Joe Reid isn't just Primetimer's managing editor. He's also an awards expert and one half of the popular podcast, This Had Oscar Buzz. Today Joe puts his prognostication skills to the test with his final picks for who will win (and who should win) in each of this year's major categories.
If recent history holds true, the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards are poised to honor a handful of TV's most-praised shows many, many times. Recent years have seen sweeps or near-sweeps by the likes of Schitt's Creek and The Crown, and if that trend holds true, Succession may very well follow in their footsteps this year.
But recent Emmy history has also seen face-offs like last year's Queen's Gambit/Mare of Easttown battle, or even the Ted Lasso/Hacks scrum that mostly went Ted Lasso's way.
Predicting the Emmys is a balancing act between repeat winners and the handful of surprises that arise every year. Which categories will fall which way? And who would triumph in the perfect world where we picked the winners?
This is an incredibly strong group of shows that includes some recently concluded Emmy faves (Better Call Saul and Ozark), buzzy titles like Severance, Euphoria and Yellowjackets, Netflix flexing its fast-atrophying muscle with Stranger Things and Squid Game, and of course HBO's behemoth series about rich people being very mean to each other. Given the dynamic way Succession ended its third season, it deserves everything that's (likely) coming to it on Emmy night.
Will Win: Succession
Should Win: Succession
Jeremy Strong is going for his second Emmy for playing tragic failson Kendall Roy, but his biggest opponent might be his on-screen pop, Brian Cox. Still, don't count out sentimental favorite Bob Odenkirk, Emmy nominated for the first time since his on-set heart attack.
Will Win: Brian Cox
Should Win: Jeremy Strong
This category feels like it could go just about any direction, including to either of the Killing Eve stars, even though their show a) ended months ago with b) a flurry of bad reviews. Zendaya could definitely repeat her 2020 upset victory, but it feels like things could be leaning to another breakthrough nominee whose performance in Yellowjackets was the latest in a career's worth of excellent (if unheralded) work.
Will Win: Melanie Lynskey
Should Win: Melanie Lynskey
It's Billy Crudup versus the Succession boys again, with a Squid Game wrinkle and an unlikely Severance romance thrown in to keep things interesting. Once again, we think the Succession season finale episode will tip the scales, this time to the man who came out on top.
Will Win: Matthew Macfadyen
Should Win: Kieran Culkin
Underestimate Patricia Arquette at your peril. It's a lesson that Emmy watchers have learned time and again. Will we be so foolish as to bet against the woman who's already won for Medium and The Act? That said, it's not like the Emmys haven't also established their fondness for Julia Garner, with two Emmy wins in the last three years. A Succession sweep would mean Snook or Smith-Cameron triumphs, but there's also the sentimental fave factor for finally-nominated Rhea Seehorn. A real conundrum here...
Will Win: Julia Garner
Should Win: Sarah Snook
Is this a Ted Lasso vs. Barry battle, or will Hacks and Only Murders in the Building crash that party? Top to bottom it's an incredibly strong category that could go a lot of different ways.
Will Win: Barry
Should Win: Abbott Elementary
As in Comedy Series, this feels like it could boil down to a Ted vs. Barry face-off. Sudeikis and Hader are both SNL alums and both former winners in this category, but the momentum of Barry's long-awaited return could carry Hader.
Will Win: Bill Hader
Should Win: Martin Short
Absolutely no disrespect intended to the incredibly talented nominees in this category, but there does not look to me much reason to doubt that Emmy fave Jean Smart is going back-to-back Emmy wins here.
Will Win: Jean Smart
Should Win: Jean Smart
Another wild tossup of a category with several past winners in Goldstein, Shalhoub, and Winkler in contention. If the Barry momentum is as strong as it could be, Winkler takes it.
Will Win: Henry Winkler
Should Win: Bowen Yang
Another category with three former winners in Borstein, McKinnon, and Waddingham. Do Emmy voters feel nostalgic enough to give McKinnon one for the road now that she's exited SNL? Can Waddingham repeat? Will Einbinder win like she was expected to last year? Have these voters even seen how great Janelle James and Sheryl Lee Ralph are on Abbott Elementary??
Will Win: Hannah Einbinder
Should Win: Janelle James
The White Lotus's historic levels of dominance in the supporting acting categories somewhat obscures the fact that Emmy voters went big on Dopesick too. If there's a split, you could see voters giving White Lotus the acting awards and honoring the important subject matter with Dopesick. Or perhaps we're overthinking this.
Will Win: The White Lotus
Should Win: The White Lotus
A talented category with some great options, but the buzz has been solidly with Amanda Seyfried since The Dropout premiered, and there's no reason to think she won't pull through.
Will Win: Amanda Seyfried
Should Win: Amanda Seyfried
An absolutely stacked category with some primo acting talent on display. But Michael Keaton has been cleaning up the acting awards since last winter, and given that his top competitors here — Firth and Garfield primarily — are representing shows that the Emmys decidedly did not take a shine too, it's hard to imagine he'll falter.
Will Win: Michael Keaton
Should Win: Colin Firth
It's The White Lotus versus Dopesick in an absolute tossup of a category. With some great character actors in play, you could see this going in a ton of different directions.
Will Win: Murray Bartlett
Should Win: Murray Bartlett
Stop us if you've heard this one: it's The White Lotus versus Dopesick! Much like Amanda Seyfried, Jennifer Coolidge has been under a cloud of Emmy buzz since this show premiered. It would be a huge letdown if she lost, even if the rest of the category is full of deserving performances as well.
Will Win: Jennifer Coolidge
Should Win: Connie Britton
RuPaul's Drag Race is on an epic winning streak, and there's no reason it should stop now.
Will Win: RuPaul's Drag Race
Should Win: Top Chef
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is on an epic winning streak, and there's no reason it should stop now.
Will Win: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Should Win: Late Night with Seth Meyers
RuPaul is also on an epic winning streak and should probably prevail, but it does feel like maybe the voters are thinking about moving on. Could this be the moment for Padma Lakshmi to ascend? (Probably not, but it would be fun!)
Will Win: RuPaul
Should Win: Nicole Byer
The 74th Primetime Emmy Awards air September 12th on NBC and Peacock.
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Joe Reid is the senior writer 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.
TOPICS: 74th Primetime Emmy Awards, Abbott Elementary, Barry, Better Call Saul, Dopesick, The Dropout, Hacks, Only Murders In The Building , Succession, Ted Lasso, The White Lotus, Yellowjackets