Who’s Likely to Win – and Who Could Upset – This Year’s Emmy Awards?

The Emmys will return to a semblance of normal this year – with a limited audience of nominees and their guests attending in person, sitting in a theater-like setting under an outdoor tent.  Last year, you’ll recall Jimmy Kimmel hosting at an empty Staples Center, surrounded by virtual nominees. So it’s a start towards normality.

In lieu of Kimmel, this year’s host will be Cedric the Entertainer — emceeing his first Emmys after taking the mic at the Soul Train Music Awards.

Expect an opening number (can anyone say Billy Crystal?) and watch for some sketches. The veteran comic is going to bring great fun and a stage presence that should keep us entertained.

What can we expect on Sunday night?

Sunday’s awards ceremony promises to be a big night for The Crown. The Netflix series that explores the life of Queen Elizabeth captured much of the intrigue and historical contradictions of the 80s in its most recent season, and it has been the darling of awards shows leading up to Emmys’ big night.

The Crown should take home the night’s top prize—Best Drama—and probably won’t stop there.

If you are looking for a potential upset, look toward The Mandalorian with its 24 nominations. It tied The Crown for most nods this season. The popular Disney+ series already walked away with seven Creative Arts Emmys last week.

Best Actors/Actresses:

In one of the easiest categories to predict, Gillian Anderson is expected to win for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama for her transformative role as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Expect the Princess Diana/Prince Charles tandem of Emma Corrin and Josh O’Connor to score their first Emmys.

If an upset is brewing, it’ll be on the men’s side, where Rege-Jean Page could surprise for his first and only season on Bridgerton. But Billy Porter for Pose can’t be overlooked. He won for the performance in 2019.

Uzo Aduba certainly had a powerful performance in the return of HBO’s In Treatment. She may not be a favorite this year, but Aduba is always a favorite with Academy voters, having won three times. Her role as psychiatrist Brooke, and in particular her own personal struggles, give a viable upset option.

Best Supporting Actors/Actresses: 

The emotional favorite is clearly Michael K. Williams, who died earlier this month, for his role on Lovecraft Country. Unfortunately, Michael can’t get the sympathy vote as academy members had to complete ballots a week before his death.

Williams is still the one to beat. The surprise would be Tobias Menzies, who is intensely understated in his role as Prince Philip in The Crown.  The Game of Thrones and Outlander alum was nominated for a BAFTA and seven other awards this year.

The Comedies 

Can anyone “lasso” Ted? As heard on Seinfeld, “Not bloody likely.”

Ted Lasso will likely grab Best Comedy and Best Actor for Jason Sudeikis.

But if you want a surprise show to look for—just to keep it interesting—watch for HBO’s Hacks. The Jean Smart comedy gave Ted Lasso a run for the money, at least with social media buzz.

That said, Smart should be going home with a trophy for playing Deborah Vance to the delight of viewers.

Supporting Actor in Comedy is a tough one to call, and the field is formidable with four members of the Ted Lasso ensemble– Brett Goldstein, Brendan Hunt, Nick Mohammed and Jeremy Swift. They might end up splitting the vote, so look for SNL favorite Kenan Thompson to finally win an Emmy after 18 years (the longest tenure cast member in history).  

But don’t overlook his colleague Bowen Yang, who shined throughout the season and became a cultural touchstone tackling anti-Asian hate during a Weekend Update that was equally hilarious and relatable, without going over the line.

On the Supporting Actress side, Ted Lasso’s Hannah Waddingham is the odds-on favorite.  But another Hannah, the 26-year-old Einbinder—from Hacks—could steal the hardware for her breakout role going toe-to-toe with Hollywood veteran Smart.

Overlooked in all the Emmy buzz has been SNL’s Kate McKinnon. The two-time winner in this category would be a shocker for her third, but delivered indelible performances throughout last fall’s election season.

The Limited Series 

For Limited Series, it’s time for the Emmys to officially anoint The Queen’s Gambit. The show was the first “must-see” during the pandemic, popular with critics, viewers and award voters.

The Netflix series is the favorite to win, but watch out for HBO’s Mare of Easttown. It could pull off the upset for the Best Limited Series, but even more likely for its star Kate Winslet with a complex role as the small-town detective.

Gambit’s Anya Taylor-Joy is already well decorated as the troubled chess prodigy but could, well deservedly, take home another.

Jean Smart has a chance for the rare double Emmy night. She is also nominated as Best Supporting Actress in Limited Series or Movie for Mare of Easttown.

Finally, place your bets on Hugh Grant, who appears to be poised to win his first Emmy for HBO’s The Undoing.   If there’s an upset, it is likely to be Paul Bettany for WandaVision.

The 73rd Emmy Awards are Sunday at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on CBS – and streaming live on Paramount +.

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