The 71st Emmy Awards (airing here on September 23 at 10am on Fox 8) will serve as a final curtain call for some of TV’s biggest hitters – vale Veep, goodbye Game of Thrones – but as they prepare for a victory lap will a new class of critical darlings spoil their home stretch?
A guide to the biggest categories— and who should win:
Game of Thrones (HBO)
Killing Eve (BBC America)
This Is Us (NBC)
Better Call Saul (AMC)
Who Should Win: Game of Thrones
The final chapter of the effects-laden juggernaut may have divided fans and critics, but it was still a TV event epic enough to be recognised with a whopping 32 nominations, the most any show has ever received in a single year. Helping matters? Awards favourites like The Crown, Stranger Things, Homeland and Westworld didn’t meet this Emmy season’s May 31 deadline. Bend the knee.
The Marvelous Mrs Maisel (Amazon)
Russian Doll (Netflix)
The Good Place (NBC)
Schitt’s Creek (Pop)
Who should win: Veep
Having taken a season off while star Julia Louis-Dreyfus battled breast cancer, Veep has never shared a ballot with last year’s winner The Marvelous Mrs Maisel. Still, with three best comedy Emmys already in the bag, the genius political farce should still dominate at the polls although this category has the deepest bench – The Good Place, Schitts Creek, Fleabag of the night.
Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul)
Billy Porter (Pose)
Jason Bateman (Ozark)
Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us)
Kit Harington (Game of Thrones)
Milo Ventimiglia (This Is Us)
Who should win: Bob Odenkirk
Odenkirk has been nominated for all four seasons of the Breaking Bad spinoff but has never won, so his time in the sun may have finally arrived with Bateman and Harington his main rivals.
Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Sandra Oh (Killing Eve)
Jodie Comer (Killing Eve)
Robin Wright (House of Cards)
Laura Linney (Ozark)
Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones)
Mandy Moore (This Is Us)
Viola Davis (How to Get Away With Murder)
Who should win: Sandra Oh
She took home the Golden Globe, and Oh looks set to best her fabulous co-star to take out the category. Not to be counted out is Clarke, who was tasked with taking on a rollercoaster character arc in her final flight as the Mother of Dragons.
Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Bill Hader (Barry)
Michael Douglas (The Kominsky Method)
Eugene Levy (Schitt’s Creek)
Don Cheadle (Black Monday)
Ted Danson (The Good Place)
Anthony Anderson (Black-ish)
Who should win: Bill Hader
He won last year, but the latest season of Barry has been Hader’s best. Douglas’s performance garnered him the Golden Globes this year but Levy’s rubber-faced, gold-hearted straight man turn on Schitt’s Creek also shouldn’t be overlooked.
Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep)
Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs Maisel)
Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag)
Catherine O’Hara (Schitt’s Creek)
Natasha Lyonne (Russian Doll)
Christina Applegate (Dead to Me)
Who Should win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus
It’s the most stacked acting category but 11-time Emmy winner Louis-Dreyfus was in career-best form as Selina Myer achieved max Machiavellian powers. It’s hers to lose.
Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones)
Michael Kelly (House of Cards)
Jonathan Banks (Better Call Saul)
Giancarlo Esposito (Better Call Saul) — podcast
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones)
Alfie Allen (Game of Thrones)
Chris Sullivan (This Is Us)
Who Should win: Peter Dinklage
Dinklage is looking to bag his fourth Emmy in an eight-series run, which would be a fitting send-off for the witty and world-weary Tyrion Lannister.
Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Julia Garner (Ozark)
Fiona Shaw (Killing Eve)
Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones)
Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)
Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones) — podcast
Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones)
Who Should win: Maisie Williams
Turner and Christie are nominated for the first time in the category dominated by the women of Thrones, and while a split vote could potentially see Garner sneak in, the Knight King-killer deserves it.
Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel
Anna Chlumsky, Veep
Sian Clifford, Fleabag
Olivia Colman, Fleabag
Betty Gilpin, GLOW
Sarah Goldberg, Barry
Marin Hinkle, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Winner: Olivia Colman
A win for her role as a Godmother-turned-stepmum would see her joining Helen Hunt and Helen Mirren as the only actresses to follow up an Oscar with an Emmy the same year.
Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method
Anthony Carrigan, Barry
Tony Hale, Veep
Stephen Root, Barry
Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel
Henry Winkler, Barry
Who Should win: Tony Hale
Two-time winner Hale’s final season as Selina’s bagman Gary saw his precision-delivered, under-the-breath asides reach new levels of hilarity – and heartbreak.