Emmys 2022: Final predictions for all the key categories


Television’s biggest night arrives Monday. No … not the opening of “Monday Night Football.” It’s the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards! A chance to see your favorite stars, provided you have cable and can tune into NBC or have access to a streaming platform that offers NBC or subscribe to Peacock and want to use the service to watch something other than “The Office” and “Law and Order: SVU.”

Owing to the splintered television landscape, recent Emmy ceremonies have been dominated by the handful of shows that voters zero in on and felt compelled to watch. Last year, it was “Ted Lasso,” “The Crown” and “Mare of Easttown” with a dash of “Hacks” (hurray for Jean Smart!) and “The Queen’s Gambit.” (Is Scott Frank still going on with that acceptance speech?) Plus Michaela Coel! And … “Hamilton”??? Is it all coming back to you now? No? Keep reading and I’ll drop some more breadcrumbs.

That’s because this year’s Emmys could look a little like last year’s Emmys (how many prizes will “Ted Lasso” win?) or the 2020 Emmys (all hail “Succession”!) or the 2019 Emmys (Bill Hader!). Or maybe voters will forge a bold new path and reward some different faces and … and … and what am I talking about? This is the Emmys. I bet you could predict them about as accurately as I can. Want to find out? Read on for my forecast for this year’s ceremony.

“Abbott Elementary”
“Curb Your Enthusiasm”
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
“Only Murders in the Building”
“Ted Lasso”
“What We Do in the Shadows”

Winner: “Ted Lasso”
Possible upset: “Abbott Elementary”

This is one of the strongest comedy series slates in Emmy history. You could make a persuasive case for “Only Murders,” “Barry,” “Hacks,” “Ted Lasso” or “Abbott Elementary” winning, and I wouldn’t argue. (Much.) Reigning champ “Ted Lasso” leads the field with 20 nominations, but I’ve spoken with many Emmy voters who caught up with “Abbott” after the nominations and adored it. A different series has won the last four years. It wouldn’t be all that surprising to see that streak continue.

An older woman smiles

Jean Smart as Deborah Vance in Season 2 of “Hacks” on HBO Max.

(Karen Ballard/HBO Max)

Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Quinta Brunson, “Abbott Elementary”
Kaley Cuoco, “The Flight Attendant”
Elle Fanning, “The Great”
Issa Rae, “Insecure”
Jean Smart, “Hacks”

Winner: Smart
Possible upset: Brunson

Brunson became the first Black woman to earn three Emmy nominations for comedy, recognized as a producer, actor and writer. The writing nod — for “Abbott’s” excellent, table-setting pilot — probably represents her best shot at a trophy, as Smart won last year and will likely, deservedly repeat for the sublime second season of “Hacks.”

A solemn man in a dry field

Bill Hader in “Barry” Season 3.

(Merrick Morton/HBO)

Donald Glover, “Atlanta”
Bill Hader, “Barry”
Nicholas Hoult, “The Great”
Steve Martin, “Only Murders in the Building”
Martin Short, “Only Murders in the Building”
Jason Sudeikis, “Ted Lasso”

Winner: Hader
Possible upset: Sudeikis

If it was possible to vote for both Martin and Short, you’d have a well-earned outcome and an Emmy moment for the ages. But faced with an impossible choice between the two essential “Only Murders in the Building” stars, voters will likely return to Hader, who won this Emmy for the first two seasons of “Barry.” Even with the presence of last year’s winner, Sudeikis, on the ballot, it’s hard to imagine Hader not prevailing again for the punishing emotional journey his Barry took during the show’s superb third season.

A school principal dressed as a DJ, asleep in a chair in her office

Janelle James in “Abbott Elementary.”

(Scott Everett White/ABC)

Alex Borstein, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Hannah Einbinder, “Hacks”
Janelle James, “Abbott Elementary”
Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live”
Sarah Niles, “Ted Lasso”
Sheryl Lee Ralph, “Abbott Elementary”
Juno Temple, “Ted Lasso”
Hannah Waddingham, “Ted Lasso”

Winner: James
Possible upset: Waddingham or Einbinder

The safe play is the well-liked Waddingham winning again. Repeats happen in this category, with Borstein and McKinnon having won back-to-back trophies in recent years. But it could also be Einbinder for her persuasive, affecting work on “Hacks” or James’ breakout turn as the outrageous, opportunistic principal on “Abbott Elementary.” I’m leaning toward James, as voters have to deliver a surprise or two to keep us from switching over to that “Monday Night Football” game.

Brett Goldstein smiles wryly in a scene from "Ted Lasso."

Brett Goldstein as Roy Kent in “Ted Lasso.”


Anthony Carrigan, “Barry”
Brett Goldstein, “Ted Lasso”
Toheeb Jimoh, “Ted Lasso”
Nick Mohammed, “Ted Lasso”
Tony Shalhoub, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Tyler James Williams, “Abbott Elementary”
Henry Winkler, “Barry”
Bowen Yang, “Saturday Night Live”

Winner: Goldstein
Possible upset: Winkler

It’d be foolish to pick against Goldstein repeating, as he’s the most popular actor on the most-nominated comedy. Winkler, the most formidable actor nominated here, already won this Emmy for “Barry’s” first season, so sentimentality won’t be a factor. But the work should be. Winkler delivered a series of indelible moments this season on “Barry,” many of them silent, including a look of seething rage that closed out one episode and would have rattled even the Fonz.

A man and woman stroll through a party in season 3 of "Succession."

Annabelle Dexter-Jones and Jeremy Strong in Episode 7, Season 3 of “Succession.”

(Macall Polay/HBO)

“Better Call Saul”
“Squid Game”
“Stranger Things”

Winner: “Succession”
Possible upset: “Squid Game”

With 25 nominations, the most of any series, “Succession,” the swaggering, Shakespearean family drama, looks like a sure bet to reclaim the series Emmy it won in 2020. With that foregone conclusion, can I be excused for looking forward to next year when “Succession” and “The Crown” will likely, finally, compete for the first time, setting up an epic clash rivaling only “Boar on the Floor” in terms of the cutthroat, psychological drama it promises.

A young woman sits on a window seat in a scene from "Euphoria."

Zendaya stars in “Euphoria.”

Jodie Comer, “Killing Eve”
Laura Linney, “Ozark”
Melanie Lynskey, “Yellowjackets”
Sandra Oh, “Killing Eve”
Reese Witherspoon, “The Morning Show”
Zendaya, “Euphoria”

Winner: Zendaya
Possible upset: Lynskey

Zendaya’s 2020 surprise win — I won’t call it an “upset” at the risk of triggering her fans — feels like a distant memory (though, truthfully, everything from two years ago does). She won when “Euphoria” wasn’t nominated, and now that voters have recognized the series for its harrowing, ruthlessly bleak (but never boring!) second season, it’s no leap to predict a repeat.

A man screams in frustration in an arcade in Korea in a scene from "Squid Game."

Korean actor Lee Jung-jae in “Squid Game.”

(Noh Juhan/Netflix)

Jason Bateman, “Ozark”
Brian Cox, “Succession”
Lee Jung-jae, “Squid Game”
Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”
Adam Scott, “Severance”
Jeremy Strong, “Succession”

Winner: Lee
Possible upset: Odenkirk

“Better Call Saul” now has 46 Emmy nominations. It has never won an Emmy. Let that sit for a moment. The show will be eligible again next year for the excellent batch of episodes that led up to its supremely satisfying series finale. Those chapters aired as voters were considering this year’s Emmys, and you’d think that the buzz around them and the authentic way the show ushered out its characters might have an impact on this year’s ceremony. If “Better Call Saul” is going to finally land an Emmy, now’s the time, rather than a year after it ended. But … “Squid Game” took four prizes this past weekend at the Creative Arts Emmys and can’t be underestimated. And Lee carried us through every intense moment of the series. (Sigh.) Wait ‘til next year, Bob?

A young woman looks out a window with a bowl of cereal before her

Julia Garner as Ruth Langmore in “Ozark.”

(Netflix )

Patricia Arquette, “Severance”
Julia Garner, “Ozark”
Jung Ho-yeon, “Squid Game”
Christina Ricci, “Yellowjackets”
Rhea Seehorn, “Better Call Saul”
J. Smith-Cameron, “Succession”
Sarah Snook, “Succession”
Sydney Sweeney, “Euphoria”

Winner: Garner
Possible upset: Seehorn

I’ve already gone on (and on?) about how ridiculous it is that “Better Call Saul” has never won an Emmy. It’s almost as absurd as the fact that this is Seehorn’s first nomination. Let me say again: If not now, when, Emmy voters? It’s not likely to happen here, though, as Garner has won this prize the last two times she was nominated, and voters will likely want to give her a nice sendoff for “Ozark’s” final season.

A man in a linen suit talks on the phone at a Tuscan villa wedding in a scene from "Succession."

Matthew Macfadyen plays Tom Wambsgans in “Succession.”

(Graeme Hunter/HBO)

Nicholas Braun, “Succession”
Billy Crudup, “The Morning Show”
Kieran Culkin, “Succession”
Matthew Macfadyen, “Succession”
Oh Young-soo, “Squid Game”
Park Hae-soo, “Squid Game”
John Turturro, “Severance”
Christopher Walken, “Severance”

Winner: Macfadyen
Possible upset: Culkin

I know a lot of people think Culkin will win, which is perfect because once again, everyone’s underestimating Tom and the brilliant actor who plays him, Macfadyen. Tom spent most of the season musing about prison life, making creepy proposals to Shiv about starting a family (“I’m just vibing to your sexy window”) and nursing resentments until the thrilling finale when he sells out Shiv and her siblings and casts his lot with family patriarch Logan. It was brilliantly executed, the stuff that wins awards.

Staff of a resort wave to arriving guests in next to an ocean with a mountain in the background

Resort staff greet arriving guests in “The White Lotus.”

(Mario Perez/HBO)

“The Dropout”
“Inventing Anna”
“Pam & Tommy”
“The White Lotus”

Winner: “The White Lotus”
Possible upset: “Dopesick”

Book the Pineapple Suite! It’s going to be a big night for Mike White’s sharp satire about sex, class, race and mean girls reading Freud and Nietzsche by the pool.

Toni Collette, “The Staircase”
Julia Garner, “Inventing Anna”
Lily James, “Pam & Tommy”
Sarah Paulson, “Impeachment”
Margaret Qualley, “Maid”
Amanda Seyfried, “The Dropout”

A woman sits on the floor while talking on the phone in "The Dropout."

Amanda Seyfried plays Elizabeth Holmes in “The Dropout.”

(Beth Dubber/Hulu )

Winner: Seyfried
Possible upset: James

This is between Seyfried, eerie and (a little) empathetic as Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, and James, unrecognizable and raw playing “Baywatch” actress Pamela Anderson. Before the nominations, I thought Seyfried had this in the bag. But “Pam & Tommy” earned more nominations than “The Dropout” — though none for writing and directing — and now I’m not so sure. Voters are stupid for physically transformative performances; just ask newly minted Oscar winner Jessica Chastain (“The Eyes of Tammy Faye”).

A man sits in a doctor's office in a scene from "Dopesick."

Michael Keaton stars in “Dopesick.”

(Gene Page/HULU)

Colin Firth, “The Staircase”
Andrew Garfield, “Under the Banner of Heaven”
Oscar Isaac, “Scenes From a Marriage”
Michael Keaton, “Dopesick”
Himesh Patel, “Station Eleven”
Sebastian Stan, “Pam & Tommy”

Winner: Keaton
Possible upset: None

Keaton essentially played three characters in “Dopesick” — the kind, decent doctor who gets duped by Big Pharma, then a desperate, hopeless, broken addict and, finally, a man in recovery trying to do some good for others. It’s a profoundly moving turn, deserving of all the accolades that have come his way.

A woman speaks to hotel staff on a lawn

Jennifer Coolidge, Murray Bartlett and Jolene Purdy in Mike White’s “The White Lotus.”

(Mario Perez/HBO)

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”

Winner: Coolidge
Possible upset: None

Yes, there are five women from “The White Lotus” nominated … but only one’s on the back of a scooter, her beaming smile lighting up Sicily in that Season 2 teaser for the series. Coolidge for the win.

A man looks skeptical

Murray Bartlett stars in “The White Lotus.”


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”

Winner: Bartlett
Possible upset: None

Not a whole lot of suspense in these limited series categories, outside of that race between Seyfried and James in series that no one particularly liked. Good thing we all enjoyed “The White Lotus,” right? (Wait … no?) Bartlett’s grimly enthusiastic, fussy, put-upon resort manager was actually the lead of “The White Lotus,” constantly interacting with staff and guests and providing his singular brand of turn-down service. But isn’t it nice that he and Keaton can both win Emmys? If you’ve got a problem with that, lodge your complaint with the front desk. I’m sure they’ll do their utmost to help.


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