by Albert Rodriguez
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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 15, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 37
Emmys 2017: Picks and predictions for TV's biggest night
Arts & Entertainment
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Emmys 2017: Picks and predictions for TV's biggest night

by Albert Rodriguez
SGN A&E Writer

            PRIMETIME EMMY AWARDS
            MICROSOFT THEATER
            CBS (KIRO 7)
            September 17 @ 4:30pm (PDT)

            My job is a little easier this year in predicting the winners for the Primetime Emmy Awards, mainly because some of the nominees were so outstanding that an uproar is expected if they don't get called to the podium during Sunday's telecast. Also, Game of Thrones isn't eligible this time around, so that helps clear the path for some. But don't think for a second that voting members of the Television Academy don't have a trick up their sleeve; there's gotta be one or two nutty moments when we're all left scratching our heads.

            Several LGBT actors could take home the gold this year, including Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie), Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live), Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld), Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) and Samira Whiley (The Handmaid's Tale), who married Orange is the New Black writer Lauren Morelli six months ago. And, a couple of nominees who played Gay are Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent) and Uzo Aduba (Orange is the New Black). Acclaimed TV showrunner-producer-writer Ryan Murphy is in the running again with Feud: Bette and Joan, though his other small screen project last year, American Horror Story: Roanoke, was shut out completely in the acting, writing and directing categories. Lastly, RuPaul's Drag Race is actually racing for the first time in the category of Outstanding Reality-Competition Program.

            Jimmy Kimmel will host the ceremony, which will air at 8pm Eastern from Los Angeles, which means West Coasters should park themselves on the couch around 4:30pm for red carpet arrivals, followed by the main telecast.
            Here are my picks on who will and should go home with winged statuettes.

            Drama Series nominees: Better Call Saul, The Crown, The Handmaid's Tale, House of Cards, Stranger Things, This Is Us, Westworld
            Will win: The Handmaid's Tale or This Is Us
            This category has real, well...drama. If I'm being nitpicky, the only show that doesn't deserve to be here is House of Cards; I would easily replace it with The Americans or The Leftovers. That said, it's a toss-up between The Handmaid's Tale and This Is Us, two very different kinds of drama. If Emmy voters lean political, expect the Gilead clan to take home the award, but if they go for something heart-tugging, it'll be the freshman NBC show. The possible spoiler is Westworld, though I'm guessing after back-to-back wins by GOT, voters might opt for something that isn't sci-fi/fantasy.
            Should win: The Handmaid's Tale or This Is Us
            First of all, I loved Stranger Things and can't wait for the second season to come out next month on Netflix. But its inclusion in this category is a triumph by itself. I'm torn between two outstanding series that were unforgettable in contrasting ways, and I'll be happy with either winning.

            Best Comedy Series nominees: Atlanta, Black-ish, Master of None, Silicon Valley, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Veep
            Will win: Veep
            That three of these comedies feature minority lead actors and another is centered around a family with a same-sex couple is proof of how far TV has come. But neither of them will be victorious on Sunday night because Emmy voters are stuck on Veep, which is funny, but not groundbreaking or exciting like the others.
            Should win: Silicon Valley
            Yes, I know Atlanta is really good, and it's my second choice. Though Silicon Valley continues to be oddly and satisfyingly comical.

            Best Limited Series nominees: Big Little Lies, Fargo, Feud: Bette and Joan, Genius, The Night Of
            Will win: Big Little Lies
            An A-list cast and powerful performances all-around give this emotional mini-series the edge over The Night Of, which was also impressive.
            Should win: Big Little Lies
            Feud was a delicious treat, but Big Little Lies packed a bigger punch.

            Best Lead Actor-Drama nominees: Sterling K. Brown - This Is Us; Anthony Hopkins - Westworld; Bob Odenkirk - Better Call Saul; Matthew Rhys - The Americans; Liev Schreiber - Ray Donovan; Kevin Spacey - House of Cards; Milo Ventimiglia - This Is Us
            Will win: Sterling K. Brown
            Unless Ventimiglia cyphons votes from his co-star, or voters are starstruck by film icon Hopkins, this award will go into the hands of Brown, who won two years ago for The People vs. O.J. Simpson.
            Should win: Matthew Rhys
            Rhys isn't a showy actor, but he gets the job done and though he's possibly the least likely to win from this bunch, he's my favorite.

            Best Lead Actress-Drama nominees: Viola Davis - How to Get Away with Murder; Claire Foy - The Crown, Elisabeth Moss - The Handmaid's Tale; Keri Russell - The Americans; Evan Rachel Wood - Westworld; Robin Wright - House of Cards
            Will win: Elisabeth Moss
            Despite the fact that this category is loaded with talent, there is no contest here. Moss was memorable in nearly every scene of The Handmaid's Tale, including the ones that made us look away. It was painful to watch Offred mistreated so badly, yet a joy to see her flipping some shit back at the end.
            Should win: Elisabeth Moss
            It hurts to not throw my support to Russell, but Moss turned in one of the all-time best performances by an actress in a drama series, hands down. That scene in the car, where she's taken for a surprise spin and then explodes on the commander's wife was gut-wrenching, and I'd give her the Emmy just for that.

            Best Supporting Actor-Drama nominees: Jonathan Banks - Better Call Saul; David Harbour - Stranger Things; Ron Cephas Jones - This Is Us; Michael Kelly - House of Cards; John Lithgow - The Crown; Mandy Patinkin - Homeland; Jeffrey Wright - Westworld
            Will win: John Lithgow
            A no-brainer. Lithgow is always top-notch and as Winston Churchill, he was simply superb.
            Should win: Michael Kelly
            Shoot me, but I think Kelly is the best thing on House of Cards and I'd love for him to win (but he won't against Lithgow).

            Best Supporting Actress-Drama nominees: Uzo Aduba - Orange is the New Black; Millie Bobby Brown - Stranger Things; Ann Dowd - The Handmaid's Tale; Chrissy Metz - This Is Us; Thandie Newton - Westworld; Samira Wiley - The Handmaid's Tale
            Will win: Ann Dowd or Chrissy Metz
            Again, it's The Handmaid's Tale vs. This Is Us with a slight possibility of Brown pulling an upset, although even with her superpowers, I don't think she can muster enough strength to overwhelm the other choices. This is a nail-biter.
            Should win: Ann Dowd
            Dowd was just as riveting as Moss, but in a smaller role. As the relentless and one-tough-bitch Aunt Lydia, my vote goes to her. Kudos, however, to Metz in a performance that was also memorable.

            Best Lead Actor-Comedy nominees: Anthony Anderson - Black-ish; Aziz Ansari - Master of None; Zach Galifianakis - Baskets; Donald Glover - Atlanta; William H. Macy - Shameless; Jeffrey Tambor - Transparent
            Will win: Donald Glover
            Something tells me Tambor's winning streak will come to an end, at the hands of Golden Globe winner Glover, who has a lot of support out there.
            Should win: Donald Glover
            Honestly, Tambor can act circles around Glover, but the latter is infectious to watch and it'd be his first ever Emmy; I wanna see that moment happen.

            Best Lead Actress-Comedy nominees: Pamela Adlon - Better Things; Jane Fonda - Grace and Frankie; Allison Janney - Mom; Ellie Kemper - Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; Julia Louis-Dreyfus - Veep; Tracee Ellis Ross - Black-ish; Lily Tomlin - Grace and Frankie
            Will win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus
            I was tired of seeing Louis-Dreyfus win two years ago, although the Television Academy can't get enough of her. Especially when the opportunity to elect a female president was lost, it seems only fitting for the Seinfeld alum to get called again to the stage.
            Should win: Tracee Ellis Ross
            Tomlin is deserving, too. But half the reason to watch Black-ish is Ross, the real heart of that show.

            Best Supporting Actor-Comedy nominees:Louie Anderson - Baskets; Alec Baldwin - Saturday Night Live; Tituss Burgess - Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; Ty Burrell - Modern Family; Tony Hale - Veep; Matt Walsh - Veep
            Will win: Alec Baldwin
            If you bet against Baldwin, you're crazy.
            Should win: Tituss Burgess
            Oh, c'mon already...Burgess is a hoot!

            Best Supporting Actress-Comedy nominees: Vanessa Bayer - Saturday Night Live; Anna Chlumsky - Veep; Kathryn Hahn - Transparent; Leslie Jones - Saturday Night Live; Judith Light - Transparent; Kate McKinnon - Saturday Night Live
            Will win: Kate McKinnon
            This is McKinnon's to lose, and I only see Chlumsky standing in her way.
            Should win: Kate McKinnon
            She should've been writing her acceptance speech after that Kellyanne Conway-Chicago skit; it was pure gold. There's a piece of me that wants Light to win, but McKinnon is hysterically talented and funny.

            Best Lead Actor-Limited nominees: Riz Ahmed - The Night Of; Benedict Cumberbatch - Sherlock: The Lying Detective; Robert DeNiro - The Wizard of Lies; Ewan McGregor - Fargo; Geoffrey Rush - Genius; John Turturro - The Night Of
            Will win: Riz Ahmed
            Some folks have McGregor winning this one, seeing that he doubled his chances with that performance. Though, I just don't think voters will overlook Ahmed.
            Should win: Riz Ahmed
            Dammit, I really want McGregor to get it. But, the more outstanding performance was turned in by Ahmed, who was also great in Girls.

            Best Lead Actress-Limited nominees: Carrie Coon - Fargo; Felicity Huffman - American Crime; Nicole Kidman - Big Little Lies; Jessica Lange - Feud: Bette and Joan; Susan Sarandon - Feud: Bette and Joan; Reese Witherspoon - Big Little Lies
            Will win: Nicole Kidman
            Rolling Stone called this category "one of the strongest Emmy slates of all time" and I couldn't agree more. It's not only jammed with star power, but these women were individually a tour de force in their respective roles; the competition was so stiff that Oprah Winfrey didn't even get in, once considered a sure thing. Kidman had the meatier role, so she'll likely earn her first Emmy to place next to her Oscar. By the way, four of these actresses are Academy Award winners.
            Should win: Carrie Coon or Jessica Lange
            Lange could gurgle for an hour and I'd still vote for her, and as the ice queen Joan Crawford she was flawless. Coon, unknown in A-list circles, was mind-blowing in Fargo and equally stellar in The Leftovers.

            Best Supporting Actor-Limited nominees: Bill Camp - The Night Of; Alfred Molina - Feud: Bette and Joan; Alexander Skarsgård - Big Little Lies; David Thewlis - Fargo; Stanley Tucci - Feud: Bette and Joan; Michael K. Williams - The Night Of
            Will win: Alexander Skarsgård
            If it wasn't for Tucci being nominated alongside Molina, I'd say Molina; but I presume some vote-splitting will occur.
            Should win: Alexander Skarsgård or David Thewlis
            Skarsgård played a monster, Thewlis was a creepy villain - both were sensational. Either is fine by me.

            Best Supporting Actress-Limited nominees: Regina King - American Crime; Laura Dern - Big Little Lies; Shailene Woodley - Big Little Lies; Judy Davis - Feud: Bette and Joan; Jackie Hoffman - Feud: Bette and Joan; Michelle Pfieffer - The Wizard of Lies
            Will win: Regina King
            Dern and Woodley will likely split votes, a shame because either deserves the win over a King three-peat.
            Should win: Woodley
            I loves me some Laura Dern, though I'm fond of Woodley's performance a bit more in this series.  Still, if Dern gets called up, I won't complain.

            Reality-Competition Series nominees: American Ninja Warrior, Project Runway, RuPaul's Drag Race, The Amazing Race, The Voice, Top Chef
            Will win: RuPaul's Drag Race
            With the exception of The Voice, anybody beating out Drag Race would be an embarrassment. It feels like Mama Ru's year and with three Creative Arts Emmys in the bag, the momentum feels there for it to win.
            Should win: Each of these shows has had better seasons, while Drag Race has gotten better year after year. If the Television Academy is going to honor it, now seems the right time.

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