Who will (and should) win on TV’s big­gest day Lead ac­tor, drama se­ries

USA TODAY International Edition - - LIFE - Kelly Lawler USA TO­DAY

Will the Em­mys be dom­i­nated by white walk­ers or hand­maids?

❚ That’s the big­gest ques­tion on TV fans’ minds head­ing into the 70th Prime­time Emmy Awards Mon­day (NBC, 8 EDT/PDT). Michael Che and Colin Jost will step out from be­hind their “Week­end Up­date” desk on “Satur­day Night Live” to host the cer­e­mony. And HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” Hulu’s “The Hand­maid’s Tale” and FX’s “The Amer­i­cans” com­pete for the best-drama award, while FX’s “At­lanta” and Ama­zon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” will vie for the out­stand­ing-com­edy prize.

❚ Be­fore the tro­phies are handed out, we’ve made our best pre­dic­tions about who will win in ma­jor cat­e­gories and who should be stand­ing on­stage in­stead.

Drama se­ries

❚ “The Amer­i­cans” (FX)

❚ “The Crown” (Net­flix)

❚ “Game of Thrones” (HBO)

❚ “The Hand­maid’s Tale” (Hulu) ❚ “Stranger Things” (Net­flix)

❚ “This Is Us” (NBC)

❚ “West­world” (HBO)

Should win: “The Amer­i­cans”

Will win: “The Hand­maid’s Tale”

The best drama race is, un­for­tu­nately, a fight be­tween medi­ocre sea­sons from two pre­vi­ous win­ners. The sev­enth season of “Game of Thrones,” while full of bat­tles and incest, was all over the place in qual­ity and aired more than a year ago, which means it’s a dis­tant, fire-and-ice-filled mem­ory. “The Hand­maid’s Tale” won last year, but its sec­ond season was ma­ligned by many crit­ics. Still, its con­tin­ued buzz and po­lit­i­cal rel­e­vance mean “Hand­maid’s” will likely eke out a win, but it’s a shame for the most de­serv­ing nom­i­nee, “The Amer­i­cans.” FX’s Soviet spy drama fi­nally man­aged to worm its way into this cat­e­gory for a pitch-per­fect fi­nal season, and it’s one of the best shows in re­cent mem­ory.

Com­edy se­ries

❚ “At­lanta” (FX)

❚ “Barry” (HBO)

❚ “Black-ish” (ABC)

❚ “Curb Your En­thu­si­asm” (HBO)

❚ “GLOW” (Net­flix)

❚ “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Ama­zon)

❚ “Sil­i­con Val­ley” (HBO)

❚ “Un­break­able Kimmy Sch­midt” (Net­flix)

Should win: “At­lanta”

Will win: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

Few shows on TV are as dar­ing as “At­lanta,” Don­ald Glover’s au­teur dram­edy that’s seem­ingly in a genre of its own, ex­per­i­ment­ing with form and of­fer­ing some of the smartest, sleek­est episodes on the air. Although the se­ries is likely to tri­umph in some cat­e­gories, the broader and more fun “Mrs. Maisel” is likely to walk away with this prize.

Lead ac­tress, drama se­ries

❚ Claire Foy, “The Crown” (Net­flix)

❚ Ta­tiana Maslany, “Or­phan Black”

(BBC Amer­ica)

❚ Elis­a­beth Moss, “The Hand­maid’s Tale” (Hulu)

❚ San­dra Oh, “Killing Eve” (BBC Amer­ica)

❚ Keri Rus­sell, “The Amer­i­cans” (FX)

❚ Evan Rachel Wood, “West­world” (HBO)

Should win: Keri Rus­sell

Will win: Elis­a­beth Moss

Four women could eas­ily have walked away with this tro­phy in a less com­pet­i­tive year (Moss, Rus­sell, Oh and Foy), but thanks to her con­tin­u­ally raw per­for­mance, this is Moss’ cat­e­gory to lose, de­spite her se­ries’ de­cline in qual­ity. More im­por­tantly, Rus­sell’s per­for­mance as Soviet spy El­iz­a­beth Jen­nings is blis­ter­ingly good, barely hold­ing it to­gether as El­iz­a­beth’s world starts to crum­ble in the show’s fi­nal season. That she’s likely never go­ing to nab an Emmy for this show is as big a crime as Moss never get­ting one for “Mad Men.”

❚ Ja­son Bate­man, “Ozark” (Net­flix)

❚ Ster­ling K. Brown, “This Is Us” (NBC) ❚ Ed Har­ris, “West­world” (HBO)

❚ Matthew Rhys, “The Amer­i­cans” (FX) ❚ Milo Ven­timiglia, “This Is Us” (NBC) ❚ Jef­frey Wright, “West­world” (HBO)

Should win/will win: Matthew Rhys Brown has a very good chance at pick­ing up an­other Emmy for his showan­chor­ing per­for­mance as Randall on “This Is Us,” but, in a wildly op­ti­mistic pre­dic­tion, I’m go­ing with Rhys to col­lect the send-off award for his heart­break­ing work on the fi­nal season of “The Amer­i­cans,” as Jon Hamm did for “Mad Men.” Rhys’ part­ner Rus­sell might have been able to do this, too, if her cat­e­gory wasn’t so much more com­pet­i­tive.

Lead ac­tress, com­edy se­ries

❚ Pamela Ad­lon, “Bet­ter Things” (FX)

❚ Rachel Bros­na­han, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Ama­zon)

❚ Al­li­son Jan­ney, “Mom” (CBS)

❚ Issa Rae, “In­se­cure” (HBO)

❚ Tracee El­lis Ross, “Black-ish” (ABC)

❚ Lily Tom­lin, “Grace and Frankie” (Net­flix)

Should win/will win: Rachel Bros­na­han Since “Maisel” de­buted, Bros­na­han has mopped up awards for her per­for­mance, for good rea­son. The ac­tress, pre­vi­ously seen in sup­port­ing roles on “House of Cards” and “The Black­list,” breaks out in a mon­u­men­tal way on the pe­riod drama, bring­ing to life Midge Maisel, the 1950s house­wife who finds her true call­ing in stand-up com­edy.

Lead ac­tor, com­edy se­ries

❚ Anthony An­der­son, “Black-ish” (ABC)

❚ Ted Dan­son, “The Good Place” (NBC)

❚ Larry David, “Curb Your En­thu­si­asm” (HBO)

❚ Don­ald Glover, “At­lanta” (FX)

❚ Bill Hader, “Barry” (HBO)

❚ Wil­liam H. Macy, “Shame­less” (Show­time)

Should win: Bill Hader

Will win: Don­ald Glover

Hader has rein­vented him­self on HBO’s “Barry,” a dark yet whim­si­cal se­ries about a hit­man who dreams of be­com­ing an ac­tor. The show was a sur­pris­ingly sat­is­fy­ing treat last spring thanks to Hader’s per­for­mance, which swings be­tween deep de­spair and hope. But it’s un­likely he’ll top­ple re­turn­ing cham­pion Glover, who de­servedly re­ceived wild ac­claim for the sec­ond season of “At­lanta.”

GE­ORGE KRAYCHYK/HULU

Elis­a­beth Moss in “Hand­maid’s.”

Don­ald Glover as Earn in “At­lanta” on FX. CUR­TIS BAKER/FX

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