Strong Rookie Class Vies for Emmy Noms

On Thursday (JULY 13), the Television Academy will announce nominees for the 69th Annual Emmy Awards, and many in the media are busy predicting which shows and actors will vie for television’s most coveted awards.

While the majority of nominations in the prestigious drama and comedy categories will most likely go to established shows and actors, there’s a distinct possibility that an unusually strong rookie class could join — and in some cases usurp — category favorites on the nominations stage.

On the comedy front, last year’s Emmy winner Veep and previous winners like Amazon’s Transparent will most likely garner their annual nominations, along with ABC’s Black-ish. But FX’s Atlanta is sure to get some love from voters given its 2017 Golden Globe wins. Other new series that could make a best comedy series nomination run include HBO’s Insecure and Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Two HBO actresses and Golden Globe nominees, Issa Rae (Insecure) and Sarah Jessica Parker (Divorce) could take the first step toward unseating five-time best comedy actress winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus of Veep by securing nominations. Atlanta’s Donald Glover and Brockmire’s Hank Azaria will look to gain a shot at challenging two-time winner Jeffrey Tambor of Transparent for best actor in a comedy.

The absence of HBO’s Game of Thrones — ineligible this year because its new season starts after the May 31 deadline — leaves no standout favorite for best drama series. While veterans House of Cards (Netflix), The Americans (FX) and Better Call Saul (AMC) are expected to contend, several newcomers could upset the apple cart, including NBC’s breakout hit This Is Us; Netflix’s Stranger Things and The Crown; Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale; HBO’s Westworld; Starz’s American Gods; and CBS All Access’ s The Good Fight.

The Crown’s Claire Foy — who won the 2017 best actress Golden Globe — is a contender for an Emmy nomination, along with The Handmaid’s Tale’s Elisabeth Moss and Westworld’s Evan Rachel Wood.

On the men’s side, This Is Us cast member Sterling K. Brown, fresh off last year’s Emmy win in a limited series for his role in FX’s The People v. O.J. Simpson, as well as Anthony Hopkins (Westworld) and Dan Stevens (FX’s Legion), could break through. Of course, Emmy judges’ potential lack of familiarity with these new series could ultimately hurt their chances.

Still, Thursday morning’s Emmy nominations announcement could be a coronation of sorts for several freshman shows.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.