What are the predictions for the 2023 Emmys? Who deserves to win and who will ultimately win the postponed television awards?
The Emmys have returned, but at an uncommon time due to the writers and actors strikes causing a delay in their usual September airing. Will Succession dominate the awards? Will voters favor Ted Lasso or Abbott Elementary for comedy? And what about The Bear? (Only the first season – this year’s Emmy eligibility ended in early 2023). Here are our predictions for the evening:
This is a strong year for the best drama series, as there are three highly praised HBO shows (Succession, The Last of Us, and The White Lotus, now considered a drama series for its second season) and one expensive HBO series (House of the Dragon) that may not be as popular but still has a large budget. There’s also a Netflix favorite (The Crown, for its first season centered on Diana); the cult hit survival show Yellowjackets; one underrated (at least by the Emmys) final season of Better Call Saul; and the well-received Star Wars prequel Andor, which unfortunately didn’t receive as much attention. If there were to be an upset over the reigning champion Succession, it would likely be Better Call Saul, a rare spin-off that was consistently praised throughout its six seasons. (Andor also deserves recognition for its excellent portrayal of political revolution on television.) However, with its masterful fourth and final season and impressive 27 nominations, Succession is almost guaranteed to win in this category.
Will win: Succession
Should win: Succession
It is noteworthy that neither Barry nor The Bear fall under the comedy genre, but both are critically acclaimed and could potentially be spoilers. They have better chances compared to the popular Netflix show Wednesday, the charming trio of podcast detectives in Only Murders in the Building, and The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, a 1950s comedy-drama that has declined in quality in recent seasons. Despite being nominated for its third and potentially final season, Ted Lasso has already won twice before and could win again. However, the current momentum seems to be in favor of Abbott Elementary, which has already secured wins for writer Quinta Brunson and supporting actor Sheryl Lee Ralph, both of whom are highly regarded by voters.
The winner of the Abbott Elementary competition will be announced.
Preferred outcome: The winner should be The Bear.
This year’s selection of limited series is quite vast, as the popular White Lotus is absent and only Beef stands out as a critically acclaimed mini-series. Two other series, Daisy Jones & the Six and Fleishman Is in Trouble, were adaptations of successful novels but received mixed responses. Obi-Wan Kenobi did not appeal beyond its core fan base of Star Wars enthusiasts. Previous winner Ryan Murphy may have a chance with Dahmer, although I personally cannot bring myself to watch it. The odds are in favor of Beef, which dominated the recent Golden Globes with its intense road rage storyline.
Will win: Beef
Should win: Beef
Female star of a dramatic television program.
Except for Melanie Lynskey, who once again delivers an enigmatic performance on Yellowjackets, this year’s lineup for best dramatic actress is entirely new. (Zendaya, a two-time winner, is on hiatus as a third season of Euphoria has not yet been released.) Elisabeth Moss has received four nominations and won once for her lead role in The Handmaid’s Tale, but with the show’s recent descent into unbearable darkness, it is unlikely she will take the award again this year. Sharon Horgan’s sharp performance on Bad Sisters, Bella Ramsey’s breakout role alongside Pedro Pascal in The Last of Us, and Keri Russell’s consistently strong work on The Diplomat are all worthy contenders. However, Sarah Snook’s impeccable portrayal in the finale of Succession is what truly made it a success, making this her year to win.
The winner is Sarah Snook.
Deserving of victory: Sarah Snook
Main actor in a dramatic television show
Jeff Bridges deserves recognition for his performance in The Old Man. He plays a former CIA agent in his seventies who is being pursued by the FBI. This role was extremely challenging and almost caused harm to Bridges. Another actor who deserves recognition is Bob Odenkirk, who has been nominated six times but has never won for his role in Better Call Saul. Pedro Pascal’s rise to fame as a beloved actor was greatly aided by his gritty portrayal in The Last of Us. Succession is dominating this year with a staggering 14 acting nominations, including three from one show in this category. Jeremy Strong is the frontrunner, having won in 2020, and his co-star Brian Cox, who is not featured in many episodes this season, is not likely to win. Kieran Culkin, who recently won a Golden Globe, was a strong contender for supporting actor and deserves recognition for his portrayal of the immature and fractured Roman Roy character.
The winner will be Jeremy Strong.
Deserving of the win: Kieran Culkin
The principal performer in a comedic television show.
Because the Emmys were postponed from last year, this marks White’s first nomination for The Bear, which aired its first season. (I would anticipate that the stronger second season will receive some Emmys.) With his successful record at the Golden Globes and on social media, he is a strong contender for the role of stressed and not-so-funny chef, Carmy Berzatto. For Jason Segel, the nomination itself is a win since Shrinking doesn’t have a significant following. While Martin Short has been previously nominated and well-liked, he may not have a high chance for Only Murders. Bill Hader, who won in 2018 and 2019 for his portrayal of a hitman turned actor, could potentially win again for the dark final season of Barry. It’s important to not underestimate the TV Academy’s fondness for the heartwarming Ted Lasso, which could result in a repeat win for Jason Sudeikis.
Expected winner: Jeremy Allen White
Deserving of victory: Bill Hader
The main female star of a comedic television series.
Jean Smart’s absence in the third season of Hacks has opened up the playing field for contenders such as Rachel Brosnahan and Christina Applegate, both veterans in the industry, as well as newcomer Jenna Ortega who gained fame through her viral dance videos. Quinta Brunson’s second nomination for Abbott Elementary may not make her the standout performer, but her strong presence in the widely popular show may earn her recognition from the TV academy. Another potential dark horse is Natasha Lyonne, whose charming and edgy performance in Poker Face could surprise viewers and critics alike.
The winner is Quinta Brunson.
Deserving of victory: Natasha Lyonne
Main actor in a limited series
There is no clear favorite in this category, as there are multiple nominated actors in limited series that were not widely seen or well-received. I believe Daniel Radcliffe’s sincere and unique performance in Weird: The Al Yankovic Story deserves more recognition. Kumail Nanjiani, Taron Egerton, and Michael Shannon all gave solid performances in shows that did not generate much excitement, making them unlikely contenders. The TV Academy tends to favor Ryan Murphy and may choose to honor Evan Peters for his portrayal of a notorious serial killer, although there is also a good chance for Steven Yeun to win for his memorable and tormented character in Beef, which recently won a Golden Globe.
The winner will be Steven Yeun.
Revised: The deserving winner should be Steven Yeun.
Lead actress in a limited series
This is a challenging task due to the lack of excitement surrounding the majority of the nominated series, except for Beef; Ali Wong’s breakout dramatic performance is predicted to win in this category. Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Chastain, Kathryn Hahn, and Riley Keough all contributed to the uneven shows, with Keough going above and beyond by embodying the charisma (and singing talent) of a fictional Stevie Nicks. However, when it comes to recognizing outstanding acting, Dominique Fishback stands out for carrying the flawed fandom satire Swarm with her performance alone.
The winner is Ali Wong.
Possible rewording: The deserving winner would be Dominique Fishback.
Best talk series
Last year, the TV academy eliminated its previous variety sketch series and introduced two new categories: best talk series for unscripted interviews or panel discussions with hosts and celebrity guests, and scripted variety series for programs with scripted or improvised scenes, music numbers, monologues, comedy standups, and sketches. This decision addressed two issues: the dominance of John Oliver’s heavily scripted Last Week Tonight over traditional late-night shows, and the decline of sketch shows as a distinct category (with only a few entries in recent years). Without Last Week Tonight, there is now an opportunity for the TV Academy to recognize Trevor Noah’s final season as host of The Daily Show, although Stephen Colbert is widely considered the strongest host for delivering news in a monologue format.
The winner will be The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.
Deserving of victory: The Late Show hosted by Stephen Colbert
Scripted variety series
While it may not be entirely equitable to compare Last Week Tonight to Saturday Night Live, in terms of being both timely and humorous, there is no justification for John Oliver’s show on Sunday nights not to extend its winning streak at the Emmys for the eighth year in a row.
The recipient of the award will be Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.
Possible reworded text: The deserving winner is Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.
Actor who provides support in a drama series.
This is a highly-anticipated battle between the promiscuous male characters in The White Lotus and the cunning followers in Succession on HBO. Every performance is strong, but Tom Wambsgans, the sycophantic character, stands out as a uniquely unhinged individual, and Matthew Macfadyen’s portrayal is a great success.
The winner will be Matthew Macfadyen.
Should win: Matthew Macfadyen
Actress in a drama series who receives support
Additional high-quality programming from HBO, featuring Rhea Seehorn’s underrated performance in Better Call Saul and Elizabeth Debicki’s portrayal of Princess Diana in The Crown. While J Smith-Cameron shone as corporate lawyer Gerri in Succession, the competition for the White Lotus award is fierce among these four talented actors. Jennifer Coolidge steals the show, but Meghann Fahy’s multi-dimensional performance in season two deserves recognition as well.
Jennifer Coolidge is the predicted winner.
I believe Meghann Fahy should be the winner.
Actor in a comedy series who provides support
It is likely that Brett Goldstein from Ted Lasso, a two-time winner and known for his swearing, will win again. Another possibility is that the TV Academy will choose Abbott Elementary, starring the charismatic Tyler James Williams, for the awards. However, we should not discount Henry Winkler from Barry, who is well-loved in Hollywood. Personally, I would like to see Ebon Moss-Bachrach win for his portrayal of the irritable yet endearing Cousin Richie.
The winner will be: Brett Goldstein.
Deserving of victory: Ebon Moss-Bachrach
Actress in a comedy series who provides support.
Past victors Sheryl Lee Ralph and Hannah Waddingham have a strong possibility of winning again, as their shows are well-regarded. However, I believe there is a chance for Ayo Edebiri, who is incredibly likable on a series that is gaining awards recognition, to be a surprise winner.
The winner is Ayo Edebiri.
Deserving of the award: Juno Temple
Actor in a limited series or movie who provides support.
It would not be unexpected if the late Ray Liotta received the award, as he passed away unexpectedly a few weeks prior to the release of Black Bird in 2022. Another strong contender could be his co-star Paul Walter Hauser, who has received critical acclaim for his portrayal of a real-life serial killer.
The winner will be Paul Walter Hauser.
Deserving of victory: Youthful Mazino
Actress in a supporting role for a limited series
There weren’t any particularly outstanding performances, except for Niecy Nash-Betts’s scene-stealing role in Dahmer. However, it’s great to see Merritt Wever, who always does an excellent job, getting recognition. Claire Danes may have the upper hand in portraying a mental breakdown of an Upper East Sider in Fleishman Is in Trouble.
The winner is predicted to be Claire Danes.
The deserving winner is Merritt Wever.