Variety Awards Circuit section is the home for all awards news and related content throughout the year, featuring the following: the official awards predictions for the upcoming Oscars and Emmys ceremonies, curated by Variety senior awards editor Clayton Davis; Awards Circuit Column, a weekly analysis dissecting the trends and contenders by television editor Michael Schneider (for Emmys) and Davis (for Oscars); Awards Circuit Podcast, a weekly interview series with talent and an expert roundtable discussion; and Awards Circuit Video analyzes various categories and contenders by Variety's leading awards pundits. Variety's unmatched coverage gives its readership unbeatable exposure in print and online, as well as provide inside reports on all the contenders in this year's awards season races.
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UPDATED: June 23, 2022
2022 EMMYS PREDICTIONS:
OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
AWARDS PREDICTION COMMENTARY:
There are 171 television drama series vying for eight slots at the Primetime Emmy Awards. In 2021, we saw 133 submissions, down from 197 in 2020, but that was mostly due to the entertainment industry halting productions due to the pandemic.
Two series not on the list – Epix’s “Godfather of Harlem” and Amazon Prime’s now-canceled “I Know What You Did Last Summer.”
The incumbent winner, “The Crown” from Netflix, which became the second show to sweep all the major categories in Emmys history (the first was Pop TV’s “Schitt’s Creek” the year prior in comedy), is not eligible this year. The only returning nominees on the ballot are Netflix’s “Bridgerton” and NBC’s final season of “This Is Us.” A nominee last year, Amazon Prime Video’s “The Boys,” which debuted on June 3, will be eligible for Emmys 2023. After a gap year, HBO’s 2020 winner “Succession” is back and seems to be frontrunning in several categories. Other returning nominees are AMC’s “Better Call Saul,” BBC America’s “Killing Eve” and Netflix’s double-header of “Ozark” and “Stranger Things.”
Catching the entire industry and Netflix by surprise, “Squid Game” became the most-watched series in the streamer’s history. It’s likely more history will be made with it becoming the first non-English-language show to be nominated, along with the various acting noms it’s sure to pull in. Coming off the sweep for “The Crown” last year, how far can Netflix take it in the race?
Two years ago, the second season of “Succession” walked away with the outstanding drama series category, and after winning the Critics Choice and SAG-AFTRA prizes for its third season, it looks to be the frontrunner at the Emmys. With HBO/HBO Max establishing itself in the post-Warner-Discovery merger, can they stay aligned to bring it over the finish line?
The first half of the final season of AMC’s “Better Call Saul” is nearing its end, with many of its stars, including Rhea Seehorn and Giancarlo Esposito, stepping behind the camera. As star Bob Odenkirk’s run for his overdue lead actor drama statuette continues, the show could get some of the final season jitters that can affect TV Academy voters.
Broken into two halves, the final season of Netflix’s “Ozark” has dominated the streamer’s top 10 charts for weeks since dropping. With Emmy acting contenders Jason Bateman, Laura Linney and Julia Garner heavily in the discussion, its spot among the eight seems nearly guaranteed. The question will be, can it go all the way?
Apple TV+ won on the comedy side of the Emmys last year with “Ted Lasso” and it may have its strongest contender yet with “Severance,” the dystopian series that boasts an all-star cast including Adam Scott, Patricia Arquette and John Turturro. After winning the Oscar for “CODA,” can the streamer take both top industry prizes in the same year? It’s a definite possibility.
After stumbling for the past few years, Showtime has come roaring back with “Yellowjackets,” the incredible and evocative drama series. With an all-star female cast, which includes veterans and newcomers, the groundwork laid in the first season by emulating past favorites such as “Lost,” it could blow the doors off the Emmy crowd.
Although star Zendaya made history as the youngest lead actress drama winner ever for the HBO’s “Euphoria,” the show itself was snubbed across the board, something that people still remember and are keen to correct with the second season. Taking on serious subject matter, it captured the zeitgeist in a substantial way.
After a long hiatus, “Stranger Things,” the smash hit series from the Duffer brothers has finally returned with its infectious cast as well as its engaging and mysterious storyline.. The Netflix show has always represented the populist choice among consumers, but has it been gone too long, with so many shows making returns after long pauses due to COVID?
Representing for broadcast television across the board, the NBC tearjerker “This Is Us” has come to its end. Fans are emotional about saying goodbye and that likely includes TV Academy voters. As broadcast and cable continue to fight to stay relevant in the streaming age, can the show with one of the best ensembles in decades send a message by winning TV’s most coveted prize?
The Western genre is making a comeback, and one of the most prominent is “Yellowstone,” the soapy Paramount Network series that’s leading the way. The hurdle will be that despite the buzz that has been palpable for the Taylor Sheridan show as it contends for its third season, how many TV Academy voters will give it the time to “catch up” in time? Stars including Kevin Costner will surely help clear that boundary.
Also, keep an eye on HBO’s “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty” to make a bigger impact.
The nomination round of voting runs from June 16 to June 27. The official nominations for the 74th Emmy Awards will be announced Tuesday, July 12.
The list of programs and potential nominees listed below is incomplete and is subject to change. The full television awards season calendar is linked here.
2021 category winner: “The Crown” (Netflix)
ALL AWARDS CONTENDERS AND RANKINGS:
AWARDS CATEGORY HISTORY (Best Drama Series)
The Primetime Emmy Awards, better known simply as the Emmys, is television's most prestigious artistic award. Many records are held for both wins and nominations in the near eight decades.
For wins: HBO's "Game of Thrones" holds the record for most wins for a series in a single year with 12 (in 2015, 2016 and 2019), most collective wins for a drama series with 59 (across eight seasons), most wins for a single episode with six (for "Battle of the Bastards" in 2016) and most wins for a series and drama series in its final season with 12 (in 2019). "Game of Thrones" is also tied for most wins for outstanding drama series with four - along with "Hill Street Blues," "L.A. Law," "Mad Men" and "The West Wing." "Hill Street Blues," "Mad Men" and "The West Wing" won their four awards consecutively. "The West Wing" also holds the record for most wins in its first season with nine, while it shares the record for most wins for acting across an entire drama series at nine, along with "Breaking Bad" and "The Sopranos." Netflix's "The Crown" is the only series to sweep all the major categories in 2020, winning all four acting races, writing and directing.
Four shows have won this category three times: "The Defenders," "Dragnet," "Playhouse 90," which all won consecutively, and "Upstairs, Downstairs."
For nominations: "Game of Thrones" holds the record for most nominations overall for an entire drama series with 161. It also has the most nominations for a drama series in a single year and its final season with 32 (2019). AMC's "Mad Men" holds the record for the most nominations without a win in a single year, going zero for 17 (in 2012). "NYPD Blue" holds the record for most nominations in its first season at 27 (in 1994), while "Law & Order" has the record for most nominations ever for an entire drama series at 11.
For networks, NBC has the most wins in this category with 21, with CBS following with 18. Hulu and Netflix are the only streaming services to win this category, with "The Handmaid's Tale" in 2017 and "The Crown" in 2020.
2022 Primetime Emmy Awards Predictions
Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special
2022 Creative Arts Emmys Predictions
Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series
Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series
Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special
Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special
Outstanding Animated Program
Outstanding Short Form Animated Program
Outstanding Voice-Over Performance
Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series
Outstanding Documentary Filmmaking
Outstanding Hosted Nonfiction Series or Special
Outstanding Main Title Design
Outstanding Main Title Theme Music
Outstanding Music for Series
Outstanding Music for Limited Series
Outstanding Music and Lyrics
Outstanding Music Supervision
About the Primetime Emmy Awards (Emmys)
The Primetime Emmy Awards, better known as the Emmys, are given out by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS). Since 1949, the awards have recognized excellence in American primetime television programming. They are divided into three classes - Primetime Emmy Awards, the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards (honors artisan achievements), and the Primetime Engineering Emmy Awards (recognizes significant engineering and technological contributions). The typical eligibility period is between June 1 and May 31 of any given year. The Television Academy comprises over 25,000 members, representing 30 professional peer groups, including performers, directors, producers, art directors and various artisans and executives.
The 74th Emmy Awards will take place on Monday, Sept. 12, and air on NBC.
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