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Will “Better Call Saul” win for its final season? This year’s Emmy predictions

Bob Odenkirk, pictured here at the 2013 San Diego Comic Con International, is favored to win the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor for his role as Saul Goodman in the "Breaking Bad" spinoff "Better Call Saul."
Bob Odenkirk, pictured here at the 2013 San Diego Comic Con International, is favored to win the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor for his role as Saul Goodman in the "Breaking Bad" spinoff "Better Call Saul."

Although this awards show probably won’t have another slap, the Emmys are just around the corner, airing Monday, Sept. 12 on NBC and Peacock. The show will also be hosted by NBC’s jack-of-all-trades Kenan Thompson. 

This year, HBO starts strong with a massive 140 nominations. Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso” could take home the most wins for a show with Netflix’s “The Crown” not eligible this year, although it faces harsh competition from HBO’s “Succession.” 

Here are some predictions for the most interesting categories of the night.

Dramas

Vince Gilligan’s final return to the “Breaking Bad” universe could easily sweep three categories (Outstanding Drama Series, Bob Odenkirk for Lead Actor and Rhea Seehorn for Supporting Actress) with its rave reviews. The final season of “Ozark” is also nominated for Outstanding Drama Series, but probably won’t win.

Popular series “Euphoria” and “Stranger Things” are both nominated for Outstanding Drama Series, although they likely won’t win because Emmy voters are typically older than the main audiences for these shows. “Squid Game” is also nominated but might flounder as a foreign show. 

Severance” and “Yellowjackets” both debuted with strong first seasons and are nominated for Outstanding Drama Series, but will struggle competing with “Better Call Saul” and the other likely contender, “Succession.” 

If Odenkirk doesn’t win for Lead Actor, “Succession” stars Brian Cox or Jeremy Strong may take the limelight. Jason Bateman (“Ozark”) and Adam Scott (“Severance”) trail closely behind, following in Odenkirk’s comedy-to-drama footsteps. A win for Lee Jung-jae of “Squid Game” fame would be a pleasant surprise.

Melanie Lynskey (“Yellowjackets”) takes the lead for Outstanding Lead Actress. Reese Witherspoon could stir up the competition with “The Morning Show,” while Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh (“Killing Eve”) and Laura Linney (“Ozark”) provide less of a threat. Without the young vote, Zendaya will likely lag behind for “Euphoria.”

While Seehorn is a strong contender for Outstanding Supporting Actress, Patricia Arquette (“Severance”) and Christina Ricci (“Yellowjackets”) could overturn her. For Outstanding Supporting Actor, Kieran Culkin has extremely good chances at winning for “Succession.” 

In the guest-acting categories, “Succession” holds a whopping seven nominations between actors and actresses, leaving the show with very good chances to win for at least one.

Comedies

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In the comedy ring, “Ted Lasso” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” return, pushing to once again win for Outstanding Comedy Series. “Barry,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Hacks” and “What We Do in the Shadows” also return to the category as nominees, with each having smaller chances to win. Newcomers “Abbott Elementary” and “Only Murders in the Building” both premiered to critical acclaim and hope to triumph. 

Donald Glover (“Atlanta”), Bill Hader (“Barry”) and Jason Sudeikis (“Ted Lasso”) are all nominated once again for Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. A lack of a nomination for “Atlanta” in Outstanding Comedy Series won’t help Glover’s chances (same with Nicholas Hoult for “The Great”) and Hader is more likely to win for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series. 

Steve Martin and Martin Short are both nominated for “Only Murders in the Building,” but the two will most likely split the votes of fans, leaving Sudeikis the winner. 

Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”) and Jean Smart (“Hacks”) are the only returning winners for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. Issa Rae also returns to the category for the final season of “Insecure.” However, Quinta Brunson (“Abbott Elementary”) could easily rise above other newcomers Kaley Cuoco (“The Flight Attendant”) and Elle Fanning (“The Great'').

For the Supporting categories, Brett Goldstein (“Ted Lasso”), Tony Shalhoub (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”) and Henry Winkler (“Barry”) have each won before, but “Saturday Night Live” fan-favorite Bowen Yang could overturn the three. Actresses Janelle James (“Abbott Elementary”) and Kate McKinnon (“Saturday Night Live”) both have good chances, with McKinnon’s being boosted by her final season. 

In the Guest categories, Hader gains another nomination, having played three characters in an episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” His main competition will be from Jerrod Carmichael (“Saturday Night Live”) and Nathan Lane (“Only Murders in the Building”). “Hacks” sweeps the guest actress category with four nominations, which could easily leave Jane Lynch open to take the Emmy for “Only Murders in the Building.” 

Other Categories

For limited series, medical dramas “Dopesick” and “The Dropout” are both nominated in multiple categories. “The White Lotus” is also nominated as a limited series, which is confusing, considering it was renewed for a second season. “The Staircase” scores nominations for veteran actors Colin Firth and Toni Collette, while “Pam and Tommy” gains nominations for Sebastian Stan, Lily James and Seth Rogen.

“Saturday Night Live” has an easy chance of winning for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series once again, with only one competitor, “A Black Lady Sketch Show.”

It’s hard to tell if controversies could help “The Oscars” win Outstanding Variety Special (Live), but it will be hard to beat this year’s Super Bowl Halftime Show. Norman Lear’s nostalgic “Live in Front of a Studio Audience: The Facts of Life and Diff’rent Strokes” could also sneak up and steal the spotlight. 

Dave Chappelle’s transphobic jokes won’t help his most recent comedy special win Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded) but could offer an opportunity for Norm MacDonald to win a posthumous Emmy for his comedy special. For non-comedy specials, it’s a toss-up between “Adele: One Night Only” and “Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts.” 

For Outstanding Animated Program, “Arcane” and “What If…?” rise above the typical animated adult programs. Marvel fans will also be happy to know that the studio has earned 19 nominations for its Disney+ shows, one of them being a posthumous nomination for Chadwick Boseman’s voice-acting in “What If…?”

Highlighting one of the strongest years of television in recent memory, the 2022 Emmys look to be a great return to awards shows after a long drought.

macylj@miamioh.edu

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