Peak TV means that the annual Television Academy Emmy Awards are more competitive than ever. But with so many categories and so many quality shows out there, it can be hard to know who’s nominated for what. Unlike the Oscars, The Emmys must cover multiple genres and forms when handing out their awards. This guide is to help you know who to root for when you watch the awards tonight. And have some fun seeing if our predictions come true!
Below are the nominees for the major awards, along with some information on the nominees and some facts about tonight’s show.
“Better Call Saul” (AMC)
“The Crown” (Netflix)
“The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu)
“House of Cards” (Netflix)
“Stranger Things” (Netflix)
“This Is Us” (NBC)
It’s an interesting fight in the Drama category as nearly all of the nominees were not in the running last year. Only House of Cards and Better Call Saul were on the 2016 ballot, which could mean a more competitive field overall.
Prediction: Westworld (HBO)
While Stranger Things and The Handmaid’s Tale have been huge hits, Westworld has many of the pieces that make up a great series in an era where a little bit of genre work isn’t award repellent.
“Master of None” (Netflix)
“Modern Family” (ABC)
“Silicon Valley” (HBO)
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” (Netflix)
More repetition in the Comedy category with 2-time winner Veep and 5-time winner Modern Family competing with a crop of returning nominees as well as newcomer Atlanta, which, despite its youth, has garnered near universal acclaim for the show and its creator Donald Glover.
Prediction: Veep (HBO)
Atlanta is a great series, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is one of the best shows on Netflix, Veep continues to run strong on HBO. Not only are the writers and actors on top of their game, but the show has also beaten most of the other nominees and shows no signs of slowing down as it enters its final season.
Viola Davis (“How to Get Away with Murder”)
Claire Foy (“The Crown”)
Elisabeth Moss (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Keri Russell (“The Americans”)
Evan Rachel Wood (“Westworld”)
Robin Wright (“House of Cards”)
Prediction: Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld)
With many of these actresses stuck in more limiting roles, Evan Rachel Wood has been able to show amazing ability in her role as Dolores Abernathy.
Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”)
Anthony Hopkins (“Westworld”)
Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”)
Matthew Rhys (“The Americans”)
Liev Schreiber (“Ray Donovan”)
Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards”)
Milo Ventimiglia (“This Is Us”)
Prediction: Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”)
While Kevin Spacey and Bob Odenkirk have been holding it down in their own shows, Sterling K. Brown has been consistently impressive in his role as Randall Pearson. Not only will he have earned it, but this is also an easy bone for the Academy to throw NBC.
Anthony Anderson (“Black-ish”)
Aziz Ansari (“Master of None”)
Zach Galifianakis (“Baskets”)
Donald Glover (“Atlanta”)
William H. Macy (“Shameless”)
Jeffrey Tambor (“Transparent”)
Prediction: Donald Glover (“Atlanta”)
Glover has already won a Golden Globe for his performance as Earn Marks, and it’s easy to see why. The combination of comedy and drama that Atlanta pulls off so expertly plays perfectly to Glover’s strengths, and he stands out in his show more than many of the other actors in this category.
Pamela Adlon (“Better Things”)
Tracee Ellis-Ross (“black-ish”)
Jane Fonda (“Grace and Frankie”)
Lily Tomlin (“Grace and Frankie”)
Allison Janney (“Mom”)
Ellie Kemper (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep”)
Prediction: Ellie Kemper (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”)
All of the actresses here are hilarious and integral parts of their show, Ellie Kemper pulls off the delicate balance of comedy and heart essential for a good main character. While many of the other actresses in this group do a fantastic job as part of their ensemble, Kemper stands out for how well she grounds her show without hurting its comedy.
“Big Little Lies” (HBO)
“Feud: Bette and Joan” (FX)
“The Night Of” (HBO)
“Genius” (National Geographic)
Prediction: “Feud: Bette and Joan” (FX)
Who knew that Ryan Murphy could put out such fantastic drama? After his win with American Crime Story last year, it’s no surprise he got a nod. But the real success of the series goes to the leads, Susan Sarandon and Murphy-regular Jessica Lange, who both completely inhabit their roles as Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, respectively. Combined with a dynamite supporting cast and the polish Murphy puts on all his shows, it’s a tough show to beat.
Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
John Lithgow (“The Crown”)
Jonathan Banks (“Better Call Saul”)
Mandy Patinkin (“Homeland”)
Michael Kelly (“House of Cards”)
David Harbour (“Stranger Things”)
Ron Cephas Jones (“This Is Us”)
Jeffrey Wright (“Westworld”)
Prediction: John Lithgow (“The Crown”)
David Harbour was very nearly the pick for this, thanks to his gruff but loveable performance as Police Chief Jim Hopper. But to suggest that anyone came close to the sheer power and effect in John Lithgow’s performance as Winston Churchill would be a lie. Capturing perfectly the weakness hiding beneath Churchill’s trademark bluster, Lithgow stole nearly every scene he was in.
Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Ann Dowd (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Samira Wiley (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Uzo Aduba (“Orange Is the New Black”)
Millie Bobby Brown (“Stranger Things”)
Chrissy Metz (“This Is Us”)
Thandie Newton (“Westworld”)
Prediction: Millie Bobby Brown (“Stranger Things”)
While it’s hard to pick a young actress over older and more experienced ones, Brown is the pick thanks to the amount of emotion she was able to put into her few lines as mad-science-experiment victim Eleven. She was able to pull off the fragility of a wounded deer and the intensity of a stalking wolf, all while barely saying a peep.
Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin (“Saturday Night Live”)
Louie Anderson (“Baskets”)
Ty Burrell (“Modern Family”)
Tituss Burgess (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”)
Tony Hale (“Veep”)
Matt Walsh (“Veep”)
Prediction: Alec Baldwin (“Saturday Night Live”)
Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump has almost defined comedy in the past year. The most talked about thing on the internet every time he appears; his impression has even led to multiple angry responses from the man himself. If that’s not Emmy worthy, nothing is.
Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Kate McKinnon (“Saturday Night Live”)
Vanessa Bayer (“Saturday Night Live”)
Leslie Jones (“Saturday Night Live”)
Anna Chlumsky (“Veep”)
Judith Light (“Transparent”)
Kathryn Hahn (“Transparent”)
Prediction: Leslie Jones (“Saturday Night Live”)
While not nearly as frequently used as fellow nominees Kate McKinnon and Vanessa Bayer, Leslie Jones always brings intensity to her characters. Often cast merely as herself, she has a knack for bringing heart and emotion out of the most outrageous bits.
Variety Talk Series
“Full Frontal With Samantha Bee” (TBS)
“Jimmy Kimmel Live!” (ABC)
“Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” (HBO)
“The Late Late Show With James Corden” (CBS)
“Real Time With Bill Maher” (HBO)
“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” (CBS)
Two newcomers join the sometimes static Variety Talk race as both Full Frontal With Samantha Bee and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert get their first nominations. The category is only two years old since the academy split Variety Talk from Variety Sketch. Last Week Tonight won in 2016, and you can see from the list the impact multiple Emmy winner The Daily Show with Jon Stewart has had on the late night circuit.
Prediction: “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” (CBS)
Not as direct and talky as John Oliver and not as bitter as Sam Bee or Bill Maher, Stephen Colbert has really come into his own in the last year. After a shaky start filling Letterman’s shoes, Colbert has finally struck that perfect balance of politics and absurdity that garnered his old show, The Colbert Report, two Emmy’s in the former category.
“Billy On The Street” (truTV)
“Documentary Now!” (IFC)
“Drunk History” (Comedy Central)
“Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
“Tracey Ullman’s Show” (HBO)
Prediction: “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
As hit or miss as ever in its 40-odd years on television, SNL still defines the pulse of TV comedy. Alec Baldwin’s Trump and Melissa McCarthy’s Sean Spicer were so effective in their satire that they were commented on by the White House. Impressive writing, a finally gelling cast of players, and successful hosting jobs from McCarthy, Dave Chappelle, and Lin-Manuel Miranda (among others) contributed to one of SNL’s best seasons in a decade.
“Black Mirror: San Junipero” (Netflix)
“Dolly Parton’s Christmas Of Many Colors: Circle Of Love” (NBC)
“The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks” (HBO)
“Sherlock: The Lying Detective (Masterpiece)” (PBS)
“The Wizard Of Lies” (HBO)
Prediction: “Black Mirror: San Junipero” (Netflix)
What can be said about “San Junipero” that hasn’t already been said? Bittersweet and gorgeously rendered, it was one of the best hours of TV last year.
Writing for a Comedy Series
Donald Glover (“Atlanta”)
Stephen Glover (“Atlanta”)
Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe (“Master of None”)
Alec Berg (“Silicon Valley”)
Billy Kimball (“Veep”)
David Mandel (“Veep”)
Prediction: Billy Kimball (“Veep”)
Veep is coming off of its strongest season yet, and Billy Kimball has had a hand in getting it there.
Writing for a Drama Series
Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields (“The Americans”)
Gordon Smith (“Better Call Saul”)
Peter Morgan (“The Crown”)
Bruce Miller (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
The Duffer Brothers (“Stranger Things”)
Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan (“Westworld”)
Prediction: The Duffer Brothers (“Stranger Things”)
It’s never easy to write for kids, especially when you’re writing for kids in a different era. The Duffer Brothers were able to make the main characters of the show, all pre-teens, as effective and relatable as the adult supporting characters. Each episode moved at a quick place and the whole season was a tightly wound spring that came apart at just the right moment.
The 69th Annual Emmy Awards, hosted by Stephen Colbert, will air live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, Sept. 17 at 5 p.m. PT. on CBS.