After six nominations and winning two Emmys last year, both for series creator and star Donald Glover as Best Comedy Actor and Best Comedy Directing, I’m expecting FX’s “Atlanta” to bring in a bigger haul of noms this year for its critically acclaimed second season. In our current combined odds, the series is already our frontrunner to win two awards: Best Comedy Series with 4/1 odds and a repeat in Best Comedy Actor for Glover with 3/1 odds. And yet in order to top last year’s six nominations, “Atlanta” will likely need to gain support in the acting categories.
Below I break down five of the show’s performers, their current odds in the race and the episodes Emmy voters need to watch in order to see their best work from this season. Overall, I think “Atlanta” SHOULD get these five nominations for acting, but what do you think? Sound off about your favorite performances from “Atlanta” in the comments.
“Atlanta” will also likely to contend for wins in the Comedy Directing and Comedy Writing categories at the 2018 Emmys. Series submissions in those fields are the episodes “FUBU” for Glover and “Teddy Perkins” for his close collaborator Hiro Murai in directing and the season premiere “Alligator Man,” the hilarious “Barbershop,” and the ambitious “FUBU” for consideration in writing. “Atlanta” earned two writing nominations last year, but couldn’t pull out a win — it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them double-nominated there again this time around. It is a shoe-in for another nomination for Comedy Casting as well.
Donald Glover – Comedy Actor – 3/1 odds
Glover is the reigning champ in this category and as such is as close to a lock for a nomination as you can get. His industry profile has skyrocketed since his Emmy win last year, including Album of the Year and Record of the Year nominations at the Grammys, his first #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 for “This Is America,” and a starring turn in the latest “Star Wars” installment “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” As a creator, director and writer for the series his fingerprint is all over the show, but to see his best on-screen work this year check out episode 4 “Helen,” a two-hander between him and Beetz, and episode 9 “North of the Border,” where the guys take a road trip to a university and Earn finds himself getting high under a massive Confederate flag at a predominantly white frat house.
Zazie Beetz – Comedy Supporting Actress – 33/1 odds
Right now, Beetz is just outside of our predicted seven nominees in the female supporting field, but that does not mean she’s a long-shot. Aside from being given more work to do in this second season, Beetz will also be familiar to voters who went to see her Spring blockbuster film “Deadpool 2.” She had two incredible showcases this year that voters will take notice of–episode 4 “Helen” shows Van finding her voice within her relationship and episode 7 “Champagne Papi” allows her to explore that voice. “Champagne Papi” is also the episode submitted for guest actress Gail Beane who plays Van’s friend Nadine. In the episode Nadine goes on a trip after eating pot-infused gummies, setting the stage for a comedic turn that eventually finds her opposite Stanfield. Beane would be a truly inspired nomination in the Comedy Guest Actress category, but she is a longshot.
The show’s best chance at a second acting nomination is with Henry who plays, arguably, a co-lead role as Alfred ‘Paper Boi’ Miles. He is currently ranked 4th in our odds to earn a nomination and since he’s coming off of his first ever Tony nomination (Featured Actor in a Play for “Lobby Hero”) and has a number of high profile films in the pipeline (Barry Jenkins‘ “If Beale Street Could Talk” and Steve McQueen‘s “Widows,” to name a few) we know voters will not leave him off of their ballot. If you want to catch his best work this season, episode 8 “Woods” is not only his personal best work, but also a series best installment as well. He also features heavily in episode 5 “Barbershop” alongside guest actor Robert S. Powell III who plays his scamming and time-wasting barber Bibby in one of the show’s funniest episodes ever. Unfortunately Powell is a longshot at his own nomination, but I’d consider giving him an assist if Henry is in fact nominated.
Lakeith Stanfield – Comedy Supporting Actor – 100/1 odds
After seeing what I think is one of the most daring episodes of television ever, “Teddy Perkins,” I couldn’t help but write at length about how badly Stanfield deserves an Emmy nomination. Unfortunately, we still have him ranked as a longshot for a nom, but hopefully once voters check out the episode for consideration in the Directing category they’ll wake up to the brilliance that is Stanfield’s transformative performance. Episode 6 is without a doubt the best example of what Stanfield achieves in the role of Darius, but he is also a true supporting player, riddled throughout the season to lighten the mood and deliver comedic value in the otherwise tense relationship between his two friends, Earn and Paper Boi. Emmy voters, please don’t let me down–nominate Lakeith Stanfield!
Katt Williams – Comedy Guest Actor – 80/1 odds
Williams is currently ranked ninth in our predictions to earn a nomination in the guest actor field and for good reason. He features heavily in the Season 2 premiere episode “Alligator Man” which, as a submission for writing consideration, is the likeliest episode for voters to have watched. In that episode Williams enters as Earn’s uncle Willie in order to defuse a domestic disturbance issue that is likely to involve the cops. Earn is able to calm the situation down and prevent any complications, but not before we get some scene-stealing work from Williams and after Willie entrusts him with a gold-plated gun that becomes a major plot device throughout the season. Without a doubt, Williams is not only one of the nominations “Atlanta” deserves, but it’s also one it’s within striking distance of achieving.
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 Emmy taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.