Later tonight, tons of celebrities will put on their finest gowns and suits and descend upon The Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles to celebrate Television’s Biggest Night: the 2022 Emmy Awards. Hosted by Saturday Night Live’s long-running player Kenan Thompson, the splashy event will honor the buzziest television series of the past year, with The Television Academy handing out trophies to who they deem are the best actors, writers, directors, and producers.
Going into the night, all eyes are on Succession, Ted Lasso, and The White Lotus, as, respectively, the drama, comedy, and limited series with the most nominations under its belt. But as is the case with any award show, anything could happen. Can Succession overcome the hype of a freshman show like Yellowjackets or Squid Game? Are enough people tweeting about Abbott Elementary to drown out the deafening support for Ted Lasso? And what about Zendaya? Will she make history again with a second Lead Actress win or was Euphoria’s second season just a little too messy? These and other questions will be answered soon.
Below, find NYLON’s predictions for who will win and who should win at tonight’s ceremony.
Is it fair to say that the competition for Drama is the most exciting it's been in years? Yes, the bloated Stranger Things and the way-too-dark Ozark are wasting space here, but the nominated freshman series (Severance, Yellowjackets, and Squid Game) are all great in vastly different ways (Conspiracies! Cannibalism! HoYeon Jung!). And then, there’s the hype-laden Euphoria, which somehow broke through the controversy to earn its first overall nomination. Of course, said controversy pretty much takes Euphoria out of the running (The Television Academy definitely already patted themselves on the back for nominating it at all), and despite the fervent support behind all three, I don’t foreshadow any of the first-timers clawing their way to the top either.
That’s why I’m throwing it to Succession — as my vote for who should win and who will emerge as the ultimate victor. Admittedly, it feels a little unfair for me to voice my personal opinion on that matter, considering that I haven’t seen the main other show so many people seem to be rooting for (Better Call Saul), but I mean, we all saw that Succession finale, right?
Who Will Win: Succession
Who Should Win: Succession
Unlike Drama, which features a few duds, the category for comedy is packed to the brim with all-timers. Though both Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel could’ve been replaced with fresher titles (like, cough, HBO Max’s The Other Two), even those have their moments of comedic brilliance. Nevertheless, this race feels like a battle between the reigning champ (Ted Lasso) and the freshman breakout (Abbott Elementary). Quinta Brunson’s heartwarming comedy about the students and faculty at an underfunded public school in Philadelphia has been declared the “savior of the network sitcom” ever since its debut, and with everyone currently salivating for its highly-anticipated second season, it could be top of many voters’ minds.
Still, I think the familiar, reigning champ might win out this time, especially since The Television Academy already gave Tedd Lasso 20 nominations. It’s clear they adore this uplifting (and at times, upsetting) Apple TV+ show about soccer and dad puns. And honestly, so do I, so that’s fine by me — even if I’d personally give the win to Bill Hader’s phenomenally bleak third season of Barry.
Who Will Win: Ted Lasso
Who Should Win: Barry
Outstanding Limited Series
It’s hard to argue with statistics, and given how many nominations The White Lotus received in total (20, including five in Supporting Actress alone), I’m sure we can all agree that it will win in this category. The salacious Pam and Tommy and the abysmal Inventing Anna feel like placeholders here (placeholders that should have been replaced with Under the Banner of Heaven and Station Eleven, but I digresss). Dopesick and The Dropout, meanwhile, will win acting awards for their leads.
Who Will Win: The White Lotus
Who Should Win: The White Lotus
Lead Actor, Drama
Okay. Let’s be real. No one is taking this from Jeremy Strong. Not his co-star Brian Cox. Not Adam Scott and his dual Severance performances. Not Bob Odenkirk, either, whose recognition for Better Call Saul will probably come for its final season next year. And no, not even Squid Game’s Lee Jung-jae, who might just pose the biggest threat. I’m going to bet everything and say this is Jeremy Strong’s race to lose. I mean, have you forgotten all about that profile in the New Yorker?
Who Will Win: Jeremy Strong, Succession
Who Should Win: Jeremy Strong, Succession
Lead Actress, Drama
The big question for this category is: Will Zendaya reign supreme, breaking another record in the process? The answer, I’d say, is a resounding…maybe? She certainly has the edge on competitors like Reese Witherspoon, Sandra Oh, and Jodie Comer, who are all representing shows with very little love overall. That would make her biggest competitors Yellowjackets’ Melanie Lynskey, an industry veteran who’s finally getting her moment, and Ozark’s Laura Linney, who will be competing for the show’s final season.
Still, I think Zendaya will reign supreme. When the actress won for Euphoria’s first season, it felt like a shock to everyone — not because she wasn’t deserving (she absolutely was), but because few people could imagine The Television Academy rallying around a young starlet in an over-the-top teen drama. Now that they’ve proven that they will acknowledge that, it’s hard to see them looking at Zendaya’s performance in episode five of this season and not crowing her again.
Who Will Win: Zendaya, Euphoria
Who Should Win: Zendaya, Euphoria
Lead Actor, Comedy
As previously stated, The Television Academy loves to award repeat winners, which would make Barry’s Bill Hader, Atlanta’s Donald Glover, and Ted Lasso’s Jason Sudeikis all strong contenders. But when two of your “new” nominees are comedy legends Steve Martin and Martin Short, rules can be bent. (They seem to love The Great, too, but as…great as Hoult is in it, this isn’t his year.)
As the most recent winner of this category, Sudeikis seems to have a big shot of taking it again, but with Ted Lasso almost guaranteed to nab wins in other categories (including the big one for Outstanding Comedy Series), I can see Bill Hader, whose performance in the long-awaited third season of Barry is equal parts terrifying and deadpanly hilarious, eking out a small lead in the end.
Who Will Win: Bill Hader, Barry
Who Should Win: Bill Hader, Barry
Lead Actress, Comedy
Much like Jeremy Strong’s near-guaranteed victory in the race for Lead Actor in a Drama, there is no world in which Jean Smart does not win her second Emmy for playing the role of standup comedy queen Deborah Vance in the hilarious-as-ever Hacks. Sure, as the ringleader of comedy du jour Abbott Elementary, the delightful Quinta Brunson could surprise us here. But again, that’s not going to happen. Jean Smart will leave the Microsoft Theater tonight with her fourth career Emmy.
Who Will Win: Jean Smart, Hacks
Who Should Win: Jean Smart, Hacks
Lead Actor, Limited Series
Unfortunately, I’ve had to face the facts: none of my three choices for this category will win: Andrew Garfield is quietly devastating as a devout Mormon slowly waking up to the truth about his religion in Under the Banner of Heaven, but The Television Academy’s decision to give the Hulu series only one nomination (here) translates to, “You aren’t going to win.” Ditto for Colin Firth in The Staircase; his show received two nominations, with the other going to his co-star Toni Collette. And finally, there’s Himesh Patel. While Station Eleven received several nominations, its failure to show up in the overall category is quite worrying — especially for a show that premiered in 2021.
Which is why Michael Keaton is probably already celebrating. As the lead for one of the most-nominated limited series going into the night (it’s only behind The White Lotus, which doesn’t have any “leads”), he already has the edge — and with no other real competition (sorry, Sebastian Stan), this performance, as a conflicted but concerned small-town doctor who gets wrapped up in the larger fight around oxycontin addiction, will take it all the way to the finish line.
Who Will Win: Michael Keaton, Dopesick
Who Should Win: Andrew Garfield, Under the Banner of Heaven or Himesh Patel, Station Eleven
Lead Actress, Limited Series
Yet another category that feels like a lock. Amanda Seyfried’s performance as The Dropout’s Elizabeth Holmes is so uncanny it’s borderline terrifying — from the accent work to the eccentric but calculated movement, Seyfried’s embodiment of a criminally misunderstood woman has felt like the stuff awards were designed to acknowledge from the miniseries’ first few moments. While Julia Garner brought some of her trademark ace accent work to Inventing Anna, Toni Collette gave interiority to a previously voiceless person in The Staircase, Margaret Qualley made me cry in Maid, and both Lily James and Sarah Paulson were brave enough to wear a ton of prosthetics, none of them reached the heights of Seyfried’s Elizabeth Holmes. The Television Academy will see that.
Who Will Win: Amanda Seyfried, The Dropout
Who Should Win: Amanda Seyfried, The Dropout
Supporting Actor, Drama
Succession vs. Squid Game vs. Severance: it’s the Battle of the S’s. (Sorry to Billy Crudup — you may be the best thing about it, but The Morning Show is still, at the end of the day, The Morning Show.) But while John Turturro and Christopher Walken make my heart ache as older gay lovers who can only bond at work in Severance, and Squid Game wouldn’t work without Park Hae-soo and Oh Yeong-su, this does feel like it will come down to the nominated trio from Succession. Or more specifically: Matthew Macfadyen and Kieran Culkin. (Your time will come soon, Nicholas Braun.)
Between the two, it’s hard to pick a favorite. No one delivers a zinger like Kieran Culkin, after all, and given how downright awful Culkin’s Roman got during season three, that’s saying a lot. (Who else is sending dick pics to coworkers in the middle of a board meeting?) But the praise can’t end for Matthew Macfadyen, who has helped turn Tom over from a spineless wannabe to a heartless capitalist, willing to cut throats with the best of them, over these past three seasons. His character has had much more of an “arc” during the show’s run, and I imagine The Television Academy will vote accordingly.
Who Will Win: Matthew Macfadyen, Succession
Who Should Win: Matthew Macfadyen, Succession
Supporting Actress, Drama
Who cares if Sydney Sweeney’s parents are Republican, have you seen the work she did in season two of Euphoria? Well, The Television Academy certainly did, and they clearly resonated enough with her tortured performance as the suffering girlfriend of an abusive proto-jock to nominate her. But whether it will be enough to drive her across the finish line really comes down to a question of whether or not these voters have grown tired of Julia Garner’s consistently wacko performance in Netflix’s Ozark. Yes, there’s also Yellowjackets’ Christina Ricci and Severance’s Patricia Arquette, but they are both in for shows that will probably be nominated for years to come. Succession has both Sarah Snook and J. Smith Cameron in the running, too, but I doubt either is taking it this year. And as for all things Better Call Saul, Rhea Seehorn will probably have to wait for the show’s final season swan song-run before The Television Academy is ready to give her the win so many say she deserves.
Which means it’s probably going to be Garner, who has already won for this role twice before and is coming into tonight with two different nominations (she’s also in as Inventing Anna’s title character). And, yes, sure, she’s good. But forgive me for rooting for Sydney and her hot-tub puke antics.
Who Will Win: Julia Garner, Ozark
Who Should Win: Sydney Sweeney, Euphoria
Supporting Actor, Comedy
Last year, this award went to Brett Goldstein for Ted Lasso, and while common advice would suggest that he’s a shoe-in for a repeat this year, he is facing some tough competition. That’s because, this year, he’s up again two past winners: Barry’s Henry Winkler and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s Tony Shalhoub. Maisel has certainly lost some of its allure over the years, but Winkler poses a real threat, riding the wave of Barry’s long-awaited, praise-worthy third season. So while Goldstein may still have the edge on his nominated co-stars — though watch out for Nick Mohammed, who had to make a heel-turn believable — it’s harder to see his lovable gruff easily outshining someone like Winkler, who’s in top form. (And let’s not entirely sleep on Bowen Yang, either. There is a lot of love reserved for the comedian as Saturday Night Live’s secret weapon.)
In the end, my money is on Henry Winkler to take it. Though, personally, I would love to see some of the Barry wealth spread around — let’s give it to Anthony Carrigan for continuing to be the show’s reliable comedic relief while also bringing real pathos to this season’s heartbreaking gay love story.
Who Will Win: Henry Winkler, Barry
Who Should Win: Anthony Carrigan, Barry
Supporting Actress, Comedy
On one hand, I’m really upset that Sarah Goldberg did not earn a nomination for season three of Barry, because her performance has never been better and, well, she really deserved it. On the other hand, I’m happy she did not get nominated because now I can easily throw all my support behind Janelle James, who, as the hungry (for money, for fame, for stardom, for attention) and altogether incompetent principal of the titular school, is Abbott Elementary’s crowning joy. Ted Lasso’s Hannah Waddigham won last year and is still terrific in season two (as is the other Hannah, Einbinder, in season two of Hacks). But James gives the fan-favorite performance in television’s current fan-favorite comedy — which isn’t meant to knock Sheryl Lee Ralph, who is also nominated for the series — and it’s really hard to vote against that kind of power. I see a win in Janelle’s future.
Who Will Win: Janelle James, Abbott Elementary
Who Should Win: Janelle James, Abbott Elementary
Supporting Actor, Limited Series
The thing about bestowing all your nominations onto one show is that, when it’s time for the rest of us to make predictions, there’s no fun in the game. Here, three different White Lotus actors are fighting against three different Dopesick actors. There’s also Pam and Tommy’s Seth Rogen, who, from a certain vantage point, could benefit from the others canceling themselves out. But The White Lotus has a secret weapon: while the HBO series ran its entire ensemble as supporting players, some were clearly more of a “lead” than others. This gives the edge to Murray Bartlett, whose tragic downfall as an uptight hotel manager beset by addiction issues and a stress-induced relapse feels like one of the show’s most poignant storylines. He also gets to shit in Jake Lacy’s suitcase. Imagine not voting for that?
Who Will Win: Murray Bartlett, The White Lotus
Who Should Win: Murray Bartlett, The White Lotus
Supporting Actress, Limited Series
Could there ever be a more delightful way to sign off than by predicting a win for Jennifer Coolidge? One of the most beloved actresses in the industry, whose clear talents have been far too underrated until now, is finally gearing up to (hopefully) get the recognition she’s always deserved. This category has come down to a battle between The Woman From The White Lotus and The Woman From Dopesick. (Quite literally: of the seven nominees, five were residents at the fancy Hawaiian resort while the other two were dealing with oxycontin addiction.) With no risks of “canceling each other out” (then nobody would be left), the award will most likely go to the actress riding the most buzz. Enter: Jennifer Coolidge. Maybe she’ll give us a bend-and-snap during her acceptance speech?
Who Will Win: Jennifer Coolidge, The White Lotus
Who Should Win: Jennifer Coolidge, The White Lotus