The Emmys air on Sunday night.
There were so many great performances this year on so many great shows that among the nominees, it’s difficult to decide who should win.
But it’s easier to figure out who will win, based on precedent and overall buzz.
For example, “The Handmaid’s Tale” is a a critic favorite in the outstanding drama, outstanding lead actress, and outstanding supporting actress categories, but it will likely lose to NBC’s massive commercial and critical hit, “This Is Us.”
We put together a list of our Emmy predictions, along with who we think should win. So if you’re excited to see the best contenders among all the nominees this year, look no further.
Here’s our list of who will win the Emmys, and who should:
“Better Call Saul”
“The Handmaid’s Tale”
“House of Cards”
“This Is Us”
WILL WIN: “This Is Us”
SHOULD WIN: “The Handmaid’s Tale”
“The Handmaid’s Tale” is relevant, impeccably acted, and visionary, from the directing to the costumes to the music. Despite its upsetting setting, the show finds some humor and light in the darkness. This well-made modern interpretation of the classic novel shows how book adaptations work in the television format. It’s also completely changed the game in proving that Hulu is some serious competition for Netflix, Amazon, and all the networks now.
“Master of None”
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
WILL WIN: “Veep”
- Justin M. Lubin/HBO
SHOULD WIN: “Atlanta”
- Matthias Clamer/FX
“Atlanta” combines taboo subjects like sexuality, relationships, and careers along with race issues in a very realistic way and has a very creative way of doing so, all while being laugh-out-loud funny in a time when many shows labeled as comedies rarely have laughs.
“Big Little Lies”
“Feud: Bette and Joan”
“The Night Of”
WILL WIN: “Big Little Lies”
SHOULD WIN: “The Night Of”
- Barry Wetcher/HBO
“Big Little Lies” was groundbreaking, and does deserve its win. It gave female characters over 25 meaty roles that didn’t exclusively involve being moms.
But last summer “The Night Of” also proved how powerful a miniseries can be. It was thrilling, well acted, and followed characters who are usually on the sidelines, or not on television at all. Focusing on a Muslim American and portraying the justice system at its worst is something that isn’t explored very often, but should be. “The Night Of” proves that these stories work, and these are the stories that audiences want to see.
LEAD ACTRESS DRAMA SERIES
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”
WILL WIN: Elisabeth Moss
SHOULD WIN: Elisabeth Moss
There is no debate here. If Moss doesn’t win, then maybe we are all actually living in Gilead.
LEAD ACTOR DRAMA SERIES
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”
WILL WIN: Sterling K. Brown
SHOULD WIN: Matthew Rhys
This spy has feelings! Rhys has deserved an Emmy for his portrayal of Philip Jennings for every season of this show, but was always up against some unbeatable competition with Bryan Cranston and Jon Hamm. He got his first nomination last year.
In season five of “The Americans,” Rhys continues his subdued performance as a conflicted Russian spy hiding in plain sight in the United States. He wants to go home, but he also enjoys the American way of life, and is afraid to admit this to himself and to his wife, Elizabeth (Keri Russell). Rhys shows everything in his eyes, and when he has big emotional moments, they really stand out and have maximum impact, but aren’t jarring.
LEAD ACTRESS COMEDY SERIES
Pamela Aldon, “Better Things”
Tracee Ellis-Ross, “black-ish”
Jane Fonda, “Gracie and Frankie”
Lily Tomlin, “Gracie and Frankie”
Allison Janney, “Mom”
Ellie Kemper, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”
WILL WIN: Julia Louis-Dreyfus
SHOULD WIN: Ellie Kemper
Kimmy Schmidt is a bubbly, light, and joyful woman. But in season three the show explores the darker elements of her character. After being held captive in a bunker for 15 years, she has to have some demons. And in season three, Kemper captures the deeper meaning of Kimmy’s never-ending joy as she continues her life as a free woman in New York City.
LEAD ACTOR COMEDY SERIES
Anthony Anderson, “black-ish”
Aziz Ansari, “Master of None”
Zach Galifianakis, “Baskets”
Donald Glover, “Atlanta”
William H. Macy, “Shameless”
Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent”
WILL WIN: Jeffrey Tambor
- Amazon Video
SHOULD WIN: Donald Glover
Glover brings humor and emotion to a character who is trying to figure things out and make the best for himself, even though he doesn’t have everything laid out for him. Glover’s grown-up performance is quite a departure from his role on “Community” and his musical act Childish Gambino, and it proves he’s not one-note and has talent as both an actor and writer.
LEAD ACTRESS LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Carrie Coon, “Fargo”
Felicity Huffman, “American Crime”
Nicole Kidman, “Big Little Lies”
Jessica Lange, “Feud: Bette and Joan”
Susan Sarandon, “Feud: Bette and Joan”
Reese Witherspoon, “Big Little Lies”
WILL WIN: Nicole Kidman
SHOULD WIN: Nicole Kidman
Kidman’s work as an abused wife and conflicted mother on “Big Little Lies” was one of the best performances of the year, and probably her best work to date. Her performance, which will be remembered for decades and hopefully used to teach actors of the future, captures the cultural importance of her storyline. The visible conflict between leaving an abusive marriage and keeping her family together was eye-opening for people who don’t see the other side of an abusive relationship, and showed that it is truly easier said than done.
LEAD ACTOR LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Riz Ahmed, “The Night Of”
Benedict Cumberbatch, “Sherlock: The Lying Detective”
Robert De Niro, “The Wizard of Lies”
Ewan McGregor, “Fargo”
Geoffrey Rush, “Genius”
John Turturro, “The Night Of”
WILL WIN: Ewan McGregor
SHOULD WIN: Ewan McGregor
McGregor played twins on “Fargo.” It could’ve been a gimmick easily, but his transformative performance was one of the highlights of the excellently acted third season. His involvement made a good season a great one, without letting his performances steal the show from the others.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS DRAMA SERIES
Ann Dowd, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Samira Wiley, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Uzo Aduba, “Orange Is the New Black”
Mille Bobby Brown, “Stranger Things”
Chrissy Metz, “This Is Us”
Thandie Newton, “Westworld”
WILL WIN: Chrissy Metz
SHOULD WIN: Ann Dowd
Instead of portraying her character as a one-note villain, Dowd brings a certain empathy to this otherwise repulsive human being that no one else could’ve pulled off. In simple facial expressions and body language, Dowd gives a subtle, chilling performance that adds to the story by giving some perspective from the people who run Gilead.
Very close runner up: Thandie Newton
SUPPORTING ACTOR 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”
WILL WIN: John Lithgow
SHOULD WIN: Jeffrey Wright
- John P. Johnson/HBO
Spoiler alert: Wright brings believable emotion to a robot who didn’t know he was a robot, but eventually learns that he is a robot who was once a real person, but made into a robot after the real person who looks exactly like him died. It’s complicated, rough stuff, and one of the highlights of the fun, but frustrating, first season of “Westworld.”
SUPPORTING ACTRESS 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”
WILL WIN: Kate McKinnon
SHOULD WIN: Kathryn Hahn
Hahn’s portrayal of Rabbi Raquel, while not the most hilarious in her category, shows an incredible depth and range of emotion unparalleled by her peers. Watching Hahn cry on screen feels like a privilege. Please just give her that Emmy. She is great.
SUPPORTING ACTOR COMEDY SERIES
Alec Baldwin, “Saturday Night Live”
Louie Anderson, “Baskets”
Ty Burrell, “Modern Family”
Tituss Burgess, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Tony Hale, “Veep”
Matt Wash, “Veep”
WILL WIN: Alec Baldwin
SHOULD WIN: Matt Walsh
Walsh, always one of the most underrated highlights of “Veep,” saved the show’s mediocre season six with his performance as Mike McClintock, the always incompetent but very well-meaning communications “expert.” In season six, Walsh’s comedic timing and body language improved every scene he’s in. And every scene he wasn’t in really needed him.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Judy Davis, “Feud: Bette and Joan”
Laura Dern, “Big Little Lies”
Jackie Hoffman, “Feud: Bette and Joan”
Regina King, “American Crime”
Michelle Pfeiffer, “The Wizard of Lies”
Shailene Woodley, “Big Little Lies”
WILL WIN: Regina King
SHOULD WIN: Laura Dern
This is Dern’s sixth nomination since 1992, and would be her first win. She deserves this! She is Laura Dern. As Renata, Dern steals nearly every scene she’s in, and makes an erratic, worried mother so much more than that. She’s not in the show nearly as much as her co-stars, but her performance makes you wish she was. Simply put, Laura Dern is an American treasure.
SUPPORTING ACTOR LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Bill Camp, “The Night Of”
Alfred Molina, “Feud: Bette and Joan”
Alexander Skarsgård, “Big Little Lies”
David Thewlis, “Fargo”
Stanley Tucci, “Feud: Bette and Joan”
Michael K. Williams, “The Night Of”
WILL WIN: Alexander Skarsgård
SHOULD WIN: David Thewlis
Thewlis made a big performance as a bad guy come across as easy, when it was definitely anything but that. Thewlis immersed himself into this very specific world in a way that feels completely organic, despite the fact that his character is a psychopath. This understated but ambitious performance could’ve gone wrong in many ways, but Thewlis made it better than it likely was on the page. Perhaps his experience at playing the villain in “Wonder Woman” helped him prepare?
VARIETY SKETCH SERIES
“Billy On the Street”
“Saturday Night Live”
“Tracey Ullman’s Show”
WILL WIN: “Saturday Night Live”
- Saturday Night Live
SHOULD WIN: “Billy on the Street”
On “Billy on the Street,” comedian Billy Eichner goes out on the streets of New York City and asks strangers random questions and offers them a dollar. He often screams at them, and sometimes he’s got a celebrity with him. The show deserves a win for standing out as something fresh, new, and completely different than any other variety show.
Eichner himself has been campaigning for the Emmy, and is actively campaigning against “SNL.” “That’s like giving an Emmy award to pizza,” Eichner said.
As part of the show’s campaign to get nominated, a poster in LA read: “You can nominate Donald Trump for an Emmy but you won’t nominate ‘Billy on the Street?’ Be on the right side of history.”
Looks like the campaign worked.
VARIETY TALK SERIES
“Full Frontal With Samantha Bee”
“Jimmy Kimmel Live”
“Last Week Tonight”
“The Late Late Show With James Corden”
“Real Time With Bill Maher”
“The Late Show With Stephen Colbert”
WILL WIN: “Last Week Tonight”
SHOULD WIN: “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee”
“Full Frontal” has a lot going for it. Host Samantha Bee is the only woman in late night, and with her sharp and critical political comedy, she’s proving that women belong there. The show’s diverse writers room is evident in every episode and every joke. Last summer, “Full Frontal” correspondent Ashley Nicole Black, a black woman, went to the Republican National convention and asked attendees if black lives matter. This segment is just one of the many examples of “Full Frontal” challenging the right in a sharp but funny way. Since Trump’s election, the show has seen a huge growth in ratings.