Welcome to Emmy Experts Typing, a weekly column in which Gold Derby editors and Experts Joyce Eng and Christopher Rosen discuss the Emmy race — via Slack, of course. This week, we revisit drama and try to figure out the eighth series slot.
Christopher Rosen: Hello, Joyce! We’re back again to get dramatic. Although, I can’t say there is a lot of intrigue in the main drama categories at the moment, all of which feel pretty consistent with what we’ve been typing and saying for months. “Succession” remains way out in front for drama series — I’m vibrating already at the prospect of Sunday’s penultimate episode, Logan’s funeral — and the other shows in contention here feel pretty safe: “Andor,” “Better Call Saul,” “The Crown,” “House of the Dragon,” “The Last of Us,” “The White Lotus,” and “Yellowjackets.” (Pause here to acknowledge your reticence to predict “House of the Dragon,” instead going with “The Mandalorian.” Godspeed!) (A second pause to acknowledge that despite weeks of trying to find something else, I agree with you that “Andor” is probably a safe bet to get in.) As noted in those unnecessary parentheticals, the shows that feel wobbly in terms of getting a Best Drama Series nomination are “Andor” and “House of the Dragon.” I can’t go with you on “The Mandalorian,” the third season of which left many fans scratching their heads and felt like it came and went in the zeitgeist with barely a shrug, lost in the wake of “The Last of Us” enthusiasm for Pedro Pascal. But I do agree there aren’t a lot of other picks here that feel reasonable! At least we know people watched “The Mandalorian.” According to the combined odds, “Yellowstone” remains a strong contender (it currently ranks ninth, just ahead of Mando), but I’ve been fooled into thinking that blockbuster hit could break through with academy voters before. Fool me once, that’s all you need for me to change my stripes! Other shows I’ve toyed with: “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “The Diplomat.” The former is obviously a past winner, the latter is a well-reviewed and highly watched show on Netflix. I could make the case that each gets in ahead of “Andor” and “House of the Dragon,” but I still can’t pull the trigger on actually predicting it. Then there’s “Bad Sisters,” fresh off winning Best Drama Series at the BAFTA TV Awards. Apple remains committed to the series — and its strong critical success makes it feel like a dark horse contender kind of hiding in plain sight (it’s still 100/1 in the Gold Derby odds). I know you like to wait before making changes to your predictions — you value consideration and history over my preferred method of knee-jerk whims and personal preferences — so what do you think you’ll do here come July 11.
joyceeng: Bold of you to act like I’m in the tank for Mando when I’ve said time and time again it’s a placeholder in that open eighth slot! But least you’ve seen the light about “Andor,” which is top five in my book, ahead of “Yellowjackets” and “The Crown.” I don’t think it’s in danger of missing out to “House of the Dragon,” which is battling with “The Mandalorian” and others for the last spot. As I’ve said previously™, “House of the Dragon” can definitely get in because of how up in the air the eighth spot is and it’ll probably do well in crafts, but there are a lot of red flags that I don’t think casual observers have clocked, hence its inflated odds. It had a dire guild run over the winter in the absence of top dogs like “Succession” and “The Last of Us.” It couldn’t even win the one SAG category for which it was nominated: stunt ensemble, which “Game of Thrones” won for all eight seasons. It’s also not under-seen or a highbrow show or “little show that could” (the complete opposite, actually, lol) you can picture Emmy voters discovering or going to bat for, like a “Schitt’s Creek” or a “Fleabag.” It just feels like there’s not a ton of passion behind it, and to your point of Mando being overshadowed by “The Last of Us,” “House of the Dragon” has been crushed by the triple whammy of “The White Lotus,” “The Last of Us” and “Succession” airing back to back to back on Sundays on HBO to greater acclaim and buzz. I can see both “The Mandalorian” and “House of the Dragon” missing because either one (or less likely, both) making it in addition to “The Last of Us” and “Andor” would be a whole lotta genre shows. I think those female-skewing and -fronted shows you mentioned and Netflix’s latest hit “Queen Charlotte” can take advantage of the genre-off because they’ll appeal to a different demo. “The Diplomat” and “Queen Charlotte” have the visibility on Netflix, but “Bad Sisters” might have the passion on a restricted ballot. It can make writing (it hit WGA), but I could also see it just maxing out there, like Sharon Horgan‘s previous series, the delightful “Catastrophe.” At one point, I had Horgan in my drama actress lineup and I returned to triple “Yellowjackets” last week, but now I’m considering dropping down to two and adding not Horgan but Keri Russell, with whom I flirted with including last month. And before you ask, yes, I still have Matthew Rhys in drama actor.
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Christopher Rosen: I’m not ready to go to three “Yellowjackets” actresses just yet — I still don’t think Juliette Lewis has done enough this season to warrant inclusion and if anyone was going to be the third, it would probably be Tawny Cypress, but she also feels a few key scenes short to me thus far — but I feel like Sophie Nélisse and the GOAT Melanie Lynskey are safe. I’ve also got the obvious picks in Sarah Snook and Bella Ramsey. But I’m wavering on both the fifth and sixth positions. Like everyone else, I’ve plugged Imelda Staunton in for a nomination but I have such doubts about her — to mix awards ceremonies, she’s got Denis Villeneuve for “Dune” vibes coming off her candidacy. Then, for my final pick, I’ve gone back to Elisabeth Moss. Why not? But Russell feels really possible — as do Horgan and maybe even “Fast X” star Helen Mirren for “1923”? At the very least, it’s easy to imagine the Oscar winner being an easy namecheck, and of all the actors in the “Yellowstone”-verse, none have her bona fides. The actor race is definitely a little easier to handicap: “Succession” times three, Bob Odenkirk, Pascal and then one last dude. I’ve got Diego Luna in that position, but could easily see Rhys getting in on passion. A lot of experts have Jeff Bridges scoring a nomination too (over Luna and Rhys), but I’m not really sure the passion for “The Old Man” is there. But let me ask you: Are we overestimating the “Succession” love, by which I mean, will Brian Cox somehow miss for his towering but brief performance?
joyceeng: While you were typing — not to be confused with my favorite rom-com, “While You Were Sleeping” — I switched to “Bad Sisters” and Russell for maximum controlled chaos. “Succession” is looking good to take up half the drama actor category. I feel like most of the unwillingness to predict Cox are anti-dictions because people are miffed about him staying in lead with limited screen time. But there’s no screen time or episode count requirement for the regular series acting categories. And like I mentioned last week, even if you only have him in sixth, who is formidable enough to unseat him? He has the strongest show by far than any of the fringe contenders, he was probably runner-up to Jeremy Strong in 2020, Logan’s death was such a Moment, and this is the last time you can vote for him. I have no idea if any voter thinks this way, but maybe you’re like, “I’m not gonna vote for Brian to win, but I want him to get one last nomination.” If he had gone supporting, he could’ve given Matthew Macfadyen a run for his money, but Macfadyen continues to serve haymakers week after week. Cox has also saved me from being like, “Am I really gonna predict five ‘Succession’ guys?” Alas, I have four. But now I’m considering swapping my current “White Lotus” men, F. Murray Abraham and Michael Imperioli, for one or two of their co-stars, which I know would be music to your ears.
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Christopher Rosen: One of us, one of us, one of us! I’ve got Tom Hollander holding firm in my picks — mostly due to the fact that so many of his scenes are with Jennifer Coolidge. But if I were going to add another “White Lotus” fella, I’d probably go with Will Sharpe over Theo James. What surprises me most about the supporting actor is the relative lack of support for Elijah Wood, who I refuse to move away from. He’s been great on this season of “Yellowjackets” and similarly is doing all his work opposite another surefire supporting actress nominee in Christina Ricci. It just feels like he’ll get in too. We both have the four “Succession” guys making up half this category, however, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t wish it were five. Yes, I do want David Rasche to get nominated. Karl has thrived this season and I’d go in on a Greek Island with him any time.
joyceeng: Rasche has been operating in a humorous vein since Karl tapped out to get a sandwich last season, but it’d feel wrong if Peter Friedman weren’t nominated alongside him (I’m still over here thinking about Frank pounding the wall and telling Kendall, “He’s flying the plane, son”). “Yellowjackets” is interesting because it can for sure pull in new acting nominees this year, but I’m not sure if the men — Warren Kole has also been great this season — would be part of that expansion. I feel like people, understandably, focus on the ladies first and foremost when it comes to this show. But maybe I’m just underestimating the “Yellowjackets,” uh, hive within the academy.
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