Best Comedy Series and Best Drama Series get most of the attention, but there are three other Best Series awards that will be presented on the main Emmy telecast and each matters just as much in prediction scores: Best Competition Program, Best Limited Series and Best Variety Talk Series. There is an overwhelming front-runner in each race per Gold Derby’s combined odds, but are these categories really that clear-cut? Fellow contributors Kevin Jacobsen and Luca Giliberti joined me in a slugfest to debate our predictions (watch the video above).
“When a show like ‘Watchmen’ has the number of nominations of the other four shows combined, then that’s a sign that this is mostly over,” says Jacobsen about the Best Limited Series race. “Watchmen” actually leads all programs at the Emmys this year, with 26 nominations; a haul of 12 nominations makes “Hollywood” the second-most-nominated limited series, but it is not nominated in the Best Limited Series category itself. I add, “I’ve got ‘Watchmen’ winning 14 awards right now, which would make it the new record holder for most wins by a program in a single year. It could win 15 because I don’t have Jean Smart; on its worst day, it wins six.”
” ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ is an international institution at this point,” says Jacobsen about the Best Competition Program front-runner that has won the award the last two years. The other four nominees have a combined 14 nominations, opposite 13 this year for the “Drag Race” franchise. I rank “The Masked Singer” second on the basis of its wildcard status as a first-time nominee in this category.
“Last Week Tonight” is heavily favored for a fifth consecutive win in Best Variety Talk Series, but our panel is unanimous that John Oliver will be upset for the first time by Trevor Noah with “The Daily Show,” which won 11 times under Jon Stewart. Noah’s show broke through suddenly this year with nominations for its directing, editing, sound and writing, making for a nomination haul that no challenger to “Last Week Tonight” has ever achieved. Jacobsen reasons, “This is a prime example of a late-night host really excelling in these times of 2020 and adapting their show in a very special way, being virtual and speaking to our times.”
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