Year after year, the Primetime Emmy Awards have a habit of rewarding the same batch of shows, but 2020 is poised to break from the norm. “Game of Thrones'” reign is over. “Fleabag’s” sensational run began and ended with Season 2, and HBO has yet to turn “Chernobyl” into an anthology disaster franchise. That means all three of the major Emmy categories will be crowning new winners in 2020, so every network with an ounce of hope for their chosen programs is fighting tooth and nail for a golden statue (or 10).
Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends. After a brief burst of FYC events, the 2020 Emmy race went topsy-turvy, as real-world crises took precedence across a TV industry in turmoil. But the awards cycle found a steady path forward, as the Emmys adjusted its awards calendar, campaigning dipped into the virtual realm, and rules were tweaked in order to make room for a deluge of submissions. But even with the Creative Arts ceremonies shifting from live, in-person events held at L.A.’s Microsoft Theater to a week’s worth of virtual presentations over five consecutive nights, the date of the 2020 Primetime Emmy Awards never changed: On September 20, after one of the most unmappable awards seasons ever, we’ll find out the winners in the Emmy’s most competitive races.
So, who’s got the edge? IndieWire’s 2020 Emmy Predictions are here to help shed a little light on exactly that. Nominations are led by “Watchmen,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Succession” and “Ozark,” three of which represent the Emmys’ two heavyweight networks, HBO and Netflix (respectively). The streaming giant landed a staggering 160 Emmy nominations in 2020, while the premium cable network pulled in a sizable 107 nods, as well; which of these awards titans can score the most wins — as well as wins in the most prominent categories — will be top-of-mind talking points throughout the coming weeks.
Many of the races are tight. In the Best Drama Series competition, with network bragging rights on the line, there’s a case to be made for “Succession” and “Ozark,” while “The Mandalorian” looms — will the Emmys return to honoring intimate character dramas (like “Mad Men”), or will they stick with the populist blockbusters so recently embodied by “Game of Thrones”? While over in Best Comedy Series, Amazon Prime’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” leads the way with 20 nominations, while Pop TV’s resurgent “Schitt’s Creek” is keeping things interesting with its highest total yet (15). Disney, as a whole, isn’t doing too bad either: Hulu has “The Handmaid’s Tale” in Drama Series, FX pushed “What We Do in the Shadows” into Comedy Series, and “The Mandalorian” pulled down 15 nominations for Disney+, including a Best Drama Series nod. HBO’s “Watchmen” leads all programs with 26 nominations and appears to have a firm grip on many Limited Series categories, but FX on Hulu’s “Mrs. America” as well as Netflix’s “Unorthodox” are more than worthy of trophies, as well.
That’s just a small fraction of the top contenders, and in the links below, you’ll find TV Critic Ben Travers’ predictions for the 2020 Primetime Emmys. The IndieWire TV team — led by TV Awards Editor Libby Hill — have been monitoring the ups and downs of every major category throughout the season, speaking to voters, interviewing candidates, hosting panels, covering virtual screenings, and gauging industry chatter in order to provide the most up-to-date state of the race. Below are the most up-to-the-minute predictions, in preparation for the ceremony this September.
Programs that air half or more of their season between June 1, 2019 and May 31, 2020 will be eligible for the 2020 Primetime Emmy Awards. (Though this year, the TV Academy expanded that timeline to June 30.) Nomination voting ran from July 2 – 13, and the nominations were announced Tuesday, July 28. The Creative Arts Emmy Awards will be given out over five consecutive nights, with virtual ceremonies running from September 14 – 19, while the 72nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will take place on Sunday, September 20. ABC is broadcasting the ceremony from the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, and Jimmy Kimmel has been announced as host.
The Emmy predictions below will be refreshed throughout the race, so keep checking IndieWire for the most accurate power rankings out there, and make sure to follow IndieWire on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest Emmys news.