With the 2021 Emmys in the rear view and the Fall television season is in full swing, what better time is there to look forward and make a few bold predictions about what we might see being honored when the Emmys roll around again come September of 2022?
If this sounds like fool’s folly, think again. The Television Academy actually starts official screenings and “campaign” season right after the first of the year, and already there are a number of logical contenders rolling out. In fact even now at the beginning of October, I have already found the show I will vote for in the all-important Outstanding Limited Series category.
That is because I was — and am — among the many who found HBO’s summer series, The White Lotus simply irresistible.
For me, having been to the Four Seasons in Maui where the fictional White Lotus was filmed, it was like taking a vacation every week. (I didn’t binge the show but savored the thought instead that a new episode of the six-part limited series would arrive every Sunday in time for my fix.)
It certainly felt surreal at times, but there was just something so brilliantly original about what writer/director Mike White created, and the acting so brilliant, that I just can’t imagine what will come along that is more memorable. I am also heartened that HBO, after enjoying increased ratings every week and based no doubt on positive word of mouth, has ordered a new White Lotus set in another location. Ah, something to look forward to.
Right now I say — and am somewhat confident about it — that The White Lotus will grab multiple acting nominations, first and foremost for veteran Jennifer Coolidge whose time has finally come.
That was obviously evident when she was introduced as a presenter on the Emmys this year and drew the biggest ovation of the night. That tells you everything.
Murray Bartlett also will be nominated as the beleaguered hotel manager, and I would find places as well for Connie Britton, Steve Zahn, Alexandra Daddario, Sydney Sweeney, Jake Lacy, Natasha Rothwell and Brittany O’Grady. Give an Emmy nomination to everyone, and that includes you too, Fred Heichinger.
Although the latest limited series edition of American Crime Story, Impeachment, drew mixed reviews and lower ratings for FX than previous editions centered on O.J. Simpson and Gianni Versace, I found its telling of the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal to be eminently watchable. That’s due to a superior cast who also deserve multiple nominations come Emmy time.
It’s led of course by Sarah Paulson, with her stunning portrayal of Linda Tripp. Beanie Feldstein also confounded my initial expectations and really captured the beating heart and eventual terror of Monica Lewinsky (maybe it helped that Lewinsky was there as producer to help guide her off camera). Clive Owen’s Bill Clinton was not the usual impression of the 42nd President — and for that alone he should be considered. Annaleigh Ashford’s Paula Jones and Edie Falco’s Hillary Clinton are likely to be in the mix as well.
Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac are likely to figure heavily with their HBO limited series Scenes From A Marriage that also benefits from having the pedigree of being based on an Ingmar Bergman classic that not only was a much-acclaimed movie, but actually started out as a limited six-hour series in Sweden.
And we already know Hulu’s Nine Perfect Strangers made waves with its summer arrival, so the likes of Nicole Kidman, Melissa McCarthy and Bobby Cannavale among other perfect strangers could compete.
That the drama series category will continue to see a shakeup is a pretty safe prediction. There will be no new season of this year’s big winner The Crown until after Emmy eligibility ends on May 31, 2022. That opens up the field once again, especially for shows returning after taking last season off.
Succession, which won the Emmy in the Drama Series category in its second season, is likely to find itself a front runner for season three.
Better Call Saul is also coming back after being off last season and should figure strongly in nominations. At the very least Bob Odenkirk should have a real shot at finally winning in Lead Actor in a Drama Series, especially after his medical problems caused a shutdown on filming and great concern in the industry for the star. He’s back at work, but the incident can only serve to remind us that time can be fleeting and he is long overdue for this recognition.
Stranger Things has been a player for Netflix in past seasons and its return to the contest could be well timed, as will the reappearance of another show from the streamer, Ozark , which also returns to Emmy contention. Both those series are past Emmy winners, but have not grabbed the brass ring. The Crown was in the same boat for its first three seasons, but proved that when your time comes, your time comes.
Also look out for Apple TV+’s The Morning Show — which won an Emmy in its first season for supporting actor Billy Crudup — to considerably up the ante with its season two. It could be a major contender as the plotlines heat up. There is already talk that Apple is considering moving Crudup to Lead Actor next time around since his role has been expanded.
And there will be more Star Wars action for Disney+ with Ewan McGregor (an Emmy winner this year for Halston) taking on the title role in Obi- Wan Kenobi, which could give their own Mandalorian a run for its money.
And could the sixth and final season for This Is Us actually put a broadcast network back in the Drama Series Emmy game? Finales for beloved series can be tempting for voters.
In the race for Comedy Series, we have had four different winners in four years, but there are extenuating reasons for that. For instance both Fleabag and Schitt’s Creek came out of nowhere in their final season to sweep the Emmys, but obviously could not repeat. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel which won big in its first season will be returning to the race this year after sitting last season out, but it faces super stiff competition from the second seasons of both Ted Lasso and Hacks. The former took seven Emmys in its first year on Apple TV+ including winning Best Comedy Series. Its second season played as voting was going on, but will it be forgotten when time comes to judge the 2022 crop? There was also some criticism that it didn’t live up to expectations caused by the beloved first season.
HBO Max’s Hacks looks like it is just getting started, and wininng both writing and directing Emmys against Lasso (not to mention Jean Smart’s lead actress Emmy) means it is obviously well liked in the industry. That could have it poised to take the top prize for its second season.
Expect HBO Max’s The Flight Attendant and Netflix’s final season of Dead To Me to also be contenders. Hulu’s nominated Pen15 seems to be building as well, so if it is back in time it could also compete.
This is all just a snapshot at this point. Look to this space for further predictions as the season rolls along.