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Emmy Picks: Who Should Win and Who Will Win

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel or Atlanta? Donald Glover or Bill Hader? Jesse Plemons or Darren Criss? Rotten Tomatoes' staff reviewed this year's nominees and duked it out over who deserves an Emmy.

by and | September 14, 2018 | Comments

Every awards season, journalists are asked to predict the winners in TV and film’s biggest awards programs. The difficulty is in separating who you think the respective academies’ members will vote for and your personal feelings about who deserves to win.

For the 70th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, we’re giving you both: who we think will win and who we think should win. What we’ve learned? Our office watches a lot of FX.

Visit our nominations page to see the full list of nominees. The winners will be announced live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, Sunday, September 17 (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT) on NBC.

Be sure to also check out:The Emmy Formula: Which Roles and Actors Win the Most Gold


COMEDY


OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES

Donald Glover in Atlanta and Rachel Brosnahan The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Guy D'Alema/FX; Nicole Rivelli/Amazon Prime)
(Photo by Guy D'Alema/FX; Nicole Rivelli/Amazon Prime)

Should Win: Atlanta: Robbin' Season (2018) 98% (4 votes)
Will Win: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: Season 1 (2017) 95% (4 votes)

The Results: An equal number of RT staffers agreed that the FX comedy should win, but that the Amazon Prime series will win. You may recall that The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel won the Golden Globe earlier this year for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy. But that was the Hollywood foreign press voting; we’ll see how the Television Academy voters swing. Runners-up: While Atlanta got two RT staff votes for will win, HBO’s Barry took two votes for should win.


OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

Rachel Brosnahan stars in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Nicole Rivelli/Amazon Prime)
(Photo by Nicole Rivelli/Amazon Prime)

Should and Will Win: Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (4 and 6 votes)

The Results: Brosnahan also took the Globes award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy, but she should thank her stars that Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who has won this category for the past six years running for her role in Veep and has seven total in the category, isn’t competing.  Runners-up: Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish) and Pamela Adlon (Better Things) each got one should-win vote.


OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

Bill Hader in Barry keyart; Donald Glover in Atlanta (HBO; Matthias Clamer/FX)
(Photo by HBO; Matthias Clamer/FX)

Should Win: Tie — Bill Hader, Barry, and Donald Glover, Atlanta (3 votes each)
Will Win: Donald Glover, Atlanta (6 votes)

The Results: Glover has a ridiculous number of fans here at RT HQ; that said, Hader does too. But the kids are pretty confident that Glover’s got this one — again (he won in this category last year).


OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

Betty Gilpin in GLOW, Kate McKinnon in Saturday Night Live (Erica Parise/Netflix; Will Heath/NBC)
(Photo by Erica Parise/Netflix; Will Heath/NBC)

Should Win: Betty Gilpin, GLOW (3 votes)
Will Win: Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live (4 votes)

The Results: McKinnon won in this category last year and is expected to do so again, while Gilpin took the most should-win votes.  Runners-up: Two RT staffers think Alex Borstein will win for her role in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, while two also think Zazie Beetz should win for her role on Atlanta.


OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

Barry Episode 4 (debut 4/15/18): Henry Winkler. photo: John P. Johnson/HBO
(Photo by John P. Johnson/HBO)

Should and Will Win: Henry Winkler, Barry (3 and 4 votes)

The Results: There’s a lot of love for the Fonz. However… Runner-up: Two should-win votes went to Brian Tyree Henry for his work in season 2 of Atlanta.


Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series

ATLANTA Robbin' Season, "Teddy Perkins"; The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Guy D'Alema/FX; Sarah Shatz/Amazon Studios)
(Photo by Guy D'Alema/FX; Sarah Shatz/Amazon Studios)

Should Win: Hiro Murai, “Teddy Perkins,” Atlanta
Will Win: Amy Sherman-Palladino, “Pilot,” The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

The Results: In this year’s Emmys beauty and the beast tale, Atlanta‘s Teddy Perkins battles Mrs. Maisel‘s pilot for directing supremacy. Our money is on Sherman-Palladino, but our hearts (and possibly some viscera and various body parts) are with Murai for his American horror story. Runners-up: One staffer thinks that Bill Hader should take the comedy directing award for Barry episode “Chapter One: Make Your Mark,” while another thinks “Teddy Perkins” will win (the same staffer had said Brian Tyree Henry should win for supporting actor in a comedy — just noting a pattern and that it’s possible this staffer only watches Atlanta).


Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series

Barry episode 7 (debut 5/6/18): Bill Hader; Rachel Brosnahan in s1ep1 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (John P. Johnson/HBO; Sarah Shatz/Amazon Prime)
(Photo by John P. Johnson/HBO; Sarah Shatz/Amazon Prime)

Should Win: Tie — Liz Sarnoff, “Chapter Seven: Loud, Fast And Keep Going,” Barry, and Amy Sherman-Palladino, “Pilot,” The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (2 votes each)
Will Win: Amy Sherman-Palladino, “Pilot,” The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (5 votes)

The Results: The writing category proved a bit tricky for our staff, leading to a couple of abstentions, but Sherman-Palladino is looking good for this award.


DRAMA


OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES

Emilia Clark in Game of Thones; Ofglen (Alexis Bledel), shown. (Macall B. Polay/courtesy of HBO; George Kraychyk/Hulu)
(Photo by Macall B. Polay/courtesy of HBO; George Kraychyk/Hulu)

Should Win: Game of Thrones: Season 7 (2017) 93% (3 votes)
Will Win: The Handmaid's Tale: Season 2 (2018) 91% (5 votes)

The Results: Our staff voted that HBO’s dragon tale deserves a trophy for its seventh season, while most think that Hulu’s dystopian future–set drama — last year’s winner in this category — will take the award again. Runners-up: Two panelists think The Americans deserves the win, while one thinks that Game of Thrones actually will take the prize in this category.


OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES

THE AMERICANS -- Pictured: Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings; The Handmaid's Tale stars Elisabeth Moss as Offred. (Pari Dukovic/FX; Take Five/Hulu)
(Photo by Pari Dukovic/FX; Take Five/Hulu)

Should Win: Keri RussellThe Americans (3 votes)
Will Win: Elisabeth MossThe Handmaid’s Tale (5 votes)

The Results: Moss won this in this category last year and a majority of our panelists think she’ll win again, while three think Russell will finally be rewarded for her work on the FX spy drama. Runners-up: Two RT staffers think Moss not only will win, but should win. Another thinks that Claire Foy will win for her role in Netflix series The Crown.


OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

The Americans, season 6, ep 8 Matthew Rhys as Philip Jennings; THIS IS US -- "Vegas, Baby" Episode 216 -- Pictured: Sterling K. Brown as Randall (Eric Liebowitz/FX; Ron Batzdorff/NBC)
(Photo by Eric Liebowitz/FX; Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

Should Win: Tie — Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us, and Matthew Rhys, The Americans (2 votes each)
Will Win: Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us (5 votes)

The Results: Not pointing fingers (you know who you are), but someone on staff is a big Americans fan and has maybe possibly been lobbying other panelists to recognize the series and its stars — “It’s their last chance!” Others think Brown will take this award for the second year in a row. Runners-up: One staffer thinks Brown’s costar Milo Ventimiglia deserves the trophy.


OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES

Westworld Episode 15 (season 2, episode 5, "Akane No Mai"): Thandie Newton; Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd), shown.(Jordin Althaus/HBO; George Kraychyk/Hulu)
(Photo by Jordin Althaus/HBO; George Kraychyk/Hulu)

Should Win: Thandie Newton, Westworld (3 votes)
Will Win: Ann Dowd, The Handmaid’s Tale (4 votes)

The Results: The Handmaid’s Tale split the vote with so many actresses giving exceptional performances, including Dowd (who we predict as the winner), Yvonne Strahovski (who received one will-win vote), and Alexis Bledel (who got a should-win vote). Runners-up: Two staffers feel Lena Headey deserves an award for wicked Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones.


OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones, season 7; David Harbour in Stranger Things, season 2 (HBO; Netflix)
(Photo by HBO; Netflix)

Should Win: Tie — Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones, and David Harbour, Stranger Things (3 votes each)
Will Win: David Harbour, Stranger Things (4 votes)

The Results: Dinklage previously won this category twice for his role as Tyrion Lannister (in 2011 and 2015). Only one of our staffers thinks he will take the trophy from Harbour. Runners-up: In addition to the Dinklage vote, Mandy Patinkin received a vote to win in this category for Homeland.


Outstanding Directing For A Drama Series

Game of Thrones, season 7, episode 6 Night King; The Handmaid's Tale, Samira Wiley, O-T Fagbenle (HBO; George Kraychyk/Hulu)
(Photo by HBO; George Kraychyk/Hulu)

Should Win: Alan Taylor, “Beyond the Wall,” Game of Thrones (3 votes)
Will Win: Kari Skogland, “After,” The Handmaid’s Tale (3 votes)

The Results: These directors are also runners-up to each other: Taylor received one vote that he will win for “Beyond the Wall,” and Skogland received one should-win vote.


Outstanding Writing For A Drama Series

THE HANDMAID'S TALE -- "June" -- Episode 201 -- Offred reckons with the consequences of a dangerous decision while haunted by memories from her past and the violent beginnings of Gilead. (Photo by: George Kraychyk/Hulu)
(Photo by George Kraychyk/Hulu)

Should and Will Win: Bruce Miller, “June,” The Handmaid’s Tale

The Results: The season premiere Miller delivered for the Hulu series packed a punch.  Runners-up: The will-win projection is by unanimous vote, but Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg got a should-win vote for The Americans episode “Start,” and Phoebe Waller-Bridge got a should-win vote for Killing Eve episode “Nice Face.”


MORE


OUTSTANDING LIMITED SERIES

THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY "The Man Who Would Be Vogue" Episode 1 (Airs Wednesday. January 17, 10:00 p.m. e/p) -- Pictured: (l-r) Annaleigh Ashford as Elizabeth, Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan, Nico-Evers-Swindell as Phil. CR: Ray Mickshaw/FX
(Photo by Ray Mickshaw/FX)

Should and Will Win: American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace (2018) 88% (5 votes each)

The Results: Unanimous.


OUTSTANDING TELEVISION MOVIE

Black Mirror: USS Callister (Netflix)
(Photo by Netflix)

Should and Will Win: USS CallisterBlack Mirror: Season 4 (2017) 84%

The Results: It’s possible that someone forgot to include this category on the staff ballot. It’s also possible that the result above reflects the opinion of only that person. UPDATE: three other panelists have agreed.


OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR A TELEVISION MOVIE

THE SINNER -- "Part II" Episode 102 -- Pictured: Jessica Biel as Cora Tannetti -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/USA Network)
(Photo by Peter Kramer/USA Network)

Should Win: Tie — Laura Dern, The Tale, and Jessica Biel, The Sinner (2 votes each)
Will Win: Tie — Jessica Biel, The Sinner, and Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Cult (2 votes each)

The Results: Not one, but two ties!


OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR A TELEVISION MOVIE

Black Mirror: USS Callister stars Jesse Plemons; THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY "The Man Who Would Be Vogue" Episode 1 star Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan. (Netflix; Jeff Daly/FX)
(Photo by Netflix; Jeff Daly/FX)

Should Win: Jesse Plemons, Black Mirror: USS Callister (3 votes)
Will Win: Darren Criss, The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (5 votes)

The Results: Our panel is confident that Criss will win for his emotionally disturbed serial killer, but Plemons got the popular vote for his emotionally disturbed computer genius.


OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR A TELEVISION MOVIE

Letitia Wright Black Museum (Black Mirror); The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (Netflix; Penelope Cruz as Donatella Versace. (Jonathan Prime/Netflix; Jeff Daly/FX)
(Photo by Jonathan Prime/Netflix; Jeff Daly/FX)

Should Win: Letitia Wright, Black Mirror: Black Museum (2 votes)
Will Win: Penelope Cruz, The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (4 votes)

The Results: The should vote here was split among four of the nominees, leaving Wright the winner with only two votes. Cruz, meanwhile, gave up only one will-win vote — to her costar Judith Light.


OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR A TELEVISION MOVIE

THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY "Don't Ask Don't Tell" Episode 5 (Airs Wednesday, February 14, 10:00 p.m. e/p) -- Pictured: Edgar Ramirez as Gianni Versace; Finn Wittrock as Jeffrey Trail; Ricky Martin as Antonio D'Amico (Ray Mickshaw/FX)
(Photo by Ray Mickshaw/FX)

Should Win: Tie — Someone in The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (3 votes split across three costars)
Will Win: Jeff Daniels, Godless (3 votes)

The Results: This is the only category in which a should-win vote was split evenly across multiple nominees with one vote each: Edgar Ramirez, Finn Wittrock, and Ricky Martin of The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. Runners-up: The will-win prediction was more decisive, though Ramirez followed Daniels closely with two votes.


Outstanding Directing For A Limited Series, Movie Or Dramatic Special

Should and Will Win: Ryan Murphy, “The Man Who Would Be Vogue,” The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (3 and 4 votes)

The Results: Murphy is well known for his unique creative choices, but in the season 2 premiere of American Crime Story, he engineered a TV masterwork. Runner-up: One staffer threw a should-win vote to David Lynch for his Twin Peaks revival.


Outstanding Writing For A Limited Series, Movie Or Dramatic Special

Should Win: William Bridges and Charlie Brooker, Black Mirror: USS Callister (2 votes)
Will Win: Tie — William Bridges and Charlie Brooker, Black Mirror: USS Callister and Tom Rob Smith, “House by the Lake,” The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (2 votes each)

The Results: It’s no surprise that USS Callister and “House by the Lake” would split the will-win vote.  Runners-up: What is a surprise is that one of our panelists threw a should-win vote to Kevin and Matthew McManus for American Vandal episode “Clean Up” over the two will-win frontrunners.


Outstanding Reality-Competition Program

Should and Will Win: RuPaul’s Drag Race (3 and 4 votes)

The Results: The series dominated the will-win vote, but The Voice and Top Chef each got a should-win vote.


Outstanding Variety Talk Series

Should and Will Win: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (4 and 5 votes)

The Results: The American Vandal dissenter above also cost John Oliver a should-win vote by throwing his vote to The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.


Outstanding Variety Sketch Series

Should Win: Portlandia (3 votes)
Will Win: Saturday Night Live (4 votes)

The Results: Portlandia‘s should-win dominance says a lot about our office. That Drunk History also got a should-win vote elaborates on that observation.


Outstanding Directing For A Variety Special

Should Win: Stan Lathan for Dave Chappelle: Equanimity (4 votes)
Will Win: Tie — a four-way tie between Stan Lathan for Dave Chappelle: Equanimity; Glenn Weiss, The Oscars; Michael Bonfiglio for Jerry Seinfeld: Jerry Before Seinfeld , and Marcus Raboy for Steve Martin & Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget For The Rest Of Your Life.  (1 vote each)

The Results: The Super Bowl LII Halftime Show Starring Justin Timberlake is the only nominee to not get a vote. People are still blaming the fashion.


Outstanding Writing For A Variety Special

Should and Will Win: Full Frontal: Great American Puerto Rico (3 votes and 3 votes)

The Results: Samantha Bee and her team of writers should own this one,  according to RT staff.

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