Could win: Barry
Should win: Fleabag
Will win: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Should have been nominated: American Vandal (Netflix)
The skinny: Having not seen The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, I can accept that it’s a well-made, funny show. But I cannot conceive of a world in which it is the best of these nominees. Barry one-upped its tremendous first season, The Good Place expanded its world to get to the very heart of why it’s so hard to be a good person in 2019, Russian Doll burst onto the scene with extreme creativity and a lot on its mind, Schitt’s Creek just wrapped another delightful season and Veep closed out with its most cynical season yet. And then there’s Fleabag, the absolute best thing on TV this year. There’s just no fucking way Maisel is better than all of those shows, but here we are.
Could win: Eugene Levy
Should and will win: Bill Hader
Should have been nominated: Pete Holmes, Crashing
It’s possible sentiment will carry Eugene Levy to his first acting Emmy, and I’d be perfectly happy with that. But Hader is clearly the strongest of the nominees, turning in another incredible turn as Barry.
ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Christina Applegate, Dead to Me
Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll
Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag
Could win: Catherine O’Hara
Should win: Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Will win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Should have been nominated: Maya Rudolph, Forever
The skinny: An extremely strong slate. I would love if Lyonne or Waller-Bridge won for their winning performances, but that seems highly unlikely. (If Fleabag wins anywhere, it will be for writing.) So I’m going to assume voters stick with tradition and give Julia Louis-Dreyfus her record seventh(!) Emmy for playing Selina Meyer.
Could win: Stephen Root
Should win: Anthony Carrigan
Will win: Henry Winkler
Should have been nominated: Timothy Simons, Veep
This seems to be the hardest category to pick. Almost everyone’s a former winner, except the two new nominees from Barry (and Arkin, who’s been nominated a handful of times, but it’s been 15 years since his last). I would love for NoHo Hank to win, or for them to honor Stephen Root’s amazing career. But I think they’ll give it to Henry Winkler once more. But they completely blew this category. Tim Simons crushed it every season on Veep, and especially the last two. But he went unheralded the entire time, and joins Nick Offerman’s Ron Swanson as one of the greatest TV characters who never got the proper respect.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Anna Chlumsky, Veep
Sian Clifford, Fleabag
Olivia Colman, Fleabag
Betty Gilpin, GLOW
Sarah Goldberg, Barry
Marin Hinkle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Could win: Olivia Colman
Should win: Sarah Goldberg
Will win: Anna Chlumsky
Should have been nominated: Paula Pell, A.P. Bio
The skinny: Another tough category. I could easily see some residual The Favourite love extend to Olivia Colman here, but it could also be Borstein again. But I think they’ll go with Chlumsky, who is the only person (along with Matt Walsh) to be nominated for this show more than once and never win.
WRITING FOR A COMEDY SERIES
Fleabag (“Episode 1”)
The Good Place (“Janet(s)”)
PEN15 (“Anna Ishii-Peters”)
Russian Doll (“Nothing in This World Is Easy”)
Russian Doll (“A Warm Body”)
Could win: Veep
Should and will win: Fleabag
Should have been nominated: American Vandal (“The Dump”)
The one place Maisel can’t win is in writing, which is a little surprising. These are all stellar episodes, but I think they’ll choose to honor Fleabag here.
DIRECTING FOR A COMEDY SERIES
Barry (“The Audition”)
The Big Bang Theory (“The Stockholm Syndrome”)
Fleabag (“Episode 1”)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (“All Alone”)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (“We’re Going to the Catskills!”)
Could win: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Should and will win: Barry (“ronny/lily”)
Should have been nominated: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (“Mac Finds His Pride”)
The skinny: Barry and Maisel could split each other’s votes, which could spell success for Fleabag or, god forbid, The Big Bang Theory. But Hader will likely pick up his second trophy here, for turning in an episode that everyone who saw it (which was a lot more people, since it aired right after Game of Thrones) raved about.
VARIETY TALK SERIES
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Comedy Central)
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (TBS)
Jimmy Kimmel Live! (ABC)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
The Late Late Show with James Corden (CBS)
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (CBS)
Could win: Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
Should and will win: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Should have been nominated: Late Night with Seth Meyers (NBC)
The skinny: Don’t overthink this one. Last Week Tonight has won the last three years. It will win again.
VARIETY SKETCH SERIES
At Home with Amy Sedaris (truTV)
Documentary Now! (IFC)
Drunk History (Comedy Central)
I Love You, America with Sarah Silverman (Hulu)
Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Who Is America? (Showtime)
Could win and should win: Documentary Now!
Will win: Saturday Night Live
Should have been nominated: I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson (Netflix)
The skinny: Nominating Saturday Night Live over I Think You Should Leave? Voters, I hate you more than Bart Harley Jarvis. Unless voters wise up or something drastic happens, SNL will keep winning, no matter how lackluster, because it feels like voters think their political sketches are really sticking it to the administration, which is just frustrating.
Could and should win: Documentary Now!
Will win: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Should have been nominated: I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson
The skinny: This category has matched up with Variety Talk Series for the last several years. That’s not going to change.
DIRECTING FOR A VARIETY SERIES
Documentary Now! (“Waiting for the Artist”)
Drunk History (“Are You Afraid of the Drunk?”)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (“Psychics”)
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (“Live Midterm Election Show”)
Saturday Night Live (“Host: Adam Sandler”)
Who Is America? (“Episode 102”)
Could win: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
Should and will win: Documentary Now!
Should have been nominated: Random Acts of Flyness (“Two Piece and a Biscuit”)
The skinny: I’m going with my heart here, which is probably a mistake. While SNL has dominated this category all decade – it’s only lost once – this is the first year the incredible Documentary Now! has been nominated here, and hopefully voters will finally take notice of the painstaking detail and thorough parody of the show.