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10 Things to Watch Out For at the Emmy Nominations

Where to Stream

This Is Us

Thursday morning at 11:30 AM ET, the Television Academy announces their nominees for the 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. And in the era of Peak TV, it is no easy feat to select the best of the best. But while we’ve already ruminated on the fates of shows like Big Little LiesFeud, and Atlanta, plus streaming platforms Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, there are still so many questions left for the Emmy nominations to answer.

In the interests of knowing what to look for once Anna Chlumsky and Shemar Moore announce the nominees, here are ten storylines that could be big news Thursday morning.

Did Emmy Voters Book a Trip to 'Westworld'?

thandie-newton-westworld-1
HBO

When Game of Thrones pushed their seventh season back into the summer, many assumed that HBO‘s other big-budget, high-concept drama series would step into its footprint. But while Westworld was successful, it wasn’t Game of Thrones successful. And since it’s almost always impossible to tell exactly how Emmy voters will respond to a new show, the Emmy futures for Westworld could vary wildly. Right now, the show is battling other freshman series like This Is Us and Stranger Things (The Crown and The Handmaid’s Tale, also in their first year, are pretty much sure things) for the last two or three slots on the ballot.

Meanwhile, as for the actors, Thandie Newton was nominated for both the Golden Globe and SAG awards, so her spot seems the most secure. Jeffrey Wright and Ed Harris will be battling it out in the Supporting Actor category, while Evan Rachel Wood and Anthony Hopkins are battling it out as leads.

Prediction: Nominations for Outstanding Drama, Supporting Actress (Newton), and Supporting Actor (Wright)

Where to stream 'Westworld'

Is the 'Modern Family' Emmy Run Over?

After five consecutive seasons as Outstanding Comedy champ, followed by two years being nominated but losing to VeepModern Family has been as automatic a nomination as anything on the ballot. But the thing with the Emmys is that they love you without fail until they don’t. But after a few waves of new shows — Black-ish and Master of None crashed the party last year; Atlanta and Insecure are expected to do the same this year — there might no longer be room for the Pritchetts and Dunphys on the Emmy ballot.

Modern Family isn’t the only perennial nominee that might get the plug pulled this year. Among the dramas, Homeland (nominated for Outstanding Drama four out of the last 5 years) and House of Cards (nominated each of its first four seasons) are dangling right along the cut line. If any of these three shows end up getting nominated in the top categories, it’ll be at the expense of something new and exciting, so expect there to be complaints.

Where to stream Modern Family

Will Emmy Take Its Last Chance to Reward 'The Leftovers'

Leftovers-Finale-Nora-3
photo: HBO

After two critically-acclaimed seasons on Emmy-bait network HBOThe Leftovers has managed to amass exactly ZERO Emmy nominations. Now that the series aired its final stretch of episodes, totally stuck the landing, and was given every type of critical hosanna, will the Emmys finally notice? History is not on The Leftovers‘ side. The Emmys very rarely hop onto a TV show they’ve initially ignored three seasons in. They especially don’t tend to hop onto a previously-ignored show after it’s already ended.

Still, performances like the ones Carrie Coon, Justin Theroux (both submitted as leads), and Amy Brenneman gave this season will be hard to ignore if voters give them a chance.

Where to stream The Leftovers

(Besides JLD) Who Grabs Those Comedy Actress Noms?

veep-1
Photo: HBO

Lowkey one of the most frantic categories this year is Lead Actress in a Comedy. It’s deceptive, because Julia Louis-Dreyfus has won this award the last FIVE years, and there’s really no reason to think she won’t make it six, but the rush to fill out the category is intense. Especially since perennial nominee Allison Janney (Mom) switched to the lead category after three nominations and two wins in Supporting. Last year’s nominees Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish), Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), and Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie) will have a hard time fending off challenges from a horde of new faces that includes Issa Rae (Insecure), Kathryn Hahn (I Love Dick), Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), and Minnie Driver (Speechless). One wild card? Sarah Jessica Parker (Divorce), who was nominated six times and won once for Sex and the City.

Predictions: Julia Louis Dreyfus, Tracee Ellis Ross, Allison Janney, Issa Rae, Minnie Driver, Sarah Jessica Parker

Where to stream Veep

Is 'This Is Us' Going to Make Network Drama Great Again at the Emmys?

NBC’s high-rated, generations-spanning family drama was a huge ratings winner this past season, but for it to be rewarded with an Emmy nod in the Drama Series category, it’ll have to be the first network drama to get such a nod since The Good Wife in 2011. The acting categories are even tougher, with only lead actor Sterling K. Brown a sure thing. Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore will have a lot harder time getting lead nods. In the supporting categories, Chrissy Metz and Ron Cephas Jones are both perched rather precariously. Could go either way.

Predictions: The Drama Series nomination happens, as do nominations for Sterling K. Brown and Ron Cephas Jones

Where to stream This Is Us

Who Can Crash the Late Night White-Man Party?

trevor-noah-5

These are last year’s nominees for Outstanding Variety Talk Series. Tell us if you notice anything:

  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
  • Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
  • The Late Late Show with James Corden
  • Jimmy Kimmel Live!
  • Real Time with Bill Maher
  • The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

A fine selection of late night comedies, and a more white and male group you won’t soon find. So what are the chances of getting some diversity up in this gig. While the omission of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah last year made sense as the show was still struggling to find its legs, there has been a marked improvement this year, and voters could notice that. Meanwhile, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee was rudely snubbed last year and is incredibly deserving of a make-up nod. One other factor, though: Late Night with Seth Meyers has been superb this year, and it would be tragic for the Emmys not to notice that. So quite a few of last year’s nominated white guys are gonna have to make room.

Where to stream Full Frontal with Samantha Bee

Is This the Year 'RuPaul's Drag Race' Gets the Recognition It Deserves?

RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE, (from left): Ross Matthews, Michelle Visage, host RuPaul, Carson Kressley,
Photo: Everett Collection

Last year’s surprise — though wildly deserving — winner in the Reality Competition Host category was the one and only RuPaul. Could that kind of momentum mean that the Emmys are finally ready to recognize the fierce charms of RuPaul’s Drag Race in the Reality Competition Category? The timing could not be better, after airing the show’s all-time greatest finale episode, where the best final four in series history battled it out. The show is as in the zeitgeist as it’s ever been, and now it’s got the added VH1 heft behind it. Come on, Emmy voters. Don’t fuck it up.

Where to stream RuPaul's Drag Race

Can Maya Rudolph Nab the Most Deserved Nomination of the Year?

Maya-Rudolph
photo: Netflix

The Guest Actor/Actress categories do not get the love they deserve. Nobody remembers to pay attention to these categories on nomination morning, and they’re handed out a full week earlier at the Creative Arts awards. This is bull, obviously. Particularly when you consider that if the voters choose correctly Guest Actress in a Comedy could be among the strongest categories of the year. Consider who could get nominated:

  • Becky Ann Baker, who gave the best performance in the entire final season of Girls
  • Angela Bassett, who made Master of None‘s “Thanksgiving” episode the best of the season
  • Carrie Fisher, who’s up for a posthumous nomination for her acclaimed performance on Catastrophe
  • Laura Dern, who continued her phenomenal year by showing up to steal scenes on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Trace Lysette as Transparent’s Shea, whose road-trip episode with Josh was one of the season’s great highlights (and also nominating an actual trans actress for Transparent might be nice)
  • And finally, Maya Rudolph for her performance as Dionne Warwick in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which may well be the single greatest comedic performance of the 2016-17 TV season.

Where to stream Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Can It Be Justice for Peter MacNicol?

Last year, a minor controversy occurred when Peter MacNicol was nominated for Guest Actor in a Comedy for Veep, only to have his nomination snatched away when it was found out that he was in too many episodes to qualify as a guest. This year, MacNicol was only in one episode, so he certainly qualifies. Will the Emmy voters remember they owe him one?

Where to stream Veep

Can 'The Good Fight' Avoid a Knockout?

the-good-fight-christine-baranski
Photo: CBS

CBS gambled a lot on The Good Fight by letting it anchor their original programming on CBS All Access. The show quality was certainly there — few shows dealt more quickly or immediately with life in Trump’s America — but there was always the question of whether anybody was actually seeing it. The Good Wife was also the last CBS drama to get any kind of attention, so part of that gamble was in hoping that The Good Fight might bring some Emmy prestige to all access. But the show and its cast faces an uphill climb in all categories. Christine Baranski, a perennial nominee for The Good Wife, faces a competitive Lead Actress in a Drama category, and her character didn’t have much of a storyline for the season’s latter half. Cush Jumbo, Sarah Steele, and Delroy Lindo were phenomenal in supporting roles, but not really buzzy enough to make them sure bets. Lindo stands the best chance, but it’s a long shot at this point.

Where to stream The Good Fight