2018 Emmy predictions slugfest: Why you must pay attention to the Best Casting categories [WATCH]

One of the most important Emmy categories to keep an eye on (four categories, to be exact) is Best Casting. That’s because oftentimes “what wins casting wins program,” explains Gold Derby contributor Amanda Spears. She recently joined me and Riley Chow to discuss the contenders for Comedy, Drama, Movie/Mini, and Reality Casting. Watch our entire slugfest above.

Though they may seem like some of the more obscure prizes rewarded at the Creative Arts ceremony, Spears argues that they are significant precursors because they’re voted on by “a good chunk of the academy,” including directors, producers, and, of course, casting directors.

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“[The casting categories] seem to line up way too much with the series categories,” adds Chow. He cites recent Best Casting wins for Drama Series and Comedy Series champs “Game of Thrones” (2015-2016) and “Veep” (2015-2017). Both shows had been on for years by the time they started winning, which may be evidence that voters are not paying particularly close attention to new additions to the cast, instead just opting for the program they like the most.

But I caution we shouldn’t always put so much stock in what wins here. After all, “Stranger Things” skyrocketed in our Best Drama Series predictions last year after winning the casting prize, only to lose Best Drama Series to “The Handmaid’s Tale.” While “the safe choice is always going to be” picking “whatever you think is going to win series, we did get our exception finally last year.”

This year “Stranger Things” once again faces “The Handmaid’s Tale” for Best Drama Casting. They’re up against returning champ “Game of Thrones” and previous contenders “The Crown” and “Westworld.” All five are nominated for Best Drama Series, alongside “The Americans” and “This Is Us.”

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On the comedy side, prior nominees “Atlanta” and “Silicon Valley” will duke it out against three newcomers: “Barry,” “GLOW” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” As is the case in drama, all five are also Best Comedy Series nominees, where they’re joined by “Black-ish,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.”

Best Movie/Mini Casting naturally offers a fresh batch of contenders: “The Assassination of Gianni Versace,” “Godless,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “The Looming Tower” and “Patrick Melrose.” “Versace” is the second installment of FX’s anthology series “American Crime Story,” so it’s the closest thing we have to a returning champ since the premiere season, “The People v. O.J. Simpson,” won this category in 2016. Though it’s the front-runner in our Best Limited Series predictions, a victory for something else here could signal a significant shift in momentum.

The race for Reality Casting was just created last year, and it’s trickier to predict since it pulls contenders from competition, structured, and unstructured reality shows. Last year’s casting winner, “Born This Way,” lost Best Unstructured Reality Program to “United Shades of America,” which wasn’t even nominated in this category. This time around “Born This Way” competes against Reality Competition nominees “Project Runway,” “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and “The Voice,” as well as Structured Reality contender “Queer Eye.”

Make your Emmy predictions, so that Hollywood insiders can see how their shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before the ceremony on September 17. And join in the fun debate taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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