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Emmy Awards 2018 Preview

Watch the Emmys Monday, September 17, at 5 p.m..

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Lena Headey and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in 'Game of Thrones' | HBO

Lena Headey and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in 'Game of Thrones' | HBO

Lena Headey and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in 'Game of Thrones' | HBO

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Every year, there is a single constant that connects Emmy ceremonies: the voters making preposterous decisions. Television keeps getting more and more prestigious, but the Emmys aren’t following, which makes for a frustrating and at times harrowing awards show. Nonetheless, here is a preview of the major program and acting categories of the night.

Outstanding Comedy Series:

Atlanta (Season 2), FX
Barry (Season 1), HBO
black-ish (Season 4), ABC
Curb Your Enthusiasm (Season 9), HBO
GLOW (Season 1), Netflix
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Season 1), Amazon
Silicon Valley (Season 5). HBO
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Season 4), Netflix

Should Win: Atlanta
Will Win: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Should Have Been Nominated: Better Things, The Good Place

In the era of the #MeToo movement, Mrs. Maisel is a period piece about a woman in the late 1950s trying to break in to the male-dominated stand-up profession in New York City. It’s winning. Atlanta is, unfortunately, too experimental and possibly even too black for the Television Academy’s taste.

Rachel Brosnahan as a stand-up comic in ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ | Amazon

Outstanding Drama Series:

The Americans (Season 6), FX
The Crown (Season 2), Netflix
Game of Thrones (Season 7), HBO
The Handmaid’s Tale (Season 2), Hulu
Stranger Things (Season 2), Netflix
This Is Us (Season 2), NBC
Westworld (Season 2), HBO

Should Win: The Americans
Will Win: The Handmaid’s Tale
Should Have Been Nominated: The Deuce, Halt and Catch Fire, Mindhunter

In the era of the #MeToo movement, The Handmaid’s Tale is an adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s greatest work, a dystopian story about a patriarchal, totalitarian society that subjugates women, forcing them to be servants and sex slaves, with not-so-subtle parallels to the Trump Administration. It’s winning. The Americans will join the leagues of The Wire, Deadwood, and The Shield as an all-time great drama series that never won the top prize.

Elisabeth Moss as a handmaid in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ | Hulu

Outstanding Lead Actor – Comedy:

Anthony Anderson, black-ish
Ted Danson, The Good Place
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Donald Glover, Atlanta
Bill Hader, Barry
William H. Macy, Shameless

Should Win: Donald Glover
Will Win: Donald Glover
Should Have Been Nominated: Andy Samberg, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

In this season of Atlanta, Glover played his usual character, Earn Marks, but in one special hour-long episode, one of the most innovative hours of television ever, he embodied Teddy Perkins, a Michael Jackson-esque character straight out of a horror movie. There is no other option.

Lakeith Stanfield, Donald Glover, and Brian Tyree Henry in ‘Atlanta’ | FX

Outstanding Lead Actress – Comedy:

Pamela Adlon, Better Things
Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Allison Janney, Mom
Issa Rae, Insecure
Tracee Ellis-Ross, black-ish
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie

Should Win: Pamela Adlon
Will Win: Rachel Brosnahan
Should Have Been Nominated: Kristen Bell, The Good Place; Alison Brie, GLOW

If Mrs. Maisel wins, Brosnahan has to win. She is the singular reason the show is so great, giving a magical performance of a housewife scorned. However, Adlon should be the big story of this category, creating, writing, directing, and starring in the realest, rawest half-hour series since Louie (probably because Louie C.K. co-created the series).

Pamela Adlon and more in ‘Better Things’ | FX

Outstanding Lead Actor – Drama:

Jason Bateman, Ozark
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Ed Harris, Westworld
Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us
Jeffrey Wright, Westworld

Should Win: Matthew Rhys
Will Win: Matthew Rhys
Should Have Been Nominated: James Franco, The Deuce; Jonathan Groff, Mindhunter

Rhys should ideally be a multi-time Emmy winner already for his all-time great performance as KGB agent Philip Jennings, but this is finally his year. For the Golden Age of Television, this is an incredibly weak category outside of Rhys, favoring performances on big-budget, highly promoted programs over more acclaimed and inspired options like Groff. The This Is Us and Westworld actors are perfectly set up to split the vote within their own shows. And like Jon Hamm’s win for Mad Men in his eighth nomination for the show, losing his first seven, the acting branch likely knows that this is the last chance to award Rhys.

Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as KGB spies in ‘The Americans’ | FX

Outstanding Lead Actress – Drama:

Claire Foy, The Crown
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale
Sandra Oh, Killing Eve
Keri Russell, The Americans
Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld

Should Win: Keri Russell
Will Win: Elisabeth Moss
Should Have Been Nominated: Jodie Comer, Killing Eve; Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Deuce

This is the strongest category of the night, and even then, multiple deserving performances were tragically snubbed. Foy, Oh, and Russell, in particular, give undeniable performances that will sadly succumb to a second consecutive win for Moss, who cries and gives the same evil looks to her suppressors every single episode (although part of that is due to the second season’s static writing). It’s the last chance to award both Foy and Russell (with The Crown recasting all of its characters and The Americans ending), but sadly, neither will end their memorable runs with an Emmy on their mantlepiece.

Thandie Newton as an android in ‘Westworld’ | HBO

Outstanding Supporting Actor – Comedy:

Louie Anderson, Baskets
Alec Baldwin, Saturday Night Live
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Brian Tyree Henry, Atlanta
Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Kenan Thompson, Saturday Night Live
Henry Winkler, Barry

Should Win: Brian Tyree Henry
Will Win: Henry Winkler
Should Have Been Nominated: Marc Maron, GLOW; Lakeith Stanfield, Atlanta

Winkler, best known for his work as Fonzie Fonzarelli in the hit 1970s comedy sitcom Happy Days, has consistently worked in film and television for over four decades, yet he still has not won an Emmy Award. With an aggressive marketing campaign and a scene-stealing performance in Barry, he should be able to finally win and bring home the show’s only win for the night. Henry is a co-lead with Donald Glover in Atlanta, but he is in this category in a case of category fraud, determined in to win an Emmy. Nonetheless, he gives the best performance in the best half-hour series of the season — a performance so good that he is now a movie star.

Bill Hader as a hitman-turned-actor in ‘Barry’ | HBO

Outstanding Supporting Actress – Comedy:

Zazie Beetz, Atlanta
Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Aidy Bryant, Saturday Night Live
Betty Gilpin, GLOW
Leslie Jones, Saturday Night Live
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Laurie Metcalf, Roseanne
Megan Mullally, Will & Grace

Should Win: Betty Gilpin
Will Win: Alex Borstein
Should Have Been Nominated: D’Arcy Carden, The Good Place; Yvonne Orji, Insecure

Three SNL ladies are wasting precious category spots, just like last year. Even worse, McKinnon could win for a third year in a row. Borstein is the only hope there is to end this madness. Gilpin is unfortunately the only acting nominee from the talented ensemble of GLOW, but she, along with Alison Brie, Marc Maron, and company, have done great work on the show deserving of some sort of awards attention.

Betty Gilpin and Alison Brie as professional wrestlers in ‘GLOW’ | Netflix

Outstanding Supporting Actor – Drama:

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Joseph Fiennes, The Handmaid’s Tale
David Harbour, Stranger Things
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
Matt Smith, The Crown

Should Win: Matt Smith
Will Win: Joseph Fiennes
Should Have Been Nominated: Noah Emmerich, The Americans; Holt McCallany, Mindhunter

In an ideal world, Emmerich would be winning this category in a landslide, but you can’t expect much (or anything, really) from the Television Academy. Like its Lead Actor counterpart, this, too, is a weak category. Smith was marginally less powerful than his Crown co-stars, Foy and Kirby, but he had a complete, compelling arc, which is more than one can say about some of these other nominees. Fiennes gives perhaps the fifth or sixth best performance on his show, but he’ll be taken along for the Handmaid’s Tale ride, regardless.

Matt Smith and Claire Foy in ‘The Crown’ | Netflix

Outstanding Supporting Actress – Drama:

Alexis Bledel, The Handmaid’s Tale
Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things
Ann Dowd, The Handmaid’s Tale
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Vanessa Kirby, The Crown
Thandie Newton, Westworld
Yvonne Strahovski, The Handmaid’s Tale

Should Win: Lena Headey
Will Win: Thandie Newton
Should Have Been Nominated: Holly Taylor, The Americans

With Peter Dinklage’s role decreasing in later seasons, Headey has become the MVP of Game of Thrones for her magnificent performance as Cersei Lannister. The series admittedly has some disappointing casting choices for such a high-budget program (Emilia Clarke, for example), but Headey has been a true treasure and deserves to win at least one Emmy for her work. The Handmaid’s Tale craze resulted in three actresses nominated in this category, each of them having turned in a good performance in season two in spite of its writing. A vote-split is likely, so who else can fill the void other than a great actress overdue for awards recognition, Newton?

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About the Writer
Jason Park, Senior Editor

I used to be the Editor-in-Chief, but it turns out that the Editor-in-Chief taking six AP classes is not ideal.

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