Will it be a big night for Game of Thrones at the Emmys?
The 71st Primetime Emmy Awards, which will go without a host for only the fourth time in the awards show's 71-year history, airs live Sunday, Sept. 22 on Fox, and there's a very good chance we'll see a few first-time Emmy winners taking the stage to collect their hardware.
Game of Thrones leads the way with a record 32 Emmy nominations, the most ever for a single television program, and the epic fantasy drama could very well be celebrating its final year of competition with a serious haul. Also looking to clean up for its last season is the critically lauded comedy, Veep. Both HBO series wrapped their runs in May. But several Emmy newcomers could shake up the competition, from PopTV's Schitt's Creek to Amazon Prime Video's Fleabag to HBO's Succession.
While we won't know for sure who will be taking home the top prizes until Emmy night, we looked into our crystal ball and forecast who we think will be the evening's lucky winners (and who should win). With less than two weeks to go, ET predicts who will take home the Emmy statuette on television's biggest night.
Outstanding Drama Series
Better Call Saul
Game of Thrones
This Is Us
Should Win: Pose
Will Win: Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones won the Emmy in this category last year, beating out the likes of The Handmaid's Tale and the final season of The Americans, and we're predicting that HBO's since-wrapped epic drama will celebrate its final season as this year's Outstanding Drama Series winner. Working in its favor is the mere fact that this will be the last chance for voters to recognize the influential series' place in television history. But in the age of Peak TV, many of its competitors are worthy contenders, from buzzworthy, pop-culture stalwarts like Killing Eve, Succession and Pose -- and the lackluster reaction to Game of Thrones' final season could be a detriment.
Outstanding Comedy Series
The Good Place
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Should Win: Fleabag
Will Win: Veep
After sitting out last year, we predict Veep -- like Game of Thrones -- will finish out its run with by collecting its fourth Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series. It's an incredibly strong category, with Phoebe Waller-Bridge's equally deserving Fleabag (Hot Priest!) and last year's winner, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, hot on Veep's tail. With four first-time nominees crashing the party, anything can happen, but with Selina Meyer exiting stage left, Veep is as good of a bet as any.
Outstanding Limited Series
Escape at Dannemora
When They See Us
Should Win: Chernobyl
Will Win: When They See Us
If the Television Academy wanted to make a statement, Ava DuVernay's stunning four-part Netflix miniseries about the Exonerated Five, When They See Us, is the clear frontrunner -- and our pick -- to take home the trophy on Emmy night. But HBO's critically hailed Chernobyl, which centers on the 1986 nuclear disaster and is led by Mad Men alum Jared Harris, could very well pull off the upset.
Outstanding Television Movie
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch
Deadwood: The Movie
My Dinner With Herve
Should Win: Black Mirror: Bandersnatch
Will Win: Deadwood: The Movie
If anything, this is Deadwood's Emmy to lose. Thirteen years after the series went off the air, the long-in-the-works TV movie finally reunited all of its major players -- from Ian McShane and Timothy Olyphant to Molly Parker and John Hawkes -- for one last hurrah. And it would be all the more poignant for creator David Milch to walk up onstage to accept the award in this category for his celebrated Western following his 2015 Alzheimer's diagnosis, shortly before he began work on the script for the movie.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
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
Should Win: Sandra Oh or Jodie Comer, Killing Eve
Will Win: Sandra Oh, Killing Eve
When Claire Foy won for The Crown last year, she was as stunned as everyone else was that Sandra Oh, whose Emmy win would have been historic, fell short. "This wasn't supposed to happen," Foy said from the stage. "Sandra Oh, I just love ya." Well, we're 99.9 percent sure the Killing Eve star will be the one hearing her name called this time, which would make her the first woman of Asian descent to win an Emmy in the Lead Actress category. The only actress who could give Oh a run for her money would be her co-star, Jodie Comer, who absolutely slayed as Villanelle in season two.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
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
Should Win: Billy Porter, Pose
Will Win: Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Any of the six nominees are worthy winners in our eyes, but we think even the shine of Game of Thrones won't be enough to catapult Kit Harington to his first Emmy. It's a tough call between Pose's Billy Porter and Better Call Saul's Bob Odenkirk, but we think Odenkirk will squeak out a close victory. Don't be surprised, though, if Jason Bateman or even Sterling K. Brown, who won in this category in 2017, pull off the upset.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
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
Should Win: Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag or Catherine O'Hara, Schitt's Creek
Will Win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Julia Louis-Dreyfus is an awards darling, which means she's the frontrunner to collect her seventh Emmy for Veep. (Currently, she ties Cloris Leachman for most individual acting wins with eight; six for Veep and one each for The New Adventures of Old Christine and Seinfeld.) If she is able to complete the Veep sweep and win on Emmy night, it would be historic, as Louis-Dreyfus would set a new record for most individual Emmy wins for a performer.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
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
Should Win: Eugene Levy, Schitt's Creek
Will Win: Bill Hader, Barry
In 2018, former Saturday Night Live cast member Bill Hader collected his first Emmy for Barry and after another strong season, he's the frontrunner again this year, expertly portraying an ex Marine-turned-hitman who aspires to be an actor. But don't be surprised if Ted Danson, who turned in stellar work on season three of The Good Place, or Schitt's Creek standout Eugene Levy crash the party.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie
Amy Adams, Sharp Objects
Patricia Arquette, Escape at Dannemora
Aunjanue Ellis, When They See Us
Joey King, The Act
Niecy Nash, WhenThey See Us
Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon
Should Win: Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon
Will Win: Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon
Michelle Williams earned her first career Emmy nomination for her brilliant performance as the overlooked Gwen Verdon in FX's Fosse/Verdon miniseries and the four-time Oscar nominee is as close to a lock as one can get when it comes to awards predictions. Williams is our pick to claim her first career Emmy.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie
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
Should Win: Jared Harris, Chernobyl
Will Win: Jharrel Jerome, When They See Us
There was no shortage of standout performances in Ava DuVernay's limited series, but no one outshined Jharrel Jerome. He was the only actor to portray one of the Exonerated Five as a teenager and an adult, bringing Korey Wise's harrowing journey to the screen. His likely win may come at the expense of his former Moonlight co-star, Mahershala Ali, but the win is a testament to the talent to have come out of the Oscar-winning film.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Gwendoline Christie, Game of Thrones
Julia Garner, Ozark
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Fiona Shaw, Killing Eve
Sophie Turner, Game of Thrones
Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones
Should Win: Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones
Will Win: Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
This is a tough category to predict, partly due to the fact that it's dominated by the women of Game of Thrones -- two of whom, Sophie Turner and Gwendoline Christie, have never been recognized before by the TV Academy. Could Maisie Williams, Lena Headey, Christie and Turner split the vote, leaving the door open for Julia Garner and Fiona Shaw? Perhaps. We just don't think it'll happen.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Alfie Allen, Game of Thrones
Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Giancarlo Esposito, Better Call Saul
Michael Kelly, House of Cards
Chris Sullivan, This Is Us
Should Win: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones
Will Win: Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Will Peter Dinklage take home his fourth Emmy in the category? Like Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, about half of the nominees hail from Game of Thrones, which could hinder the chances for Dinklage, Alfie Allen and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau to keep the prize firmly in their corner. While there are some deserving competitors vying for the crown, we predict Dinklage will win his fourth Emmy for playing Tyrion Lannister, a nice send-off to his eight-season run.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Anna Chlumsky, Veep
Sian Clifford, Fleabag
Olivia Colman, Fleabag
Betty Gilpin, GLOW
Sarah Goldberg, Barry
Marin Hinkle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Should Win: Olivia Colman, Fleabag
Will Win: Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
With Veep back in the race, the best bets for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel are in the supporting acting categories. Last year's winner, Alex Borstein, is our pick to repeat. But any Fleabag love for standouts Olivia Colman, who will likely be back at the Emmys in 2020 for The Crown, and Sian Clifford are welcome.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method
Anthony Carrigan, Barry
Tony Hale, Veep
Stephen Root, Veep
Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Henry Winkler, Barry
Should Win: Henry Winkler, Barry
Will Win: Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Though he came up empty last year, we think Tony Shalhoub will collect his first Emmy for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. But previous winners, Barry's Henry Winkler and Veep's Tony Hale, could very well spoil the party.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie
Patricia Arquette, The Act
Marsha Stephanie Blake, When They See Us
Patricia Clarkson, Sharp Objects
Vera Farmiga, When They See Us
Margaret Qualley, Fosse/Verdon
Emily Watson, Chernobyl
Should Win: Patricia Arquette, The Act
Will Win: Patricia Clarkson, Sharp Objects
It's the battle of the Patricias! We predict it will come down to Patricia Arquette and Patricia Clarkson, both of whom deliver outstanding performances as woefully protective mothers on The Act and Sharp Objects, respectively. But Clarkson gets our vote after cleaning up at the Golden Globes for the same role.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie
Asante Blackk, When They See Us
Paul Dano, Escape at Dannemora
John Leguizamo, When They See Us
Stellan Skarsgard, Chernobyl
Ben Whishaw, A Very English Scandal
Michael K. Williams, When They See Us
Should Win: Michael K. Williams, When They See Us
Will Win: Ben Whishaw, A Very English Scandal
While the James Bond franchise has made Ben Whishaw an international star, it's his supporting role in the British period, true-crime saga A Very English Scandal that's garnered him an endless year of accolades, including wins at the British Academy Television Awards, Critics' Choice Television Awards and Golden Globes. And, his performance is truly deserving of the attention. Falling short of an Emmy is almost inconceivable at this point.
Outstanding Variety Talk Series
The Daily Show With Trevor Noah
Full Frontal With Samantha Bee
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
The Late Late Show With James Corden
The Late Show With Stephen Colbert
Should Win: The Late Show With Stephen Colbert
Will Win: Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
Ever since the Variety Series categories were split into two (see below), John Oliver's HBO series has dominated the category, with three back-to-back wins. (His only loss was to his former boss, Jon Stewart, in his final year at The Daily Show.) But Last Week Tonight shows no sign of slowing down, thanks to Oliver's blend of political humor with a touch of deference while recapping the news each week. And now this.
Outstanding Variety Sketch Series
At Home With Amy Sedaris
I Love You, America
Saturday Night Live
Who Is America?
Should Win: Documentary Now
Will Win: Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live is typically at its best during an election year, but NBC's long-running sketch series has proven to be just as funny and reliable in the seasons since, thanks largely to a certain presidential administration. But it also relied on its unique voices on the writing staff (see Julio Torres and Bowen Yang) and excellent hosting choices, including Sandra Oh, Emma Thompson and Adam Sandler, to make us laugh at something other than the White House this past year.
Outstanding Competition Program
The Amazing Race
American Ninja Warrior
RuPaul’s Drag Race
Should Win: RuPaul's Drag Race
Will Win: RuPaul's Drag Race
Is this even a question? RuPaul's Drag Race won its first Emmy in the category last year and we anticipate VH1's popular drag competition will be a repeat winner.
Stacy Lambe contributed to this story.
The 71st Primetime Emmy Awards airs live coast-to-coast Sunday, Sept. 22 at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET on Fox.
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