Emmy Predictions: July 2021

The Primetime Emmy Awards are arriving on the heels of a year where global circumstances have resulted in an influx of small-screen content consumption from all around the world. In the midst of what many have been calling the “Golden Age of Television” with an impressive variety of shows that have impacted pop culture, 2021 is one of the most important yet. The competition going into the 73rd Primetime Emmys is high, with multiple programs (such as The Queen’s Gambit and Ted Lasso) already in the lead with huge wins from award bodies earlier in the year. But many new hit programs (like Mare of Eastown) have premiered and dominated conversations since then, heating up the race further. Find out who makes the cut in our first round of 2021 Emmy predictions!

The official nominations for the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards are to be announced Tuesday, July 13. Awards Editor Diego Andaluz accurately predicted over 80% of the final nominees and winners for the 2021 Oscars, will he be just as on point with the Emmys? Our predictions are ranked by most likely to get nominated, followed by runner-up choices. You can also find the final winners for this year’s Oscars, Golden GlobesCritics Choice AwardsSAG AwardsBAFTAs, and MTV Awards right here on DiscussingFilm.

Limited Series

1. The Queen’s Gambit
2. Mare of Eastown 
3. The Underground Railroad
4. WandaVision 
5. I May Destroy You
6. Small Axe

NEXT IN LINE: The Undoing, The Comey Rule, Them, Genius Aretha, Halston, Solos 

Perhaps the most competitive race of the season, in a year where major film releases were largely absent from the big screen, many limited series took center stage as some of the most talked-about, cinematically-driven works of the year. The Queen’s Gambit currently leads the pack, with it being perhaps the most popular non-superhero piece of media in recent memory. With a total sweep of the category in other previous awards, it’s clear that this series is still the one to beat. Although, Mare of Eastown has made its mark as a dark horse, ready to take advantage of possible frontrunner fatigue in voters with the largest chance to upset The Queen’s Gambit for the top prize. Preceded by little fanfare but building a healthy amount of buzz week after week – to the point where it became one of HBO Max’s most-watched programs yet – its enthralling narrative and late-breaker freshness give it a good shot to go all the way. 

A likely nominee since it was first announced, Barry Jenkins’ The Underground Railroad has managed to shine through, powered by its director’s singular vision and a plethora of masterpiece-deeming reviews. However, it has faded quickly from the conversation due to Prime Video’s botched rollout. Dropping ten hours of hard-to-digest television in one weekend instead of spreading it out over ten weeks to maintain relevancy, Amazon has shown to employ lackluster campaign strategies when it comes to impactful shows like this one – whose awards narrative is made or broken by its ability to sustain buzz (similar to Small Axe, which is currently in the category’s sixth slot). 

Perhaps the most out-of-the-box inclusion on this list, WandaVision is likely to make it due to its ability to tap into the masses. This appeal was seen last year with The Mandalorian‘s surprise nomination in the Drama Series category. With strong word of mouth and wide cultural impact as the highly popular Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first foray into television, it could nab the spot just in name alone. Yet, on top of being anchored by Elizabeth Olsen and Kathryn Hahn’s performances, as a series centered around the exploration of television history with a wide variety of sets, narrative formats, and other factors in tune with the specific decades of television itself, it’s sure to strike a personal chord among voters whose entire careers are built upon the foundations of television that WandaVision touches on. 

Drama Series

1. The Crown
2. Bridgerton
3. The Mandalorian
4. Pose
5. The Handmaid’s Tale
6. This Is Us
7. Lovecraft Country
8. Perry Mason

NEXT IN LINE: The Boys, The Falcon & The Winter Soldier, The Right Stuff, In Treatment, Shadow & Bone

Continuing its Drama Series sweep, it shouldn’t be surprising to see The Crown cap off its victory lap with a win here. With the Television Academy’s affinity towards populist hits, expect to see The Mandalorian (who, again, was a surprise entry last year), Lovecraft Country, and Bridgerton nominated as well. Banking on familiarity and repeat love, Pose, The Handmaid’s Tale, and This is Us have clear paths to hear their names called on nomination morning. With each of the three having various nominations to their names in previous years, they’re firmly in the academy’s “club”, which bodes well in a year with too much to consume for many overwhelmed voters. 

However, the final slot is perhaps the most subtly contested of the pack. The safe pick in this situation is HBO’s Perry Mason. But, circling back on the attention more expansive shows have been given lately, the breakout second season of The Boys or Marvel’s second foray into television, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, could sneak in here.

Comedy Series

1. Ted Lasso 
2. The Flight Attendant 
3. Black-ish
4. The Kominsky Method
5. Pen15
6. Hacks
7. Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist
8. Shameless

NEXT IN LINE: Superstore, Girls5Eva, Cobra Kai, Shrill, Mythic Quest

Yet another category in which a clear frontrunner has been defined, Ted Lasso is currently in line to win the Best Comedy Series Emmy for its freshman season. Widely acclaimed and touted as a refreshing break of optimism amidst tough times, it played second fiddle to even the more acclaimed final season of Schitt’s Creek earlier in the year, but with that show’s absence here, AppleTV’s comedy is free to dominate. 

Despite Ted Lasso’s steady first spot, the majority of the remaining slots are a battlefield for any to take claim. The Flight Attendant cements itself as a solid second pick with a similarly buzzed-about streaming launch, while Black-ish and The Kominsky Method look to build upon earlier nominations that solidified them as part of the Emmy club. While Pen15 rides a wave of critical love due to its remarkable originality, Hacks hopes to capitalize on its recent pre-voting hype to nab a slot here.

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist stands out as one of the few network comedies in the mix, with its surprising cancellation keeping it in the headlines to stay fresh in voters’ memories. Meanwhile, Shameless and Superstore’s final seasons serve as a chance to honor their highly-beloved comedy legacies before it’s too late. Though, we currently see Shameless taking the edge due to its leading actor’s tendency to get nominated for one of its essential roles.

Direction in a Limited Series

1. Barry Jenkins (The Underground Railroad)
2. Scott Frank (The Queen’s Gambit)
3. Craig Zobel (Mare of Eastown)
4. Michaela Coel/Sam Miller & Michaela Coel (I May Destroy You) 
5. Steve McQueen (Small Axe)
6. Matt Shakman (WandaVision)

NEXT IN LINE: Susanne Bier (The Undoing), Billy Ray (The Comey Rule)

Lead Actor in a Drama Series

1. Josh O’Connor (The Crown)
2. Rege Jean Page (Bridgerton)
3. Billy Porter (Pose)
4. Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us)
5. Matthew Rhys (Perry Mason)
6. Jonathan Majors (Lovecraft Country)

NEXT IN LINE: Anthony Mackie (The Falcon & The Winter Soldier), Antony Starr (The Boys), Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian), Joseph Fiennes (The Handmaid’s Tale)

Lead Actress in a Drama Series

1. Emma Corrin (The Crown)
2. Olivia Colman (The Crown)
3. Elizabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale)
4. Jurnee Smollett (Lovecraft Country)  
5. Phoebe Dynevor (Bridgerton)
6. Mandy Moore (This Is Us)

NEXT IN LINE: Uzo Aduba (In Treatment), Mj Rodriguez (Pose), Christian Serratos (Selena: The Series), Sarah Paulson (Ratched)

Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

1. Jason Sudekis (Ted Lasso)
2. Anthony Anderson (Black-ish)
3. Michael Douglas (The Kominsky Method)
4. Ted Danson (Mr. Mayor)
5. William H. Macy (Shameless)
6. Kenan Thompson (Kenan)

NEXT IN LINE: Ralph Maccio (Cobra Kai), Rob McElhenney (Mythic Quest), Ben Feldman (Superstore), Dwayne Johnson (Young Rock), Billy Magnussen (Made For Love)

Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

1. Kately Cuoco (The Flight Attendant)
2. Jean Smart (Hacks)
3. Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish)
4. Allison Janey (Mom)
5. Jane Levy (Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist)
6. Hailee Steinfield (Dickinson)

NEXT IN LINE: Renee Elise Goldsberry (Girls5eva), Aidy Bryant (Shrill), Cristin Milloti (Made for Love), Maya Erskine (Pen15), Anna Konkle (Pen15)

Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

1. Ethan Hawks (Good Lord Bird)
2. Hugh Grant (The Undoing)
3. Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton)
4. Paul Bettany (WandaVision)
5. Joel Edgerton (The Underground Railroad)
6. Ewan McGregor (Halston)

NEXT IN LINE: Leslie Odom Jr. (Hamilton), Jeff Daniels (The Comey Rule), Bryan Cranston (Your Honor)

Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

1. Anya Taylor Joy (The Queen’s Gambit)
2. Elizabeth Olsen (WandaVision)
3. Kate Winslet (Mare of Easttown)
4. Michaela Coel (I May Destroy You)
5. Cynthia Erivo (Genius: Aretha)
6. Nicole Kidman (The Undoing) 

NEXT IN LINE: Thuso Mbedu (The Underground Railroad), Tessa Thompson (Sylvie’s Love), Ruth Wilson (Olso)

Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

1. Michael Kenneth Williams (Lovecraft Country)
2. Tobias Menzies (The Crown)
3. Bradley Whitfield (The Handmaid’s Tale)
4. Giancarlo Esposito (The Mandalorian)
5. John Lithgow (Perry Mason)
6. Jonathan Bailey (Bridgerton)
7. Anthony Ramos (In Treatment)
8. Carl Lumby (The Falcon and The Winter Soldier)

NEXT IN LINE: John Benjamin Hickey (In Treatment), Wyatt Russell (The Falcon and The Winter Soldier), Chris Sullivan (This Is Us)

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

1. Gillian Anderson (The Crown)
2. Helena Bonham Carter (The Crown)
3. Ann Dowd (The Handmaid’s Tale)
4. Wunmi Mosaku (Lovecraft Country)
5. Samira Wiley (The Handmaid’s Tale)
6. Cynthia Nixon (Ratched)
7. Tatiana Maslany (Perry Mason)
8. Nicola Coughlan (Bridgerton)

NEXT IN LINE: Yvonne Strahovski (The Handmaid’s Tale), Emerald Fennell (The Crown), Adjoa Andoh (Bridgerton), India Moore (Pose)

Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

1. Kenan Thompson (Saturday Night Live)
2. Bowen Yang (Saturday Night Live)
3. Brett Goldstein (Ted Lasso)
4. Brendan Hunt (Ted Lasso)
5. Michiel Huisman (The Flight Attendant)
6. Laurence Fishburn (Black-ish)
7. Alex Newell (Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist)
8. Ray Romano (Made For Love)

NEXT IN LINE: Pete Davidson (Saturday Night Live), Nick Mohammed (Ted Lasso), Nico Santos (Superstore)

Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

1. Hannah Waddingham (Ted Lasso)
2. Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live)
3. Juno Temple (Ted Lasso)
4. Cecily Strong (Saturday Night Live)
5. Rosie Perez (The Flight Attendant)
6. Paula Pell (Girls4Eva)
7. Zosia Mamet (The Flight Attendant)
8. Hannah Einbinder (Hacks)

NEXT IN LINE: Chloe Fineman (Saturday Night Live), Aidy Bryant (Saturday Night Live), Naomi Ackie (Master of None), Kathleen Turner (The Kominsky Method)

Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

1. John Boyega (Small Axe
2. Bill Camp (The Queen’s Gambit)
3. Daveed Diggs (Hamilton)
4. Brendan Gleason (The Comey Rule)
5. Evan Peters (Mare of Easttown)
6. Guy Pearce (Mare of Easttown)

NEXT IN LINE: Donald Sutherland (The Undoing), Courtney B Vance (Genius Aretha), William Jackson Harper (The Underground Railroad)

Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

1. Jean Smart (Mare of Easttown)
2. Kathryn Hahn (WandaVision)
3. Marie Heller (The Queen’s Gambit)
4. Letitia Wright (Small Axe)
5. Julianne Nicholson (Mare of Easttown)
6. Renee Elise Goldsberry (Hamilton)

NEXT IN LINE: Teyonah Parris (WandaVision), Weruche Opia (I May Destroy You), Moses Ingraham (The Queen’s Gambit)

The Final Award Winners of 2021:

Follow Awards Editor Diego Andaluz on Twitter: @thediegoandaluz

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