussing for a week or more between installments. You were able to breathe. Digest. Go outside a little. Now, it seems like with every new day another buzz-heavy series premieres or returns, and between broadcast television, cable networks, pay cable networks, and the increasing deluge of digital viewing options, there’s just too damn much.

    That’ll hardly stem the rising tide of new shows, however, and it’s particularly overwhelming when so many of them are so damn great. There’s a series of note for pretty much any taste these days, and if July’s announcements of the nominees for tomorrow’s 70th Primetime Emmy Awards are any indication, we’ve never been more split over the things we like. If anything, the only commonality is that (for the most part) we like them bigger and louder by the season. There are a slew of familiar Emmy faces still featured for shows old and new, but bold, new voices rise to join them. Legends of screens big and small stand beside emerging talents, and in a year where a handful of consistent and reliable series were snubbed or left out of the running entirely, we’re eager to see where the ceremony looks next.

    In that spirit, the TV team at CoS has made its best predictions of where we think the 2018 Primetime Emmys are going, where we wish they were, and the people who should’ve been invited along for the ride. The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony will take place on Monday, September 17th, but knowing how these things work, that’ll likely only kick off a whole new set of debates.

    —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer
    Film Editor


    Outstanding Comedy Series


    Atlanta (FX)
    Barry (HBO)
    Black-ish (ABC)
    Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
    GLOW (Netflix)
    The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
    Silicon Valley (HBO)
    Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)

    What should win: Atlanta
    What will win: Atlanta

    This year’s roster of comedy series noms is a pretty even spread between fantastic new shows (GLOW, Barry, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), solid programs hitting their middle years (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Silicon Valley) and some unremarkable establishment picks (Curb, Black-ish). But our vote (and the Emmy) should go to FX’s fantastic, transcendent Atlanta: Robbin’ Season ­– even apart from “Teddy Perkins,” it’s a dynamic season of television.

    If we voted: Seriously? No The Good Place?! After that second season? Whatever, Emmys. We sentence you to read a stack of New Yorker magazines till the end of time. —Clint Worthington


    Outstanding Lead Actress – Comedy Series


    Rachel Brosnahan Pamela Adlon Lily Tomlin Kristen Bell

    Pamela Adlon, Better Things
    Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
    Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish
    Allison Janney, Mom
    Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie
    Issa Rae, Insecure

    Who should win: Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
    Who will win: Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

    For an Emmys roster unuaually devoid of many of the familiar faces of recent years, here’s a category where mainstays are ruling the day, for the most part. What’s curious to us is that the pair of first-timers nominated are also our favorites to take home the award: Issa Rae and Rachel Brosnahan. The former continued to cement herself as a new household name with the second season of Insecure, but Brosnahan’s outstanding turn as a late-1950s housewife turned incendiary stand-up comedian was one of TV’s biggest breakouts of the past year, and it’ll be the one that takes home the prize.


    If we voted: The Emmys’ lack of love for The Good Place is all-around frustrating this year, and Kristen Bell’s snub as Fake Eleanor is one of the more egregious omissions from this year’s entire list. Also: Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend; Justina Machado, One Day at a Time; Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


    Outstanding Lead Actor – Comedy Series

    Donald Glover Bill Hader Ted Danson Andy Samberg

    Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
    Ted Danson, The Good Place
    Donald Glover, Atlanta
    Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
    Bill Hader, Barry
    William H. Macy, Shameless

    Who should win: Ted Danson, The Good Place or Bill Hader, Barry
    Who will win: Donald Glover, Atlanta

    Don’t get me wrong, Donald Glover is great on Atlanta. But Robbin’ Season centered way more on Alfred, to great success, and as good as Glover was in outings like “Teddy Perkins,” there are more interesting choices here. Our hearts are with legend Ted Danson, one of The Good Place’s disgustingly few nominees, but Bill Hader’s affecting turn in HBO’s Barry is also well worthy of recognition. Take your pick — and when Glover wins, that’ll be fine, too.


    If we voted: Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Andy Samberg, we love you. Also: Tracy Morgan, The Last O.G.; Tommy Dewey, Casual; John Ross Bowie, Speechless . — Allison Shoemaker


    Outstanding Supporting Actress – Comedy Series

    Kate McKinnon Betty Gilpin Donna Lynne Champlin

    Aidy Bryant, Saturday Night Live
    Leslie Jones, Saturday Night Live
    Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
    Betty Gilpin, GLOW
    Zazie Beetz, Atlanta
    Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
    Laurie Metcalf, Roseanne
    Megan Mullally, Will & Grace

    Who should win: Betty Gilpin, GLOW
    Who will win: Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live

    The eight (eight!) nominees in this category are all more or less deserving, and there’s a chance that Megan Mullally will add a third Emmy to the two she’s already won for playing Will & Grace’s Karen Walker. But the great Kate McKinnon has won this for two years running, and we’re betting she’ll make it three. That said, Betty Gilpin, GLOW’s secret weapon, would deserve a win, and who knows? She just might snag it.


    If we voted: Okay, Emmy voters. You’ve got ONE MORE SEASON to nominate Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s Donna Lynne Champlin. Don’t fuck it up. And just because One Day at a Time’s Rita Moreno already has an EGOT doesn’t mean she shouldn’t keep racking up wins. Also: D’Arcy Carden, The Good Place; Ser Anzoategui, Vida; Stephanie Beatriz, Brooklyn Nine-Nine. — Allison Shoemaker

    Outstanding Supporting Actor – Comedy Series

    Louie Anderson, Baskets
    Alec Baldwin, Saturday Night Live
    Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
    Brian Tyree Henry, Atlanta
    Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
    Kenan Thompson, Saturday Night Live
    Henry Winkler, Barry

    Who should win: Brian Tyree Henry, Atlanta
    Who will win: Brian Tyree Henry, Atlanta

    First things first: Shout-out to Kenan Thompson for earning his first-ever performance Emmy nomination in his 15th season on Saturday Night Live! He’s long been an underappreciated backbone of the show and it’s a delight to see him finally recognized for that—although in this case the nomination will likely serve as his award. There’s a chance Tony Shalhoub could solidify the “Shalhoubissance” by following up his recent Tony win with an Emmy win as well (and his fantastic work on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is definitely worth rewarding). But we’re giving the edge to Brian Tyree Henry for his subtle, nuanced (although, admittedly, rather uncomedic) turn on Atlanta. Henry’s work in Robbin’ Season — and particularly in the standout episode “Woods” — was both captivating and heart-wrenching. Whatever happens, we’re just hoping the Emmys don’t give another award to Alec Baldwin for his self-satisfied Donald Trump impression.


    If we voted: We would’ve loved to see William Jackson Harper recognized for his outstanding comedic work on The Good Place, and Henry’s co-star Lakeith Stanfield was equally great in Atlanta: Robbin’ Season. —Caroline Siede

    Outstanding Guest Actress – Comedy SeriesTiffany Haddish, Maya Rudolph, Chrissy Metz

    Tina Fey, Saturday Night Live
    Tiffany Haddish, Saturday Night Live
    Jane Lynch, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
    Maya Rudolph, The Good Place
    Molly Shannon, Will And Grace
    Wanda Sykes, Black-ish

    Who should win: Maya Rudolph, The Good Place
    Who will win: Tiffany Haddish, Saturday Night Live

    Tiffany Haddish did a great job hosting Saturday Night Live, and her fantastic opening monologue continues to pay dividends every time she shows up at events in that white Alexander McQueen, but her entertaining, game performance was let down by mediocre writing. Far more satisfying was Maya Rudolph as The Good Place’s much hyped Judge Gen, who swept in at the end of the season with guacamole to share and laughs to spare.


    If we voted: Chrissy Metz was delightful and highly memorable in her guest turn on The Last O.G., and Brooke Shields proved incredibly game on Jane the Virgin as a welcome addition to an already stellar cast. —Kate Kulzick

    Outstanding Guest Actor – Comedy Series

    Sterling K. Brown, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Josh Groban

    Sterling K. Brown, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
    Bryan Cranston, Curb Your Enthusiasm
    Donald Glover, Saturday Night Live
    Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live
    Lin-Manuel Miranda, Curb Your Enthusiasm
    Katt Williams, Atlanta

    Who should win: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Curb Your Enthusiasm
    Who will win: Sterling K. Brown, Brooklyn Nine-Nine


    This is the Year of Our Lord Sterling K. Brown, He Who Can Do No Wrong. Even in his one-episode stint on “The Box,” Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s hilarious homage to Homicide: Life on the Street, he holds his own as a formidable opponent to Andre Braugher and Andy Samberg. We really won’t mind him winning this one, despite the generally impressive set of performances nominated here.

    If we voted: Life is a gradual series of revelations that occur over a period of time, and apparently one of those revelations is that Josh Groban won’t get nominated for his lovely cameo in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s “Josh’s Ex-Girlfriend Is Crazy”. Or, maddeningly enough, anyone else from that show. —Clint Worthington

    Outstanding Drama Series

    The Handmaid's Tale, The Americans, Halt and Catch Fire, Killing Eve

    The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
    Game of Thrones (HBO)
    The Americans (FX)
    The Crown (Netflix)
    This Is Us (NBC)
    Westworld (HBO)
    Stranger Things (Netflix)


    What should win: The Americans
    What will win: The Handmaid’s Tale

    The Handmaid’s Tale may be depressingly timely, but The Americans’ final season successfully paid off six seasons of buildup while giving its tremendous cast career-best material. Consistently heartbreaking and gripping, The Americans avoided the easy, violent end many predicted and went instead for a twist of the knife and a cold look at a foreign land. With one of the best finales and one of the best final seasons in recent TV, it may not have a prayer, but The Americans absolutely deserves to win.

    If we voted: A casualty of recency bias, Halt and Catch Fire also went out with a beautiful, achingly human final season and it should absolutely be nominated. Other great series that should be in contention: Queen Sugar and Killing Eve. —Kate Kulzick