[WATCH] Emmy predictions slugfest: How did Rami Malek, Robin Wright & Kit Harington suddenly take the lead?

A lot has changed in the Emmy race since nominations were announced on July 18. According to the predictions of the experts TV journalists we’ve polled, there are new frontrunners in many of the top races. How did that happen? In our latest editors slugfest (watch it above), Tom O’Neil, Paul Sheehan, Chris Beachum, Marcus Dixon and I discuss how Rami Malek (“Mr. Robot”), Robin Wright (“House of Cards”), Kit Harington (“Game of Thrones”) and others have suddenly taken the lead.

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Malek is in a tight race for Best Drama Actor against Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards”) and Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”). Before the nominations were announced most experts thought two-time SAG winner Spacey had the advantage. Why the sudden change of heart?  “Mr. Robot” has returned for its highly anticipated second season, so Malek is back giving emotionally charged performances, keeping him fresh in the minds of our experts, and possibly in the minds of Emmy voters too.

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Meanwhile, Wright has taken the lead in our Best Drama Actress predictions from defending champ Viola Davis (“How to Get Away with Murder”). That shift is due in large part to just how much the TV academy’s acting branch loved “House of Cards,” nominating a whopping eight actors. Davis, on the other hand, has the only nomination for “Murder” — is there enough love for the actress to overcome such limited affection for her show?

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Unlike Malek and Wright, Harington wasn’t even guaranteed a nomination.  But after five previous seasons without recognition, his character Jon Snow literally rose from the dead and so did his Emmy prospects. He’s nominated for Best Drama Supporting Actor for the first time, up against his co-star and two-time winner Peter Dinklage. If getting the nomination was truly the hard part for Harrington, does that make him a slam dunk now that he has finally made the cut? Possibly, as this was truly the season of Jon Snow.

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