Emmys slugfest 2019: Will ‘America’s mom’ Phylicia Rashad win Best Drama Guest Actress, or will Jessica Lange upset? [WATCH]

“The guest categories are so unpredictable and I feel like Phylicia just has more in her corner,” says Joyce Eng about the Emmy race for Best Drama Guest Actress. Phylicia Rashad (“This is Us”) is the front-runner to win her overdue first prize for playing Susan Kelechi Watson‘s mom in an episode of the NBC family drama. Eng debated the category with her fellow Gold Derby Editors Chris Beachum, Marcus James Dixon, Daniel Montgomery and Susan Wloszczyna, all of whom are betting on Rashad with varying degrees of certitude. Watch their discussion about all the guest-acting races above.

Rashad is the favorite according to the combined predictions of more than 1,000 Gold Derby users, so our Editors certainly aren’t alone in their forecast, but they’re all wary of Rashad’s competitors. Montgomery is pulled “in 50 different directions with this.” He thinks past Emmy winners Cherry Jones (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) and Jessica Lange (“American Horror Story: Apocalypse”) are the closest threats to Rashad, but he “could make a case for all of the other three in this category,” namely Carice van Houten (“Game of Thrones“), Laverne Cox (“Orange is the New Black”) and Cicely Tyson (“How to Get Away with Murder”).

Cox, for instance, would be a historic winner. She would be the first openly transgender actor to take home an Emmy, and in the year of “Pose” (though Cox doesn’t appear on that show), marking that kind of milestone could be appealing to the television academy this season in particular. Meanwhile, van Houten could benefit from farewell sentiment for “Game of Thrones” and Tyson is a beloved industry veteran whose show had a surprising uptick in nominations this year (three total, more than ever).

But Beachum warns that “15 out of 16 acting winners last year were on series nominees, and the only one who wasn’t was Regina King,” who won Best Movie/Mini Actress for “Seven Seconds” on its only nomination. The only nominees this year who fit that bill are Rashad and van Houten, though Jones probably would have had that distinction too if “Handmaid’s” had been eligible for Best Drama this year.

Rashad has never won before despite decades of TV work, and Dixon still thinks “the overdue narrative is enough to push her over the top.” Wloszczyna agrees that Rashad’s work on “The Cosby Show” makes her beloved: “She was America’s mom. She still is — Not the other guy.” So does Rashad have this award in the bag, or is she vulnerable to an upset?

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 winners are announced on September 22. And join in the fun debate over the 2019 Emmys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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