I Try to Predict The Winners for This Weekends HCA TV Awards (And Sometimes Hope I’m Wrong)
Part 2: Drama
I am eager with anticipation to try and guess which series will end up winning the awards for Best Drama in all three categories. If the HCA demonstrated anything last year, it was they had no intention of playing by the rules, and that came across clearly in all of their selections for Best Drama. The Crown took three of the four acting awards for Streaming, but the Best Drama in that category was The Mandalorian. This is Us was the leader in nomination for Broadcast Drama, but they chose to give it to New Amsterdam. And while almost all their acting awards in Broadcast and Cable went to either Pose or Lovecraft Country, the Best Cable Drama award went to Cruel Summer. (Oh, that still gives me goose bumps a year after the fact.) So nothing is certain here, especially the idea that they’ll follow previous critics’ road maps.
So here we go.
BEST BROADCAST DRAMA
Could they repeat and end up giving a prize to last year’s winner New Amsterdam? I won’t rule it out, but considering they gave twelve nominations to This is Us (eleven more than the Emmys were) and that they’re going to give a special prize and that no other series got more than three, I think This is Us will win in a walk. And frankly, after everything the Pearsons have been through, they’ve earned it.
Should Win/Will Win: This is Us.
BEST CABLE DRAMA
The obvious winner would seem to be Succession, but as I listed above the HCA doesn’t play by the rules. So I’m going on a limb and say that they might very well end up going for one of the more critical acclaimed series: Better Call Saul or Yellowjackets. (I would like to see The Gilded Age be a contender, but the odds are against it. There will be more opportunities.)
My personal choice is definitely Better Call Saul which is firing on all cylinders in both the first half and the second half of its final season. Critics have always been more inclined to give Breaking Bad more credit than other awards shows, and this does go more to Saul as well. I still think it likely Succession will pull it out, but I still think there’s a very good chance Saul might win.
Should Win: Better Call Saul/Yellowjackets.
Will Win: Succession (but they can surprise you.)
BEST DRAMA, STREAMING
I’ll admit this might be the category Ozark could prevail in, but in my heart I think it will come down to one of the three S’s: Severance, Squid Game or Stranger Things. Severance s far more beloved critically; Squid Game and Stranger Things are Netflix’s biggest hits and that fact may have pushed The Mandalorian over the edge last year.
I’m going to go with the world-wide phenomena here, and vote for Squid Game as the most likely. It is definitely the more fascinating one to watch, and while Severance may be the better series critically, critics tend to overlook the subtitle barriers more than other award groups.
Should Win: Severance.
Will Win: Squid Game.
BEST LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA, BROADCAST OR CABLE
I think this will come to a battle between Bob Odenkirk and the two leads from Succession. We don’t have as much of a clear frontrunner from the pre-Emmys awards (for a reason I’ll get to momentarily) Strong won the Golden Globe, but that didn’t help Brian Cox when he won it the year Succession had its run at the Emmys.
I stand well in favor of Bob Odenkirk. He’s earned it and he’s very overdue. I hope that the HCA is like the Critics Choice (who gave him three consecutive Best Actor prizes) and chooses to recognize him. But I think it more likely that Cox or Strong will prevail, and given how method Strong was throughout the season, I’ll give him the barest of edges.
Should Win: Odenkirk.
Will Win: Strong.
BEST LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA, STREAMING
This may be the easiest acting award of the lot. It is possible Jason Bateman will be the sentimental favorite for the final season of Ozark, and it’s hard to argue Adam Scott isn’t due. (He’s my own favorite in this category.) But right now, all signs would suggest the obvious winner to be Lee Jung-Jae for his role in Squid Game. He managed a shocking upset at the SAG awards and a slightly smaller one at the Critics Choice. Having seen his work in the interim, it’s hard to argue he isn’t worthy. He’s just jumped into the front-runner spot at the Emmys; I find it hard to believe he won’t win here.
Should Win/Will Win: Jung-Jae.
BEST LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA, BROADCAST AND CABLE
There’s only one actress I desperately don’t want to win in this category, which means she very likely will. I’ve expressed my revulsion over Zendaya taking the grand prize for her work in Euphoria, and she would seem to be the likely front-runner. Then again, the HCA had a chance to give her a prize last year for the Christmas special, and they didn’t. So, let’s consider the alternatives.
I really want Juliette Lewis to win for her exceptional work on Yellowjackets which is glorious. But I think it will come down to either her co-star Melanie Lynskey (who took the Best Actress prize from the Critics Choice this March) or Mandy Moore, who is going to take the equivalent of an honorary trophy and whose being overlooked by the Emmys for her extraordinary work in ‘The Train’ was a horror show. Part of me wants Moore to win because she never got enough credit for her work on the series. But having watched much of Lynskey’s work, it’s hard to argue she hasn’t earned it, so I’ll be pulling for her. Just please, don’t give it to Zendaya. I’d like anybody but her.
Should Win: Moore.
Will Win: Lynskey.
BEST LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA, STREAMING
Okay, I have favorites in this and the frontrunners. Having seen the first few episodes of Severance, Britt Lower shouldn’t have been ignored by the Emmys. I want Winona Ryder to win something for Stranger Things, and time’s running out. And I’d have Jennifer Anniston more of a chance had she not been ignored by the Emmys.
So I think the likely winner is one of the greatest actresses in history: Laura Linney. I may not like Ozark or her work in it but it’s hard to argue she hasn’t earned it for her performance. She’s closing in on Zendaya and Lynskey for the Emmy, so I expect her to prevail.
Should Win: Lower.
Will Win: Linney.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA, BROADCAST OR CABLE
This is going to be tough. The clear frontrunner is Kieran Culkin for Succession, given his triumph at the Critics Choice and his humiliated speech that sounded very much like how his character would accept the award. But there are a lot of good choices in this group, who could very well overwhelm him.
My personal preference is for Michael Mando, for the incredible performance he gave in his final episode of Better Call Saul. Giancarlo Esposito is getting a lifetime achievement award as well, so he could have some momentum. Could they give it to Jon Huertas for his incredible final episode on This is Us? I don’t know. This could be the category with a tie in it.
For now, my preference is either Mando or Jonathan Banks. I think Culkin has the barest of edges, but honestly with the exception of Eric Dane, there are no bad choices in this category.
Should Win: Mando/Banks.
Will Win: Culkin (but all good choices, even Dane to an extent.)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA, STREAMING
All of the nominees from Severance are more than worthy now that I’ve seen the first few episodes. Could the division end up benefiting one of the other actors? I could see Billy Crudup managed a victory for The Morning Show, and I wouldn’t mind it Joe Kerry got it for Stranger Things.
But ultimately, I think this will go to Severance and at the moment, my personal favorite is John Turturro. He’s one of the greatest character actors in history, and he is consistently overlooked by every major awards group. His work in Severance is both irritating and endearing, and I personally really want to see him up there.
Should Win: Turturro.
Will Win: anyone from Severance (but no bad choices.)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA, BROADCAST OR CABLE
Oh this is going to hurt. I really want Chrissy Metz or Susan Kelechi Watson to win here — neither got anywhere near the due they should have for their work on This is Us and they really should get something as they walk out the door. J. Smith Cameron is one of my favorite actresses and I’d prefer her to prevail over Sarah Snook, the likely frontrunner due to her win at the Critics Choice.
But I have two overwhelming favorites in this category. Rhea Seehorn, for her awesome work in Better Call Saul and Christina Ricci, who has a role that lives up to her potential in Yellowjackets. And really as extraordinary as both of them are, I have to go to Seehorn for this one. It is a crime that the Emmys only caught up to her this year, and I really want to see her up there.
Should Win: Seehorn or Ricci.
Will Win: Snook (but you never know)
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA, STREAMING
I won’t deny; I want one of the three young nominees from Stranger Things to win here. My personal preference, as always, is Millie Bobby Brown because she’s awesome, but it’s hard not to appreciate the work by Sadie Sink or Maya Hawke over the years. And I could definitely see Patricia Arquette winning out for remarkable work on Severance as the boss from hell. But I think this year it comes down to choices from Netflix: Julia Garner for Ozark or Jung Ho-Yeon from Squid Game.
Garner has been the dominant Supporting Actress in the Emmys the past two seasons; she’s the front runner this year. Ho-yeon managed a major upset at the SAG this March and could very well do so again. It’s hard not to deny the similarities between their characters as well. I’m going to give the barest of edges to Ho-Yeon and much as I want to see the award go to Eleven, I don’t have a problem with Ho-Yeon.
Should Win: Brown.
Will Win: Ho-Yeon.
Writing and Directing
Given the level of the cleverness of the script I’m inclined to give Severance the edge in writing. Its direction is also superb, but I think this may be a category where spectacle will win out over style, and I expect either Stranger Things or Squid Game to prevail. International series will go to Squid Game in a walk.
Broadcast or Cable:
Directing is likely to go to Succession, though don’t rule out the incredible work of Yellowjackets to be enough to put it over. It would not shock me if ‘The Train’ ended up taking the writing prize for This is Us over Succession. (Remind me why Better Call Saul isn’t in either category? Oh, well.)
Tomorrow I will finish up with Limited Series, Movie and a few ephemera. Again, much happier with this group then the Emmys (and believe me, this group demonstrates how poorly the Emmys handled it this year.)