2018 Emmy slugfest: Our contributors react to drama nominations and duke it out over who will win [WATCH]

“If there is one show that is really having a bad morning, it’s the show that is supposed to make you happy-cry and that is of course ‘This is Us,’” Zach Laws tells fellow Gold Derby contributors Charles Bright, Riley Chow, Tom O’Brien and Amanda Spears in our slugfest about the Emmy nominations in the drama categories (watch above). See the complete list of nominees here.

Laws adds, “They got [seven] acting nominations last year; this year they got half of that and lost a couple of people. No writing or directing.” So does that close the door to a potential “This is Us” win for Best Drama Series? “If I were a betting man,” says Laws, “I would say that ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ has probably sewn this up … The fact that it went from [13] nominations to 20 speaks volumes to its appeal to the academy.”

Spears counters, “[‘Handmaid’s’] had a very up-and-down season. It wasn’t as good as last year, and ‘Game of Thrones’ could take this again.” I add that while “‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is firmly ahead with the acting branch, I wonder if ‘Game of Thrones’ is ahead with all the other ones, like how it picked up triple editing nominations and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ can only get one.”

But Laws is steadfast in his assessment of the Best Drama Series race: “I’m not just betting on it because of the sheer number of nominations. The reason why ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ won last year wasn’t just because it was the best of the nominees; it won because of its social relevance. It won because voters wanted to make a statement with how they were voting and … there’s not another show with which voters can make a statement.”

Westworld” actually has a higher nominations tally than “The Handmaid’s Tale,” but none of us are currently betting on it to win. Laws thinks it’s “pretty remarkable that ‘Westworld’ still managed to get 21 nominations and not a single one for writing or directing.” I wonder “if they’ve actually seen this season based on some of the nominations,” noting the absence of Zahn McClarnon for Drama Supporting Actor, Rinko Kikuchi for Drama Guest Actress and Peter Mullan for Drama Guest Actor. Instead, they nominated “the guy who was in supporting last year and is now in guest (Jimmi Simpson) and they didn’t nominate Anthony Hopkins, but maybe that’s because they got to the end of the first season and saw that he died and they didn’t even know he was still on the show.”

If there is a new winner, Spears suggests that it could be “The Crown.” “Everyone’s underestimating it, but look out for that,” she argues. “It really over-performed from what we were expecting, and it’s about a woman in charge in a time when women were not in charge.”

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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