A lot of records are on the line at Sunday's Primetime Emmy Awards. Will Julia Louis-Dreyfus win a record sixth straight Emmy? Will Millie Bobby Brown pull off a rare win for a minor? Can Claire Foy complete a rare sweep Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award and Emmy sweep?
We'll find out Sunday, but in the meantime, let's make some predictions! Check out our picks for all the actress awards.
LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
The Nominees: Five-time defending champ Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep), Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish) and Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie) are all back from last year. Tomlin's co-star Jane Fonda made it in for the first time for their Netflix comedy, while Pamela Adlon earned a surprise nod for Better Things. Allison Janney, who's won twice in supporting for Mom, moved up to lead this year.
Who Will Win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
The six-peat is happening, folks. JLD has been unstoppable here since Veep premiered and you should just keep predicting her until she loses, which might be never for this role, since Veep is ending next year. Veep, the favorite to three-peat in comedy series, won its most awards ever at the Creative Arts Awards over the weekend (three), so the support is greater than ever. If Louis-Dreyfus wins, she'll tie Cloris Leachman for the most wins for acting at eight.
Janney is also gunning for the Leachman tie and is an Emmy fave. She's pulled off this supporting-to-lead upgrade before for The West Wing, winning in lead in 2002, her first year competing there, and 2004 after back-to-back wins in supporting.
But also watch out for Adlon, whose nomination came out of nowhere. With the new plurality voting system, passion gets you the win. If her supporters were strong enough to get her the nod — often the hardest part of any awards campaign — it can be strong enough to pull off the upset too.
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Who Should Win: Pamela Adlon, Better Things
As unimpeachable as JLD is, Adlon is utterly fantastic in her quasi-autobiographical, deeply personal series. However, the Emmys doesn't have a good history of awarding auteurs' life-based work in acting. At least Adlon is already an Emmy winner for her voiceover work on King of the Hill.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
The Nominees: Defending champ Kate McKinnon returns and is joined by her Saturday Night Live co-stars, first-time nominees Leslie Jones and Vanessa Bayer. Transparent fields Kathryn Hahn and Judith Light, who is on her second straight nod. Veep's Anna Chlumsky is hoping the fifth time is the charm.
Who Will Win: Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
McKinnon was already the front-runner, but Dave Chappelle's surprise guest win for hosting SNL at the Creative Arts basically sealed the deal. McKinnon's submission was the episode hosted by Chappelle, aka the one with her "Hallelujah" performance, so you voters like it. Vote-splitting with Jones and Bayer would be a factor now with the new system, but McKinnon is the "obvious" favorite of the three (kind of like Sterling K. Brown overcoming John Travolta and David Schwimmer last year for The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story). She'd be the 10th person to win this category twice.
Chlumsky, being the only representative from her show, could benefit from vote-splitting between the SNL and Transparent ladies, and the fact that she's hitting overdue status. Luckily, since Veep is ending next year, she won't tie Julia Duffy as the category's biggest loser (0-7).
Who Should Win: Judith Light, Transparent
Light's episode submission, the season finale "Exciting and New," featuring Shelly's one-woman show (and performance of "Hand in My Pocket") is lovely and hilariously cathartic. Unfortunately, episodes matter less under the new system. Also unfortunate: Transparent's downswing with the Emmys, as it was snubbed in comedy series for the first time.
LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
The Nominees: With reigning champ Tatiana Maslany ineligible, we won't get a repeat. 2015 champ Viola Davis (How to Get Away with Murder) is the only former winner here. Robin Wright, who botched her slam-dunk submission in 2014, is on her fifth straight acting nod for House of Cards; Keri Russell is on her second straight nod for The Americans; Elisabeth Moss returns with her eighth acting nod for The Handmaid's Tale; and Evan Rachel Wood, a past nominee for Mildred Pierce, bagged her second career nod for Westworld. The Crown's Claire Foy is the Emmy virgin of the bunch.
This Year's Emmys Will Be Different in One Very Big Way
Who Will Win: Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid's Tale
For a while, this was Foy's to lose. She's stunning as Queen Elizabeth and had won the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards. But then April 26 came and The Handmaid's Tale premiered. Moss's exquisite, complex performance commands your attention and should finally secure her the Emmy she never won for Mad Men. Alexis Bledel's win in the guest category over the weekend bodes even better for her.
If Foy hangs on to win, she'd be the 11th person to complete the Globe/SAG/Emmy trifecta in a calendar year.
If her show were more of an Emmy player, Davis could ride her Oscar victory to a second Emmy win. She'd be the fourth person to accept an Oscar and an Emmy in the same year after Liza Minnelli, Helen Hunt and Helen Mirren (George C. Scott won both in 1971, but refused his Oscar).
Who Should Win: Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid's Tale
Carrie Coon should be here for The Leftovers, but it ought to be Moss' time. We thought she couldn't be better than Peggy Olson — and boy were we wrong.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
The Nominees: This category is awesome/stressful (seriously, this keeps me up at night) because it's a completely different slate from last year's. Orange Is the New Black's Uzo Aduba, who won here in 2015, is back after getting snubbed last year. Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things), Ann Dowd (The Handmaid's Tale), Chrissy Metz (This Is Us), Thandie Newton (Westworld) and Samira Wiley (The Handmaid's Tale) are all on their first nominations (Dowd was also nominated in guest for The Leftovers).
Who Will Win: Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things
If MBB were older, this probably wouldn't even be a question. She's a breakout character on a breakout show that's in the lead to win drama series. We know she has tremendous support, having snagged a SAG nomination — a big deal not because she's a kid but because there aren't supporting TV categories at the SAGs, where the cast also won drama ensemble. Stranger Things had a strong showing at the Creative Arts Awards, winning five, and she could get caught up in the sweep. At 13, she'd be the youngest Emmy winner ever.
Newton is Westworld's best chance at one of the top awards and would probably win under the old system. Don't count out Metz either, who has the feel-good story of the year. This Is Us nabbed seven acting nominations, so you know actors — aka the people voting for this award — are into it.
Who Should Win: Thandie Newton, Westworld
Newton's complex, nuanced turn is simply unforgettable.
LEAD ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
The Nominees: The high-wattage Group of Death features four Oscar winners, three of whom have never won an Emmy (Big Little Lies' Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, and Feud: Bette and Joan's Susan Sarandon), and one who's won all three of her Emmys in the past eight years (Feud's Jessica Lange). Witherspoon won her Oscar by beating Felicity Huffman, who's seeking her second Emmy, for American Crime, to go with the one she received for Desperate Housewives. Carrie Coon was snubbed for The Leftovers, but she's repping Fargo here with her first nod.
How to Watch the Emmys
Who Will Win: Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies
Between her fourth Oscar nomination, Big Little Lies and her four projects at Cannes (including Top of the Lake: China Girl) that culminated with a special award for her, Kidman's having a banner year. She was extraordinary on BLL, tapping into the emotional, psychological reservoirs of a domestic abuse victim who's trying to end her years-long denial.
Lange brought her A game as Joan Crawford, but the distressed grand dame is something we've seen her do before, and her buzz never reached the height of Kidman's. BLL also fared better than Feud overall with the academy. Feud has more nods - 18 to 16 - but many of those were in the same category, and it's missing some key ones (editing) and some that should've been gimmes (cinematography).
Coon has joked about not going to the Emmys because of her tough competition, but she could slide in there if there's a vote split and all the enraged Leftovers fans rally behind her.
Who Should Win: Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies
Witherspoon owned the early episodes of BLL, but Kidman completely took over from the midpoint on.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
The Nominees: Two-time reigning champ Regina King is back for American Crime. Feud: Bette and Joan boasts Judy Davis, a three-time winner, and Jackie Hoffman. Big Little Lies fields Laura Dern and Shailene Woodley. And Michelle Pfeiffer's Pfeiffersance is off to a great start with her first career nod, for The Wizard of Lies.
Who Will Win: Laura Dern, Big Little Lies
Dern ought to pick up her first win on her sixth nomination. Woodley category-frauding into supporting might present a problem, but Dern is a big enough name to overcome it. Lbr, though, she should've won four years ago for Enlightened.
The Emmys clearly adore King, so a three-peat — which would be the first ever in this category — is not out of the question. The only downside is that American Crime went way down in nominations (only two for King and Huffman), including getting dumped from limited series. Don't fret about its canceled status though — that's not a deterrent to winning.
Davis and Hoffman are the flashiest of the bunch, in terms of character and character name. Seeing "Mamacita" on a ballot just puts a smile on your face, no? Never underestimate the reasons people vote for anything.
If Pfeiffer wins, she'll join her hubby, 10-time winner David E. Kelley, who's nominated for writing Big Little Lies, as an Emmy-winning couple.
Who Should Win: Regina King, American Crime
King's performance as a determined social worker was arguably her best on the series.
The 69th Primetime Emmy Awards air Sunday at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on CBS.
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