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

on September 16, 2018, 7:00am
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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

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Outstanding Comedy Series

pjimage 19 Emmys: Who Will Win, Who Should Win, and Who Got Snubbed

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

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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

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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

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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
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Outstanding Supporting Actor – Comedy Series

pjimage 24 Emmys: Who Will Win, Who Should Win, and Who Got Snubbed

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
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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
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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
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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
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Outstanding Lead Actress – Drama Series

Elisabeth Moss, Keri Russell, Mackenzie Davis, Kerry Bishe

Claire Foy, The Crown
Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale
Sandra Oh, Killing Eve
Keri Russell, The Americans
Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black

Who should win: Keri Russell, The Americans
Who will win: Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale

Elisabeth Moss is terrific in The Handmaid’s Tale. She’s an amazing actress with a long career of excellent work behind her. She also already has an Emmy. Keri Russell is not only incredibly deserving (the vein on her forehead that comes out when Elizabeth is tense, but hiding it, deserves an Emmy of its own), but she’s overdue. This is the Emmys’ last chance to recognize an all-time great TV character in a season that gave Russell loads to do and spotlit her range. It may be a long shot, but Emmy Awards, you know what you should do.

If we voted: Emmy voters may have forgotten about it, but Halt and Catch Fire’s final season was eligible this year, which means the powerful, complicated performances of its leads, Kerry Bishé and Mackenzie Davis, were as well. Also great and overlooked: Jodie Comer of Killing Eve and Mandy Moore of This Is Us. —Kate Kulzick

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Outstanding Lead Actor – Drama Series

Sterling K. Brown, Matthew Rhys, Jonathan Groff

Jason Bateman, Ozark
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Ed Harris, Westworld
Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us
Jeffrey Wright, Westworld

Who should win: Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Who will win: Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us

Sterling K. Brown took home this award last year, and there’s a good chance he’ll do so again this year (the Emmys love consistency). But while Brown is no doubt one of the best actors working today, the second season of This Is Us wasn’t as strong of a showcase for him as the first (plus he has a good chance of winning in another category for his guest turn on Brooklyn Nine-Nine). Instead, we’d love to see Emmy voters finally reward Matthew Rhys for his six seasons of phenomenal work as Philip Jennings on The Americans. Though it’s racked up nominations over the years, The Americans has only ever won two Emmys — both for Margo Martindale. This is Emmy voters’ last chance to spread the love and salute the series for its excellent final season. Rhys’ work in the finale, in particular, is well deserving of recognition.

If we voted:There are no hugely egregious snubs in this category, but we wouldn’t have minded seeing Jason Bateman’s slot go to Mindhunter’s Jonathan Groff, Halt and Catch Fire’s Lee Pace, or even The Punisher’s Jon Bernthal instead. —Caroline Siede
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Outstanding Supporting Actress – Drama Series

Thandie Newton, Melora Hardin

Ann Dowd, The Handmaid’s Tale
Alexis Bledel, The Handmaid’s Tale
Yvonne Strahovski, The Handmaid’s Tale
Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Thandie Newton, Westworld

Who should win: Thandie Newton, Westworld
Who will win: Thandie Newton, Westworld

It’s fair to say that we have our qualms with HBO’s Westworld, a series that looks like a million bucks and tells its story like a drunk guy sitting by a campfire, trying to remember that one urban legend he heard that one time. But any quibbles we might have do not extend to Newton, whose deeply thoughtful performance as Maeve ensures that everything she touches, from mourning to mind control, makes perfect emotional sense. When she wins, we’ll cheer.

If we voted: Over on Freeform, Melora Hardin is giving one of TV’s best supporting performances as dream boss Jacqueline Carlyle on The Bold Type, and the lack of recognition for her work in season one closer “Carry the Weight” is a real shame. Also: Holly Taylor and Margo Martindale, The Americans; Susan Kelechi Watson, This Is Us; Tina Lifford, Queen Sugar; Aubrey Plaza, Legion. — Allison Shoemaker

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Outstanding Supporting Actor – Drama Series

Noah Emmerich, Peter Dinklage, Tobias Menzies

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Joseph Fiennes, The Handmaid’s Tale
David Harbour, Stranger Things
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
Matt Smith, The Crown

Who should win: JUSTICE FOR STAN BEEMAN
Who will win: Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones

Peter Dinklage is great, even when he’s got dick to do, and there are some worthy nominees in this category. But there’s also a pick or two I’d call head-scratchers, if I weren’t so filled with rage. Where in the hell is Noah Emmerich in this list? For six incredible seasons, he gave one of TV’s best performances as The Americans’ Stan Beeman, an FBI agent with a knack for loving the wrong people. His big scene in the finale, a tour de force in a parking garage, is a goddamn masterpiece. But sure. Joseph Fiennes. Whatever.

If we voted: Outlander’s Tobias Menzies does more great acting with the muscles in his jawline than most people do with their entire bodies. Also: Brendan Fraser, Trust; Toby Huss, Halt and Catch Fire; Zahn McClarnon, Westworld. — Allison Shoemaker

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Outstanding Guest Actress – Drama Series

Diana Rigg, Pam Grier, Rinko Kikuchi

Viola Davis, Scandal
Kelly Jenrette, The Handmaid’s Tale
Cherry Jones, The Handmaid’s Tale
Diana Rigg, Game Of Thrones
Cicely Tyson, How To Get Away With Murder
Samira Wiley, The Handmaid’s Tale

What should win: Diana Rigg, Game Of Thrones
What will win: Diana Rigg, Game Of Thrones

This is Diana Rigg’s fourth nomination for her role as Olenna Tyrell, and given that it’s also the Emmy voters’ last chance to award her for this particular performance, we’re betting they’re going to take it. (Outside of Game Of Thrones, Rigg has five more Emmy nominations and a win under her belt). It helps that season seven was a standout one for Olenna. “Tell Cersei. I want her to know it was me” was not only a great meme, but also an all-time great final line for an all-time great supporting character.

If we voted: There’s a wealth of well-deserved nominations in this category, but we would’ve loved to see Emmy voters celebrate the fiercely maternal turns from both Pam Grier in This is Us and Rinko Kikuchi in Westworld. —Caroline Siede
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Outstanding Guest Actor – Drama Series

Jimmi Simpson, Cameron Britton, David Strathairn

F. Murray Abraham, Homeland
Cameron Britton, Mindhunter
Matthew Goode, The Crown
Ron Cephas Jones, This Is Us
Gerald McRaney, This Is Us
Jimmi Simpson, Westworld

Who should win: Cameron Britton, Mindhunter
Who will win: Jimmi Simpson, Westworld

Sure, Jimmi Simpson is appropriately creepy as baby Ed Harris on Westworld, but due attention must be paid to Cameron Britton’s mustachioed Ed Kemper of David Fincher’s Mindhunter. Just watch footage of the real Kemper and Britton’s spooky, dead-eyed re-creation next to each other; it’s an uncanny re-enactment, but one that doesn’t lose its dramatic weight for the sake of impersonation. It’d be great to see such a stunning, scary breakout performance rewarded.

If we voted: Syfy’s (now Amazon’s) The Expanse remains the best science fiction show no one’s watching, but it would have been nice to see David Strathairn get a nod for his arch yet deceptively complex space pirate. —Clint Worthington
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Outstanding Limited Series

Darren Criss, Twin Peaks

The Alienist
The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Genius: Picasso
Godless
Patrick Melrose

What should win: The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (or, really, Twin Peaks: The Return)
What will win: The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story is easily the most high-profile show among these nominees, and almost certainly the winner as well. It’s a well-deserving choice, even if it’s frustrating that this category is lacking in stiff competition. The biggest snub here is definitely Twin Peaks: The Return, which might have proved just a little too out-there for Emmy voters. Still, it’s bizarre to see that high-profile series ignored over less-discussed shows like Godless, The Alienist, Patrick Melrose, and Genius: Picasso. But we’ll try not to hold that against Versace when it takes home the award.

If we voted: An even bigger mystery than “who drew the dicks?” is “why did American Vandal get so little love from Emmy voters?” We would’ve loved to see that wonderfully original series nominated along with The Terror, Alias Grace, and of course, Twin Peaks: The Return.  —Caroline Siede
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Outstanding Television Movie

Black Mirror, Notes From The Field, The Tale

Fahrenheit 451 (HBO)
Flint (Lifetime)
Paterno (HBO)
The Tale (HBO)
USS Callister (Black Mirror) (Netflix)

What should win: The Tale
What will win: USS Callister (Black Mirror)

Obviously, The Tale is the best thing on this list, a deeply haunting story of memory and pain with an unbeatable cast (Laura Dern, anyone?!), but it’s a little too heavy for a good spread of Emmy voters to have seen. We think they’ll go with USS Callister — yet another story of how male-dominated worldviews and systems harm women, but coated in a thick sheen of charming Star Trek nostalgia.

If we voted: We would have loved to see some attention paid to Anna Deavere Smith’s Notes from the Field, the latest in her series of sprawling, heartfelt one-woman shows, this one concerning the school-to-prison pipeline. —Clint Worthington
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Outstanding Lead Actress – Limited Series/TV Movie

Laura Dern, Sarah Gadon

Laura Dern, The Tale
Jessica Biel, The Sinner
Michelle Dockery, Godless
Edie Falco, Law and Order SVU: The Menendez Murders
Regina King, Seven Seconds
Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Cult 

Who should win: Laura Dern, The Tale
Who will win: Laura Dern, The Tale

Jennifer Fox’s The Tale is one of the year’s best movies, and had HBO released it in theaters, we’d be talking about Dern as an Oscar front-runner. Instead, she’ll have to content herself with the Emmy she’s definitely going to win, and which her remarkable, restrained, and devastating performance will absolutely deserve. And screw it — let’s just pretend she’s getting this for Twin Peaks, too. More on that below.

If we voted: This category is full of actors who are great, but have been better elsewhere, and as a result, several year’s-best performances were left out. Whither Alias Grace’s Sarah Gadon? Howards End’s Hayley Atwell? Anna Deavere Smith, who made Notes from the Field such a powerful experience? Also: Cristin Milioti, “USS Callister” (Black Mirror); Natalie Dormer, Picnic at Hanging Rock; Riley Keough, Paterno. — Allison Shoemaker
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Outstanding Lead Actor – Limited Series/TV Movie

Darren Criss, Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Shannon

Antonio Banderas, Genius: Picasso
Darren Criss, The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Benedict Cumberbatch, Patrick Melrose
Jeff Daniels, The Looming Tower
John Legend, Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert
Jesse Plemons, “USS Callister” (Black Mirror)

What should win: Darren Criss, The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
What will win: Darren Criss, The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

It can be hard to be the runaway favorite in a category. Darren Criss’ inevitable win feels a little unexciting at this point, even though he’s more than deserving of the award. He delivered a truly captivating performance as serial killer Andrew Cunanan, flipping from charming to terrifying at the drop of a hat (or the drop of a bag of concrete). But the biggest story here is a snub: Where’s Kyle MacLachlan?!? MacLachlan’s multi-faceted performance on Twin Peaks: The Return definitely deserved some love from Emmy voters. On the other hand, we’re thrilled to see John Legend recognized for his soulful turn as Jesus Christ in Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert. Long live the live musical, and long live Agent Dale Cooper!

If we voted: In addition to MacLachlan, we would’ve loved to see a little more love for the Paramount Network’s Waco. Both Taylor Kitsch and Michael Shannon gave great performances in the little-seen miniseries about the Waco siege against David Koresh and his Branch Davidians. —Caroline Siede

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Outstanding Supporting Actress – Limited Series/TV Movie

Penelope Cruz, Judith Light, Laura Dern

Sara Bareilles, Jesus Christ Superstar: Live in Concert
Penelope Cruz, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Judith Light, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Adina Porter, American Horror Story: Cult
Merritt Weaver, Godless
Letitia Wright, Black Museum (Black Mirror)

Who should win: Judith Light, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Who will win: Penélope Cruz, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

This category is an embarrassment of riches, and depending on how potential sweeps start shaping up, it could go many ways. Given the Emmys’ past love for American Crime Story, and Penélope Cruz’s strong performance as Donatella Versace, she’s likely to walk away with the award. A more interesting choice would be Judith Light, for the less flashy but equally compelling role of Marilyn Miglin. Light is gripping as Miglin, and the intensity of her performance helps pivot the series from its glitzier early episodes to its increasingly darker, more devastating later run.

If we voted: It boggles the mind that industry darling and Emmy fave Laura Dern wasn’t nominated for her work as Diane on Twin Peaks: The Return. Julia Ormond and Rebecca Liddiard were also great this year in Howards End and Alias Grace, respectively, but come on, guys. Laura Dern! —Kate Kulzick
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Outstanding Supporting Actor – Limited Series/TV Movie

Edgar Ramirez, Brandon Victor Dixon, Harry Dean Stanton

Jeff Daniels, Godless
Brandon Victor Dixon, Jesus Christ Superstar: Live in Concert
John Leguizamo, Waco
Ricky Martin, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Edgar Ramirez, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Michael Stuhlbarg, The Looming Tower
Finn Wittrock, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Who should win: Brandon Victor Dixon, Jesus Christ Superstar: Live in Concert
Who will win: Edgar Ramirez, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

I mean, did you even see JCS Live? Brandon Victor Dixon’s Judas blew John Legend out of the water with every sequined tank top, black leather vest, and wailing high note he could muster. He’s already a Tony-caliber performer, so it’s thrilling to see his considerable talents translated to the small screen in equally exuberant ways. Still, we think Edgar Ramirez’s small but mighty turn as Gianni Versace in American Crime Story (and his higher profile as an actor) might win out in the end.

If we voted: Since we’re committed to our heartfelt stan for Twin Peaks: The Return, we’d like to remind you that the late, great Harry Dean Stanton was in it, and he sang a lovely blues song, and that should make you very happy. —Clint Worthington
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Outstanding Reality Competition

RuPaul's Drag Race, Survivor

American Ninja Warrior (NBC)
The Amazing Race (CBS)
Project Runway (Lifetime)
RuPaul’s Drag Race (VH1)
Top Chef (Bravo)
The Voice (NBC)

What should win: RuPaul’s Drag Race
What will win: RuPaul’s Drag Race

Listen. We understand there’s a pretty solid chance that The Voice will take home the grand prize, as it’s been cleaning up in this category since its debut. Adam Levine and whatever other artists want a couple million dollars this year could get another trophy, and that’d be that. But Drag Race, while nominated last year, has never won in this category, and we’re just so very desperate to see one of the most consistently inventive, engaging reality series going today finally get its due on this visible of a stage. Ru can launch some monarch butterflies out of the Emmy next season, it’ll be great.

If we voted: Most of these are solid mainstays, but no love for Survivor? Aside from the disaster that was the Ghost Island revival, one of our oldest reality shows has been in a boom period of late. Too bad. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer
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Outstanding Reality Host

RuPaul Charles, Cat Deeley

W. Kamau Bell, United Shades Of America
Ellen Degeneres, Ellen’s Game Of Games
RuPaul Charles, Rupaul’s Drag Race
Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, Project Runway
Jane Lynch, Hollywood Game Night

Who should win: RuPaul Charles, RuPaul’s Drag Race
Who will win: RuPaul Charles, RuPaul’s Drag Race

Even an off season of Drag Race is better than a lot of reality TV out there. Even a RuPaul who has some serious learning left to do is still one of the best hosts around. RuPaul will win, and RuPaul should.

If we voted: Cat Deeley is a delight. Give her an Emmy. Also: Nicole Byer, Nailed It!. — Allison Shoemaker

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Outstanding Variety Talk Series

Samantha Bee, John Oliver, Robin Thede

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Comedy Central)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (TBS)
Jimmy Kimmel Live! (ABC)
The Late Late Show with James Corden (CBS)
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (CBS)

What should win: Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
Who will win: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

John Oliver and his team continue to do excellent work at Last Week Tonight, and their likely win is not undeserved. However, Samantha Bee and her team’s globe-hopping remote segments and interviews are a welcome change of pace from the more professorial, lecture style many in the late night space are committed to, either in their monologues or behind-the-desk segments. Bee’s energy and passion are palpable and her cutting, unafraid-to-sound-angry delivery is cathartic during what many consider challenging times.

If we voted: The Rundown with Robin Thede hit the ground running with a confident first season, as did Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas. Also, it didn’t have a prayer, but a nomination for The Trixie & Katya Show sure woulda been neat. —Kate Kulzick

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Outstanding Variety Sketch Series

Drunk History, Saturday Night Live, Nathan For You

At Home With Amy Sedaris (TruTV)
Drunk History (Comedy Central)
I Love You, America With Sarah Silverman (Hulu)
Portlandia (IFC)
Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Tracey Ullman’s Show (HBO)

What should win: Drunk History
What will win:
Saturday Night Live

It’s not like SNL particularly needs another Emmy, but the show’s been experiencing far too much of a cultural revival since Trump’s election (for better and worse) to call any other nominee a likelier fit. Having said that, Comedy Central’s Drunk History has been hovering around this category since its inception, and we’d love to see one of the network’s more creative shows of recent vintage get its due.

If we voted: It’s a legitimately egregious omission that Nathan For You has yet to even be nominated in this category. Given that this particular laurel has only existed since 2015, that means that the Emmys will have now spent what may now be the entirety of the show’s run ignoring it. Criminal. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

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