On Sunday, Sept. 12, television’s best and brightest will gather at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles for the 74th annual Primetime Emmy Awards. Back in Albuquerque, New Mexico, two Daily Lobo editors have compiled a list of what they think will win and should win in seven of the award categories.
Lead Actor in a Drama Series
The Lead Actor category is usually hotly contested, and this year is no different, with nominations for Bob Odenkirk, Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, Jason Bateman, Lee Jung-jae and Adam Scott. It’s safe to say that this could be anyone’s year, but nobody deserves it more than Strong. Though Odenkirk and Bateman’s final performances as their criminal Everymen might bring them the gold, we don’t think it’s enough to offset Strong’s intense and varied performance in “Succession.”
Historically, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has shut out Odenkirk, nominating him four times but never giving him the award. Considering the finality of his role this season and recent health concerns, we think a win for Odenkirk is likely.
Who will win: Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”)
Who should win: Jeremy Strong (“Succession”)
Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Given the sheer star power and comedic force of duo Steve Martin and Martin Short, it would be impossible to foresee a future where one of these two does not go home a winner of Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.
However, Donald Glover’s draw in front of the camera in “Atlanta” has been consistently fantastic since the show’s first season. Hopefully the show’s upcoming final season can repeat the award-winning success of the first, but for now, it’s hard to pass up a couple of comedy legends.
Who will win: Steve Martin/Martin Short (“Only Murders in the Building”)
Who should win: Donald Glover (“Atlanta”)
Lead Actress in a Drama Series
The sheer status of Zendaya and “Euphoria” is probably enough to carry her to another win, especially among a field of shows with endings that upset the fans (“Killing Eve”) and have suffered lackluster marketing from their studios (“Yellowjackets,” “The Morning Show”).
Laura Linney more than deserves some of the recognition fellow “Ozark” stars Bateman and Julia Garner have garnered if by her status in the industry alone, but the television academy has snubbed “Ozark” before, so we don’t expect this year to be any different.
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Who will win: Zendaya (“Euphoria”)
Who should win: Laura Linney (“Ozark”)
Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
HBO’s “Hacks” has been a critical darling ever since its first season dropped in 2021, with a large amount of praise being aimed towards stars Jean Smart and Hannah Einbinder. Smart managed to take home the Lead Actress award for the show’s first season last year and it wouldn’t be surprising to see her repeat her success at this year’s award show.
Who will win: Jean Smart (“Hacks”)
Who should win: Jean Smart (“Hacks”)
Outstanding Drama Series
Vince Gilligan’s New Mexico-based “Better Call Saul” has amassed an enormous following, both on the tails of “Breaking Bad” and on its own merit, making the final season a safe choice for Outstanding Drama Series. It’s not a bold leap to suggest that the television academy will honor “Saul” with the award as a way of honoring the work of the entire franchise.
However, Jesse Armstrong’s “Succession” more than earned the award with its superior performances, direction and scripting: the general sentiment is that it still has a few years left in it. This is the last chance for “Saul” to bring home the gold, something it’s failed to do at the Emmy’s in the past. However, that shouldn’t be a reason to honor it over “Succession,” which won last year and could be poised to do it again.
What will win: “Better Call Saul”
What should win: “Succession”
Outstanding Comedy Series
John Hoffman and Martin’s “Only Murders in the Building” is little more than a humorous vehicle for its star power, namely Martin, Short and Selena Gomez. As a result, Hulu’s promotion for the series has been unmatched, with a frankly impressive "For Your Consideration" campaign that will likely result in a win for Outstanding Comedy Series.
However, Alex Berg and Bill Hader’s quieter and richer “Barry” shows far more artistic skill and promise, with the latest season logging Hader as one of television’s great auteurs. Though heavy and dramatic, the humor in “Barry” is outstanding, and plays in perfect foil to the intense scenes of violence and betrayal this season. Though “Only Murders” is a safe choice, “Barry” would be inarguable.
What will win: “Only Murders in the Building”
What should win: “Barry”
Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special
Though not one of the main categories, this year’s competition is fierce in the category of Outstanding Direction for a Variety Special. The likely winner is Jeff Tomsic for “Norm MacDonald: Nothing Special” as a way of honoring the influential comedian and his posthumous special. Though the comedy is funny, the direction is abysmal, making this an awful choice. For one, it was shot over Zoom, taking away much of the work the director would have done. For another, the post-special talk about MacDonald’s influence was tacky and cheap, only included to elicit love for the comic.
“Jerrod Carmichael: Rothaniel,” on the other hand, innovated the genre, with close and personal shots that put the viewer into the seat of an audience member as Carmichael shared his soul in the fantastic and immensely visual coming-out special. Burnham’s direction is unquestionable and deserves the win.
Who will win: Jeff Tomsic (“Norm MacDonald: Nothing Special”)
Who should win: Bo Burnham (“Jerrod Carmichael: Rothaniel”)
Be sure to tune in to this year’s awards broadcast and see which predictions came true and which ones were nothing but mere educated guesses.
Spenser Willden is the culture editor at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @spenserwillden
John Scott is the editor-in-chief at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JScott050901