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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 7, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 27
McKinnon, Wood, RuPaul, Harris, 'The Handmaid's Tale' and Oprah all contenders for Primetime Emmys
Arts & Entertainment
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McKinnon, Wood, RuPaul, Harris, 'The Handmaid's Tale' and Oprah all contenders for Primetime Emmys

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

There was a lot of good TV to watch in the latter half of 2016 and the first six months of 2017, which is the eligibility period for this year's Primetime Emmy Awards. Although we don't know who or what will be nominated until the official announcement on July 13, one thing is for certain: 'Game of Thrones' won't be getting a three-peat, as its new season doesn't even start until two days after the Emmys telecast. With GOT out and 'Downton Abbey' no longer in contention, the drama series race has a couple of open slots to fill and the competition is a heated battle between an impressive crop of freshman shows, 'The Crown,' 'Stranger Things,' 'This Is Us' and 'Westworld.'

I just finished reading The Handmaid's Tale, which was developed into a Hulu original series, and though it's actually a mini-series, it will surprisingly compete in the drama series, as well, making it a crowded field. And speaking of crowded fields, the category of Lead Actress in a Limited Series is packed solid with big names, including Oprah Winfrey, Nicole Kidman, Jessica Lange, Susan Sarandon and Bryce Dallas Howard, to name a few.

As for LGBT actors in contention, Sarah Paulson is once again in the race for another installment of 'American Horror Story'; she finally won her first Emmy last fall for her work in 'The People vs. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story.' Neil Patrick Harris is a contender for lead actor-comedy for his appearance on 'A Series of Unfortunate Events.' Evan Rachel Wood and Thandie Newton, who both star in 'Westworld' and are both openly bisexual, are considered shoo-ins for lead actress and supporting actress in a drama, respectively. On the comedy side, expect 'Transparent' to come away with a handful, if not more, mentions, while Lily Tomlin and Tig Notaro are lead actress contenders and Tituss Burgess is an easy pick for supporting actor, as is 2016 winner Kate McKinnon. The gay-themed canceled series-turned TV movie 'Looking' might surprise in a couple of categories. And, reigning reality TV show host winner RuPaul is likely to be in the running again, but fingers crossed that 'Drag Race' itself is nominated.

Here's how I imagine things shaking out when the Primetime Emmy nominations are announced next week. Now, go watch some of these shows!

Outstanding Drama Series
Likely contenders: The Americans; Better Call Saul; The Crown; House of Cards; This Is Us; Westworld

Might surprise: Stranger Things; The Handmaid's Tale; Homeland; The Leftovers; Mr. Robot

House of Cards has been up for this award multiple times, but has yet to win and it'll compete again, for sure. The Americans, which made the final cut a year ago after three seasons, is a strong favorite, as is Better Call Saul. The other three nods could go to Westworld, Stranger Things and This Is Us, the only show from either of the major broadcast channels, but The Handmaid's Tale, Homeland and The Leftovers shouldn't be counted out.

Lead Actor - Drama
Likely contenders: Sterling K. Brown - This Is Us; Rami Malek - Mr. Robot; Bob Odenkirk - Better Call Saul; Aaron Paul - The Path; Matthew Rhys - The Americans; Kevin Spacey - House of Cards; Justin Theroux - The Leftovers

Might surprise: Rupert Friend - Homeland; Ian McShane - American Gods; Liev Schreiber - Ray Donovan

Malek deservedly took home the prize in 2016, although he beat win-less Spacey en route; they'll go head-to-head again this year. Rhys will have no problem squeezing in, neither will Odenkirk. But the remaining slots are up for grabs with Theroux and Brown, who won last fall for The People vs. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story, the most likely to nab nominations.

Lead Actress - Drama
Likely contenders: Viola Davis - How to Get Away with Murder; Claire Danes - Homeland; Claire Foy - The Crown; Taraji P. Henson - Empire; Elisabeth Moss - The Handmaid's Tale; Robin Wright - House of Cards

Might surprise: Christine Baranski - The Good Fight; Carrie Coon - The Leftovers; Mandy Moore - This Is Us; Evan Rachel Wood - Westworld

Davis not only has an Emmy, but a Tony Award and Oscar, too. And though she isn't the frontrunner, she's too good to pass up for a nomination. Russell is not only deserving of a nod, but in a perfect world her name would be called out when the envelope is opened. Moss, who never won for Mad Men, and the actual frontrunner Foy, are each guaranteed a spot. Here's hoping Wood gets in.

Supporting Actor - Drama
Likely contenders: Jonathan Banks - Better Call Saul; Jared Harris - The Crown; David Harbour - Stranger Things; Ed Harris - Westworld; Michael Kelly - House of Cards; John Lithgow - The Crown; Jeffrey Wright - Westworld

Might surprise: Christopher Eccleston - The Leftovers; Noah Emmerich - The Americans; Ron Cephas Jones - This Is Us; Mandy Patinkin - Homeland; Christian Slater - Mr. Robot; Jon Voight - Ray Donovan

With the exception of Banks and Kelly, this category will probably feature some terrific newbies, including Ed Harris, Jared Harris, Lithgow and Angels in America alum Wright.

Supporting Actress - Drama
Likely contenders: Uzo Aduba - Orange is the New Black; Millie Bobbie Brown - Stranger Things; Chrissy Metz - This Is Us; Thandie Newton - Westworld; Winona Ryder - Stranger Things; Maura Tierney - The Affair

Might surprise: Amy Brenneman - The Leftovers; Holly Taylor - The Americans; Samira Wiley - The Handmaid's Tale; Constance Zimmer - UnREAL

Talk about loaded, this category is overflowing with talent. This can only mean one thing: several potential nominees won't make the cut, sadly. Aduba, Newton and Ryder are sure things, and everybody's hoping Brown gets in. Meanwhile, I'm cheering for Wiley.

Outstanding Comedy Series
Likely contenders: Atlanta; black-ish; Modern Family; Silicon Valley; Transparent; Veep

Might surprise: A Series of Unfortunate Events; Master of None; Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; You're the Worst This year's comedy series list looks very similar to last year's, but the race already comes down to Atlanta vs. Veep. All the other shows are just filling in the blanks.

Lead Actor - Comedy
Likely contenders: Anthony Anderson - black-ish; Aziz Ansari - Master of None; Donald Glover - Atlanta; Thomas Middleditch - Silicon Valley; William H. Macy - Shameless; Jeffrey Tambor - Transparent

Might surprise: Ted Danson - The Good Place; Will Forte - The Last Man on Earth; Neil Patrick Harris - A Series of Unfortunate Events; Thomas Hayden Church - Divorce

Anderson, Macy and two-time winner Tambor are in again, Glover is a shoo-in, but the last spot is a mystery; I'm going with Middleditch, but look out for Harris.

Lead Actress - Comedy
Likely contenders: Minnie Driver - Speechless; Allison Janney - Mom; Ellie Kemper - Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; Julia Louis-Dreyfus - Veep; Sarah Jessica Parker - Divorce; Tracee Ellis Ross - black-ish; Lily Tomlin - Grace and Frankie

Might surprise: Aya Cash - You're the Worst; Tig Notaro - One Mississippi; Issa Rae - Insecure

Janney gets bumped up to leading, instead of supporting, and Louis-Dreyfuss is still the one to beat. Kemper, Ross and Tomlin should repeat their nominations from last year.

Supporting Actor - Comedy
Likely contenders: Louie Anderson - Baskets; Alec Baldwin - SNL; Ty Burrell - Modern Family; Tituss Burgess - Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; Tony Hale - Veep; Brian Tyree Henry - Atlanta

Might surprise: Andre Braugher - Brooklyn Nine-Nine; Jay Duplass - Transparent; Matt Walsh - Veep

Baldwin isn't an SNL regular, though he appeared in enough episodes last season as POTUS to be eligible here vs. guest actor. I really hope Henry gets a nod.

Supporting Actress - Comedy
Likely contenders: Zazie Beetz - Atlanta; Mayim Bialik - The Big Bang Theory; Anna Chlumsky - Veep; Judith Light - Transparent; Jane Krakowski - Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; Kate McKinnon - SNL

Might surprise: Gaby Hoffman - Transparent; Andrea Martin - Great News; Rita Moreno - One Day at a Time; Ali Wong - American Housewife

McKinnon was the surprise winner last year and her portrayals of Hillary Clinton and Kellyanne Conway could earn her another statuette. And although she's straight, playing an Asian lesbian woman could net Wong a nomination.

Other Categories

Lead Actor - Mini-series or TV Movie
Likely contenders: Riz Ahmed - The Night Of; Benedict Cumberbatch - Sherlock; Timothy Hutton - American Crime; Jude Law - The Young Pope; Ewan McGregor - Fargo; John Turturro - The Night Of

Might surprise: Robert De Niro - The Wizard of Lies; Jonathan Groff - Looking: The Movie

Groff is probably going to be left out, but fingers crossed he isn't overlooked. The award, however, comes down to Ahmed vs. McGregor.

Lead Actress - Mini-series or TV Movie
Likely contenders: Carrie Coon - Fargo; Nicole Kidman - Big Little Lies; Jessica Lange - Feud: Bette & Joan; Susan Sarandon - Feud: Bette & Joan; Oprah Winfrey - The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks; Reese Witherspoon - Big Little Lies

Might surprise: Bryce Dallas Howard - Black Mirror; Viola Davis - Custody; Felicity Huffman - American Crime; Michelle Pfeiffer - The Wizard of Lives

This will be THE race on Emmy night. Kidman vs. Lange vs. Sarandon vs. Witherspoon vs. Oprah. Plus, Coon's performance is equally worthy. Don't forget Howard, either.

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McKinnon, Wood, RuPaul, Harris, 'The Handmaid's Tale' and Oprah all contenders for Primetime Emmys
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