Emmy predictions: Expect a big night for ‘Watchmen,’ ‘Succession’

WTOP's Jason Fraley predicts the Emmys

The 72nd annual Primetime Emmy Awards honor TV’s best Sunday night on ABC.

However, the entire show will be presented virtually, streaming from actors’ homes.

Host Jimmy Kimmel is managing expectations, joking that “people love train wrecks.”

Who deserves to win on TV’s biggest night?

Check out my predictions below:

Outstanding Drama Series

Nominees: “Better Call Saul,” “The Crown,” “Killing Eve,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “The Mandalorian,” “Ozark,” “Stranger Things,” “Succession”

Prediction: “Succession”

Two-time defending champ “Game of Thrones” is no longer on the air, making room for a new winner this year. While I would be thrilled to see Netflix’s “Ozark” win for the most gripping cliffhangers since “Breaking Bad,” expect the trophy to stay at HBO thanks to “Succession.” Its family power struggle has echoes of “The Lion in Winter” (1968) and “The Godfather” (1972), only instead of Peter O’Toole or Marlon Brando, we have Brian Cox as patriarch Logan Roy scheming to hand over his empire. There are also obvious parallels to Donald Trump and Rupert Murdoch (ATN is basically Fox News), so expect a pre-Election Day vote for “Succession.”

Best Actor (Drama)

Nominees: Jason Bateman (“Ozark”), Sterling K. Brown (“This is Us”), Billy Porter (“Pose”), Jeremy Strong (“Succession”), Brian Cox (“Succession”), Steve Carell (“The Morning Show”)

Prediction: Jeremy Strong (“Succession”)

Defending champ Billy Porter (“Pose”) is back, but his win felt more like a one-time gesture than a back-to-back streak. This year, the acting prize will likely go to Jeremy Strong, who completely transformed his performance as Kendall Roy between Season 1 to Season 2 due to a splashy twist at the end of the first season. However, Brian Cox (“Succession”) won at the Golden Globes, so if they split the vote, it could open up a lane for Jason Bateman (“Ozark”) or Steve Carell (“The Morning Show”) to slide in for the win. Still, I’m betting on Strong.

Best Actress (Drama)

Nominees: Jennifer Aniston (“The Morning Show”), Olivia Colman (“The Crown”), Jodie Comer (“Killing Eve”), Laura Linney (“Ozark”), Sandra Oh (“Killing Eve”), Zendaya (“Euphoria”)

Prediction: Laura Linney (“Ozark”)

Jodie Comer (“Killing Eve”) returns as the defending Emmy champ, Jennifer Aniston (“The Morning Show”) won at the SAG Awards and Olivia Colman (“The Crown”) won at the Golden Globes after taking over as Queen Elizabeth II. However, I don’t think it’ll be any of those three. This year is Laura Linney’s turn for her role as the the cold-blooded matriarch Wendy Byrde in “Ozark.” Her performance stole the show in Season 3, especially her relationship with her bipolar brother Ben (Tom Pelphrey), featuring some of the strongest acting you’ll see.

Outstanding Comedy Series

Nominees: “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Dead to Me,” “The Good Place,” “Insecure,” “The Kominsky Method,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Schitt’s Creek,” “What We Do in the Shadows”

Prediction: “Schitt’s Creek”

Last year’s winner “Fleabag” is no longer in the running, while “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” has already won once in 2018. As such, the Emmys will honor the swan song season of “The Good Place” or “Schitt’s Creek.” I’m pulling for the latter for its quirky characters and family lessons that life in a small-town motel is more fulfilling than all of the swanky mansion parties in the world. The sixth and final season of the Pop TV sitcom hasn’t reached Netflix yet, but its climatic gay wedding is the kind of feel-good finale that Hollywood loves.

Best Actor (Comedy)

Nominees: Anthony Anderson (“black-ish”), Don Cheadle (“Black Monday”), Ted Danson (“The Good Place”), Michael Douglas (“The Kominsky Method”), Eugene Levy (“Schitt’s Creek”), Ramy Youssef (“Ramy”)

Prediction: Eugene Levy (“Schitt’s Creek”)

The beloved Bill Hader has won back-to-back years for “Barry,” which isn’t in the running this year (HBO, give us more “Barry” please!). In its absence, Ted Danson could very well win for his divine mastermind in “The Good Place,” but Danson already won years ago for “Cheers.” Instead, the prize should go to Levy, who’s never won for acting over his hilarious career (though he did win two Emmys on the writing team of “SCTV”). How sweet would it be for him to win Best Actor and Dan Levy to win Supporting Actor for a father-son victory?

Best Actress (Comedy)

Nominees: Christina Applegate (“Dead to Me”), Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”), Linda Cardellini (“Dead to Me”), Catherine O’Hara (“Schitt’s Creek”), Issa Rae (“Insecure”), Tracee Ellis Ross (“black-ish”)

Prediction: Catherine O’Hara (“Schitt’s Creek”)

Last year’s winner Phoebe Waller-Bridge (“Fleabag”) isn’t eligible this year, making room for worthy contenders like Issa Rae for “Insecure” and Rachel Brosnahan for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” However, I think we could see an acting sweep for “Schitt’s Creek,” as O’Hara will win for her eccentric, wig-wearing, plastic-surgery diva, a modern-day Norma Desmond. It would be so cool to see Levy and O’Hara win as two former “SCTV” alums.

Outstanding Limited Series

Nominees: “Little Fires Everywhere,” “Mrs. America,” “Unbelievable,” ”Unorthodox,” “Watchmen”

Prediction: “Watchmen”

HBO’s dystopian superhero series is a lock, entering with the most total nominations at 26. It also enters with the most cultural relevancy. No show speaks to our time better than “Watchmen” with themes of police brutality and white supremacy set against the Tulsa Massacre. It might have taken a few episodes for the Jeremy Irons sci-fi subplot to fall into place, but the backstory of “Hooded Justice” fighting the underground cult “Cyclops” was shot in masterful long-takes in Episode 6. Between “Watchmen,” “Black Panther” and “Joker,” superhero content is at long last entering the awards conversation — and it’s great to see the genre rising to the occasion.

Best Actor (Limited Series or TV Movie)

Nominees: Jeremy Irons (“Watchmen”), Hugh Jackman (“Bad Education”), Paul Mescal (“Normal People”), Jeremy Pope (“Hollywood”), Mark Ruffalo (“I Know This Much Is True”)

Prediction: Hugh Jackman (“Bad Education”)

Last year, “Moonlight” alum Jharrel Jerome won for Ava DuVernay’s “When They See Us.” This year, a lot of people are picking Paul Mescal in “Normal People,” which I admit I haven’t seen. Instead, I’m pulling for Hugh Jackman for HBO’s TV movie “Bad Education,” playing a corrupt, complex principal in a real-life money laundering scheme on Long Island. He probably won’t win, but he’s absolutely the one I’m rooting for.

Best Actress (Limited Series or TV Movie)

Nominees: Regina King (“Watchmen”), Shira Haas (“Unorthodox”), Kerry Washington (“Little Fires Everywhere”), Cate Blanchett (“Mrs. America”), Octavia Spencer (“Self Made”)

Prediction: Regina King (“Watchmen”)

Cate Blanchett could win for “Mrs. America,” but I’m going with Regina King. After a stellar career from “Boyz n the Hood” to “Jerry Maguire,” King has enjoyed a cultural moment of acclaim in recent years, winning an Oscar for “If Beale Street Could Talk” and now an Emmy for “Watchmen.” She’s even getting Oscar buzz for her directorial debut “One Night in Miami” about Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown gathering to discuss the Civil Rights Movement. King is on fire, and her Emmy win might only be the beginning.

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