Given that track record, I am predicting a win for Queer Eye, even though a win for Love Is Blind, the reality show that foresaw a world, pre-pandemic, in which we’d be living in pods and dating from a distance, would be a fun change of pace. In recent years, the many, many Emmys not given out during the main prime-time broadcast have been handed out over two nights. El Camino was fine and engaging enough, but Bad Education was one of the best movies of the year in any medium. Will win: Live in Front of a Studio AudienceShould win: Live in Front of a Studio Audience

Outstanding Variety Special (Prerecorded)

The nominees:Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones (Netflix)Dave Chappelle: The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor (PBS)Hannah Gadsby: Douglas (Netflix)Jerry Seinfeld: 23 Hours to Kill (Netflix)John Mulaney & the Sack Lunch Bunch (Netflix)Tiffany Haddish: Black Mitzvah (Netflix)

One thing is clear: Netflix is probably going to walk away with a trophy for one of its comedy specials. I have to think that oversight will be rectified this year. Instead, this one’s going to come down to the veteran — SNL, which has won this Emmy for the past three consecutive years — and the up-and-comer, A Black Lady Sketch Show, the first series in this genre starring, written, and directed by exclusively Black women. Let’s save that one for next year. Saturday’s ceremony, to be held in a pandemic-appropriate virtual format, will be broadcast on FXX, while the other evening ceremonies will be streamed on the Emmy Awards’ website. It’s got several elements that appeal to industry folks: a reverence for and elevation of classic television, deep affection for Norman Lear, and a strong cast putting their own spins on familiar characters in a live environment. Maisel. Maisel, “One Less Angel”This Is Us, “Memorized”Watchmen, “The Way It Used to Be”

This is a really strong category this year, but I think voters will be swayed by “The Way It Used to Be,” the Trent Reznor–Atticus Ross song that seamlessly fits in with the other period music in the Watchmen episode “This Extraordinary Being.” That said, it would be amazing if “Eat Shit, Bob,” the profane, lawsuit-baiting musical number John Oliver directed at climate-change-denying businessman Bob Murray, somehow emerged victorious. Fine. In an effort to prepare for this five-day onslaught of TV trophy distribution, here are our predictions in 16 key categories. the Reverend

The three nominees with the strongest chance of winning here are American Son, Bad Education, and El Camino. Personally, I think Hillary does the most to realign viewers’ understanding of one of the most significant figures in modern American history, but I suspect voters will choose another docuseries that also realigns viewers’ understanding of a significant American figure while also being a widely watched sensation: The Last Dance. This year, that process will be spread across five separate nights: this Monday through Thursday and on Saturday, September 19. (A breakdown of the schedule, with details about which categories will be covered on which nights, can be found here.) A list of predictions for the main Emmys ceremony, to be broadcast Sunday night on ABC, will be published separately. It’s natural to look at this list and conclude that Tiger King is a shoo-in, given how widely it was watched. MaiselPhoebe Waller-Bridge as host, Saturday Night Live

Can Maya Rudolph be nominated twice in the same category and lose? (Then again, the album version just won a Grammy, so that may not matter.) Hannah Gadsby’s boundary-pushing Nanette lost last year to yet another “Carpool Karaoke” special, and it’s possible voters may want to reward Douglas because of that oversight and also because the special is funny and insightful on its own merits. Then there’s John Mulaney and his Sack Lunch Bunch, the only nominee that features Jake Gyllenhaal singing a maniacal song while wearing a xylophone jacket and, therefore, the most Emmy-worthy entry of the, yep, I said it, bunch. Will win: Queer EyeShould win: Love Is Blind

Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program

The nominees:Amy Schumer Learns to Cook (Food Network)Cheer (Netflix)Kevin Hart: Don’t F**k This Up (Netflix)RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked (VH1)We’re Here (HBO)

Is this Emmy really going to a show other than Cheer? Should win: HillaryWill win: The Last Dance

Outstanding TV Movie

American SonBad EducationDolly Parton’s Heartstrings: These Old BonesEl Camino: A Breaking Bad MovieUnbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. Should win: Bad EducationWill win: Bad Education

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy

The nominees:Adam Driver as host, Saturday Night LiveLuke Kirby as Lenny Bruce, The Marvelous Mrs. If Rudolph does win, I think it will be for The Good Place, not her portrayal of Kamala Harris. Dave Chappelle’s Equanimity won in this category two years ago, and he could win again for Sticks & Stones, even though it was a divisive and controversial piece of work. Will win: Andrew ScottShould win: Jason Bateman

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama

The nominees:Alexis Bledel, The Handmaid’s TaleLaverne Cox, Orange Is the New BlackCherry Jones, SuccessionPhylicia Rashad, This Is UsCicely Tyson, How to Get Away With MurderHarriet Walter, Succession

This is simple: If you have the opportunity to give an award to the legendary Cicely Tyson, that is what you do. I do think it has a decent shot at an Emmy for that reason, but I also think discerning viewers will recognize its sensationalistic qualities, as well as the fact that other shows on this list are simply better made. Maisel, especially in its third season, that it sounds weird to call him a guest. Bottom line: Anything could happen! Will win: Cicely TysonShould win: Cicely Tyson

Outstanding Structured Reality Program

The nominees:Antiques Roadshow (PBS)Love Is Blind (Netflix)Queer Eye (Netflix)Shark Tank (ABC)A Very Brady Renovation

Since the reality-program category was broken down into two separate fields — structured and unstructured — in 2014, two shows have won every year in the structured race: Shark Tank for the first four years and Queer Eye for the two after that. “Hello? The two strongest contenders here may be The Mandalorian and Watchmen. Will win: BoJack HorsemanShould win: BoJack Horseman

Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series

The nominees:American Masters (PBS)Hillary (Hulu)The Last Dance (ESPN)McMillions (HBO)Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness (Netflix)

This has been a big year for docuseries, which makes this more of a 👀 category than usual. Will win: Wanda SykesShould win: Maya Rudolph

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama

The nominees:Jason Bateman, The OutsiderRon Cephas Jones, This Is UsJames Cromwell, SuccessionGiancarlo Esposito, The MandalorianAndrew Scott, Black MirrorMartin Short, The Morning Show

The prevailing wisdom seems to be that Andrew Scott will win here for a performance that carried the Black Mirror episode “Smithereens.” Lord knows I am not one to stand in the way of a Hot Priest, but I will say that Jason Bateman, another Emmy favorite, gave an appropriately cryptic and gripping performance in The Outsider. That does not mean she will win, but I think if RuPaul doesn’t, the charming Nailed It! Did I win an Emmy yet?”
Photo: Netflix

In 2020, the year of making adjustments, the Creative Arts Emmy Awards is making some adjustments. Outstanding Variety Sketch Series

The nominees:A Black Lady Sketch Show (HBO)Drunk History (Comedy Central)Saturday Night Live (NBC)

With all due respect to the dearly departed Drunk History, I can’t imagine it winning, mainly because it gets nominated every year in this category and never wins. It’s not. Will win: A Black Lady Sketch ShowShould win: A Black Lady Sketch Show

Outstanding Variety Special (Live)

The nominees:77th Annual Golden Globe Awards (NBC)Live in Front of a Studio Audience: All in the Family and Good Times (ABC)The Oscars (ABC)Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show (Fox)73rd Annual Tony Awards (CBS)

Last year, the first Live in Front of a Studio Audience production won here, and I’d be surprised if the second one doesn’t do the same thing. It’s the (drunk) Susan Lucci of variety sketch comedy. Will win: RuPaulShould win: Nicole Byer

Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics

The nominees:The Black Godfather, “Letter to My Godfather”Euphoria, “All for Us”Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, “Eat Shit, Bob”Little Fires Everywhere, “Build It Up”The Marvelous Mrs. But a case could be made for the late Fred Willard, nominated for one of his final television roles, or Luke Kirby, who is so crucial to The Marvelous Mrs. Anthony Fauci, Saturday Night LiveFred Willard as Frank Dunphy, Modern Family

At one time, I thought Eddie Murphy would walk away with this one. Should win: CheerWill win: Cheer

Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Series

The nominees:Making It: Amy Poehler and Nick OffermanNailed It!: Nicole ByerRuPaul’s Drag Race: RuPaulQueer Eye: Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Tan France, Antoni Porowski, and Jonathan Van NessShark Tank: Barbara Corcoran, Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John, and Kevin O’LearyTop Chef: Tom Colicchio and Padma Lakshmi

Things you can rely on: birth, death, taxes, and the fact that RuPaul will win in this category, since he’s done it for the past four straight years. Will win: The Mandalorian (I think)Should win: Watchmen

Outstanding Contemporary Makeup (Non-Prosthetic)

The nominees:Big Little LiesEuphoriaThe Handmaid’s TaleOzarkThe PoliticianSchitt’s Creek

Look, I have no idea who is going to win in this category. MaiselEddie Murphy as host, Saturday Night LiveDev Patel as Joshua, Modern LoveBrad Pitt as Dr. Maybe, especially since Wanda Sykes made such a great Moms Mabley and Emmy voters love their Mrs. (He also won last year.) I wonder if some voters won’t be able to resist the prospect of renowned acceptance-speech-giver Brad Pitt accepting an Emmy for briefly becoming renowned pandemic expert Anthony Fauci. The Tony Awards, historically, have won many times in this category, but I’m sticking with the live broadcast event that honors the power of television. Will win: Euphoria, if the universe still makes any senseShould win: I said Euphoria — do I need to say it again? Will win: Hannah Gadsby: DouglasShould win: John Mulaney & the Sack Lunch Bunch

Outstanding Animated Series

The nominees:Big Mouth (Netflix)Bob’s Burgers (Fox)BoJack Horseman (Netflix)Rick and Morty (Adult Swim)The Simpsons (Fox)

These are all fine shows, but BoJack Horseman, in its last season, deserves to win this above all the others. host is the next likeliest victor. What I do know is this: If you’re telling me that there was better contemporary makeup on TV last year than the glitter and eyebrow pearl magic of HBO’s Euphoria, then I am here to tell you to sit the hell down. But …

Will win: Eddie MurphyShould win: Luke Kirby

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy

The nominees:Angela Bassett as Mo, A Black Lady Sketch ShowBette Midler as Hadassah Gold, The PoliticianMaya Rudolph as the Judge, The Good PlaceMaya Rudolph as Senator Kamala Harris, Saturday Night LiveWanda Sykes as Moms Mabley, The Marvelous Mrs. I’m inclined to think The Mandalorian may win because its costumes are more thoroughly sci-fi, but Watchmen is the most nominated show of the year, and its costumes nod is specifically for its first episode. It’s going to Cheer. Safe betters will probably say Saturday Night Live will win, especially since it made such a game effort to continue virtually during the pandemic, but I’m putting my metaphorical money on Robin Thede and A Black Lady Sketch Show, which is clever, hilarious, groundbreaking, and offers evidence of TV’s recent attempts to make more room for Black and female voices. American Son, which explores police culture and racism, is certainly a relevant story but was dinged by some critics for being too reductive and carried largely by its performances. Euphoria! It seems likely that he will win again, however, it’s worth noting that Nicole Byer is hosting all five nights of the Creative Arts Emmys. That’s the one where we get our first glimpse of Sister Knight’s costume, which is elegant, badass, and functional in a way that is certainly Emmy worthy. Will win: “The Way It Used to Be”Should win: “The Way It Used to Be” but also “Eat Shit, Bob”

Outstanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes

The nominees:Carnival Row (Amazon)The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)The Mandalorian (Disney+)Watchmen (HBO)Westworld (HBO)

This is only the third year that fantasy/sci-fi costumes have had their own category and the first in which Game of Thrones is not a contender. This is BoJack. The question is which one. It is also timely in that it’s a nuanced, impeccably acted look at individual and institutional deceit at a moment when many Americans have a hard time knowing what to believe. BoJack was hilarious, inventive, acerbic, and heartbreaking for six seasons, and it has exactly zero Emmys to show for it. Tags: