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What Will and Should Win at the 2023 Emmys, Being Held in 2024

The Emmy Awards are just plain weird this year.

Technically, what’s weird is that this is the ceremony for 2023, which was last year. But since the categories are being awarded in 2024, that makes them this year’s Emmys.

You know what, let’s back up a second.

The Primetime Emmy Awards are given out every year to honor the best work in television. Normally the ceremony is held in September and recognizes shows that aired between June 1 of the previous year and May 31 of the current year. Because of the writers and actors strikes, the 2023 Emmys ceremony and telecast was postponed from its usual September date to January 15, which means that on Monday night you’re going to be hearing about shows and seasons you probably haven’t thought about since the Paleozoic Era. Nominees include The Bear, but for season one, which was released back when Roe v. Wade had not yet been overturned. (That would happen on June 24, 2022, the day after The Bear premiered on Hulu.) House of the Dragon is nominated for Outstanding Drama even though its first season was released when I was 9 years old. Obi-Wan Kenobi is up for Outstanding Limited Series — no, really, it is! — and that show came out in 1863.

My point is: Predicting the Emmy winners this year is extra-difficult because it not only involves the usual attempt to read the minds of thousands of Emmy voters, but to attempt to read what was on those minds when voting closed on August 28, 2023. Basically, I have to make educated guesses and time-travel to get this right. So get into the DeLorean, losers, and let’s do this.

Outstanding Comedy Series

Abbott Elementary
The Bear
Jury Duty
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Only Murders in the Building
Ted Lasso

For the past two years, this award has gone to Ted Lasso. Even though general, or at least critical, consensus has deemed the third and final season the weakest of the series, there’s a good chance Emmy voters will go for it one last time. It received more total nominations than any other comedy (21) and it already won two at last weekend’s Creative Arts Emmys. A lot of people clearly like it.

But there are also some newbies to the race, including one that has a pretty good shot at the prize: The Bear. Again, this award is for the first season, but it’s important to remember that voters would have been making their decisions late last summer, after watching the second season and listening to people talk about how great it is. If they had any doubts about rewarding The Bear’s initial go-round, all that goodwill could’ve tipped the balance toward Carmy and Cousin.

And then there’s the fact that Abbott Elementary hasn’t won an Emmy in this category yet. Last year it took home trophies for writing and Outstanding Supporting Actress for Sheryl Lee Ralph, but not for being the best overall show in its genre. Industry folks may want to officially-officially celebrate its excellence and send some love to traditional broadcast television. All that said, I can’t shake the feeling that just enough voters will want to give Mr. Believe Sign a good-bye kiss, giving Ted Lasso the edge.

Will win: Ted Lasso.

Should win: The Bear.

Outstanding Drama Series

Better Call Saul
The Crown
House of the Dragon
The Last of Us
The White Lotus

It is deeply unfortunate that Better Call Saul has never won a major Emmy Award. It deserves many, and this year was its last year to collect. But I don’t see it winning, at least not in this category. Succession has taken this award twice, its last season was perfection, and it has more nominations than any other series in any genre (27). If it doesn’t win, I will be shocked and disoriented, and not because Cousin Greg caused me to get wasabi in my eye.

Will Win: Succession.

Should Win: Succession.

Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series

Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story
Daisy Jones & the Six
Fleishman Is in Trouble
Obi-Wan Kenobi

I know we all just watched Beef win several Golden Globes, but again: That has no bearing on this, since Emmy votes have been locked in for months. That said, I still think this one will likely go to Beef, because it still feels relevant, is well acted — five members of its cast were nominated — and benefits from being the most recent of the group.

Will Win: Beef.

Should Win: Beef — though I would not be mad if Fleishman Is in Trouble pulled off a quote-unquote upset.

Outstanding Variety Talk Series

The Daily Show With Trevor Noah
Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Late Night With Seth Meyers
The Late Show With Stephen Colbert
The Problem With Jon Stewart

Perpetual winner Last Week Tonight With John Oliver moved over to the Variety Sketch category this year, releasing the chokehold it’s had on this Emmy for the past seven years. Without that HBO series in the mix, it’s hard to know what voters will do. They could go back to the other program that previously swept this category, The Daily Show, and honor Noah’s final season. Or they could turn to the guy they used to reward for hosting The Daily Show and give it to The Problem With Jon Stewart, especially if they were swayed by some of the viral interview clips from season two. Then again, they could do something really radical and recognize a classic, nightly broadcast talk show like Colbert, Kimmel, or Meyers, something this category and its previous incarnation, Outstanding Variety Series, hasn’t done since The Late Show With David Letterman won in 2002.

My hunch is the Emmy will go to the show that has one foot in the broadcast world and one in The Daily Show–adjacent realm that has dominated this space for more than two decades. It’s worth noting that during that time, only one other series apart from Last Week Tonight and The Daily Show has won this thing more than once, and that’s The Colbert Report.

Will Win: The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.

Should Win: It would be nice to see underdog of sorts Late Night With Seth Meyers win. I mean, none of these other hosts so willingly and regularly get ***** with celebrities during the daytime for the sake of entertaining their audience. That’s bravery, my friends.

Outstanding Scripted Variety Series

A Black Lady Sketch Show
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
Saturday Night Live

Speaking of shows that dominate in their fields, Saturday Night Live has won in this category, renamed in 2023 after previously being called Outstanding Variety Sketch Series, every year since 2016. A Black Lady Sketch Show has lost to it three times in a row, including the last two years when it was SNL’s only competition in this category, so the fourth and final season of Robin Thede’s half-hour unfortunately seems unlikely to win unless John Oliver and SNL split too many votes. I’m also not convinced voters will immediately gravitate toward Last Week, since it really does feel more like a topical talk show than a sketch-comedy effort. Emmys tend to go with the status quo, which is why I think SNL can feel confident in its status as a sure bet walking into Saturday’s ceremony.

Will Win: Saturday Night Live.

Should Win: Saturday Night Live. With this field having shrunk in recent years, it’s more blatantly the best sketch show on television.

Outstanding Reality Competition Program

The Amazing Race
RuPaul’s Drag Race
Top Chef
The Voice

Last year, Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls won here, and I think we can all look back on that award and feel totally comfortable with it. Prior to that, though, RuPaul’s Drag Race had racked up four consecutive wins, and I expect that habit to reemerge for this year’s voters — though there’s a chance Top Chef could take it since it was Padma Lakshmi’s last season.

Will Win: RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Should Win: Top Chef — like, come on, Padma deserves that.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Bill Hader, Barry
Jason Segel, Shrinking
Martin Short, Only Murders in the Building
Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso
Jeremy Allen White, The Bear

Bill Hader already won this award twice for Barry, and Sudeikis won it for the past two years for Ted Lasso. As much as members of the Emmy-choosing populace may love that Apple TV+ series, I feel like they may veer away from Sudeikis this time. If they do, it’s because they will have been so impressed by Jeremy Allen White … yes, even though they voted before the Calvin Klein ad came out.

Will Win: Jeremy Allen White.

Should Win: Jeremy Allen White.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Christina Applegate, Dead to Me
Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Quinta Brunson, Abbott Elementary
Natasha Lyonne, Poker Face
Jenna Ortega, Wednesday

Quinta Brunson hasn’t yet received an Emmy for her performance in Abbott Elementary, and there’s a strong chance she will this year. Her biggest threats are Lyonne, whose charms are crucial to Poker Face working, and Applegate, who powered through the last season of Dead to Me and delivered one of her signature wry, emotional performances, one that will likely be her last on-camera. I do not know how this will shake out, but my gut is telling me it’s Quinta’s to lose.

Will Win: Quinta Brunson.

Should Win: I’d be thrilled if either Brunson or Applegate got it, to be honest.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama

Jeff Bridges, The Old Man
Brian ***, Succession
Kieran Culkin, Succession
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Pedro Pascal, The Last of Us
Jeremy Strong, Succession

Strong already has an Emmy in this category, but as “the eldest” and most unhinged boy in the final season of Succession, he should not be dismissed. Pascal was wonderfully restrained in the first season of The Last of Us, and has been an absolute delight as the internet’s daddy. Bob Odenkirk has been exceptional in every season of Better Call Saul, and it would be so lovely to see him finally get an award for it.

But here’s the thing: Kieran Culkin. Of the Succession actors nominated in this category, he’s the only Emmy-less one. Sure, Roman Roy tends to be more of a comical character in what is (very allegedly) a drama. But (a) Culkin is an absolute master of using sarcasm as a Band-Aid for genuine pain, and (b) he actually showed us Roman’s genuine pain this season, particularly in the funeral scene in the penultimate episode of the series. TL;DR: He basically won this the minute he asked, “Is he in there? Can we get him out?”

Will Win: Kieran Culkin.

Should Win: Kieran Culkin (but also Bob Odenkirk, can there be a tie??).

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama

Sharon Horgan, Bad Sisters
Melanie Lynskey, Yellowjackets
Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale
Bella Ramsey, The Last of Us
Keri Russell, The Diplomat
Sarah Snook, Succession

Like Culkin, Sarah Snook bumped herself up from supporting to lead this year, and it seems likely to pay off. The stiffest competition she faces is Bella Ramsey, who I suspect voters will decide is young enough to wait their turn, especially since Snook was exquisite in the last season of Succession and has never won an Emmy before.

Will Win: Sarah Snook.

Should Win: Sarah Snook.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie

Taron Egerton, Black Bird
Kumail Nanjiani, Welcome to Chippendales
Evan Peters, Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story
Daniel Radcliffe, Weird: The Al Yankovic Story
Michael Shannon, George & Tammy
Steven Yeun, Beef

At one time I would have said Evan Peters was a shoo-in for this, but even back in the days of yore (August) when people were voting, Dahmer felt like a distant memory. It seems more likely that Steven Yeun’s intense work in Beef will lead to his first Emmy.

Will Win: Steven Yeun.

Should Win: Steven Yeun.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie

Lizzy Caplan, Fleishman Is in Trouble
Jessica Chastain, George & Tammy
Dominique Fishback, Swarm
Kathryn Hahn, Tiny, Beautiful Things
Riley Keough, Daisy Jones & the Six
Ali Wong, Beef

As in the previous category, my hunch is that Ali Wong will win over voters for showing her depth and range in Beef, unless Fishback’s fearless work in Swarm or Chastain’s typically strong performance as Tammy Wynette wins over more voters.

Will Win: Ali Wong.

Should Win: Dominique Fishback.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Anthony Carrigan, Barry
Phil Dunster, Ted Lasso
Brett Goldstein, Ted Lasso
James Marsden, Jury Duty
Ebon Moss-Bachrach, The Bear
Tyler James Williams, Abbott Elementary
Henry Winkler, Barry

Goldstein has won this for the past two years, and I can’t see him doing it a third time given the competition he faces, but maybe I’m in Roy Kent denial. Let’s assume I’m right and this race comes down to three men: Moss-Bachrach, who is great in the first season of The Bear but even better in its second; James Marsden, an incredibly multitalented actor who never wins big prizes like this and morphs into a funny, much more arrogant version of himself in Jury Duty; or living legend Henry Winkler, who already has one Emmy for Barry but impressively went to the darkest places he’s gone as an actor in its last season.

I’m betting voters decide to wait until next year to reward Moss-Bachrach and finally give Marsden his flowers.

Will Win: James Marsden.

Should Win: Yeah, this is wishy-washy, but any of the three I singled out: Marsden, Moss-Bachrach, or Winkler.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Ayo Edebiri, The Bear
Janelle James, Abbott Elementary
Sheryl Lee Ralph, Abbott Elementary
Juno Temple, Ted Lasso
Hannah Waddingham, Ted Lasso
Jessica Williams, Shrinking

Ralph won in this category last year, Waddingham won the year before that, and Borstein has a couple of previous wins to her credit, too. It’s possible Television Academy members stick with what’s worked in the past — if they do, Ralph will be holding her second Emmy for Abbott Elementary, a thing I would absolutely not be mad at — but I’m guessing they try to honor someone new. It feels like 2023 was Ayo Edebiri’s year, which is why I believe she’ll claim her first Emmy and once again (hopefully) make an acceptance speech in which she thanks all the assistants in Hollywood.

Will Win: Ayo Edebiri.

Should Win: Edebiri, but also it would be super-fun if Janelle James won.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

F. Murray Abraham, The White Lotus
Nicholas Braun, Succession
Michael Imperioli, The White Lotus
Theo James, The White Lotus
Matthew Macfadyen, Succession
Alan Ruck, Succession
Will Sharpe, The White Lotus
Alexander Skarsgård, Succession

This wall-to-wall HBO category contains some strong White Lotus performances, but come on: This has to be someone from Succession. And that someone will be, for the second year in a row, Matthew Macfadyen. As Tom Wambsgans, he won the role of Waystar CEO, he won Bitey, and he’s going to win another Emmy.

Will Win: Matthew Macfadyen.

Should Win: Do you really think I’m going to say anyone other than Tommy Wambs?

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Jennifer Coolidge, The White Lotus
Elizabeth Debicki, The Crown
Meghann Fahy, The White Lotus
Sabrina Impacciatore, The White Lotus
Aubrey Plaza, The White Lotus
Rhea Seehorn, Better Call Saul
J. Smith-Cameron, Succession
Simona Tabasco, The White Lotus

Does it seem as though the voters decided to include every single performance in The White Lotus on this list? It really does. If one of them wins, it seems likely to be Jennifer “These **** are trying to ****** me” Coolidge, even though she won last year for the same role in the Limited Series category. That may not matter given how much people love her, though. If The White Lotus ladies cancel each other out, I can see Debicki winning for her first attempt to embody Princess Diana in The Crown, one of the dramas Emmy voters love as much as The White Lotus and Succession. I’m going with Debicki, but will not be surprised if Coolidge winds up making another wonderfully rambling acceptance speech.

Will Win: Elizabeth Debicki.

Should Win: Sweet lord, would you please give Rhea Seehorn an Emmy? I am begging. (There’s a real chance I want this for Seehorn more than she wants it for herself.)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie

Murray Bartlett, Welcome to Chippendales
Paul Walter Hauser, Black Bird
Richard Jenkins, Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story
Joseph Lee, Beef
Ray Liotta, Black Bird
Young Mazino, Beef
Jesse Plemons, Love & Death

Even though Black Bird was not a super-buzzy show, Hauser’s performance as a violent and vulnerable serial killer will likely stand out to voters, unless his co-star, the late Ray Liotta, gets a posthumous Emmy for one of his final roles.

Will Win: Paul Walter Hauser.

Should Win: Paul Walter Hauser.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie

Annaleigh Ashford, Welcome to Chippendales
Maria Bello, Beef
Claire Danes, Fleishman Is in Trouble
Juliette Lewis, Welcome to Chippendales
Camila Morrone, Daisy Jones & the Six
Niecy Nash-Betts, Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story
Merritt Wever, Tiny, Beautiful Things

This comes down to Claire Danes and Niecy Nash-Betts, in my opinion, and it could really go either way. Danes is devastating in the penultimate episode of Fleishman Is in Trouble, giving the kind of performance that feels like it already has an Emmy-winner watermark on it. But Nash-Betts is very good in an arguably less showy role in Dahmer. She also does not have an Emmy and Danes has three — I don’t know if that will factor into people’s calculations, but I am gambling it will.

Will Win: Niecy Nash-Betts.

Should Win: It’s a very tough call, but Claire Danes destroyed me and I cannot deny that fact.

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series

Barry, “wow,” Bill Hader
The Bear, “Review,” Christopher Storer
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, “Four Minutes,” Amy Sherman-Palladino
The Ms. Pat Show, “Don’t Touch My Hair,” Mary Lou Belli
Ted Lasso, “So Long, Farewell,” Declan Lowney
Wednesday, “Wednesday’s Child Is Full of Woe,” Tim Burton

It is wild that Barry has never won in this category considering how consistently well directed it has been. Sadly, I don’t expect that to change now that it’s competing against Tim Burton, the Ted Lasso finale, and, most importantly, “Review,” the incredibly stressful seventh episode of The Bear’s first season that takes place in real time.

Will Win: The Bear, “Review.”

Should Win: The Bear, “Review.”

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series

Andor, “Rix Road,” Benjamin Caron
Bad Sisters, “The *****,” Dearbhla Walsh
The Last of Us, “Long, Long Time,” Peter ****
Succession, “America Decides,” Andrij Parekh
Succession, “Connor’s Wedding,” Mark Mylod
Succession, “Living+,” Lorene Scafaria
The White Lotus, “Arrivederci,” Mike White

I’ll save us all some time and say the obvious: “Connor’s Wedding” is an all-timer and if anything other than that episode wins, I will volunteer to play Bitey with an alligator.

Will Win: Succession, “Connor’s Wedding.”

Should Win: Succession, “Connor’s Wedding.”

Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Anthology or Movie

Beef, “The Great Fabricator,” Jake Schreier
Beef, “Figures of Light,” Lee Sung Jin
Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, “Bad Meat,” Carl Franklin
Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, “Silenced,” Paris Barclay
Fleishman Is in Trouble, “Me Time,” Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton
Prey, Dan Trachtenberg

My instinct tells me that “Figures of Light,” the Beef finale, will win, but I also can’t rule out “Silenced,” the most effective and distressing episode of Dahmer that actually lives up to the show’s promise to center the serial killer’s victims.

Will Win: I’m going to say “Figures of Light,” with the caveat that “Silenced” might get it.

Should Win: “Me Time,” the finale of Fleishman Is in Trouble, was exquisite, but I doubt it will claim victory here.

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series

Barry, “wow,” Bill Hader
The Bear, “System,” Christopher Storer
Jury Duty, “Ineffective Assistance,” Mekki Leeper
Only Murders in the Building, “I Know Who Did It,” John Hoffman, Matteo Borghese, and Rob Turbovsky
Ted Lasso, “So Long, Farewell,” Brendan Hunt, Joe Kelly, and Jason Sudeikis
The Other Two, “Cary & Brooke Go to an AIDS Play,” Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider

There is a very real chance this will go to the Ted Lasso finale, but I suspect the chances are higher that it goes to the series premiere of The Bear, which ****** us into the high-stress, exhausting world of the Berzattos’ beef sandwich shop and Carmy’s brain.

Will Win: The Bear, “System.”

Should Win: Probably The Bear, but I also will note that The Other Two’s “Cary & Brooke Go to an AIDS Play” is the most consistently funny entry in a category that is supposed to be about comedy.

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

Andor, “One Way Out,” Beau Willimon
Bad Sisters, “The *****,” Sharon Horgan, Dave Finkel, and Brett Baer
Better Call Saul, “Point and Shoot,” Gordon Smith
Better Call Saul, “Saul Gone,” Peter Gould
Succession, “Connor’s Wedding,” Jesse Armstrong
The Last of Us, “Long, Long Time,” Craig Mazin
The White Lotus, “Arrivederci,” Mike White

Again, “Connor’s Wedding” seems most likely to prevail, but it sure would be nice if Peter Gould won something for the incredibly well-crafted Better Call Saul finale, “Saul Gone.”

Will Win: Succession, “Connor’s Wedding.”

Should Win: Succession, “Connor’s Wedding” or Better Call Saul, “Saul Gone.”

Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Anthology or Movie

Beef, “The Birds Don’t Sing, They Screech in Pain,” Lee Sung Jin
Fire Island, Joel Kim Booster
Fleishman Is in Trouble, “Me Time,” Taffy Brodesser-Akner
Prey, Patrick Aison and Dan Trachtenberg
Swarm, “Stung,” Janine Nabers and Donald Glover
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, Weird Al Yankovic and Eric Appel

It would be fun to see a win for Weird, one of two movies represented in this category. It’s more likely, though, that the first Beef episode will get this, particularly because Lee Sung Jin does such a terrific job of establishing the show’s intense vibes. On the other hand, the Fleishman finale is a beautiful piece of writing adapted ably for the screen by Brodesser-Akner, who wrote the novel. So I’m just going to shrug and guess that Beef wins, but I’m prepared to be wrong.

Will Win: Beef, “The Birds Don’t Sing, They Screech in Pain.”

Should Win: Fleishman Is in Trouble, “Me Time.”

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