No matter who scores an Emmy Sunday night, viewers have already won.
While it’s only gotten harder in recent years to predict who or what will nab a statue as the TV landscape gets more and more crowded, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences did a better job this season of narrowing down the gems.
Sure, they missed some great ones (“The Other Two” and “Homecoming,” among others) but they found some pearls, too: “Fleabag,” “Schitt’s Creek” and “Pose.” Those shows probably won’t win — “Game of Thrones” and “Veep” are expected to walk away with most of the awards for their respective final seasons — but maybe this is a turning point.
Sunday’s ceremony, airing 8 p.m. on Fox, will go host-less for just the fourth time in history, following a similar move by the Academy Awards in February after a scandal involving initial Oscars host Kevin Hart.
Here are our best bets on how Sunday night’s awards show will go.
Will win: “Game of Thrones”
“Game of Thrones” is the easy bet here; critics like to reward old favorites on their way out and the HBO drama broke an Emmys record with 32 nominations this year. But many fans felt that the final season just wasn’t that good. Still, eight seasons of dragons and Daenerys is a good enough run that the Starks and Targaryens will probably walk home with more trophies. If it wins, “Thrones” will join a tiny club of just “Hill Street Blues,” “L.A. Law,” “Mad Men” and “The West Wing” to win best drama series four times.
Should win: “Pose”
Ryan Murphy’s name carries a lot more weight these days than it did during the “Glee” era, but his FX drama “Pose,” about the transgender community and ballroom culture in 1980s and ‘90s New York, still hasn’t gotten the credit it deserves. The gorgeous, heartbreaking series hides behind the importance of the show and Murphy and company’s work to normalize diversity on TV.
Will win: “Veep”
Here’s another show that will get an awards season bump as a final goodbye, but at least “Veep” deserves it. It’s a tough category and any of the choices would be a good one but protagonist Selina Meyer has to win.
Should win: “Fleabag”
What’s the elevator pitch for “Fleabag?” Unnamed British lady has screwed-up family relationships? And it’s funny? And sad? It’s almost impossible to sell Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s excellent series, but that’s to the show’s credit. “Fleabag” is about love and loss and everything in between and it’ll break your heart and make you believe all at once. Plus, the hot priest.
Will win: Emilia Clarke, “Game of Thrones”
Clarke did outstanding work in spite of the “Game of Thrones” writers, which gives her a head start in this category. Even a woefully misguided character arc gave Clarke the opportunity to show off her range. Plus, some sympathy votes should do the trick.
Should win: Sandra Oh or Jodie Comer, “Killing Eve”
Sure, that’s cheating, but you can’t have Eve without Villanelle and vice versa. The actresses raise each other up, and whatever their on-screen relationship may be, it’s hard to imagine two other actresses pulling off the twisted dynamic of the hunted and the hunter (it’s still hard to know which is which). The second season fell short of the stellar first, but I could watch those two dialogue forever.
Will win: Kit Harington, “Game of Thrones”
I’m starting to bore even myself here, but blah blah “Game of Thrones” will win everything blah blah blah.
Should win: Billy Porter, “Pose”
Not only is Porter doing some of the best work on TV as Pray Tell, but he understands what he’s doing too. The “Kinky Boots” Tony winner has run with his newfound — and well deserved — fame and taken the idea of acceptance off-screen, too. That’s not what Emmys are handed out for, but it’s about time we start caring about who we’re putting on stage.
Will win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”
Louis-Dreyfus is another easy answer: a critic’s darling who has swept the category in the last six years that “Veep” was eligible. The “Seinfeld” alum was tremendous throughout the show’s entire run, but she deserves extra credit for sticking the landing.
Should win: Catherine O’Hara, “Schitt’s Creek”
O’Hara’s pronunciation of “baby” alone is enough to earn her every award possible, but the entirety of her work on “Schitt’s Creek” is a delight. The wigs? The meltdowns? The life lessons? O’Hara’s eccentric former soap opera actress Moira Rose is the best of all of us.
Will win: Bill Hader, “Barry”
A former “Saturday Night Live” star playing an ex-Marine-turned-hitman who wants to be an actor sounds like Mad Libs, but somehow Hader makes it work on “Barry.” Coming off a win at the Emmys last year and an equally strong sophomore season, he’ll probably get the trophy.
Should win: Take your pick
This category doesn’t really have a standout. Hader, Ted Danson (“The Good Place”), Michael Douglas (“The Kominsky Method”) and Eugene Levy (“Schitt’s Creek”) were all hilarious this season, each with their own special flair. To pick one is to be forced to pick between vastly diverse genres of humor.
Will win: “When They See Us”
Ava DuVernay’s devastating tale of the Central Park Five is a tough watch but a necessary one. “When They See Us” is dark and depressing and of its time, despite beginning its story in 1989 on the night when 28-year-old Trisha Meili was beaten, raped and left for dead in Central Park. It’s a haunting reminder both of where we came from and how far we still have to go, and yet there’s a hope hidden there that maybe it can be better than this.
Should win: “When They See Us”
Sometimes it’s just that easy.