2017 Emmy Nominations Predictions Preview Big Changes In A Year Without 'Game Of Thrones'

John P. Johnson/HBO

Chances are, the 2017 Emmys are going to look very different than they did last year. The 2016-'17 television season boasted perhaps the biggest influx yet of new, quality programming — all of which will be vying for the same limited number of slots as ever. That makes the 2017 Primetime Emmy nominations predictions supremely difficult to foresee… but it won't halt the tradition of prognostication, either.

Making the crystal ball even more cloudy is the glaring absence of two of the Emmys' most stalwart competitors: Downton Abbey, which wrapped its run in 2015, and Game Of Thrones, which missed the eligibility window this year due to its delayed premiere. Without those two behemoths in the mix, there's plenty of room for exciting new series to make an impression in the Drama races; and even the Comedy and the Limited Series categories look more exciting than ever, thanks to acclaimed and diverse offerings like Atlanta, Feud, and Big Little Lies.

When a list of predictions completely shuts out groundbreaking new programs like American Gods, Dear White People, Legion, and 13 Reasons Why, you just know it's going to be a tough year. So who will make the cut when the nominations are announced? Here are my best guesses in the major categories:

1. Outstanding Drama Series

Ron Batzdorff/NBC

The nominees will be…

  • The Americans
  • Better Call Saul
  • The Crown
  • The Handmaid's Tale
  • The Leftovers
  • Stranger Things
  • This Is Us

But watch out for… Westworld, which may usurp the slot of its HBO brethren The Leftovers, as well as perennial nominees Homeland and House Of Cards.

2. Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series

Michael Parmelee/USA Network

The nominees will be…

  • Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
  • Anthony Hopkins, Westworld
  • Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
  • Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
  • Matthew Rhys, The Americans
  • Kevin Spacey, House Of Cards

But watch out for… Bloodline's Kyle Chandler, Ray Donovan's Liev Schreiber, and a dark horse candidate in The Leftovers' Justin Theroux.

3. Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series


The nominees will be…

  • Carrie Coon, The Leftovers
  • Claire Foy, The Crown
  • Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid's Tale
  • Keri Russell, The Americans
  • Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld
  • Robin Wright, House Of Cards

But watch out for… History-making winner Viola Davis (How To Get Away With Murder) and usual suspect Claire Danes (Homeland).

4. Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series

Robert Viglasky/Netflix

The nominees will be…

  • Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
  • Ron Cephas Jones, This Is Us
  • Michael Kelly, House Of Cards
  • John Lithgow, The Crown
  • Michael McKean, Better Call Saul
  • Jeffrey Wright, Westworld

But watch out for… Wright's Westworld co-star Ed Harris, and respected former nominee Jon Voight (Ray Donovan).

5. Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series

Curtis Baker/Netflix

The nominees will be…

  • Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things
  • Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel
  • Chrissy Metz, This Is Us
  • Thandie Newton, Westworld
  • Winona Ryder, Stranger Things
  • Maura Tierney, The Affair

But watch out for… Constance Zimmer, a nominee last year for UnREAL, and Orange Is The New Black's scene stealer, Uzo Aduba.

6. Outstanding Comedy Series

John P. Johnson/HBO

The nominees will be…

  • Atlanta
  • black-ish
  • Master Of None
  • Silicon Valley
  • Transparent
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Veep

But watch out for… Reliable standby Modern Family, new HBO sensation Insecure, and the final season of Girls.

7. Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series

Quantrell D. Colbert/FX

The nominees will be…

  • Anthony Anderson, black-ish
  • Aziz Ansari, Master Of None
  • Ted Danson, The Good Place
  • Donald Glover, Atlanta
  • Thomas Middleditch, Silicon Valley
  • Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

But watch out for… Repeat nominee William H. Macy (Shameless).

8. Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series

Anne Marie Fox/HBO

The nominees will be…

  • Kristen Bell, The Good Place
  • Allison Janney, Mom
  • Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
  • Issa Rae, Insecure
  • Tracee Ellis Ross, black-ish

But watch out for… Grace And Frankie's high-profile stars Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda, and Divorce's equally high-profile leading lady Sarah Jessica Parker.

9. Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series

Eric Liebowitz/Netflix

The nominees will be…

  • Louie Anderson, Baskets
  • Alec Baldwin, Saturday Night Live
  • Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Ty Burrell, Modern Family
  • Tony Hale, Veep

But watch out for… T.J. Miller for his well-publicized final season of Silicon Valley.

10. Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series

Caroline De Quesada/NBC

The nominees will be…

  • Anna Chlumsky, Veep
  • Gaby Hoffmann, Transparent
  • Jane Krakowski, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Judith Light, Transparent
  • Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
  • Rita Moreno, One Day At A Time

But watch out for… Beloved star of the stage and screen Andrea Martin (Great News).

11. Outstanding Limited Series

Byron Cohen/FX

The nominees will be…

  • American Crime
  • Big Little Lies
  • Fargo
  • Feud: Bette And Joan
  • The Night Of

But watch out for… HBO's bizarre The Young Pope and the Alfred Einstein bio-series, Genius.

12. Outstanding TV Movie

Craig Blankenhorn/HBO

The nominees will be…

  • Black Mirror: San Junipero
  • Churchill's Secret
  • The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks
  • Sherlock: The Lying Detective
  • The Wizard Of Lies

But watch out for… Not much, but maybe Looking: The Movie, or the Viola Davis-starring Lifetime movie Custody?

13. Outstanding Lead Actor In A Limited Series Or TV Movie

Craig Blankenhorn/HBO

The nominees will be…

  • 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

But watch out for… The Young Pope's Jude Law, as well as Michael Gambon, whose performance as Winston Churchill in Churchill's Secret shouldn't be overshadowed by John Lithgow's portrayal of the same figure on The Crown.

14. Outstanding Lead Actress In A Limited Series Or TV Movie

Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/HBO

The nominees will be…

  • Carrie Coon, Fargo
  • Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies
  • Jessica Lange, Feud: Bette And Joan
  • Susan Sarandon, Feud: Bette And Joan
  • Oprah Winfrey, The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks
  • Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies

But watch out for… Felicity Huffman, who was nominated for both prior seasons of American Crime, and Bryce Dallas Howard's buzz-worthy turn in Black Mirror: Nosedive.

15. Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Limited Series Or TV Movie

Chris Large/FX

The nominees will be…

  • Martin Freeman, Sherlock: The Lying Detective
  • Alfred Molina, Feud: Bette And Joan
  • Alexander Skarsgard, Big Little Lies
  • Michael Stuhlbarg, Fargo
  • David Thewlis, Fargo
  • Stanley Tucci, Feud: Bette And Joan

But watch out for… The likable Hank Azaria (The Wizard Of Lies) and the villainous Toby Jones (Sherlock: The Lying Detective).

16. Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Limited Series Or TV Movie

Nicole Wilder/ABC

The nominees will be…

  • Judy Davis, Feud: Bette And Joan
  • Laura Dern, Big Little Lies
  • Regina King, American Crime
  • Michelle Pfeiffer, The Wizard Of Lies
  • Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Fargo
  • Shailene Woodley, Big Little Lies

But watch out for… Davis' Feud co-star Jackie Hoffman, as well as the scenery-chewing ladies of American Horror Story: Roanoke, Kathy Bates and Sarah Paulson.

Which of your favorite shows will manage to go the distance in the most insanely competitive Emmys yet? Find out when the nominations are announced on Thursday, July 13.