‘Westworld’: Don’t make the mistake of underestimating it at the Emmys … again

Over its first two seasons, the sci-fi series “Westworld” won 9 Emmys out of a whopping 43 bids, and it was nominated for Best Drama Series in both 2017 and 2018. But it’s a show we keep underestimating only for it to rule the nominations tallies. Might it do better than we’re expecting it to yet again?

In 2017 we were predicting “Westworld” to be nominated for Best Drama Series, but we thought it was on the bubble and ranked it seventh with 21/2 odds. In acting races, we were right that Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton and Jeffrey Wright would be nominated, but we were less sure about Anthony Hopkins — he made it in too. Overall the show picked up 22 bids, which tied it with “Saturday Night Live” as the year’s most nominated program.

But “Game of Thrones” was on extended hiatus that year, so there was room for “Westworld” to take its place. “Thrones” returned in 2018, and we wondered if maybe the television academy would turn its back on the futuristic drama. Again we ranked “Westworld” seventh for Best Drama Series, this time with slightly better 19/2 odds, and again it exceeded our expectations. “Thrones” did lead the way with 22 bids, but “Westworld” still managed to wrangle up 21, and Newton upset to win Best Drama Supporting Actress.

“Westworld” took an extended hiatus, so it wasn’t eligible in 2019, but it returned this spring for a third season unlike anything that came before, bringing us from the title Western theme park setting to a real-world future dystopia. Once again it’s vying for Emmys without “Game of Thrones” in the way (that show ended its run last year). But we still think it’s on the bubble, ranking it eighth with 18/1 odds based on the combined predictions of more than 1,500 Gold Derby users.

True, even with “Game of Thrones” off the air it still faces a crowded field including “The Crown,” “Stranger Things” and “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which are also back after sitting out the 2018-2019 eligibility period. But “Westworld” has faced those shows before and still cleaned up in the nominations.

The Expert journalists we’ve surveyed aren’t counting it out, though. Nine of them say it will be nominated again for Best Drama Series: Joyce Eng (Gold Derby), Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post), Ed Martin (Media Village), Robert Rorke, Jazz Tangcay (Variety), Kaitlin Thomas (TVGuide.com), Anne Thompson (IndieWire), Ben Travers (IndieWire) and Matt Webb Mitovich (TVLine). That places the show sixth in our Experts’ odds. As we’ve seen before, those robotic hosts won’t go down without a fight.

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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 the nominees are announced on July 28. And join in the fun debate over the 2020 Emmys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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