Who Will Win Sunday’s 2017 Emmy Awards?

Who will win — and who should — in every major television category in a special Emmy’s preview

The fall television season is just around the corner, and that means it’s time to look back on a year of TV and give out some Emmy Awards. Stephen Colbert hosts the 69th Annual Emmy Awards Sunday night on CBS (8 pm ET) and you can bet he’ll do a nice job roasting the Peak TV era amidst a few thousand political jokes.

Like any award, the Emmy’s don’t really matter outside of giving us all something to argue about when we compare and rank shows, but they’re also a good excuse to look back on another outstanding year of television across the network stations, cable, and streaming online. Television is big and broad and there are more deserving nominees than ever.

Here’s who should win each award Sunday night along with at least one deserving nominee left off the ballot and a prediction of who will actually win. The awards are for June 2016 through May 2017 and you can find the full list of nominations here.

Supporting Actor in a Comedy

Should’ve been nominated

Andre Braugher’s character may be the most straight-laced on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but that’s what makes his intermittent one liners so surprising and delightful. Braugher’s comedic timing is perfect, and Brooklyn’s cold opens remain the minute on television each week.

Should win

Alec Baldwin was probably born to play Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live (so that’s why…), and it’s only appropriate we recognize his place on 2016 television for it.

Will win

Louie Anderson for Baskets? He won last year, and the Academy loves itself some award momentum.


Supporting Actress in a Comedy

Should’ve been nominated

Amanda Peet is a longtime favorite and she was terrific as Hank Azaria’s foil on Brockmire. Brockmire is a down-on-his-luck baseball announcer looking for a second chance, and Peet plays the owner of a small-town team that gives it to him. The IFC show was overlooked but consistently laugh-out-loud funny with touching moments too.

Should win

Honestly, anyone but Leslie Jones. Just please not Leslie Jones. She’s just not that funny.

Will win

Probably Leslie Jones, or maybe Kate McKinnon again. Saturday Night Live got 22 nominations this year, so I guess Trump did something right.


Supporting Actor in a Drama

Should’ve been nominated

Jeffrey Dean Morgan is terrifying as The Walking Dead arch villain Negan. The acting is almost a caricature of a caricature, but that’s sort of the point of a graphic novel adaptation. The Academy also would’ve done well to nominate Asia Kate Dillon here for their outstanding and deserving performance as the nonbinary Taylor on Billions.

Should win

Perhaps the biggest snub on the entire list was Michael McKean as Jimmy McGill’s neurotic, sickly older brother Chuck on Better Call Saul. Jonathan Banks was nominated in his stead, and I love a good 12-minute shot of Mike Ehrmantraut silently working on his car as much as anyone, but McKean was out of this world, particularly in “Chicanery” and the finale “Lantern.”

Will win

Since McKean can’t win it, hopefully Ron Cephas Jones does for his surprising and heartfelt portrayal as Randall’s biological father William on This Is Us. His story was brief yet powerful.


Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Should’ve been nominated

I’m still not totally sure what the heck I watched on FX’s Legion, but Aubrey Plaza was terrific as the show’s Tyler Durden. She’s come a long ways since her early days on Parks and Recreation.

Should win

Maggie Siff was absolutely mesmerizing on Billions as Wendy Rhoades, caught in the weird love-sex-power triangle between Chuck and Axelrod. In a world full of power hungry men, she steals the show in every scene she’s in but wasn’t even nominated.

Will win

Samira Wiley — but not for the right show. Wiley was nominated for The Handmaid’s Tale, where she was terrific and deserving, but she was even better as Poussey in season four of Orange Is the New Black. Can we just give her the award twice?

Lead Actor in a Comedy

Should’ve been nominated

It was only three episodes in its final season, but Andy Daly’s performance in Review was the sort of thing that made you laugh out loud, then cover your mouth in shame, all while cringing and dying on the inside. For such an absurd conceptual show, nobody could have brought Forrest MacNeil to life like Daly did. A somber five stars.

Should win

Anthony Anderson’s performance on Black-ish’s “Lemons” was my favorite single episode of acting for the year, yet he’s not even in the top three. The award has to go to Aziz Ansari or Donald Glover, the lead and writer-directors for Master of None and Atlanta. Ansari is charming, thoughtful, and relatable as Dev Shah. Glover is poignant, subtle, and masterful as Earn Marks. Both were brilliant and moving, and each deserves a trophy. Maybe the Academy can give the Drama category to Glover and Comedy to Ansari.

Will win

Jeffrey Tambor is the defending two-time winner and is brilliant as the transgender Maura on Transparent, but the latest Bovada odds have Donald Glover as a surprise favorite. Be still, my heart. Glover’s creative brilliance was subtle and important in Atlanta and he deserves all the awards, for his outstanding acting, writing, and directing.


Lead Actress in a Comedy

Should’ve been nominated

Minnie Driver was warm and zany as the mother of the quirky DiMeo family on Speechless. Kristen Bell was hilarious on The Good Place. Issa Rae does everything on Insecure. But one of my favorite performances on television year after year is the continually overlooked Emmy Rossum for her portrayal of Shameless’s Fiona Gallagher. Fiona is one of the most complex, tragic, real characters on screen.

Should win

Pamela Adlon was a big surprise in Better Things, premiering season two this week on FX. She’s complicated, snarky, and believable as a woman trying to find her way as a mother, middle-aged woman, and human being.

Will win

Listen, we all know Veep’s Julia Louis-Dreyfus is going to win this for the sixth straight year. She’s good, we get it. Can we reward someone else? Sigh.


Lead Actor in a Drama

Should’ve been nominated

I’m in the group that thought USA’s Mr. Robot went a little too far off the rails in season two, but it’s still pretty shocking to see last year’s Emmy winner Rami Malek shut out of the nominations altogether. His Elliot was quiet and understated even in a confused season. Damian Lewis certainly wasn’t the best actor on television this year, but Bobby Axelrod and his Billions of dollars sure were entertaining week after week.

Should win

Bob Odenkirk? Jimmy McGill cum Saul Goodman is always good, but his performance didn’t feel Best Actor worthy and wasn’t even the best-acted McGill this season. Odenkirk has 11 previous nominations for both acting and writing and deserves to be among an Emmy winner, even if it’s more a life accomplishment and Breaking Bad award in a surprisingly soft field.

Will win

So help me if Kevin Spacey wins as a big name in a weak year for the consistently terrible House of Cards. Anthony Hopkins could get a movie star boost for Westworld too. Given the options, hopefully Sterling K. Brown picks up his second straight Emmy for his outstanding journey to “Memphis” on the ever emotional This Is Us.


Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Should’ve been nominated

Always a loaded field, though Emmy Rossum is now in comedy and Tatiana Maslany’s final season on Orphan Black aired too late to make this year’s cut. Instead let’s give some recognition to Mackenzie Davis and Halt and Catch Fire. Davis has come a long ways in four years on the show both as a character and an actor, and she plays Cameron with heart and passion. Bonus shouts to Kylie Bunbury and Pitch, gone too soon.

Should win

Elisabeth Moss has been nominated seven previous times, most of them for her brilliant portrayal of Peggy Olson on Mad Men. She may have been even better on The Handmaid’s Tale and looks like she’ll finally get her name called.

Will win

Elisabeth Moss, at last.

Best Comedy Series

Should’ve been nominated

The list here is long and deep, but sure by all means, let’s nominate Modern Family again. We’ve already shouted out The Good Place and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, both weekly delights. HBO’s Insecure was unique and special even if overlooked. Shameless remains a personal favorite. But it’s unfathomable that Amazon’s Transparent was left off the nominations list altogether. It remains one of television’s best as it prepares to drop its fourth season next week.

Should win

Master of None season two was the best thing I watched this year, television or movie. It was a masterful look at loneliness in a complex social age and made the world itself a character midst forays into race, religion, and relationships. It was nothing short of spectacular and it would be my personal pick, but the award should probably go to Atlanta instead because it was just that good.

Will win

Veep always wins and looks like the favorite again, but let’s hold out hope for Golden Globe winner Atlanta. It felt like Atlanta was the most important show of the year with what it had to say about real life within the African-American community, shifting seamlessly from funny to dark to painful to light through the story of an up-and-coming rapper and his cousin trying to find their way. Atlanta was perfect because it felt real and Earned — pun intended.


Best Drama Series

Should’ve been nominated

There’s enough to create a second list of seven deserving nominees, and that’s in a year where Game of Thrones was ineligible. Orange Is the New Black was funny and moving with a difficult message. Halt and Catch Fire remains AMC’s unseen wonder, airing its final season currently on Saturday nights. But it’s unimaginable that The Leftovers leaves HBO without a single major award nomination. Many consider it one of the greatest shows in television history, and actors like Justin Thereux and Carrie Coon certainly deserved recognition as well. Its absence here is shocking and embarrassing.

Should win

Better Call Saul has been building for several years and finally hit its full stride this season as the Jimmy and Chuck conflict simmered and exploded. But the winner should be breakout hit This Is Us, which surprised and delighted a nation that couldn’t get enough of the Pearson family and the “Big Three” siblings. We laughed and cried every week, and This Is Us deserves recognition for being a network hit when that no longer seemed possible.

Will win

As good as Saul was, and as buzzworthy as This Is Us, no show captured the cultural zeitgeist this year quite like The Handmaid’s Tale. Hulu’s dystopian series set in a not-as-distant-as-we’d-like-to-believe totalitarian future hit a little too close to home. Nothing else on television captured 2017 quite like Handmaid’s Tale.

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