Emmys 2020 Predictions Slugfest: Which drama underdogs will surprise with nominations? [WATCH]

“It’s one of the few shows during this pandemic that has provided us with weekly watercooler moments,” I remark of Emmy contender “Westworld.” Since the show was one of the few series that provided respite during the global pandemic, I have it topping my current predictions. HBO’s sci-fi epic is just one of the many underdogs for Best Drama Series discussed in the latest slugfest between contributing editors Riley Chow, Rob Licuria, Matt Noble, and myself. Watch the full video above.

Riley jokes that my “Westworld” prediction belongs to a different Emmy year, but I remind him that Season 2 made it one of the most nominated series at the 2018 ceremony with a whopping 21 bids after pundits underestimated its complex narrative. “If they could get this huge nomination haul for their most confusing season ever,” I note, “they’re certainly going to get a bunch of nominations for this season.” But Matt fears that Season 3’s real world setting may cause some voters to jump ship. “They’ve dropped the ‘West’ this season!” he exclaims. “It’s just ‘World.’”

SEE Cynthia Erivo interview: ‘The Outsider’

Rob has a hunch that HBO will find Emmy success  with two other dramas: “Euphoria” and “The Outsider.” When discussing “Euphoria” he reveals that he’s “heard a lot of really influential people in the industry talk about how much they’ve loved it.” The show just landed a TCA nomination for Outstanding Achievement in Drama, so perhaps he’s on to something. As for “The Outsider,” Rob believes the love for producer/director/actor Jason Bateman and a dynamite performance from Cynthia Erivo will lead to attention from voters.

The four of us are all backing different dark horse contenders in the drama acting races. I believe that Fiona Shaw (“Killing Eve”) is being underestimated because “the actors in that show are so well respected.” Matt likes the chances of Gugu Mbatha-Raw since “The Morning Show” is a more likely Drama Series contender.  He also believes Jeffrey Wright (the one major “Westworld” actor I’m hesitant on) will make a return as a nominee. “He’s shown he can get nominated in supporting, he can get nominated in lead,” Matt reminds us.

SEE Patrick Stewart interview: ‘Star Trek: Picard’

Riley has high hopes for “The Morning Show” in nearly every acting category, including a bid for Steve Carell for Best Drama Actor. “I think ‘The Morning Show’ is just acting bait,’ Riley says. I opt for a more daring pick in the that race, predicting that Sir Patrick Stewart will land a nomination for “Star Trek: Picard.” “There was just such excitement over Patrick Stewart returning to Picard,” I explain. “That type of excitement is what can lead to surprises at the Emmys.”

Still, Rob reminds all of us that Emmy voters often reward the same crop of actors year after year. “They love repeats,” he explains. “If your show hasn’t dropped off a cliff, then generally speaking it will probably repeat.” That’s why he’s picked former nominees Yvonne Strahovski and Joseph Fiennes to reap bids for “The Handmaid’s Tale” even though our odds show them as underdogs.

Make sure to watch the complete slugfest to hear our full thoughts on potential surprises in the drama races.

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