Sunday night's 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards will put a cap on yet another strange year of television, during which a good number of COVID-impacted shows couldn't air new seasons. The result was an unpredictable set of nominees in which certain shows — like The Crown, Ted Lasso, and The Handmaid's Tale — utterly dominate. But are those the shows that are destined to take home the night's top awards? Below, we've compiled all the major Emmy categories and made our predictions for who will win … and our preferences for who should win.
With the bigger guns like Succession ineligible this year, the field really seems to have cleared out for The Crown. The competition seems to be some sentimental faves (like Pose) or an old foe in The Handmaid's Tale. If not now for The Crown, honestly when?
Will Win: The Crown.
Should Win: The Crown
If The Crown is winning, it's likely going to win everything, and while we could see Billy Porter making one last push for a win, especially considering how many clip-worthy scenes he got in the final season of Pose, O'Connor has all the buzz.
Will Win: Josh O'Connor
Should Win: Jonathan Majors
Fun fact: there's a greater than zero chance that both the Emmy-winning and Oscar-winning performances this year will go to actresses playing Diana Spencer. Hope that didn't just put the jinx on Kristen Stewart.
Will Win: Emma Corrin
Should Win: Emma Corrin
This category is all over the map, but it's also the one where The Crown is weakest, which opens the field up for Academy faves like Lithgow and Whitford. But without a doubt, the untimely death of Michael Kenneth Williams this month has put all eyes on this category and has many, if not most, people hoping for a much deserved Emmy win for the great star of The Wire.
Will Win: John Lithgow.
Should Win: Michael K. Williams
This category might be the biggest lock of the night, as Gillian Anderson has won everything short of the Pulitzer Prize for her performance as the Iron Lady.
Will Win: Gillian Anderson
Should Win: Aunjanue Ellis
The battle between Ted Lasso and Hacks will be decided right here. We can't see any other show even making a dent in their vote totals.
Will Win: Ted Lasso
Should Win: Emily in Paris... jk jk, it's PEN15.
Okay, THIS is the biggest lock of the night, no offense to any of the nominees who aren't playing beloved soccer coaches.
Will Win: Jason Sudekis
Should Win: Jason Sudekis
Jean Smart would be the odds-on favorite to win here even if the Emmys weren't historically very big fans of hers, but they are. Her Hacks performance is the kind of tour-de-force Emmys are made of.
Will Win: Jean Smart
Should Win: Jean Smart
The big question here is whether the Ted Lasso guys will split their votes more severely than the Saturday Night Live guys. Our bet is yes, they will, certainly enough to fall short of sentimental fave Kenan Thompson.
Will Win: Kenan Thompson
Should Win: Bowen Yang
A farewell Emmy for Cecily Strong would seem more likely if she wasn't competing for farewell Emmys with her two co-stars as well. This one will almost certainly be given to one of the two Ted lasses.
Will Win: Hannah Waddingham
Should Win: Cecily Strong
The night's strongest category seems likely to come down to a battle between The Queen's Gambit and Mare of Easttown, but WandaVision and I May Destroy You are dark horses that shouldn't be counted out.
Will Win: The Queen's Gambit
Should Win: Mare of Easttown
This is almost exactly a mirror of the Limited Series category, since the major players there are all powered by their female leads. A split between the two categories is very possible, and would be an easy way for Emmy voters to spread the love, but The Queen's Gambit feels slightly ahead in both races.
Will Win: Anya Taylor-Joy
Should Win: Kate Winslet
As strong as the Actress category is, this one is … not that. Which means anything could happen, including a Hamilton win or a long-awaited triumph for Hugh Grant, whose performance in the under-appreciated The Undoing was genuinely fantastic.
Will Win: Hugh Grant
Should Win: Hugh Grant
It's still incredibly strange that The Queen's Gambit's Bill Camp wasn't nominated. That really cleared the deck for a win for Mare's unfortunate detective.
Will Win: Evan Peters
Should Win: Evan Peters
This one's wide open and quite exciting. Julianne Nicholson's performance in the Mare finale was prime Emmy-bait, but will too many voters drift to Jean Smart? If voters feel like WandaVision deserves to win something, this very well could be it.
Will Win: Kathryn Hahn
Should Win: Julianne Nicholson
The smart money in this category is always to bet on the show that's on a winning streak. That's Drag Race, even though Top Chef's accomplishments are the class of the category.
Will Win: RuPaul's Drag Race
Should Win: Top Chef
As with the Reality category, voters don't tend to budge from their faves in this category. That's good news for John Oliver and bad news for a farewell award for Conan O'Brien.
Will Win: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Should Win: Late Night with Seth Meyers, but since that's not an option, Conan.
One of the year's most interesting categories might come down to nostalgia (Friends, The West Wing) versus something new and acclaimed like Bo Burnham. Or it could just go to Hamilton. Judging from the nominations, Emmy voters really seemed to like Hamilton.
Will Win: Hamilton
Should Win: David Byrne's American Utopia
The 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards air September 19th on CBS and Paramount+.
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Joe Reid is the Managing Editor at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.