2021 Emmy Predictions: Who Will Take Home the Big Awards?

It’s almost that time again: Emmy time! The Primetime Emmy Awards will take place on Sunday, September 19, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles and be broadcast on CBS and through Paramount+.

This year, Apple hit it out of the park and solidified its spot in the streaming TV and original content space with Ted Lasso receiving 13 nods. The most nominated shows, however, are The Crown and The Mandalorian with 24 each, followed by WandaVision with 23 and Lovecraft Country with 18. Many other streaming services have a presence as well, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, and Disney+. The Walt Disney Company itself leads the pack with a total of 146 nominations between its streaming and linear networks combined — Disney+ (71), Hulu (25), ABC (23), FX (16), and others. But when it comes to a single platform, HBO once again reigns supreme with an impressive 130 nominations, just beating out Netflix, which has an equally impressive 129.

What are our predictions for the winners? We get into it below. Check back live during the ceremonies to find out who wins.

Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II in a scene from The Crown.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Uzo Aduba (In Treatment)
Olivia Colman (The Crown)
Emma Corrin (The Crown)
Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Mj Rodriguez (Pose)
Jurnee Smollett (Lovecraft Country)

Prediction: While Uza Aduba is a favorite to win, and Mj Rodriguez marks a historic moment as the first trans actor to receive a leading category nomination, Olivia Colman’s performance as the resigned and dry-witted Queen Elizabeth II will be hard to beat. With The Crown being one of the two most-nominated shows, chances are it will take home a few wins. And our money is on Colman for this one, if not for newcomer Emma Corrin, who delighted with her interpretation of Princess Diana.

Josh O'Connor as Prince Charles in The Crown.
Alex Bailey / Netflix

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us)
Jonathan Majors (Lovecraft Country)
Josh O’Connor (The Crown)
Rege-Jean Page (Bridgerton)
Billy Porter (Pose)
Matthew Rhys (Perry Mason)

Prediction: We have a feeling that this awards ceremony will see some big upsets with actors from The Crown taking home many of the biggest awards, including Josh O’Connor, who plays Prince Charles. While Billy Porter from Pose is a favorite to win, and fans would love to see Rege-Jean Page take home a statue for his passionate role in Bridgerton, Netflix’s period drama might do it again in this category.

Hugh Grant bundled up outside on a phone call in a scene from The Undoing.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Paul Bettany (WandaVision)
Hugh Grant (The Undoing)
Ewan McGregor (Halston)
Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton)
Leslie Odom Jr. (Hamilton)

Prediction: Paul Bettany might be a favorite for his role as the dutiful husband Vision in Disney+’s WandaVision, and Ewan McGregor impressed as fashion designer Roy Halston in the Netflix miniseries about his life. But Hugh Grant was at his absolute best playing the multi-layered role of Jonathan Fraser in the whodunnit mystery/psychological thriller The Undoing that had fans guessing at every twist and turn. It would be a travesty if Grant’s tremendous performance went unrecognized in favor of the more high-profile shows.

Michaela Cole in I May Destroy You standing outside at night.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Michaela Coel (I May Destroy You)
Cynthia Erivo (Genius: Aretha)
Elizabeth Olsen (WandaVision)
Anya Taylor-Joy (The Queen’s Gambit)
Kate Winslet (Mare of Easttown)

Prediction: There was major pushback when Michaela Coel and I May Destroy You were snubbed at the Golden Globes, and chances are this won’t be repeated for the Emmys. While all five women in the category pulled out amazing performances, and plenty of predictions lead toward Kate Winslet for the win, Coel’s deeply emotional performance of a woman dealing with the aftermath of being raped is far too important to ignore.

Jason Sudeikis as Ted Lasso in the Apple TV+ original series.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Anthony Anderson (Black-ish)
Michael Douglas (The Kominsky Method)
William H. Macy (Shameless)
Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso)
Kenan Thompson (Kenan)

Prediction: As with the Outstanding Comedy Series category, it’s pretty much a certainty that Jason Sudeikis will take home the win for this category. The win would add an Emmy next to his Golden Globe for the hilarious title role in Ted Lasso, Apple’s pandemic hit about an American football coach who travels to England to coach a soccer team. Aside from the cultural differences and Lasso being universally unwelcome by players and fans alike, there’s one bigger detail getting in the way: He has no knowledge of their version of “football.” It’s without a doubt a breakout year for the Saturday Night Live alum.

Jean Smart in Hacks.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Aidy Bryant (Shrill)
Kaley Cuoco (The Flight Attendant)
Allison Janney (Mom)
Tracee Elliss Ross (Black-ish)
Jean Smart (Hacks)

Prediction: While Kaley Cuoco impressed with her dramatic turn in The Flight Attendant, the show skews more toward drama than comedy. Tracee Ellis Ross and Allison Janney are mainstays in this category, but Jean Smart delivered a powerful performance in HBO’s Hacks that could earn the veteran actor her first Emmy in two decades (she previously won for Frasier and Samantha Who?).

Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher in The Crown.
Des Willie / Netflix

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Gillian Anderson (The Crown)
Helena Bonham Carter (The Crown)
Madeline Brewer (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Ann Dowd (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Aunjanue Ellis (Lovecraft Country)
Emerald Fennell (The Crown)
Yvonne Strahovski (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Samira Wiley (The Handmaid’s Tale)

Prediction: Fans were mesmerized by how beautifully and seamlessly Gillian Anderson was able to transform herself into Margaret Thatcher. And chances are, the long-time actor will be handsomely rewarded for it with an Emmy for the role, one of many that the series is predicted to pick up this year.

Michael K. Williams with his head down in a tank top in a scene from Lovecraft Country.
Eli Joshua Ade / HBO

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Giancarlo Esposito (The Mandalorian)
O-T Fagbenle (The Handmaid’s Tale)
John Lithgow (Perry Mason)
Tobias Menzies (The Crown)
Max Minghella (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Chris Sullivan (This Is Us)
Bradley Whitford (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Michael K. Williams (Lovecraft Country)

Prediction: Despite some seriously stiff competition in this category, we’re going to give this one to Lovecraft Country‘s Michael K. Williams, who delivered a heart-wrenching performance as Montrose Freeman in the horror drama about a black man traveling across the U.S. during segregation in the 1950s, searching for his missing father. Williams has said he channeled his own personal trauma to portray a man who was deeply troubled by his life circumstance, being a survivor of a massacre and conflicted about his sexuality.

Hannah Waddingham as Rebecca in Ted Lasso.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Aidy Bryant (Saturday Night Live)
Hannah Einbinder (Hacks)
Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live)
Rosie Perez (The Flight Attendant)
Cecily Strong (Saturday Night Live)
Juno Temple (Ted Lasso)
Hannah Waddingham (Ted Lasso)

Prediction: With two women from Ted Lasso vying for the statue in this category, it will likely be Waddingham and her brilliantly conniving performance as Rebecca, the “Iron Queen” football club owner, that brings home the award, one of many the series is expected to win. Waddingham beautifully captured the essence of a woman who seemingly has everything yet is working to become the true self she lost so many years ago.

Paul Reiser, hands raised, in a scene from The Kominsky Method.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Carl Clemons-Hopkins (Hacks)
Brett Goldstein (Ted Lasso)
Brendan Hunt (Ted Lasso)
Nick Mohammed (Ted Lasso)
Paul Reiser (The Kominsky Method)
Jeremy Swift (Ted Lasso)
Kenan Thompson (Saturday Night Live)
Bowen Yang (Saturday Night Live)

Prediction: It could be a big upset in this category that sees three actors from the same show, Ted Lasso, nominated but not win. It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened. Last year, in one of the most surprising Emmy wins, Ozark‘s Julia Garner snatched the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series statue out from under the four women from Game of Thrones. With The Kominsky Method coming to an end, it wouldn’t be a surprise for final kudos to be given out to the series in the form of a statue for Paul Reiser for his transformational role as Martin Schneider.

Two people play chess in The Queen's Gambit on Netflix.

Outstanding Limited Series or Movie

I May Destroy You (HBO)
Mare of Easttown (HBO)
The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix)
The Underground Railroad (Amazon Prime Video)
WandaVision (Disney+)

Prediction: Fans might be clamoring for HBO’s I May Destroy You to win in this category, particularly after being snubbed at the Golden Globes. Considering how innovative WandaVision was, as well as its strong kick-off to the MCU’s new push into television (later followed by The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Loki), many believe the Marvel show will take home the win for the franchise. But it’s only because of how much time has passed that we forget how The Queen’s Gambit was Netflix’s biggest scripted series to date with 62 million household views. Fans might have already moved on from the brilliance of the series, but our money is on The Queen’s Gambit for the win.

Prince Charles and Diana with arms locked in a scene from The Crown.
Des Willie / Netflix

Outstanding Drama Series

The Boys (Amazon Prime Video)
Bridgerton (Netflix)
The Crown (Netflix)
The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
Lovecraft Country (HBO)
The Mandalorian (Disney+)
Pose (FX)
This Is Us (NBC)

Prediction: While it would be nice to see fan-favorite The Mandalorian take home this prestigious award, or even Amazon Prime Video’s brilliantly violent The Boys, it’s highly probable that Netflix will win for The Crown. Now in its fourth season of a confirmed six, Emma Corrin’s portrayal of the late Lady Diana, along with Gillian Anderson’s transformation into The Iron Lady, has made for one of the most impressive seasons yet. So, it would be a surprise if The Crown didn’t win.

Ted Lasso and his assistant coaches on the sidelines of season 2 of the Apple TV+ original series.

Outstanding Comedy Series

Black-ish (ABC)
Cobra Kai (Netflix)
Emily in Paris (Netflix)
Hacks (HBO Max)
The Flight Attendant (HBO Max)
The Kominsky Method (Netflix)
Pen15 (Hulu)
Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)

Prediction: It would be a shock if Ted Lasso didn’t win, considering how much attention and critical acclaim the Apple TV+ original series has been getting this year, particularly on the heels of lead actor Jason Sudeikis’ Golden Globe win. Despite tough competition from shows like The Kominsky Method, which ended its run this year, and the fan-favorite Cobra Kai, many have praised Lasso for being an endearing source of positivity, driven by the title character’s infectious silver-lining optimism, which came at a perfect time during the scary early days of the pandemic.

More notable awards categories

Our predictions for these other awards categories are bolded. See if you agree with our picks!

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Thomas Brodie Sangster (The Queen’s Gambit); Daveed Diggs (Hamilton); Paapa Essiedu (I May Destroy You); Jonathan Groff (Hamilton); Evan Peters (Mare of Easttown); Anthony Ramos (Hamilton)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Renee Elise Goldsberry (Hamilton); Kathryn Hahn (WandaVision); Moses Ingram (The Queen’s Gambit); Julianne Nicholson (Mare of Easttown); Jean Smart (Mare of Easttown); Phillipa Soo (Hamilton)

Outstanding Variety Talk Series

Conan; The Daily Show With Trevor Noah; Jimmy Kimmel Live; Last Week Tonight With John Oliver; The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series

A Black Lady Sketch Show; Saturday Night Live

Outstanding Reality Competition Series

The Amazing Race; Nailed It!; RuPaul’s Drag Race; Top Chef; The Voice

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