My Attempts To Predict The Winners of This Year’s Emmys
Week 1, Day 1: Outstanding Drama Series
Every year, I find myself saying: the Emmys will be different this year. And every year, I’m usually wrong. But this year, I’ll have to be right.
Because of so many outside factors, most of them relating to Covid but also because many of last years nominees and winners either ended their series last year or were unable to air during the period of eligibility, it is almost inevitable that anywhere from ninety to ninety-five percent of this years winners will be new faces. And its not just that. This year, the Emmy broke all previous records when it came to minority nominees in almost every category — and remarkably, the lion’s share of them more than deserved to be. This is a whole new ballgame.
Following the practice of the last two years, I will make my predictions in the Drama, Comedy and Limited Series categories. The predictions will be based on the odds that I have found on the website Gold Derby, which is based on fans and experts opinions. I’ll also give some of the reason which each nominee and why they might lose.
OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
Netflix and Shonda Rhimes’ first collaboration is an adaptation of Julia Quinn’s bestselling Regency romance. Set in a mythical England, the series centers around the Bridgerton family, specifically in Season1 the relationship between newly minted Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor) and the Duke of Hastings (Rege-Jean Page) as they play a game of faux courtship so that each can get what they want…at least, that’s how it starts. Pro: Admitting that I am far from this series greatest fan, I can’t ignore the huge amount of buzz that has surrounded this romantic series and so many of the cast around it. It became very quickly one of the most bingeable series of the previous series and surely has one of the biggest fanbases. Con: Shonda Rhimes’ series traditionally don’t do well in the Emmys (they’ve only had two winners in major categories in the last fifteen years). And given the controversy that centered around major episodes, I think the combination won’t be enough to get it anywhere. Lady Whistledown will be so dismayed.
Lovecraft Country: 17–2
An astonishing accomplishment in both the field of horror and racial history. Centering on Atticus Freeman and his family’s relationship to a mystical power that transcends generations, this show was every bit as visually stunning and emotionally powerful as Watchmen was last season. It had some of the most terrifying moments I’ve seen on television in a very long time. It featured some of the greatest new discoveries in years and used some incredible talents such as Jurnee Smollett and Michael K. Williams giving unforgettable performances. It’s hard to believe a series set in the 1950s would be arguably the most relevant show on TV this season. Pro: It is rare that an HBO series more than lives up to the promotion but this series really earned the Peak TV level that HBO has been working toward but doesn’t always hit. Arguably the biggest mistake the executives made was deciding to cancel the series after just a single season (I really like seeing what Misha Green was planning for a possible Season 2.) All I can say is wow. Con: I really wish HBO had made the decision to cancel the series before the Emmy submission. (The creator’s plans indicate it was most likely going to be an anthology anyway.) Had it done so, it’s nearly certain that the series would’ve dominated the Limited Series and probably won most of them. As it is, it’s remarkable cast is almost certainly going to be shutout by the royal family. (Well, not all of them.)
I was sad to see it go, but I was glad this Ryan Murphy series left on its own terms. And considering just how it left, it sure as hell saved the best for last. You didn’t think it possible given what all the characters have been through, but remarkably almost everybody got a truly happy ending. Blanca finally became both a wife and a caregiver. Elektra became the rich boss woman she always deserved to be. Angel and Lil Papi, after some struggles made it down the aisle. And for a great shining moment, it looked like our great love Pray Tell was going to survive the AIDS that was killing him — until he made the ultimate sacrifice for the man he loved. Even this bittersweet moment in a note of triumph, which everybody who walked the ballroom deserved. Pro: Honestly, if it weren’t for The Crown, this is the show I’d want to win. A series entirely made up of African-American gay and transgender actors? This is the series the world needed more than it ever could. And unlike so many of Murphy’s other series, there was no campiness and no playing it for cheap laughs. We got to know and love these characters more than any we’ve seen before. This was a hell of a ride. Con: The same thing that’s affecting every series that isn’t The Crown. The opposition. I don’t think the kings and queens of the ballrooms have a chance against the real queen.
The Boys: 19–2
A group of vigilantes are going after a group of rogue superheroes run by an evil organization. Also in this world, there are also press junkets, box office movies featuring them and complicated relationships involving evil corporations. What do you know — superheroes really are just like us? Pro: Well, you can’t say the Emmys hasn’t finally gotten over its bias towards comic books and sci-fi. Much as I’d rather they’d have broken through with some series in the Berlanti-verse, it does make sense they’d start here — this show is angry, foul-mouthed and bitterly funny. No question it’s a dark show, but it’s definitely one I’d rather watch then some of the other nominees in this category. Con: No major nominations in acting and, save for one writing nominations, little else that isn’t technical. Kind of got the feeling this may be Amazon’s token nominee.
The Crown: 39–10
This incredible history of the British royal family aired what is arguably its greatest season to date. Moving to the next generation, we learned that the fairy-tale romance of Charles and Diana was a fraud from beginning to end — and everybody knew it. We saw the struggle between and aging Elizabeth and the Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher as for the first time she dealt with a Prime Minister who had no respect for her or what she stood for. And we saw just how badly even being close to the throne utterly destroys everybody around it — most tragically Helena Bonham-Carter’s Margaret and horrendously Diana herself. Pro: The series got 24 nominations, including every regular. The series has basically run every major critics prize this years, from the Golden Globes to the SAG awards. And after getting very little from the Emmys in the last few years — and since once again, there will be a changing of the cast for Season 5 — it is more overdue. Con: The world is oversaturated with the interest in the British royal family? There’s no desire to give another British based show a bunch of Emmys? Seriously, if anyone can come up with a reasonable explanation as to why The Crown will not win, this year, send them to me.
The Handmaid’s Tale: 13–2
June (formerly Offred) made her run to Canada, and than finally began an attack on Gilead proper. The battle has become truly fierce at this stage, and there is every indication we are nearing the endgame. Pro: I have never truly liked this series, and at this stage even the long-time fans are beginning to become a little tired with the dystopian world the creators have put together. That all said, the series features some of the greatest actresses in television giving performances that can’t be ignored even if you have problems with the series. Con: I think the time of The Handmaid’s Tale has truly passed. It was basically shutout by the Emmys last year despite getting fifteen nominations, and its fanbase has been complaining about it for awhile. It may still have relevance, but even so, its really depressing.
The Mandalorian: 6–1
The title character continued his fight against the rising Empire, searching for others of his kinds, rejoining old allies, dealing with the Empire and the Jedi — and in the last moments of Season 2, meeting the icon of the Star Wars Universe. Pro: I’ve made it more than clear how strongly I don’t like this series. That all said, its really hard to argue with the motivation that gives it 24 nominations and has more or less put its streaming service on the map. I wouldn’t go so far as say the force is strong with this series, but clearly there are fans among Emmy voters that aren’t the typical Star Wars group. It could be a major contender…Con:…if it weren’t for the fact that the lion’s share of its nominations are in the technical categories. The Emmys will reward it heavily, but unless I’ve very much mistaken, it will almost entirely be on the Creative Arts side
This is Us: 10–1
Like every other family in the world, the Pearson spent Season 5 dealing with Covid and the fallout. Of course, there were a lot of other problems — Kevin and Randall spent the majority of the season not speaking, Toby and Beth spent most of the year out of work, Kate and Toby tried to find a new sibling for Jack. There were all the tragedy that were used to by now and some genuine triumphs — and as we saw in the last two minutes of the Season finale, one hell of a future shock. Pro: In all candor, This is Us is more than overdo for a lot of prizes. Many of the episodes we saw this year resonated in a way that was more powerful than usual — Randall finally learning the history of his birth mother, Kevin’s struggle to be a good father, how Randall and Kevin finally ended their fight — which incidentally covered a lot more ground than just the one that ended Season 4. Hell, there was an episode that spent half its focus on the man who developed the internet technology that made smart phones work that was nearly as moving as anything involving the Big Three. And as it’s their penultimate season, they deserve something from the Emmys. Con: The Emmys seem to have made it more than clear that they just don’t want to recognize broadcast television when it comes to any level of greatness. I guess it’s just another obstacle for the Pearsons to deal with.
Prediction: Easiest one of the night. Unless Elizabeth II abdicates in the next week, look for The Crown to prevail. (Hell, that might just encourage Peter Morgan to do another season.)