Emmys: Drama Series – ‘Succession’ is Undisputed Frontrunner, but ‘The Last of Us’ and ‘Better Call Saul’ Have Passionate Supporters

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Variety Awards Circuit section is the home for all awards news and related content throughout the year, featuring the following: the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and Tony Awards ceremonies, curated by Variety senior awards editor Clayton Davis. The prediction pages reflect the current standings in the race and do not reflect personal preferences for any individual contender. As other formal (and informal) polls suggest, competitions are fluid and subject to change based on buzz and events. Predictions are updated every Thursday.

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2023 Emmy Predictions:
Outstanding Drama Series

Haley Lu Richardson, Jennifer Coolidge White Lotus Season 2
Haley Lu Richardson, Jennifer Coolidge White Lotus Season 2

Weekly Commentary (Updated Aug. 17, 2023): Final Primetime Emmy voting is now open. So much history and accolades. Two-time winner for drama series, and the most nominated show of the year with 27, “Succession” also tied its own acting record with 14. Moreover, it became the first to score three lead drama actor noms in the same year. It feels like the TV equivalent of “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.” We could be in for a clean sweep.

With drama actor (Pedro Pascal) and actress (Bella Ramsey), and others, HBO’s dystopian series “The Last of Us” nabbed the second most nominations of any series. In addition, it’s the first live-action video game adaptation to earn major awards consideration from a top Hollywood awards body in television or film. It could be the one show with what it takes to beat “Succession.”

Mike White’s anthology series subtitled “Sicily,” was moved to the drama races after sweeping the limited categories for its first season (and returning with the character Tanya, played by Jennifer Coolidge). Nonetheless, with a SAG win for ensemble, and the third most noms of any show, it could be able to repeat in another category.

We can’t see “Better Call Saul” leave the air without winning an Emmy Award. The AMC drama has managed a gargantuan 53 nominations across its six seasons and has never had its name read off an envelope. There could be a contingent of nostalgia that sets in for one of the few cable shows to have support from the TV community, and it could be an interesting anti-Succession vote.

Read: Variety’s Awards Circuit for the latest Primetime Emmy predictions in the major categories.

(L-R): Lauren Ambrose as Van, Simone Kessell as Lottie, Tawny Cypress as Taissa, Juliette Lewis as Natalie and Christina Ricci as Misty in YELLOWJACKETS, "It Chooses". Photo Credit: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME
(L-R): Lauren Ambrose as Van, Simone Kessell as Lottie, Tawny Cypress as Taissa, Juliette Lewis as Natalie and Christina Ricci as Misty in YELLOWJACKETS, “It Chooses”. Photo Credit: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME

Season 2 of Showtime’s hit genre series “Yellowjackets” may not have been as enjoyable for some as the first season. However, Melanie Lynskey contending for her first win shows signs of strength from the Hollywood community, marking a farewell to the Showtime brand. Nonetheless, it’s a long shot at best.

Diego Luna may have missed a lead drama actor nom for “Andor.” Still, he has his first career Emmy nom as a producer for the Disney+ series, which pulled in an impressive eight nominations, including writing and directing. While genre bias may play a factor in voters checking it off, and with any votes for sci-fi going to “The Last of Us,” its mention here is the reward.

The fourth season of Netflix’s hit monarchy series “The Crown” swept the ceremony in 2021, becoming the first drama to win every major category. Seeing such an about-face is strange, but many didn’t gel with this past fifth season. The inclusion is the reward, but if a voter isn’t on-board with all the genre programming, surely this will get more “establishment” votes.

Thanks to the “Game of Thrones” prequel series, HBO managed to tie the NBC record for most series nominated for drama series in history. Based on author George R.R. Martin’s book “Fire & Blood,” there may be hesitancy to vote for “House of the Dragon” — aside from mixed reviews — it was allowed to continue filming the second season amid the SAG-AFTRA strike.

The rankings for the category are below.

The final Emmy voting rounds open on Aug. 17 at 9 a.m. PT and close on Aug. 28 at 10 p.m. PST. The 75th Emmy Awards are scheduled to air on Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, at 8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT. The Creative Arts ceremony will occur on Saturday, Jan. 6, and Sunday, Jan. 7. An edited version will air on FXX on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024, at 8 p.m. ET. All events will take place at the Peacock Theater at LA Live.

Read: Variety’s Awards Circuit for the latest Creative Arts predictions in all categories.


And the Nominees Are:


  1. Succession” (HBO) — Jesse Armstrong, Adam McKay, Will Ferrell, Frank Rich, Kevin Messick, Mark Mylod, Jane Tranter, Tony Roche, Scott Ferguson, Jon Brown, Lucy Prebble, Will Tracy (executive producers), Dara Schnapper, Georgia Pritchett, Ted Cohen (co-executive producers), Susan Soon He Stanton (supervising producer), Gabrielle Mahon (produced by), Francesca Gardiner (consulting producer)
    Episode Submissions: “The Munsters,” “Rehearsal,” “Connor’s Wedding,” “America Decides,” “Church and State,” “With Open Eyes”

  2. The Last of Us” (HBO) — Craig Mazin, Neil Druckmann, Carolyn Strauss, Rose Lam, Asad Qizilbash, Carter Swan, Evan Wells (executive producers), Jacqueline Lesko (co-executive producer), Greg Spencer (producer), Cecil O’Connor (produced by)
    Episode Submissions: “When You’re Lost in the Darkness,” “Infected,” “Long, Long Time,” “Endure and Survive,” “When We Are in Need,” “Look for the Light”

  3. Better Call Saul” (AMC) — Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Mark Johnson, Melissa Bernstein, Thomas Schnauz, Gordon Smith, Alison Tatlock, Diane Mercer, Michael Morris (executive producers), Ann Cherkis (co-executive producer), Trina Siopy (supervising producer), Bob Odenkirk, Jenn Carroll (producers), James Powers (produced by)
    Episode Submissions: “Point and Shoot,” “Fun and Games,” “Nippy,” “Breaking Bad,” “Waterworks,” “Saul Gone”

  4. The White Lotus” (HBO) — Mike White, David Bernad, Mark Kamine (executive producers), Heather Persons, John M. Valerio (producers)
    Episode Submissions: “Ciao,” “Bull Elephants,” “In the Sandbox,” “That’s Amore,” “Abductions,” “Arrivederci”

  5. The Crown” (Netflix) — Peter Morgan, Suzanne Mackie, Stephen Daldry, Andy Harries, Jessica Hobbs, Matthew Byam Shaw, Robert Fox (executive producers), Michael Casey, Andy Stebbing, Martin Harrison, Oona O’Beirn (producers)
    Episode Submissions: “Mou Mou,” “Annus Horribillis,” “The Way Ahead,” “Gunpowder,” “Couple 31,” “Decommissioned”

  6. Andor” (Disney+) — Sanne Wohlenberg, Tony Gilroy, Kathleen Kennedy, Diego Luna, Toby Haynes, Michelle Rejwan (executive producers), Kate Hazell, David Meanti (producers)
    Episode Submissions: “Announcement,” “Narkina 5,” “Nobody’s Listening,” “One Way Out,” “Daughter of Ferrix,” “Rix Road”

  7. House of the Dragon” (HBO) — Ryan Condal, Miguel Sapochnik, George R.R. Martin, Ron Schmidt, Jocelyn Diaz, Sara Hess. Vince Gerardis (executive producers), Greg Yaitanes, David Hancock (co-executive producers), Karen Wacker (producer), Richard Sharkey (consulting producer)
    Episode Submissions: “The Heirs of the Dragon,” “The Princess and the Queen,” “Driftmark,” “The Lord of the Tides,” “The Green Council,” “The Black Queen”

  8. Yellowjackets” (Showtime) — Jonathan Lisco, Ashley Lyle, Bart Nickerson, Drew Comins, Karyn Kusama, Sarah L. Thompson, Ameni Rozsa (executive producers), Liz Phang, Julia Bicknell, Jeff W. Byrd (co-executive producers), Tayah Geist (producer), Kathy Gilroy (produced by)
    Episode Submissions: “Friends, Romans, Countrymen,” “Edible Complex,” “Qui,” “Burial,” “It Chooses,” “Storytelling”



All Eligible Titles (Alphabetized by Network)**


** This official list and/or category submission is not yet complete or confirmed and is subject to change.

2022 category winner: “Succession” (HBO) — Season 3 — Jesse Armstrong, Adam McKay, Will Ferrell, Frank Rich, Kevin Messick, Mark Mylod, Jane Tranter, Tony Roche, Scott Ferguson, Jon Brown, Lucy Prebble, Will Tracy (executive producers); Georgia Pritchett, Ted Cohen (co-executive producers); Susan Soon He Stanton, Dara Schnapper (supervising producers); Gabrielle Mahon (produced by); Francesca Gardiner (consulting producer)

Emmy Awards Predictions Categories

DRAMA SERIES | COMEDY SERIES | LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES | TV MOVIE | LEAD ACTOR (DRAMA) | LEAD ACTOR (COMEDY) | LEAD ACTOR (LIMITED/TV MOVIE) | LEAD ACTRESS (DRAMA) | LEAD ACTRESS (COMEDY) | LEAD ACTRESS (LIMITED/TV MOVIE) | SUPPORTING ACTOR (DRAMA) | SUPPORTING ACTOR (COMEDY) | SUPPORTING ACTOR (LIMITED/TV MOVIE) | SUPPORTING ACTRESS (DRAMA) | SUPPORTING ACTRESS (COMEDY) | SUPPORTING ACTRESS (LIMITED/TV MOVIE) | TALK SERIES | SCRIPTED VARIETY | GAME SHOW | DIRECTING (DRAMA, COMEDY, LIMITED/TV MOVIE) | WRITING (DRAMA, COMEDY, LIMITED/TV MOVIE) | REALITY (COMPETITION, STRUCTURED, UNSTRUCTURED, HOST)

Creative Arts and Other Emmy Categories

GUEST ACTOR (DRAMA) | GUEST ACTRESS (DRAMA) | GUEST ACTOR (COMEDY) | GUEST ACTRESS (COMEDY) | VOICE-OVER | SHORT FORM | DOCUMENTARY | MUSIC | ANIMATED | OTHER CATEGORIES

About the Primetime Emmy Awards

The Primetime Emmy Awards, better known as the Emmys, are given out by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS). Since 1949, the awards have recognized excellence in American primetime television programming. They are divided into three classes – Primetime Emmy Awards, the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards (honors artisan achievements), and the Primetime Engineering Emmy Awards (recognizes significant engineering and technological contributions). The typical eligibility period is between June 1 and May 31 of any given year. The Television Academy comprises over 25,000 members, representing 30 professional peer groups, including performers, directors, producers, art directors, artisans, and executives.

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