Crown­ing TV roy­alty

Ex­pect big night for ‘This Is Us,’ star Ster­ling K. Brown

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - By Chuck Bar­ney cbar­ney@ba­yare­anews­group @chuck­bar­ney on Twit­ter Online: For more emmy pre­dic­tions, visit NEWS-HER­ALD.COM/ EN­TER­TAIN­MENT

And you thought the bat­tle for the Iron Throne was bru­tal.

On Sept. 17, they’ll be crown­ing tele­vi­sion roy­alty at the an­nual Em­myAwards, and sev­eral of the mar­quee races fea­ture for­mi­da­ble con­tenders. Mak­ing things even more in­trigu­ing is the ab­sence of drama pow­er­house “Game of Thrones,” which is in­el­i­gi­ble this year be­cause its lat­est sea­son ar­rived too late.

Of course, pre­dict­ing what will go down on Emmy night is al­ways an iffy deal. Just when you think vot­ers are stuck in a rut, they stun you by show­er­ing their love on a new­bie or two.

Still, there’s no harm in try­ing. Here’s a break­down of the ma­jor cat­e­gories, along with our best guess­work. Wager at your own risk.

Drama se­ries

“Bet­ter Call Saul” (AMC); “The Crown” (Net­flix); “The Hand­maid’s Tale” (Hulu); “House of Cards” (Net­flix); “Stranger Things” (Net­flix); “This Is Us” (NBC); “West­world” (HBO).

Should win: “The Hand­maid’s Tale” Will win: “This Is Us” With “Game of Thrones” side­lined, the field ap­pears to be wide open with five fresh­man se­ries tak­ing on es­tab­lished veter­ans “Bet­ter Call Saul” and “House of Cards.” Hulu’s riv­et­ing adap­ta­tion of Mar­garet At­wood’s dystopian thriller struck a nerve amid a year of po­lit­i­cal ten­sion. It’s cer­tainly a wor­thy can­di­date. But my gut tells me that the heart­warm­ing block­buster hit “This Is Us” will take the prize. If it does, it would be the first broad­cast net­work se­ries to pre­vail in the cat­e­gory since “24” did in 2006.

Com­edy se­ries

“At­lanta” (FX); “Black­ish” (ABC); “Mas­ter of None” (Net­flix); “Modern Fam­ily” (ABC); “Sil­i­con Val­ley” (HBO); “Un­break­able Kimmy Sch­midt” (Net­flix); “Veep” (HBO). Should win: “At­lanta” Will win: “Veep” It’s great to see the vot­ers rec­og­nize the work of ac­tor-

au­teurs, as rep­re­sented by Don­ald Glover’s “At­lanta” and Aziz An­sari’s “Mas­ter of None.” Both are out­stand­ing shows that re­ject the pre­dictable pace and rhythms of the stan­dard sit­com in fa­vor of a nat­u­ral­is­tic, indie film-like ap­proach. “At­lanta,” in par­tic­u­lar, has some mo­men­tum af­ter be­ing hon­ored by the Golden Globes and the TV crit­ics. Still, it’s dif­fi­cult to imag­ine that the con­sis­tently bril­liant “Veep” — with its bit­ing po­lit­i­cal satire — won’t pull off a three-peat.

Best ac­tress, drama

Vi­ola Davis (“How to Get Away with Mur­der,” ABC); Claire Foy (“The Crown”); Elis­a­beth Moss (“The Hand­maid’s Tale”); Keri Rus­sell (“The Amer­i­cans,” AMC); Evan Rachel Wood (“West­world”); Robin Wright (“House of Cards”).

Should win: Elis­a­beth Moss Will win: Elis­a­beth Moss It’s hard to be­lieve that Moss has racked up seven Emmy nom­i­na­tions over her ca­reer and never won. That shut-out streak should end on Sun­day. Yes, she’s part of an im­pres­sive field that in­cludes a pre­vi­ous win­ner (Davis), but Moss hit new peaks with her stun­ningly mag­netic per­for­mance as Of­fred. It’s time for the vot­ers to make amends for fail­ing to honor her all those years for “Mad Men.”

Best ac­tor, drama

Ster­ling K. Brown (“This Is Us”); An­thony Hop­kins (“West­world”); Bob Odenkirk (“Bet­ter Call Saul”); Matthew Rhys (“The Amer­i­cans”); Liev Schreiber (“Ray Dono­van,” Show­time); Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards”);

Milo Ven­timiglia (“This Is Us”).

Should win: Ster­ling K. Brown

Will win: Ster­ling K. Brown

Brown was a win­ner last year for his re­mark­able work in “The Peo­ple v. O.J. Simp­son.” The Stan­ford grad has been just as good, if not bet­ter, in “This Is Us” — es­pe­cially through his arc as the adopted son bonding with his can­cer-stricken birth fa­ther. He sim­ply has a way of crack­ing your heart open. Then again, the “This Is Us” vote pos­si­bly could be split be­tween Brown and co-star Ven­timiglia, which would most likely leave the door open for Odenkirk.

HULU

Elis­a­beth Moss, shown as Of­fred in a scene from “The Hand­maid’s Tale,” is nom­i­nated for an Emmy Award for out­stand­ing lead ac­tress in a drama se­ries.

FX

Don­ald Glover por­trays Earnest Marks in the com­edy “At­lanta.” Glover is nom­i­nated for an Emmy Award for out­stand­ing lead ac­tor in a com­edy se­ries.

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