Emmy Preview 2019

Can Game of Thrones be beaten? Will it be a great night for Fleabag? Who survives the Miniseries bloodbath? David shares his predictions.

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES

  • Better Call Saul
  • Bodyguard
  • Game of Thrones
  • Killing Eve
  • Ozark
  • Pose
  • Succession
  • This is Us

I have been, and will remain, a steadfast fan of Game of Thrones — but I’d be hard-pressed to say its final season was anywhere close to its best, let alone the best in all of television. The backlash to this year’s episodes was as brutal as it was varied (blaming everything from the cinematography, to the writing, to a stray coffee cup). However, that won’t stop it from ascending the stage for a fourth time as the grandest production in TV history. Because shows like The Crown and Stranger Things got out of its way, it has no serious competition (though a just world would see victory for Better Call Saul) — at least its era of dominance is nearly over. Missing here: The terrific Homecoming.

Billy Porter

DRAMA ACTOR

  • Jason Bateman, Ozark
  • Sterling K. Brown, This is Us
  • Kit Harington, Game of Thrones
  • Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
  • Billy Porter, Pose
  • Milo Ventimiglia, This is Us

As above, every category Saul (in this case, Bob Odenkirk) loses is a crime against art. And I don’t think that the Academy’s residual affection for Thrones will extend to its male lead, so that leaves two real contenders: Jason Bateman, the binge-watcher’s pick, and Billy Porter, whose performance as Pray Tell on Pose (and subsequent appearances at the Met Ball, etc., etc.) has made him a critical darling.

Jodie Comer & Sandra Oh

DRAMA ACTRESS

  • Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
  • Jodie Comer, Killing Eve
  • Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder
  • Laura Linney, Ozark
  • Mandy Moore, This is Us
  • Sandra Oh, Killing Eve
  • Robin Wright, House of Cards

Still a shock that Julia Roberts is absent, since you’d think the whole reason an actress of her caliber goes to TV is to be guaranteed an Emmy nomination. (What happened, Amazon?) Two-time Globe winner Sandra Oh has the best chance at picking up her first Emmy here, despite the noticeable dip in quality of Eve’s second season. (I’m also thrilled that the mesmerizing Jodie Comer is here.) I wouldn’t fully count out Emilia Clarke, though.

Jonathan Banks & Giancarlo Esposito

DRAMA SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Alfie Allen, Game of Thrones
  • Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
  • Nikolaj Coster-Waldeau, Game of Thrones
  • Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
  • Giancarlo Esposito, Better Call Saul
  • Michael Kelly, House of Cards
  • Chris Sullivan, This is Us

If Peter Dinklage wins again, he might very well turn to the side and hand the award over to his Lannister brother, Nikolaj Coster-Waldeau, and that would be just. I’ll go out on a limb and pick the latter anyway. It’s also tough to not see any of Succession’s extraordinary cast nominated anywhere.

Maisie Williams

DRAMA SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Gwendoline Christie, Game of Thrones
  • Julia Garner, Ozark
  • Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
  • Fiona Shaw, Killing Eve
  • Sophie Turner, Game of Thrones
  • Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones

I’m not happy about the superb Rhea Seehorn (Better Call Saul) being squeezed out in favor of four Thrones nominees, no matter how worthy. And it’s hard not to think that they won’t split the votes, making room for… Julia Garner? Not Fiona Shaw. Maybe I should just pick one. Lena Headey deserved the award for previous seasons, but spent her final episodes staring out of a balcony. Let’s go with Maisie Williams, who voters watched grow up over a decade, and had the biggest hero moment of the year.

Succession

DRAMA WRITING

  • Better Call Saul, “Winner,” Peter Gould & Thomas Schnauz
  • Bodyguard, “Episode 1,” Jed Mercurio
  • Game of Thrones, “The Iron Throne,” David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
  • Killing Eve, “Nice and Neat,” Emerald Fennell
  • Succession, “Nobody is Ever Missing,” Jesse Armstrong
  • The Handmaid’s Tale, “Holly,” Bruce Miller & Kira Snyder

While it’s not surprising that showrunners Benioff & Weiss got their finale nominated, it’s unfathomable that the season’s best hour, Bryan Cogman’s “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” wasn’t put forward by the Thrones team at all. I don’t think it will win, in any case (though, granted, it wouldn’t surprise me) — it should be Saul, again, but I’m wagering they might lean towards Succession as the Hot New Thing. Fortunately, Succession is great.

Ozark

DRAMA DIRECTING

  • Game of Thrones, “The Iron Throne,” David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
  • Game of Thrones, “The Last of the Starks,” David Nutter
  • Game of Thrones, “The Long Night,” Miguel Sapochnik
  • Killing Eve, “Desperate Times,” Lisa Bruhlmann
  • Ozark, “Reparations,” Jason Bateman
  • Succession, “Celebration,” Adam McKay
  • The Handmaid’s Tale, “Holly,” Daina Reid

There’s Thrones again, clogging up a category where so many other excellent shows could be getting their due. But for once, I might agree with the voters: Miguel Sapochnik’s work on “The Long Night” — your TV brightness aside — was astonishing, and the trophy will pair nicely with the one he earned for “Battle of the Bastards.”

On Page 2: Comedy

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