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An Early Look at The White Lotus' Emmy Odds

After dominating the 2022 Emmys, how will HBO's prestige series fare with Season 2?
  • Meghann Fahy, Simona Tabasco, Adam DiMarco, Michael Imperioli, F. Murray Abraham, Will Sharpe, Jennifer Coolidge, Aubrey Plaza  (Photo: Fabio Lovino/HBO, Primetimer graphic)
    Meghann Fahy, Simona Tabasco, Adam DiMarco, Michael Imperioli, F. Murray Abraham, Will Sharpe, Jennifer Coolidge, Aubrey Plaza (Photo: Fabio Lovino/HBO, Primetimer graphic)

    SPOILERS for Season 2 of The White Lotus ahead, including the season finale.

    A second season of The White Lotus is in the books, and once we're done discussing the finer points of Tanya's demise, Lucia's hustle, and Daphne and Ethan's trip to Revenge Sex Cove, all that will be left to argue is which of this season's cast members are going to get nominated for Emmys. Last season, with the entire cast submitting for consideration in the supporting categories, eight of the show's 11 main cast members received nominations, with Murray Bartlett and Jennifer Coolidge ultimately winning. And while there's no guarantee that the Emmys will be Lotus-mad to that degree again, there's no doubt that this show will once again be a major contender in 2023. 

    Season 2 featured a larger cast — 15 main credited cast members this time around — so the in-house competition is even fiercer this year. Below, we assess the main cast members in order of most likely to be nominated to least likely. Given what happened last year, everybody (minus Jon Gries as Greg, who just wasn't on screen enough to be a realistic contender) has a shot.

    Best Odds

    Realistically, Jennifer Coolidge still has the best chance at an Emmy. If there's one thing we know about the Emmy awards, it's that when the Television Academy decides they like you, they really like you. So the best indicator of who's going to get an Emmy nomination for The White Lotus Season 2 is who was honored by the Academy for The White Lotus Season 1. Coolidge is the lone crossover performer, and while Tanya's storyline in Season 2 may have been the weakest element of the show, I'm willing to bet that Emmy voters are going to stick with her. She was a huge part of the final episode, and given where her character ends up, this is going to be voters's last chance to show their appreciation for a performance they have already shown they love. The nature of the Limited Series categories means we very rarely get recurring performances that are eligible to be nominated again. The White Lotus had to fudge the rules to get placed in Limited even though Coolidge's carry-over presence should have disqualified it. But on the rare occasions those recurring performers are eligible — Benedict Cumberbatch for Sherlock; Helen Mirren for Prime Suspect — Emmy voters show their support.

    Up until Sunday night's finale episode, Meghann Fahy would have been ranked one tier below this one. After the finale, which included that staggering close-up shot of Daphne reacting to Ethan as he aired his suspicions about Harper and Cameron having had sex, she deserved the bump up to Coolidge-level status. As the reactions to the episode bore out, Fahy delivered the season's signature acting moment, topping off what had already been a breakout season from the former Bold Type actress. Up until the finale, you could track Fahy's Emmy likelihood along the same trajectory as Season 1's Alexandra D'Addario, who was nominated along with four of her fellow White Lotus actresses but who never stood out at the top of that pack. Now, Fahy is going to get a lot of attention as Season 2's best performer, and deservedly so. It's still a long road to the Emmys, but Fahy has to be considered a contender to win her category from this vantage point.

    Very Likely to Be Nominated

    The 2023 Golden Globe nominations raised the profile of two White Lotus cast members above the others, as Aubrey Plaza and F. Murray Abraham were both nominated alongside Coolidge. Now, when it comes to TV, the Golden Globes are an exceedingly weak indicator of Emmy success, but they can offer an early window into which members of an ensemble cast are being prioritized by publicists, the network, et cetera. It's not surprising that Plaza and Abraham were the beneficiaries here. Next to Jennifer Coolidge and with the possible exception of Michael Imperioli, they're the two most notable names in the Season 2 cast. Plaza's never been nominated for an Emmy before, but she's a veteran of Emmy-nominated shows like Parks and Recreation and Portlandia. She's also been at the forefront of White Lotus publicity all season. That, along with the quality of her performance, which nailed Harper's frustration with a stagnant marriage and shallow travel companions, make her a prime Emmy contender.

    Meanwhile, F. Murray Abraham is an actual Oscar winner (for 1984's Amadeus), so it's not like you have to look far to find the pedigree there. He's also been a recent Emmy fave, having earned three nominations in the past six years for his work on Homeland and Moon Knight. As Di Grasso patriarch Bert, Abraham didn't have very many standout dramatic moments, but his gravitas helped sell his horny-old-goat character, especially in the finale, when the legacy of the Di Grassos' horny masculinity was giving a surprising note of grace to go out on.

    Possible Breakthroughs

    Alexandra D'Addario, Natasha Rothwell, Sydney Sweeney, Jake Lacy, and Emmy winner Murray Bartlett were all able to score breakthrough first Emmy nominations for acting last year. Which goes to show that Emmy voters were big enough fans of the show to look past merely the names they recognized. That's an encouraging sign for the Emmy hopes for Italian actresses Simona Tabasco and Sabrina Impacciatore. As Lucia, the sex worker who ended up 50,000 Euros richer by the end of the final episode, Simona Tabasco was a revelation, communicating not only her character's cunning but also selling the audience (and Albie) on a more romantic version of her story. Meanwhile, Sabrina Impacciatore was one of the comedic highlights of the season, and the recent viral video where she spoke about improvising that hilarious "Peppa Pig" line to Jennifer Coolidge only makes her seem more impressive.

    Veteran Power

    Under the "Emmy voters like what they like" header, it's also important to vote that Michael Imperioli is a five-time Emmy nominee and one-time winner for his performance on The Sopranos. He hasn't been nominated since, but this would make for a great return-to-HBO success story. Imperioli was another performer who shined in the season finale, especially in that late scene where Dominic and Albie have a quiet moment of accepting each other's natures and foibles, and the healing power of gifting 50,000 Euros to a sex worker because your son asked you to.

    If The White Lotus Dominates the Supporting Categories Again

    The 2022 Emmy Awards saw The White Lotus run the Supporting Actor/Actress categories, with eight total nominees out of 14 available slots. There's no guarantee that Season 2 will be the recipient of that kind of abundance, but if so, here's who could be benefit, in descending order of likelihood:

    • Haley Lu Richardson, who played the put-upon assistant role to perfection, particularly as she got more and more embroiled in the tension of what was happening on the gay murder boat.
    • Tom Hollander, as the ringleader of the events on said gay murder boat, whose gaze of flippant appreciation for Tanya's charms grew ever more sinister.
    • Beatrice Grannò as Mia, especially if Emmy voters are as enamored of the final shot of Lucia and Mia arm-in-arm and would like to recreate that moment on the Emmy red carpet.
    • Theo James, who might face an uphill climb for playing a character like Cameron who was basically a hot jerk, but Jake Lacy was able to cash in with that character description last year.
    • Will Sharpe, if the voters respond to the nuances he brought to Ethan as he struggled with his feelings of jealousy over what he'd imagined Harper and Cameron were doing together.
    • Leo Woodall, who stands to become one of this season's breakout stars; if he gets cast in anything big between now and voting in July, that could help his chances.
    • Adam Di Marco, who is probably fated to be the most underrated cast member of the season, in part because his character was kind of a sweet pushover, which doesn't pop on screen as aggressively as some of the others. Still, if the voters threw some support his way, it would be richly deserved.

    The White Lotus is streaming on HBO Max. Join the discussion about the show in our forums

    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: The White Lotus, Adam DiMarco, Aubrey Plaza, Beatrice Granno, F. Murray Abraham, Haley Lu Richardson, Jennifer Coolidge, Leo Woodall, Meghann Fahy, Michael Imperioli, Sabrina Impacciatore, Simona Tabasco, Theo James, Tom Hollander, Will Sharpe, Primetime Emmy Awards