TCA Awards: Emmy frontrunners face off first for TV critics prizes

With one week to go in the nominations phase of the Emmy Awards, the Television Critics Association has announced the contenders for its 33rd annual awards. Leading with four bids apiece are three TV newcomers: the FX comedy series “Atlanta” and two dramas – Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” and NBC’s “This Is Us.” (See the full list of TCA Awards nominations.)

All three of these shows contend for the top TCA prize — Program of the Year — as do a pair of three-time nominees, the HBO limited series “Big Little Lies” and the Netflix drama “Stranger Things,” as well as the final season of the HBO drama “The Leftovers.”

Another drama series that streams on Netflix, “”The Crown,” reaped three bids as did the FX limited series “Feud: Bette and Joan” and the NBC comedy “The Good Place.”

Not surprisingly, the three nominations leaders are all vying for New Program of the Year as are “The Crown,” “Stranger Things” and “The Good Place.”

While the individual achievement races are gender neutral, this year marks the first time they have been dominated by women. The two Emmy frontrunners for Best Drama Actress – Claire Foy (“The Crown”) and Elisabeth Moss (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) — face off against “Feud” leading ladies Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon and “Big Little Lies” scene stealer Nicole Kidman (at the Emmys these three will contend over in movie/limited series) as well as Carrie Coon (who is cited for both “Fargo” and “The Leftovers”) and the sole man in the running, Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”).

On the comedy side, reigning five-time Emmy champ Julia Louis Dreyfus (“Veep”) vies against a slew of creators/stars – Pamela Adlon (“Better Things”), Aziz Ansari (“Master of None”), Donald Glover (“Atlanta”), Issa Rae (“Insecure”) and Phoebe Waller-Bridge (“Fleabag”) — as well as Kristen Bell (“The Good Place”).

The TCA Awards use the same eligibility period – June 1, 2016 and May 31, 2017 – as the Emmys. Winners will be announced on Aug. 5 in a ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel presided over by Tony and Emmy winner Kristin Chenoweth. Final Emmy balloting begins on Aug. 14.

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