TV critics weigh in with their picks
Some will win and some will lose Sunday night when the 69th Emmy Awards are presented at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, with comedian Stephen Colbert as host. Lynn Elber and Frazier Moore — a pair of intrepid television critics — make their picks.
Better Call Saul, The Crown, The Handmaid’s Tale, House of Cards, Stranger Things, This Is Us, Westworld
Should win: The Handmaid’s Tale. A work of art so revelatory of our time should reign.
Will win: The Crown. It’s not just that Hollywood is filled with anglophiles, although that’s one reason the lavish story of young Queen Elizabeth will win. Emmy voters also adore epic sweep
(see previous winner Game of Thrones) and this has it.
Should win: This Is Us. Is this the gutsiest drama on TV? It dares to confront everyday, ordinary life — and makes it extraordinary. No wonder it touched hearts.
Will win: The Handmaid’s Tale. A classic novel from the past is transformed into a hauntingly upto-the-minute cautionary tale. No wonder it touched nerves.
Atlanta, Black-ish, Master of None, Modern Family, Silicon Valley, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Veep
Should win: Atlanta. A tour de force by creator and star Donald Glover epitomizing the small screen’s embrace of unexpected and challenging material.
Will win: Veep. Comedies keep winning streaks going, and with just two Emmys so far, it’s far behind the five top comedy trophies each that Modern Family and Frasier collected.
Should win: Master of None. Moving even beyond the masterful first season, season 2 was a festival of inspired short films, with emotions and ideas supplementing its wit.
Will win: Veep. Despite a field of bright, new and varied candidates, voters will default to this plenty-rewarded, all-too-seasoned Emmy mainstay.
ACTOR, 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)
Should win: Sterling K. Brown. First among equals in an excellent cast, with a nuanced vulnerability that always keeps the heartbreak on the right side of soap opera.
Will win: Sterling K. Brown. His winning turn last year as determined O.J. Simpson prosecutor Christopher Darden shows his versatility.
Should win: Matthew Rhys. He’s so long overdue after five seasons of high intrigue and multiple personas in his role as a Russian spy masquerading as a 1980s American suburban dad!!
Will win: This Is Us stars Sterling K. Brown and Milo Ventimiglia will cancel out each other in the voting. That leaves lovably shifty Bob Odenkirk the winner after three consecutive nominations as the lead on Better Call Saul.
ACTRESS, 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)
Should win: Elisabeth Moss. The Mad Men curse never lifted for Moss as it did for Jon Hamm, but her subtly fierce portrayal of a woman caught in hell shouldn’t be slighted.
Will win: Claire Foy. A lovely and delicate turn, and playing British queens on the big screen worked for Oscar-winners Judi Dench and Helen Mirren.
Should win: Keri Russell. She’s so long overdue after five seasons of high intrigue and multiple personas in her role as a Russian spy masquerading as a 1980s American suburban mom!!
Will win: Elisabeth Moss, passed over as a nominee seven times in the past for Mad Men and other great work. Voters realize it’s her turn.
ACTOR, COMEDY SERIES
Anthony Anderson (Black-ish), Aziz Ansari (Master of None), Zach Galifianakis (Baskets), Donald Glover (Atlanta), William H. Macy (Shameless), Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent)
Should win: Donald Glover. An auteur who has the magnetism of a star, but it can take time for voters to warm up to a new voice. Will win: Jeffrey Tambor. He’s brilliant, he’s won twice before and his transgender role makes a deeply affecting statement.
Should win: Aziz Ansari. Previously known as a clever comic presence, he went even further with this season’s Master of None. That extra credit should translate into an Emmy.
Will win: Donald Glover. A breakout talent with a fresh and deeply felt comic vision — who wouldn’t want to give this star an Emmy salute?
ACTRESS, COMEDY SERIES
Pamela Adlon (Better Things), Tracee Ellis-Ross (Black-ish), Jane Fonda (Grace and Frankie), Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie), Allison Janney (Mom), Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep)
Should win: Tracee Ellis Ross. Putting the indomitable Julia Louis-Dreyfus aside for argument’s sake, doesn’t Ross deserve respect for combining the rubber-faced charm of Lucille Ball with a modern woman’s spine of steel?
Will win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus. She is undeniably sublime, and it was announced that next season will be the political satire’s last. So, no stinting!
Should win: So many overlooked funny women should be here: Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer of Broad City. Julie Klausner of Difficult People. Rashida Jones of Angie Tribeca. Sharon Horgan of Catastrophe. Since they aren’t, and Ellie Kemper is, why not reward her for the gradually wisening naif she plays so irresistibly?
Will win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Why would voters stop with five in a row?
Elisabeth Moss is nominated for best actress in a drama for her role as Offred in The Handmaid’s Tale, after being shut out for her role on Mad Men for years. Maybe it’s finally her moment to shine.
Claire Foy, centre, stars in The Crown, which has earned her a nod for best actress in a drama. Elisabeth Moss is probably her main competition. Both women having given outstanding performances this season.
Donald Glover stars as Earnest Marks in Atlanta, which is nominated in the best comedy category. Newcomer Glover is also nominated as best actor in a comedy. As the powerhouse creative talent behind Atlanta and a breakout talent, he may just take the win.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus has already won four Emmys for her sublime performance on Veep. Will she win a fifth? Or will Tracee Ellis Ross of Black-ish take home the prize?
Sterling K. Brown is nominated for best actor in a drama series for This Is Us — his performance embodies the heart and soul of this series, which dares to be unapologetically human.