It's a brave new world, in which Downton Abbey is finished and Game Of Thrones is out of the running. Basically, the 69th annual Primetime Emmys are the most wide-open competition in recent memory. Who will take home the gold? It's hard to say, but these 2017 Emmy Award predictions should hopefully help you come out on top in your office pool or at your viewing party. Will the robots or the royals win the Drama prize? Will the Comedy category pull a Veep-peat, or rap to a strange new beat? Read on to find out.
Both the aforementioned British import and HBO fantasy series have been Emmy juggernauts since their debuts, taking up more of their fair share of real estate. Game Of Thrones alone has already become the most-nominated and most-awarded drama in Emmy history; so the fact that Season 7 was delayed juuust enough to push it past the eligibility cutoff probably came as something of a relief to its competition. But who will pick up its slack and steal its place on the Iron Throne?
Funnily enough, even without Thrones in the running, HBO is still looking to have a banner year thanks to the likes of Big Little Lies and Veep. As for which other networks will reap the benefits, here are the best guesses.
Outstanding Drama Series
- Better Call Saul
- The Crown
- The Handmaid's Tale
- House Of Cards
- Stranger Things
- This Is Us
Will win: Stranger Things, which already won top honors at both the Screen Actors Guild and the Producers Guild Awards earlier in 2017, beating much of its future Emmy competition. Granted, it's been a whopping 14 months since Season 1 aired; its wins at SAG and the PGA came when the show was much fresher in voters' minds. Will it have faded too much by the time Television Academy members cast their ballots?
Could win: The Handmaid's Tale, which aired much more recently and feels incredibly, frighteningly important in our current political climate. Many prognosticators are forecasting a win for This Is Us, citing the desire some voters may have for a return to good old-fashioned network family fare after so many years of cable antiheroes. But the NBC weeper failed to land a single nomination in either the Writing or Directing categories — and no series has won Best Drama without a nod in at least one of those fields since ABC's The Practice won at the 1999 ceremony, almost a full two decades ago.
Outstanding Comedy Series
- Master Of None
- Modern Family
- Silicon Valley
- Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Will win: Veep, which may feel like it's won over and over again, but actually only started winning two years ago. (Modern Family was still maintaining its stranglehold over the category for Veep's first three years on the air.)
Could win: Atlanta, which was one of the boldest and most innovative new series of any kind on television this past season. One stumbling block to its potential win? The fact that, even though it's a half-hour program, it's not always very funny. Some stodgy voters might hold the fact that it's not really a "comedy" against it.
Outstanding Limited Series
- Big Little Lies
- Feud: Bette And Joan
- The Night Of
Will win: Big Little Lies, which was perhaps the zeitgeist-iest show of the year. The moms of Monterey were inescapable in 2017, with a bevy of top-notch performers who lent surprising amounts of pathos to a story of unhappy people in gorgeous houses.
Could win: Feud: Bette And Joan, that other limited series about beautiful, bickering women. But while Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon were both at the top of their game, voters may be drawn more to the glossy, feature film-like style of HBO's output than the campy, colorful pastiche of the FX project.
Outstanding Television Movie
- Black Mirror: San Junipero
- Dolly Parton's Christmas Of Many Colors: Circle Of Love
- The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks
- Sherlock: The Lying Detective
- The Wizard Of Lies
Will win: Black Mirror, because if you didn't cry while watching "San Junipero," then I don't even know what to do with you.
Should win: Sherlock, the reigning champion in this category, having taking the prize for its Christmas special, "The Abominable Bride," last year. And with this being billed as potentially the popular show's last season, Emmy voters could want to reward it one last time.
Outstanding Lead Actor In A 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, who just won in the Limited Series category last year for his terrific performance in The People v. O.J. Simpson, and managed to capitalize on that momentum to land another plumb role that has kept him in the spotlight ever since.
Could win: Bob Odenkirk, who was somehow never nominated for his role as Saul Goodman while he was on Breaking Bad, and has now been nominated three times but has yet to win for playing the same role on its spinoff, Better Call Saul. Odenkirk undeniably has an "overdue" narrative slowly building steam… but is this the year he cashes in on it?
Outstanding Lead Actress In A 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, who broke hearts and smashed the patriarchy with her stunningly vulnerable, resilient performance as June in The Handmaid's Tale. Like Brown with This Is Us, voters will be especially sure to show their support for the series in this category if they go with Stranger Things over Handmaid's Tale for the top prize. Not to mention the fact that a win here would help make up for the shameful fact that Moss never won an Emmy for playing Peggy in any of the seven years Mad Men was on the air.
Could win: Claire Foy, who seemed to have this category in the bag earlier this year, when both she and The Crown took home top honors at the Golden Globes. But back then, The Handmaid's Tale hadn't aired yet, and Foy almost certainly won't be able to pull a repeat with Moss breathing down her neck.
Outstanding Lead Actor In A 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: Donald Glover, who, like Foy, already took home the Golden Globe earlier this year. Unlike Foy though, a stronger contender hasn't really emerged to challenge him in the months since.
Could win: Jeffrey Tambor, who failed to best Glover at the Globes, but has won this category for the past two years in a row. Just look at the next category for evidence of how much Emmy voters love a repeat winner.
Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series
- Pamela Adlon, Better Things
- Jane Fonda, Grace And Frankie
- Allison Janney, Mom
- Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
- Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
- Tracee Ellis Ross, black-ish
- Lily Tomlin, Grace And Frankie
Will win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who has yet to meet a competitor who can dethrone her for her performance as the narcissistically deranged ex-President. Although she's currently tied with Mad About You's Helen Hunt for most consecutive wins in this category, if she wins one more, she'll be the unchallenged champion.
Could win: Tracee Ellis Ross, who probably doesn't stand a realistic chance against Louis-Dreyfus… but if voters went with anyone else, it would probably be the amazing star of this popular network sitcom.
Outstanding Lead Actor In A 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: Riz Ahmed, in a race almost too close to call. This prize seems destined to go to one of the two Night Of actors, showering some recognition on an acclaimed limited series in the one category where it doesn't have to go up against the Big Little Lies juggernaut. But between the beloved veteran Turturro and the promising newcomer Ahmed, the latter had the more transformative arc throughout the series.
Could win: Robert De Niro, because never underestimate the allure of a big, Oscar-winning name headlining a splashy HBO movie. If Ahmed and Turturro split the Night Of vote, it's likely that De Niro will be the one who benefits.
Outstanding Lead Actress In A 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, because this is her time. It's been a banner year for the Oscar-winning actress, who delivered a career-best performance in the HBO limited series, and then followed that up with a whopping four entries at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. Momentum is on her side and no one who watched Big Little Lies could possibly deny the power of her portrayal of an abused but determined wife.
Could win: Jessica Lange, because this category is admittedly stacked and we have to at least consider the chance that someone other than Kidman winning.
Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series
- Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
- David Harbour, Stranger Things
- Ron Cephas Jones, This Is Us
- Michael Kelly, House Of Cards
- John Lithgow, The Crown
- Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
- Jeffrey Wright, Westworld
Will win: John Lithgow, who shockingly lost the crown to The Night Manager's Hugh Laurie at the Golden Globes earlier this year. But that limited series already competed at the Emmys last year, so the Television Academy voters should be able to rectify that mistake.
Could win: Ron Cephas Jones, whose scenes with likely Best Actor winner Sterling K. Brown were the most likely to provoke tears in all of This Is Us Season 1.
Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series
- Uzo Aduba, Orange Is The New Black
- Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things
- Ann Dowd, The Handmaid's Tale
- Chrissy Metz, This Is Us
- Thandie Newton, Westworld
- Samira Wiley, The Handmaid's Tale
Will win: Thandie Newton, because, despite the fact that Westworld is the most-nominated program of the year, this somehow seems to be the only chance the prestigious and expensive HBO drama actually has at winning a major category. And Newton was undeniably the highlight of Season 1, kicking ass and taking names as the robot madame who manages to break free of her human masters.
Could win: Millie Bobby Brown, because was there a television character more iconic in the 2016-'17 season than the telekinetic, Eggo waffle-loving, blonde wig-wearing Eleven?
Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series
- Louie Anderson, Baskets
- Alec Baldwin, Saturday Night Live
- Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
- Ty Burrell, Modern Family
- Tony Hale, Veep
- Matt Walsh, Veep
Will win: Alec Baldwin, because if there was a more iconic television this character than Eleven, it was the comedian's merciless caricature of 45.
Could win: Louie Anderson, who won for playing Zach Galifianakis' mother in this bizarre FX comedy — and managing to make the gender-bending performance tender rather than clownish. Since Season 2 gave Anderson even more meat to sink his teeth into as Christine, the popular comedian could conceivably pull a repeat.
Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series
- Vanessa Bayer, Saturday Night Live
- Anna Chlumsky, Veep
- Kathryn Hahn, Transparent
- Leslie Jones, Saturday Night Live
- Judith Light, Transparent
- Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Will win: Kate McKinnon, who won the category last year and continued to be the dominant force in comedy TV this year. There's no denying her charisma, talent, or ubiquity.
Could win: Anna Chlumsky, who could benefit from a potential SNL logjam. She's been nominated for the past five years in a row for her role as the stalwart Amy Brookheimer — and if Veep continues its dominance this year, she could finally get her due.
Outstanding Supporting Actor In A 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, especially if co-star Nicole Kidman emerges triumphant in the Lead Actress race. Kidman's success was due in large part to her volatile chemistry with Skårsgard, and vice versa, so it's hard to imagine voters choosing to reward one and not the other.
Could win: David Thewlis, because other than Skårsgard, he's the only sole nominee for his show in the category. This may not have been Fargo's strongest season, but it's still an acclaimed series, and Thewlis' terrifying villain was one of the high points of the divisive season.
Outstanding Supporting Actress In A 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: Laura Dern, whose performance as the high-powered, wine-guzzling, Frozen-party-throwing tiger mom Renata Klein nearly stole the spotlight from a cast that was already an embarrassment of riches. It will be equally embarrassing if the voters pass up this chance to honor Dern's underrated brilliance.
Could win: Judy Davis, because let's be honest: isn't Big Little Lies going to win enough? At least, that might be the thinking among some voters who, after casting ballots for the HBO show in Limited Series, Lead Actress, and Supporting Actor categories, might decide to spread the wealth a bit to the year's other acclaimed female-fronted miniseries.
Of course, it's unlikely that all of these predictions will come true; but stranger things have happened. Just don't start a feud with me if I'm wrong. Will these predictions win you the crown at your Emmy viewing party? Or are they just a bunch of big little lies?