Emmy Awards 2021 Predictions
Sunday, September 19 will see the 73rd Emmy Awards, in a year that has seen some some television highs (I May Destroy You!) and lows (Emily in Paris!). In the drama and comedy categories, “The Crown” and “Ted Lasso” are the shows to beat, but it’s the limited series categories that have most exciting nominations. Every year, these categories are proving to showcase some of the most captivating, inventive, and ground-breaking television, making it harder to predict who will triumph come Sunday night. Here are the predictions for who will win and who should win come Sunday night.
Best Drama Series
Will Win: “The Crown”
With the fourth season of the Netflix series sweeping the award shows this year, it shows no sign of slowing down here. Not to mention “The Crown” has never won the top prize at the Emmys before, giving voters the perfect chance to award it here. There’s not another contender here that has had quite the same momentum (or headlines!) over the past year.
Should Win: “The Crown”
There’s plenty of worthy winners here, but the series that stands out the most is still “The Crown,” which managed to make its fourth season its most compelling yet and featured knockout performances from both Emma Corrin and Josh O’Connor. If there ever was a season it deserved to win Best Drama Series, it’s this one.
Runner-up: “The Mandalorian”
The second season of the Disney+ series pleased “Star Wars” fans old and new, pulling off a creatively stunning season of television filled with great performances. With a passionate fan following bolstered by a wave of strong critical support for its latest season, if any show was going to steal “The Crown’s” thunder, it’s this one.
Best Leading Actor in a Drama Series
Will Win: Josh O’Connor, “The Crown”
Seeing as it’s the last chance for Emmy voters to award his performance as Prince Charles, Josh O’Connor is a worthy winner in this category. The actor brilliantly portrayed Prince Charles’s descent from an emotionally repressed student (Season 3 Episode 6 is one of the show’s finest hours) to a man consumed by self-pity and “unconventional” garden designs. A sensitive, complex performance that leaves Dominic West with big shoes (and ears) to fill in Season 5.
Should Win: Josh O’Connor, “The Crown”
Runner-up: Billy Porter, “Pose”
Though Porter already won this award back in 2019, the final season of “Pose” has been lauded by critics, particularly his character Pray Tell’s emotional battle with AIDS throughout the season. It’s between Porter and O’Connor on this one.
Should Have Been Nominated: Antony Starr, “The Boys”
Best Leading Actress in a Drama Series
Will Win: Emma Corrin, “The Crown”
Corrin took on the most daunting part on television this year and reignited the world’s adoration for Princess Diana while doing it. Depicting Diana from her carefree youth to her emotionally fraught marriage, it’s the best on-screen portrayal of the woman that still casts a long shadow on the Royals today. The Emmy’s awarded Claire Foy for her last season portraying Queen Elizabeth, so there’s always a chance Olivia Colman takes this category, but I think voters will find it hard to resist Corrin’s Diana.
Should Win: Emma Corrin, “The Crown”
Runner-up: MJ Rodriguez, “Pose”
Rodriguez made history with her nomination this year and considering the attention her performance has received this season, it’s very likely she could get the win here.
Should Have Been Nominated: Mandy Moore, “This is Us”
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Will Win: Michael K. Williams, “Lovecraft Country”
The late Michael K. Williams is the front-runner here, especially given this was his fifth Emmy nomination without a win. It’s surprising considering the number of iconic roles the actor inhabited during his career. In the wake of his tragic death, it would be a fitting way to pay tribute to the legendary actor that inhabited so many great roles over the years.
Should Win: Michael K Williams, “Lovecraft Country”
Runner-up: Tobias Menzies, “The Crown”
If the Emmys go all-in on “The Crown,” there’s always a chance they sweep the acting categories, giving Tobias Menzies a shot here for his turn as Prince Philip.
Should Have Been Nominated: Justin Hartley, “This is Us”
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Will Win: Gillian Anderson, “The Crown”
If any category is a lock, it’s this one. Emmy voters love transformative eye-catching performances, and Anderson’s Thatcher fits the bill perfectly. This season of “The Crown” was dominated by Thatcher and Diana, and Anderson’s physical transformation into the repelling Prime Minister is basically catnip to voters.
Should Win: Gillian Anderson, “The Crown”
Runner-up: Let’s face it, no one else has a chance here.
Should Have Been Nominated: Wunmi Mosaku, “Lovecraft Country”
Best Comedy Series
Will Win: “Ted Lasso”
With 20 nominations this year, voters were clearly enamored with the first season of this Apple TV+ hit. The show will no doubt win plenty of awards this weekend, and the top prize is no exception. There’s not another series here that has the same buzz or critical praise.
Should Win: “Ted Lasso”
Should Have Been Nominated: Literally anything other than “Emily in Paris.”
Best Leading Actor in a Comedy Series
Will Win: Jason Sudeikis, “Ted Lasso”
This is a pretty dull category this year, with most of the actors being repeat nominees for shows that passed their prime years ago. Sudeikis however, is the glue that holds “Ted Lasso” together, and his layered, charming performance makes him the obvious winner.
Should Win: Jason Sudeikis, “Ted Lasso”
Runner-up: Sudeikis is a sure thing here.
Should Have Been Nominated: Rob McElhenney, “Mythic Quest”
Best Leading Actress in a Comedy Series
Will Win: Jean Smart, “Hacks”
Jean Smart has had a heck of a year, so much so that it’s been called a “Jeanaissance.” Smart’s turn as comedian Deborah Vance in HBO’s “Hacks,” will be impossible for voters to ignore. Critics adored her performance, and there’s not another contender in this category that matches the support Smart has here.
Should Win: Kaley Cuco, “The Flight Attendant”
Cuco had a tough role in “The Flight Attendant,” having to pull off the show’s comic and thriller aspects, while still grounding her character’s addiction struggles in realism.
Runner-up: Kaley Cuco, “The Flight Attendant”
Should Have Been Nominated: Renee Elise Goldsberry, “Girls5Eva”
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Will Win: Brett Goldstein, “Ted Lasso”
This category is less certain. There are four nominees from “Ted Lasso” in this category, making a split vote scenario likely. Yet the current airing of season two of “Ted Lasso” hugely helps Goldstein here, with his character Roy Kent being the standout with his gruff manner and heart of gold. I predict Goldstein to take it, but there’s a strong possibility a non “Ted Lasso” actor breaks through.
Should Win: Brett Goldstein, “Ted Lasso”
Runner-up: Kenan Thompson, “Saturday Night Live”
Thompson is the longest-running “SNL” cast member in history and is well-loved in the industry. Yet he’s never won an Emmy for his acting in the eighteen years he’s been on the show, so there’s a high possibility he could finally get his due here.
Should Have Been Nominated: Alex Newell, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Will Win: Hannah Waddingham, “Ted Lasso”
There’s not an actress here that has a better arc than Waddingham had in season one of “Ted Lasso.” Waddingham is an extraordinary performer (her facial expressions are a work of art), and with all the expected love for “Ted Lasso” this year, she’s a deserving winner in this category.
Should Win: Hannah Waddingham, “Ted Lasso”
Runner-up: Cecily Strong, “Saturday Night Live”
Should Have Been Nominated: Zosia Mamet, “The Flight Attendant”
Best Limited Series
Will Win: “The Queen’s Gambit”
The Queen’s Gambit” wasn’t just a hit, but a cultural phenomenon. It’s rare for a miniseries to reach over 62 million households in its first month, it’s rarer still for a show to single-handedly ignite a global fascination for chess. Is it the most exciting potential win in this category? No, but with the Creative Arts Emmys last weekend seeing “The Queen’s Gambit” win nine (!) awards, it’s evident that voters are still as enamored with the show as viewers were when it was released during lockdown.
Should Win: “I May Destroy You”
Look, every show in this category is brilliant, but there’s not another series here that is as well-crafted and memorable as Michaela Coel’s “I May Destroy You.”
Runner-up: “Mare of Easttown”
“Mare fo Easttown” became a big hit for HBO in the spring, and if there’s any show that could knock “The Queen’s Gambit” off the top spot, it’s this one.
Should Have Been Nominated: “It’s a Sin”
Best Leading Actor in a Limited Series
Will Win: Paul Bettany, “WandaVision”
It was unclear at first how voters may respond to the new Marvel Universe’s TV offerings, but with the inventive and bold “WandaVision” it’s easy to see why the show got 23 nominations. Bettany is the likeliest winner here, with voters being likely to respond to his charming and layered performance as Vision. It stands out in a category that is otherwise slightly underwhelming.
Should Win: Paul Bettany, “WandVision”
Runner-up: Leslie Odom Jr., “Hamilton”
It’s very frustrating that “Hamilton” is eligible at the Emmy’s, yet Leslie Odom Jr. is the best part of “Hamilton,” and if they chose to award it, it will be here.
Should Have Been Nominated: Joel Edgerton “The Underground Railroad”
Best Leading Actress in a Limited Series
Will Win: Anya Taylor-Joy “The Queen’s Gambit”
This is the most competitive and interesting category of them all, and an embarrassment of riches. Yet with “The Queen’s Gambit” likely to clean up, I think Anya Taylor-Joy is likely to take the crown, seeing as she seems to have won every major award going for her performance as Beth Harmon. Yet she has a fierce competitor in Kate Winslet, meaning who will eventually take it is anyone’s guess.
Should Win: Kate Winslet, “Mare of Easttown”
Any one of these women deserve to win the award, but Kate Winslet has the edge. Her performance as Mare is intense, devastating and a masterclass in acting frankly. It’s her best performance to date and one that deserves the win on Sunday.
Runner-up: Kate Winslet, “Mare of Easttown”
Should Have Been Nominated: Thuso Mbedu “The Underground Railroad”
Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series
Will Win: Kathryn Hahn, “WandaVision”
In a tour-de-force performance, Hahn stole the show as Agatha Harkness and got “Agatha All Along” in everyone’s heads for MONTHS. Hayn has never won an Emmy before, and it will be a surprise if she’s not awarded here.
Should Win: Julianne Nicholson “Mare of Easttown”
Yet the performance that stands out most to me is Julianne Nicholson’s role as Lori Ross in “Mare of Easttown.” Nicholson gave a gut-wrenching, unforgettable performance and her work in the finale of the series is worth an Emmy alone.
Runner-up: Julianne Nicholson “Mare of Easttown”
Should Have Been Nominated: Weruche Opia, “I May Destroy You”
Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series
Will Win: Evan Peters “Mare of Easttown”
Peters won over viewers in “Mare of Easttown,” in a winning role that showed him at a career-best. As Colin Zabel, Peters gave an earnest, charming performance that made me hope he will stay away from Ryan Murphy’s projects forever. Out of the other contenders, he’s the one with the most momentum and it feels unlikely that voters wouldn’t reward “Mare of Easttown” somewhere.
Should Win: Evan Peters “Mare of Easttown”
Runner-up: Daveed Diggs “Hamilton”
Should Have Been Nominated: John Boyega, “Small Axe”
The 73rd Emmy Awards will air Sunday September 19 on CBS. Find the full list of Emmy nominees here.
Sarah is a bookseller and English Literature graduate who watches too much tv in her spare time. Her favourite shows include Succession and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Sarah is particularly interested in period dramas and women’s history.