“This year it’s confusing on both sides” in the Emmy races for Best Drama and Comedy Series, admits senior editor Daniel Montgomery in this Emmy prediction slugfest with editor Tom O’Neil. Watch the video above or listen to the audio podcast below.
“On the comedy side, ‘Veep’ is gone because it didn’t air any new episodes during the eligibility period, so that category is going to have a different winner, maybe ‘Atlanta,’ maybe ‘Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ or something else,” Montgomery adds.
“In the drama series race, it’s the opposite problem where you have the two defending champions who are back: ‘Handmaid’s Tale,’ which won last year, and ‘Game of Thrones,’ which won two and three years ago — the last time it was eligible,” he says. “They’ve never gone head to head, so now we have two winners facing off against each other.”
“Atlanta” is the front-runner to win Best Comedy 4/1 odds based on the combined predictions of thousands of Gold Derby users plus our Experts and Editors. It was created, written, directed and produced by its star Donald Glover, who is in a Hollywood honeymoon period right now. “Between ‘This is America,’ his song and big breakout video, and ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story,’ this guy is hotter than ever,” says O’Neil. That might give “Atlanta” the momentum to win, especially after Glover won Best Comedy Actor and Best Comedy Directing for the show last year.
In the race for Best Drama, “Handmaid’s” (4/1 odds) has a cozy lead over the next two contenders: “Game of Thrones” (9/2) and “This Is Us” (11/2), according to our official odds.
Predicting Emmy winners is now a befuddling ordeal because of recent, radical changes in the voting process. For the last two years the Emmy champs have been decided by a plurality vote rather than a ranked preferential ballot. That means you don’t need consensus anymore, just the passionate support of a select few voters. With at least seven nominees for Best Comedy Series you could theoretically prevail with just 15% of the vote. That could help “Atlanta” since “it’s the kind of show where a few people are going to love it, and a lot of people are not going to really get it,” says Montgomery. So it can be divisive and still win, as long as its fan base is devoted enough to come out in force for it when it’s time to vote.
But Montgomery cautions that “funny almost always wins Best Comedy Series.” “Atlanta” is a lot darker than any other comedy that has ever won the top prize, which could benefit the freshman series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” That show has been zealously pushed by Amazon. O’Neil points out the “smart” ad campaign with “joyous” artwork. And star Rachel Brosnahan is “so appealing as a candidate that … you may vote for it because it makes you feel so good, and isn’t she charming!”
Those aren’t the only shows in the running. There’s also a chance “Black-ish” could finally win thanks in part to its ambitious “Juneteenth” episode. “Silicon Valley” has increased in nominations every single year, so underestimate it as your own risk. “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is long overdue with seven past Comedy Series losses since the show debuted way back in 2000.
Speaking of the year 2000, that’s when “Will and Grace” won this award during its original run; now that it’s back voters might be feeling nostalgic. And acclaimed new shows like “GLOW” and “Barry” could have beginner’s luck. A number of shows that have dominated the Emmys — comedies and dramas alike — won on their very first try, like “30 Rock,” “Modern Family,” “The West Wing” and “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
So who do you think has the edge for Best Comedy Series? Here is the audio podcast version:
Be sure to make your Emmy predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before nominees are announced on July 12. And join in the fun debate over the 2018 Emmys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.