2022 Emmy Predictions for Limited Series & Performances, Movies & Specials: Matt Roush’s Picks

Emmy Predictions, Limited Series & TV Movie, The White Lotus, MAID, Dopesick
HBO; Netflix; Hulu

The Emmys are notoriously difficult to predict. Some winners keep winning year after year — until they don’t. You never know when a fresh newcomer will muscle their way into the winner’s circle or when a long overdue contender will finally get the recognition they’ve long deserved.

With that in mind, senior critic Matt Roush gives some educated guesses along with some personal picks and shout-outs to those who should have made the cut. The Emmys air Monday, September 12, on NBC.

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2022 Emmy Predictions for Drama Series & Performances: Matt Roush's Picks

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Scroll down for Matt’s picks in the categories of Limited Series, Lead Actor and Actress in a Limited Series or Movie, and Supporting Actor and Actress in a Limited Series or Movie.

2022 Emmy Awards, Monday, September 12, 8/7c, NBC and Peacock

Pam & Tommy, Lily James and Sebastian Stan

Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series

The White Lotus Season 1 Alexandra Daddario and Jake Lacy

Most Likely to Win: The White Lotus

Up until the Creative Arts Awards over Labor Day weekend, I was sure Dopesick would take the main prize in what has become one of the Emmys’ most prestigious categories. But when Lotus, the sole nominee not based on a true story, snagged an impressive five early Emmys, including for casting, Mike White’s deluxe satire set at a Hawaiian resort appears to have all the momentum.

Dopesick Season 1 Will Poulter and Michael Keaton

Should Win: Dopesick

Though at times hard to watch and (because of frequent time-shifting) not always easy to follow, this unsparing dramatization of the opioid crisis was the most urgently compelling and impactful of the year’s many strong docudramas.

Gaslit Season 1 Sean Penn and Julia Roberts

Should Have Been Nominated: Gaslit, Starz

The Watergate scandal has rarely been as vividly recreated as in Gaslit, a fast-paced account told from the perspective of whistle-blower Martha Mitchell (a terrifically flamboyant Julia Roberts). Other surprising omissions, from HBO and HBO Max: the intensely emotional Scenes from a Marriage remake and the apocalyptic Station Eleven.

The Staircase Season 1 Colin Firth and Toni Collette

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie

Dopesick Season 1 Michael Keaton

Most Likely to Win: Michael Keaton

As the rural doctor who becomes an addict, Keaton has already won multiple awards, including from the Screen Actors Guild. This is one of the year’s few slam-dunks.

Dopesick Season 1 Michael Keaton

Should Win: Keaton

He’s the heartbreaking core of Dopesick, one of his best performances to date.

Samuel L Jackson in The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey
Apple TV+

Should Have Been Nominated

Ben Foster for HBO’s The Survivor and Samuel L. Jackson in Apple TV+‘s The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey. Both actors displayed remarkable emotional power and range: Foster as a damaged Holocaust survivor and Jackson as an elderly man emerging for too short a time from dementia. Each could have given Keaton some serious competition.

Inventing Anna Julia Garner
Aaron Epstein/Netflix

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie

Maid Season 1 Margaret Qualley

Most Likely to Win: Margaret Qualley

I’ll admit, this category stumps me. It could go any number of ways for all manner of surprising performances. Lily James brought unexpected empathy to her portrayal of embattled sex symbol Pamela Anderson and Amanda Seyfried was fascinating as she tackled the psyche of obsessive fraudster Elizabeth Holmes in what many other experts are handicapping as the top choice. I was most moved by Margaret Qualley as the working-class single mother yearning to escape poverty, and Emmy voters would be making a statement by rewarding this least sensational of the contenders.

MAID Season 1 Margaret Qualley

Should Win: Qualley

But it’s hard to argue against either Lily James or Amanda Seyfried.

The First Lady Michelle Pfeiffer
Murray Close/SHOWTIME

Should Have Been Nominated

As real-life and larger-than-life Washington, D.C. figures, Julia Roberts as unrepentant blabbermouth Martha Mitchell in Gaslit and Michelle Pfeiffer as the remarkable Betty Ford in Showtime’s The First Lady deserved recognition.

Dopesick Season 1 Peter Sarsgaard

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie

Murray Bartlett, The White Lotus
Jake Lacy, The White Lotus
Will Poulter, Dopesick
Seth Rogen, Pam & Tommy
Peter Sarsgaard, Dopesick
Michael Stuhlbarg, Dopesick
Steve Zahn, The White Lotus

The White Lotus Season 1 Murray Bartlett

Most Likely to Win: Murray Bartlett

Nearly everyone who checked into White Lotus got nominated, but consensus favors the Australian actor who stole every scene from his co-stars as the aggrieved hotel manager whose hospitality was colored by contempt for his more aggravating guests.

The White Lotus Season 1 Murray Bartlett

Should Win: Bartlett

Runner-up pick: Seth Rogen, who was a joy as the hapless catalyst of the Pam & Tommy sex-tape scandal.

The Offer Season 1 Matthew Goode
Miller Mobley/Paramount+

Should Have Been Nominated

Matthew Goode for Paramount+‘s The Offer. As swaggering studio head Robert Evans during the making of The Godfather, Goode was great fun in a splendid change of pace. I also greatly enjoyed the colorful work of Shea Whigham (as a demented G. Gordon Liddy) and Dan Stevens (as ambitious John Dean) in Gaslit.

The White Lotus Season 1 Sydney Sweeney

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie

Connie Britton, The White Lotus
Jennifer Coolidge, The White Lotus
Alexandra Daddario, The White Lotus
Kaitlyn Dever, Dopesick
Natasha Rothwell, The White Lotus
Sydney Sweeney, The White Lotus
Mare Winningham, Dopesick

The white Lotus Season 1 Jennifer Coolidge

Most Likely to Win: Jennifer Coolidge

As the most neurotic and amusingly oversharing of the Lotus guests, fan-favorite Coolidge appears to be a sure bet, even against four co-stars from the same series.

Dopesick Season 1 Michael Keaton and Kaitlyn Dever

Should Win: Kaitlyn Dever

No slight on Coolidge, who’s so terrific she’s returning for another Lotus season, but Dopesick’s Dever, as an unwitting victim of the OxyContin scourge, gives everything in the latest chapter of this remarkable young star’s career.

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey, Dominique Fishback and Samuel L. Jackson
Apple TV+

Should Have Been Nominated

Dominique Fishback for The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey. As the title character’s initially reluctant caregiver, Fishback was funny and touching in an underappreciated adaptation of Walter Mosley’s novel. More surprising: the omission of veteran actress Ellen Burstyn in The First Lady as Eleanor Roosevelt’s formidable mother-in-law, Sara Delano Roosevelt.