2020 Emmys Predictions

It feels a little silly to be worrying about the fate of an awards show while I’m worrying about the fate of humankind, but hey, I’ve spent most of my pandemic life seeking distractions. A new one came along today as the Television Academy announced the nominees for the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards. Airing on ABC on September 20 and hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the show will presumably be a virtual affair, as most affairs are as of late.

As usual, I’ll be making my predictions of Emmys winners from a totally ignorant space; I don’t really keep up with TV. Last year, I got an 8 out of 26, a woeful 31 percent (rounded up). This year, Netflix broke the record for most nominations in a single year (160), while WATCHMEN was the single most-nominated program with 26. For my predictions, however, I’ll only be preoccupying myself with the 27 “core” categories that will presumably be televised; the rest of the winners, for the “Creative Arts” categories, will be revealed in the week leading up to the main event. And to be clear, I’m not naming favorites here, I’m stating who/what I think will actually win the awards. I’ll bold those potential winners.

Outstanding Comedy Series

  • CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM
  • DEAD TO ME
  • THE GOOD PLACE
  • INSECURE
  • THE KOMINSKY METHOD
  • THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL
  • SCHITT’S CREEK
  • WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS

Outstanding Drama Series

  • BETTER CALL SAUL
  • THE CROWN
  • THE HANDMAID’S TALE
  • KILLING EVE
  • THE MANDALORIAN
  • OZARK
  • STRANGER THINGS
  • SUCCESSION

Outstanding Limited Series

  • LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE
  • MRS. AMERICA
  • UNBELIEVABLE
  • UNORTHODOX
  • WATCHMEN

Outstanding Television Movie

  • AMERICAN SON
  • BAD EDUCATION
  • DOLLY PARTON’S HEARTSTRINGS: THESE OLD BONES
  • EL CAMINO: A BREAKING BAD MOVIE
  • UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT: KIMMY VS. THE REVEREND

Outstanding Variety Talk Series

  • THE DAILY SHOW WITH TREVOR NOAH
  • FULL FRONTAL WITH SAMANTHA BEE
  • JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE!
  • LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER
  • THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series

  • A BLACK LADY SKETCH SHOW
  • DRUNK HISTORY
  • SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE

Outstanding Competition Program

  • THE MASKED SINGER
  • NAILED IT!
  • RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE
  • TOP CHEF
  • THE VOICE

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Anthony Anderson — BLACK-ISH
  • Don Cheadle — BLACK MONDAY
  • Ted Danson — THE GOOD PLACE
  • Michael Douglas — THE KOMINSKY METHOD
  • Eugene Levy — SCHITT’S CREEK
  • Ramy Youssef — RAMY

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Christina Applegate — DEAD TO ME
  • Rachel Brosnahan — THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL
  • Linda Cardellini — DEAD TO ME
  • Catherine O’Hara — SCHITT’S CREEK
  • Issa Rae — INSECURE
  • Tracee Ellis Ross — BLACK-ISH

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

  • Jason Bateman — OZARK
  • Sterling K. Brown — THIS IS US
  • Steve Carell — THE MORNING SHOW
  • Brian Cox — SUCCESSION
  • Billy Porter — POSE
  • Jeremy Strong — SUCCESSION

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

  • Jennifer Aniston — THE MORNING SHOW
  • Olivia Colman — THE CROWN
  • Jodie Comer — KILLING EVE
  • Laura Linney — OZARK
  • Sandra Oh — KILLING EVE
  • Zendaya — EUPHORIA

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

  • Jeremy Irons — WATCHMEN
  • Hugh Jackman — BAD EDUCATION
  • Paul Mescal — NORMAL PEOPLE
  • Jeremy Pope — HOLLYWOOD
  • Mark Ruffalo — I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

  • Cate Blanchett — MRS. AMERICA
  • Shira Haas — UNORTHODOX
  • Regina King — WATCHMEN
  • Octavia Spencer — SELF MADE
  • Kerry Washington — LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Mahershala Ali — RAMY
  • Alan Arkin — THE KOMINSKY METHOD
  • Andre Braugher — BROOKLYN NINE-NINE
  • Sterling K. Brown — THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL
  • William Jackson Harper — THE GOOD PLACE
  • Daniel Levy — SCHITT’S CREEK
  • Tony Shalhoub — THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL
  • Kenan Thompson — SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Alex Borstein — THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL
  • D’Arcy Carden — THE GOOD PLACE
  • Betty Gilpin — GLOW
  • Marin Hinkle — THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL
  • Kate McKinnon — SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
  • Annie Murphy — SCHITT’S CREEK
  • Yvonne Orji — INSECURE
  • Cecily Strong — SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

  • Nicholas Braun — SUCCESSION
  • Billy Crudup — THE MORNING SHOW
  • Kieran Culkin — SUCCESSION
  • Mark Duplass — THE MORNING SHOW
  • Giancarlo Esposito — BETTER CALL SAUL
  • Matthew Macfadyen — SUCCESSION
  • Bradley Whitford — THE HANDMAID’S TALE
  • Jeffrey Wright — WESTWORLD

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

  • Helena Bonham Carter — THE CROWN
  • Laura Dern — BIG LITTLE LIES
  • Julia Garner — OZARK
  • Thandie Newton — WESTWORLD
  • Fiona Shaw — KILLING EVE
  • Sarah Snook — SUCCESSION
  • Meryl Streep — BIG LITTLE LIES
  • Samira Wiley — THE HANDMAID’S TALE

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

  • Yahya Abdul-Mateen II — WATCHMEN
  • Jovan Adepo — WATCHMEN
  • Tituss Burgess — UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT: KIMMY VS. THE REVEREND
  • Louis Gossett Jr. — WATCHMEN
  • Dylan McDermott — HOLLYWOOD
  • Jim Parsons — HOLLYWOOD

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

  • Uzo Aduba — MRS. AMERICA
  • Toni Collette — UNBELIEVABLE
  • Margo Martindale — MRS. AMERICA
  • Jean Smart — WATCHMEN
  • Holland Taylor — HOLLYWOOD
  • Tracey Ullman — MRS. AMERICA

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series

  • Matt Shakman — “The Great (Pilot)” (THE GREAT)
  • Amy Sherman-Palladino — “It’s Comedy or Cabbage” (THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL)
  • Daniel Palladino — “Marvelous Radio” (THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL)
  • Gail Mancuso — “Finale Part 2” (MODERN FAMILY)
  • Ramy Youssef — “Miakhalifa.mov” (RAMY)
  • Andrew Cividino and Daniel Levy — “Happy Ending” (SCHITT’S CREEK)
  • James Burrows — “We Love Lucy” (WILL & GRACE)

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series

  • Benjamin Caron — “Aberfan” (THE CROWN)
  • Jessica Hobbs — “Cri de Coeur” (THE CROWN)
  • Lesli Linka Glatter — “Prisoners of War” (HOMELAND)
  • Mimi Leder — “The Interview” (THE MORNING SHOW)
  • Alik Sakharov — “Fire Pink” (OZARK)
  • Ben Semanoff — “Su Casa Es Mi Casa” (OZARK)
  • Andrij Parekh — “Hunting” (SUCCESSION)
  • Mark Mylod — “This Is Not for Tears” (SUCCESSION)

Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special

  • Lynn Shelton — “Find a Way” (LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE)
  • Lenny Abrahamson — “Episode 5” (NORMAL PEOPLE)
  • Maria Schrader — UNORTHODOX
  • Nicole Kassell — “It’s Summer and We’re Running out of Ice” (WATCHMEN)
  • Steph Green — “Little Fear of Lightning” (WATCHMEN)
  • Stephen Williams — “This Extraordinary Being” (WATCHMEN)

Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series

  • Dime Davis — “Born at Night, But Not Last Night” (A BLACK LADY SKETCH SHOW)
  • David Paul Meyer — “Dr. Fauci Answers Trevor’s Questions about Coronavirus” (THE DAILY SHOW WITH TREVOR NOAH)
  • Paul Pennolino and Christopher Werner — “Episode 629” (LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER)
  • Jim Hoskinson — “Live Show; Chris Christie; Nathaniel Rateliff” (THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT)
  • Don Roy King — “Host: Eddie Murphy” (SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE)
  • Linda Mendoza — “Flame Monroe” (TIFFANY HADDISH PRESENTS: THEY READY)

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series

  • Michael Schur — “Whenever You’re Ready” (THE GOOD PLACE)
  • Tony McNamara — “The Great” (THE GREAT)
  • Daniel Levy — “Happy Ending” (SCHITT’S CREEK)
  • David West Read — “The Presidential Suite” (SCHITT’S CREEK)
  • Sam Johnson & Chris Marcil — “Collaboration” (WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS)
  • Paul Simms — “Ghosts” (WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS)
  • Stefani Robinson — “On the Run” (WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS)

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

  • Thomas Schnauz — “Bad Choice Road” (BETTER CALL SAUL)
  • Gordon Smith — “Bagman” (BETTER CALL SAUL)
  • Peter Morgan — “Aberfan” (THE CROWN)
  • Chris Mundy — “All In” (OZARK)
  • John Shiban — “Boss Fight” (OZARK)
  • Miki Johnson — “Fire Pink” (OZARK)
  • Jesse Armstrong — “This Is Not for Tears” (SUCCESSION)

Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special

  • Tanya Barfield — “Shirley” (MRS. AMERICA)
  • Sally Rooney and Alice Birch — “Episode 3” (NORMAL PEOPLE)
  • Susannah Grant, Michael Chabon, and Ayelet Waldman — “Episode 1” (UNBELIEVABLE)
  • Anna Winger — “Part 1” (UNORTHODOX)
  • Damon Lindelof and Cord Jefferson — “This Extraordinary Being” (WATCHMEN)

Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series

  • THE DAILY SHOW WITH TREVOR NOAH
  • FULL FRONTAL WITH SAMANTHA BEE
  • LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER
  • LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS
  • THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT

Well, if I end up being 100 percent correct (haha), WATCHMEN will take home the most awards of the core 27 with six. It may still be the winningest, but I have a feeling I won’t pass this test the third year in a row…

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I write about movies, music, video games, and more.

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Tristan Ettleman

Tristan Ettleman

I write about movies, music, video games, and more.

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