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Emmy Predictions: Drama Categories

Emmy nominations will be announced on July 17th, and the drama races are set for a massive overhaul. As we explained in our early April Emmy preview, out of last year’s eight nominees for Outstanding Drama Series, exactly one show – The Crown – is eligible again this time. In fact, it’s the only previous nominee from any year in contention. It’s all but guaranteed to return for its final bow (though potentially with leads Imelda Staunton and Dominic West snubbed again), even after a lackluster season five performance on the heels of a season four sweep, but who will its biggest competition be?

There are actually three series that theoretically should have been Emmy juggernauts but have had disappointing results thus far. Though it’s done well with the acting categories, The Morning Show is on its third season with no top mentions yet, and The Gilded Age eked out exactly one technical nomination (and win) for season one. Loki got six mentions, none above the line, for season one. For their most recent seasons, all three are expected to compete, both in the top category and across the acting races. Other preexisting possibilities include season two of Tokyo Vice as well as Justified: City Primeval, a sequel of sorts to a show that did decently acting-wise back in its day but never cracked the top category. Slow Horses has also been a non-starter in its two seasons.

From the freshman class, there’s no doubt that Shōgun, recently reclassified as a drama series after being initially expected to compete in the limited series fields, will perform strongly, and may dominate the acting categories like Squid Game did a few years ago despite the theoretical subtitle barrier. Fallout is a hugely popular video game adaptation that’s received rave reviews. Mr. and Mrs. Smith and The Curse are also genre-defying dramas starring comedic actors that seem to have won over audiences. Other shows likely to earn votes include 3 Body Problem, Sugar, and The New Look, as well as the latest Star Wars series, Ahsoka, and the spinoff of the Emmy-friendly The Good Wife, Elsbeth, which might fare better than The Good Fight did.

From 28 series regulars nominated last year, just one – Elizabeth Debicki from The Crown – will be back, clearing the way for many newbies and welcoming back past nominees like Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Billy Crudup from The Morning Show. Past Emmy favorites like Donald Glover, Christine Baranski, Jon Hamm, John Turturro, and Sarah Paulson are likely to be nominated for different programs this time. The guest acting categories, which will have five nominees apiece, feel especially sparse, with the potential to be made up mostly of performers from one show, Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

Below, please find our predictions in the nine major drama series categories!

Outstanding Drama Series

The Crown

The Curse


The Gilded Age


The Morning Show

Mr. and Mrs. Smith


Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Colin Farrell (Sugar)

Donald Glover (Mr. and Mrs. Smith)

Walton Goggins (Fallout)

Tom Hiddleston (Loki)

Hiroyuki Sanada (Shōgun)

Morgan Spector (The Gilded Age)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Jennifer Aniston (The Morning Show)

Carrie Coon (The Gilded Age)

Maya Erskine (Mr. and Mrs. Smith)

Anna Sawai (Shōgun)

Emma Stone (The Curse)

Reese Witherspoon (The Morning Show)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Khalid Abdalla (The Crown)

Tadanobu Asano (Shōgun)

Billy Crudup (The Morning Show)

Salim Daw (The Crown)

Jon Hamm (The Morning Show)

Jonathan Pryce (The Crown)

Ke Huy Quan (Loki)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Christine Baranski (The Gilded Age)

Nicole Beharie (The Morning Show)

Elizabeth Debicki (The Crown)

Moeka Hoshi (Shōgun)

Greta Lee (The Morning Show)

Lesley Manville (The Crown)

Fumi Nikaido (Shōgun)

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series

Néstor Carbonell (Shōgun)

Michael Emerson (Fallout)

Kyle MacLachlan (Fallout)

Wagner Moura (Mr. and Mrs. Smith)

John Turturro (Mr. and Mrs. Smith)

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series

Laura Benanti (The Gilded Age)

Glenn Close (The New Look)

Claire Foy (The Crown)

Yûko Miyamoto (Shōgun)

Sarah Paulson (Mr. and Mrs. Smith)

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series

Dis-Moi Oui (The Crown)

The End (Fallout)

First Date (Mr. and Mrs. Smith)

Anjin (Shōgun)

Crimson Sky (Shōgun)

Tomorrow Is Tomorrow (Shōgun)

Countdown (3 Body Problem)

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

Ritz (The Crown)

Sleep, Dearie Sleep (The Crown)

Land of Enchantment (The Curse)

The End (Fallout)

First Date (Mr. and Mrs. Smith)

Anjin (Shōgun)

A Dream of a Dream (Shōgun)

What shows and performers do you think are ahead? We’ll be back soon with predictions in other categories and detailed nominations coverage beginning July 17th.


  • Abe Friedtanzer

    Abe Friedtanzer is a film and TV enthusiast who spent most of the past fifteen years in New York City. He has been the editor of and since 2007, and has been predicting the Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes, and SAG Awards since he was allowed to stay up late enough to watch them.

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