2019 Emmy Predictions for Drama: Matt Roush Gives His Series & Acting Picks

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Emmy drama picks
Jessica Miglio/Netflix; Helen Sloan/HBO; Gareth Gatrell/BBCAmerica
Sophie Mutevelian/World Productions/Netflix

CATEGORY: Outstanding Drama Series

Better Call Saul, AMC

Bodyguard, Netflix

Game of Thrones, HBO

Killing Eve, BBC America

Ozark, Netflix

Pose, FX

Succession, HBO

This Is Us, NBC

Emmy picks drama
Peter Kramer/HBO; Michael Parmelee/FX

Though polarizing to many fans and critics, the final season of Game of Thrones towers over the competition with a record 32 nominations. And for all of the complaining, at least the producers found a way to finish the show, which is more than its original author has been able to do with the bloated book series. None of the seven other contenders, including worthy first-season breakthroughs like the searing Succession and the fabulous Pose, seem to have a chance. Better luck next year.

Macall B. Polay/HBO.

Most Likely to Win

Game of Thrones

Gareth Gatrell/BBCAmerica

Should Win

Killing Eve for a sizzling second season of sexually charged intrigue, although I had the most fun watching the outrageously suspenseful Bodyguard, and I admire Pose for its flamboyant bravado.

ABC/Bob D'Amico

CATEGORY: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones

Jodie Comer, Killing Eve

Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder

Laura Linney, Ozark

Mandy Moore, This Is Us

Robin Wright, House of Cards

Sandra Oh, Killing Eve

Emmy picks lead actress drama
Jessica Miglio/Netflix; Ron Batzdorff/NBC

Which star of the dazzling spy thriller Killing Eve will be rewarded: Sandra Oh as the frazzled agent or Jodie Comer as the obsessed and mercurial assassin? I’m betting on Oh, but am rooting for the unpredictable Comer. If they cancel each other out, look for Ozark‘s Laura Linney to win as the shrewd wife who’ll do anything to protect her imperiled family. I’m happy that Mandy Moore as the warm heart and soul of This Is Us finally got noticed, but edgier and flashier roles tend to win.

Gareth Gatrell/BBCAmerica

Most Likely to Win

Sandra Oh

Gareth Gatrell/BBCAmerica

Should Win

Jodie Comer

This Is Us - Season 3
Ron Batzdorff/NBC

CATEGORY: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Jason Bateman, Ozark

Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us

Kit Harington, Game of Thrones

Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul

Billy Porter, Pose

Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us

Helen Sloan/HBO

For all of Game of Thrones‘ Emmy success, acting awards (besides those for Peter Dinklage’s Tyrion) have been scarce, and that’s not likely to change, including for Kit Harington‘s one-note brooding as Jon Snow. I’m hoping and betting that Bob Odenkirk‘s increasingly poignant work in Better Call Saul finally breaks through in his fourth try, as his born-loser character of Jimmy McGill edges ever closer to the Saul Goodman persona. What are the Emmy voters waiting for? Failing that, Billy Porter‘s flamboyant star turn as Pray Tell on Pose deserves and commands the spotlight. Hard to choose between those two.

Nicole Wilder/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Most Likely to Win

Bob Odenkirk (though there’s no obvious front runner)

Macall Polay/FX

Should Win

Bob Odenkirk or Billy Porter

Nick Briggs/BBCAmerica

CATEGORY: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Gwendoline Christie, Game of Thrones

Julia Garner, Ozark

Lena Headey, Game of Thrones

Fiona Shaw, Killing Eve

Sophie Turner, Game of Thrones

Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones

Emmy picks drama supporting actress
Helen Sloan/HBO (2)

A case of severe Game of Thrones overkill, with four co-stars possibly inhibiting anyone’s chances of breaking through. In past seasons, I’d have championed Gwendoline Christie‘s warrior Brienne and especially Lena Headey‘s villainous Cersei, but neither had that much chance to shine in the final chapters. Maisie Williams has the best shot as resourceful, relentless Arya, who we watched grow up on the show. But the actress most likely to benefit from the Thrones logjam is Ozark‘s versatile Julia Garner as the ruthlessly ambitious Ruth Langmore.

Jessica Miglio/Netflix

Most Likely to Win

Julia Garner (unless Maisie Williams somehow cuts through the Thrones clutter — maybe with the help of Needle?)

Helen Sloan/HBO

Should Win

Maisie Williams (because Arya was always my favorite)

Emmy picks drama supporting actor
Nicole Wilder/AMC/Sony Pictures Television; Helen Sloan/HBO

CATEGORY: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Alfie Allen, Game of Thrones

Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones

Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones

Giancarlo Esposito, Better Call Saul

Michael Kelly, House of Cards

Chris Sullivan, This Is Us

Helen Sloan/HBO

As Game of Thrones‘ most honored scene stealer, Peter Dinklage should rise above for the fourth time to win as the wily Tyrion Lannister. Any other outcome would be a surprise and an upset.

Macall B. Polay/HBO.

Most Likely to Win

Peter Dinklage

Helen Sloan/HBO

Should Win

Peter Dinklage

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With one epic exception — Game of Thrones and its record 32 nominations — this year’s Emmy Awards (airing Sunday, 8/7c, on Fox) could be the toughest to predict in ages.

With so much great work being produced on multiple platforms, many categories feel like total toss-ups. But that’s never stopped us from trying to pick the winners!

Click through the gallery above for some analysis that could help you make an educated guess, or possibly just confuse things further, in this year’s comedy categories.

2019 Emmy Predictions for Comedy: Matt Roush Gives His Series & Acting PicksSee Also

2019 Emmy Predictions for Comedy: Matt Roush Gives His Series & Acting Picks

Matt gives his choices for who will win this year — and who should win.