2018 Emmy Awards predictions

Wednesday, September 12, 2018 - 5:19pm

Rachel Brosnahan in "Mrs. Maisel'

Rachel Brosnahan in "Mrs. Maisel' Buy this photo
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Best Comedy Series

Who will win: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

Who should win: “Atlanta”

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is deservedly being recognized as one of the best shows of the year. It is unapologetically bold, confident and witty, all while astutely highlighting some of the ridiculousness of widely held social norms that persist even today, decades after the time period in which it is set. However, FX’s “Atlanta” continues to be one of the most daring and innovative shows in recent memory. The show’s creator and leading man Donald Glover described it as “Twin Peaks for rappers” before the start of the second season, and somehow, it exceeded the expectations that were set on it. Delving into topics such as depression as well as delivering surreal masterpieces such as “Alligator Man” and “Teddy Perkins,” it was the biggest TV achievement of the year. —Sayan Ghosh, Daily Arts Writer

Best Drama Series

Who will win: “The Handmaid’s Tale”

Who should win: “The Handmaid’s Tale”

Even without Margaret Atwood’s novel to fall back on, the second season of “The Handmaid’s Tale” impressed. Though at times hard to watch, the Hulu series continues to demand a reaction from viewers and force them to recognize the tactics of a toxic society. It captures the spirit of our age with artistry and memorable scenes, often weaving together love and punishment to drive home its messages. After a well-deserved win last Emmys season, “The Handmaid’s Tale” is worthy of a repeat and can be expected to get one. —Samantha Della Fera, Daily Arts Writer

Best Leading Actor, Comedy

Who will win: Bill Hader, “Barry”

Who should win: Ted Danson, “The Good Place”

Known best for his wide range of impressions on “Saturday Night Live,” Bill Hader brings the deadpan side of his humor to life in his first TV breakout as the titular role in HBO’s “Barry.” Hader has received a lot of buzz this Emmy season surrounding “Barry,” facing off with Donald Glover (“Atlanta”) in a whopping five different categories. While Glover took the award last year in this category, Hader’s nuanced performance shows promise to win in 2018. All this “Barry” buzz, however, distracts from the stand-out performance delivered by Ted Danson as Michael in “The Good Place.” Danson takes his character from a shining ray of positivity to a face of evil to a reformed demon with ease and grace. Danson’s performance is surely the glue that holds both the show and the world of “The Good Place” together, but on such an easy-viewing TV show, his contribution may be sorely overlooked. Sofia Lynch, Daily TV/New Media Editor

Best Leading Actress, Comedy

Who will win: Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

Who should win: Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

The absence of six-time reigning winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep”) makes the “Leading Actress in a Comedy” race an interesting one this season. Brosnahan and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” cleaned up at last year’s Golden Globes and at the Critics’ Choice Television Awards, so it won’t be a surprise if she takes home the Emmy for her performance as housewife-turned-comedian Midge Maisel. The win will be well-deserved — Brosnahan’s Midge is an absolute joy to watch, deliciously theatrical with the pitch-perfect comic timing Amy Sherman-Palladino’s rapid-fire dialogue requires. —Maitreyi Anantharaman, Daily Arts Writer

Best Leading Actor, Drama

Who will win: Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us”

Who should win: Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us”

It’s a real testament to Sterling K. Brown’s talent that he does so much with the little time each character is allotted on the ensemble hit “This is Us.” “Number Three,” the episode he’s being considered for, brings together everything his character Randall has grappled with this season: his relationships with his biological and adopted fathers, his family’s experience with the foster system, his racial identity. Brown’s range is so impressive here — we see Randall goofy and anxious, earnest and solemn. And a not-so-insignificant detail: He’s an incumbent Emmy winner who enjoyed tremendous success on last year’s awards circuit. —Maitreyi Anantharaman, Daily Arts Writer

Best Leading Actress, Drama

Who will win: Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale”

Who should win: Tatiana Maslany, “Orphan Black”

Elisabeth Moss might have won this in 2016, but that doesn’t mean she can’t win again in 2018. After all, Maslany somehow continues to not only play 14 different characters on “Orphan Black,” but also to play them exceptionally well. These roles challenge Maslany to adopt entirely unique traits and idiosyncrasies that often directly clash with the quirks of her main character, Sarah Manning. Still, she’s able to constantly wow audiences with her range and her ability to adapt on-screen. It’s Maslany’s world, and we’re just watching it. —Connor Grady, Daily Arts Writer

Best Supporting Actor, Comedy

Who will win: Tony Shalhoub, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” or Henry Winkler, “Barry”

Who should win: Brian Tyree Henry, “Atlanta”

Tony Shalhoub, Midge Maisel’s father in “The Marvelous Ms. Maisel,” delivers a wonderfully nuanced performance as a father who tries to reconcile his notions about how the world should be with the fact that his daughter seems hell-bent on doing the opposite. On the other hand, Henry Winkler’s performance as Gene Cousineau in “Barry” is spectacular mostly due to the fact that it is the polar opposite of the kinds of characters he is famous for playing. His performance is simultaneously incredibly uncomfortable and strangely sweet, and his chemistry with Bill Hader is one of the show’s strongest assets. However, although he is overshadowed by his other “Atlanta” colleagues, Brian Tyree Henry quitely delivered one of the best performances of the year. His understated portrayal of a braggadocious rapper with creeping depression was masterful, especially in the dramatic, deeply emotional mid-season episode “Woods.” —Sayan Ghosh, Daily Arts Writer

Best Supporting Actress, Comedy

Who will win: Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live”

Who should win: Zazie Beetz, “Atlanta”

With her prolific array of celebrity impressions, lovable kookiness and growing roles in mainstream movies, Kate McKinnon has made quite the name for herself since her 2012 debut on “SNL.” That said, Zazie Beetz is arguably just as multifaceted and worthy of praise and accolades for her star-making turn on “Atlanta.” Playing opposite Donald Glover’s Earn as the tenacious Van, Beetz imbues a refreshing emotional complexity in her character, whether through learning the limitations of single life or calling out Earn on his romantic dormancy. “Helen,” the episode for which she’s nominated, perfectly exemplifies this quality, showcasing both her comedic range and her dramatic dexterity (and a fluency in German, who knew?). Nothing against McKinnon — who won twice in this category already — but Beetz has the chops and charm to win her first Emmy. —Sam Rosenberg, Senior Arts Editor

Best Supporting Actor, Drama

Who will win: Joseph Fiennes, “The Handmaid’s Tale”

Who should win: Joseph Fiennes, “The Handmaid’s Tale”

Who else but the walking enigma that is Commander Waterford? In just two seasons as the series’ resident zealot and high-ranking Gilead official, Fiennes has established himself as so much more than a traditional antagonist. Through his performance, Fiennes brilliantly balances his character’s stoic, soft-spoken demeanor and forbidden love for Elisabeth Moss with bouts of seething rage and acts of brutal vengeance that leave viewers torn as to who the “real” Waterford is. I still have no idea, and that’s a testament to Fiennes’s unmatched ability to develop an incredibly complex and constantly evolving character in Fred Waterford. —Connor Grady, Daily Arts Writer

Best Supporting Actress, Drama

Who will win: Ann Dowd, “The Handmaid’s Tale”

Who should win: Vanessa Kirby, “The Crown”

Ann Dowd’s Aunt Lydia on this season of “The Handmaid’s Tale” was no less chilling than her Emmy-winning performance last season (in fact, it might be more chilling). But it would be so satisfying to see Emmy voters reward Vanessa Kirby for her dazzling work on “The Crown.” In “Beryl,” a Princess Margaret-centered episode, Kirby effortlessly switches between rebellious joy and drinking-fueled rage, proving that Queen Elizabeth’s glamorous, troubled sister is the real heart of the show. It’s also Kirby’s last chance for an Emmy in this role — “The Crown” is being recast with older actors next season. —Maitreyi Anantharaman, Daily Arts Writer

Best Variety Sketch Series

Who will win: “Saturday Night Live”

Who should win: “Portlandia”

Over its 44-year span, “Saturday Night Live” has earned a whopping 252 Emmy nominations and a formidable 59 wins. And while the popular late-night variety show definitely deserves recognition for its wonderful ensemble cast and churning out the occasionally funny sketch, its more recent efforts pale in comparison to the acidic wit and eccentric wackiness of IFC’s vastly underrated “Portlandia.” SNL alum Fred Armisen (“Game Over Man!”) and Sleater-Kinney vocalist Carrie Brownstein (“Carol”) capped off the final season of their fantastic, oddball satire on Portland culture this past year with remarkable gusto, parodying everything from self-serious NPR podcasts to the muddy excess of online dating apps. Its humor may not be as accessible as “SNL”’s, but for what it’s worth, “Portlandia” offers audiences a wholesome, hyper-specific slice of one of America’s self-described weirdest cities. —Sam Rosenberg, Senior Arts Editor

Best Variety Talk Series

Who will win: “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”

Who should win: “Jimmy Kimmel Live”

With his continued excellence in explaining complex issues through crazy stunts and comedy, it’s expected that John Oliver and the “Last Week Tonight” team will take the Variety Talk Series category for the third year running. That being said, “Jimmy Kimmel Live” should be bringing home the statue, as the late-night veteran has become an outspoken and trusted voice against our current administration. Kimmel’s passionate and often personal monologues on healthcare and gun control transcend simply educating the viewer. He connects with audiences on a deeper level that crafts an exceptional late night talk show. —Samantha Della Fera, Daily Arts Writer