It should be a big night for newcomers and network television when the 2017 Emmy Awards is broadcast Sunday night.
A handful of new shows, including “Westworld,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “This Is Us,” “Feud: Bette and Joan” and “Big Little Lies,” scored big when nominations were announced in July. “Saturday Night Live,” a network veteran, tied with “Westworld” for the most nominations with 22 apiece.
For the TV networks, this year’s Emmy Awards presents a rare chance in recent years to dominate. Ken Tucker, Yahoo! TV’s critic-at-large, expects NBC, the network that airs “SNL” and “This Is Us,” to have a good night.
“I think ‘This is Us’ will be sweeping up a lot of awards, which would be news in the sense that it’s one of few network shows being nominated — it’s the only network drama in the drama category.”
As for the 22 nominations for “SNL,” Tucker said, “Trump lifted all boats there. When you’ve got Alec Baldwin so much in the center of pop culture, it really raised the visibility of that show more than it has been in years.”
So, without further ado, here are Tucker’s predictions for 69th Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by Stephen Colbert and airing Sunday:
Tucker is torn. Although he said “The Handmaid’s Tale” has the strongest chance of winning, he picks “This Is Us” for the win. Let’s throw network television a bone,” he said, calling the multi-generational drama “undeniably a great show.”
Lead actress in a drama series
“This is where I think ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ comes to the fore. I think Elisabeth Moss will win,” Tucker said. “In the past, Robin Wright has had a very good run … but I think this is Elisabeth Moss’ year.”
Supporting actress in a drama series
For the supporting category, Tucker flipped back to “This Is Us” and actress Chrissy Metz. “There were a number of strong performances, including Ann Dowd, and a lot of people are going to look at Millie Bobby Brown in “Stranger Things,” Tucker said. “But I think Metz will win. [She plays] a kind of character we don’t see very often.”
Lead actor in a drama series
“At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I think Sterling K. Brown is the guy to beat,” Tucker said about the “This Is Us” star. “Some say that Brown being up against Milo Ventimiglia, those votes might cancel each other out. But I think with Brown having won last year (for ‘The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story’), he has the momentum.”
Supporting actor in a drama series
Tucker give Lithgow the strongest chance of winning for his role in “The Crown.” “He did such a great job playing Churchill,” he said, adding that there’s always a chance that Mandy Patinkin or Jeffrey Wright could pick up the Emmy.
Although Tucker’s favorite comedy this season was “Atlanta,” he said, “I just think ‘Veep’ is pretty near unbeatable. It was another strong season, and coming after the Trump election they had to do a lot of rewriting. They did a terrific job of making that show timely.” It was just announced that the upcoming season will be the series last one. “It’s one of the last times to give it some love,” Tucker said.
Lead actress in a comedy series
Speaking of “Veep,” Tucker predicted another win for its star. “You can’t beat her, Julia Louis-Dreyfus,” he said.
Supporting actress in a comedy series
“Here I think Kate McKinnon is going to win,” Tucker said about the “SNL” star. “She was so strong throughout the season. Her Hillary Clinton was so good. And because ‘SNL’ was such as pop culture barometer in the political season, it beats out performances in more conventional comedies.”
Lead actor in a comedy series
“Atlanta” has its best chance for a win, Tucker said, with star Donald Glover earning the Emmy. “Looking at the competition, I think he has a good chance of beating Jeffrey Tambor, his closest competitor.”
Supporting actor in a comedy series
Chalk up another win for “SNL,” Tucker predicted. “I think Alec Baldwin is just hands-down the winner. If there is one sure shot of the night, it’s him for his Trump impersonation. It was so pervasive, it overshadowed everything else.”
Limited series or movie
Among this year’s entrees, Tucker said he went back and forth between the two leaders, “Big Little Lies” and “Feud: Bette and Joan.” “Both are excellent productions, but I give the edge to ‘Big Little Lies,'” he said. “It’s one of those limited series that just got better as it went as it went along.”
Lead actress in a limited series or movie
“It’s going to be tough — the names alone, they are just such big names,” Tucker said about the lead actress category. “Carrie Coon and Felicity Huffman did very well, but these kind of big name movie star names (Sarandon, Lange, Kidman and Witherspoon) are very impressive. I think Nicole Kidman will win. It was a strikingly strong performance.”
Lead actor in a limited series or movie
Tucker predicted the underrated “The Night Of” would earn a win for its star Riz Ahmed. But, he added, don’t count out Robert De Niro for his portrayal of Bernie Madoff.