Editor’s Note: At the bottom of this page are IndieWire Deputy TV Editor Ben Travers’ 2021 Emmy predictions. Click on the title of a category to be taken to a new page with a full breakdown of each race, including analysis of the top contenders, projections for every nomination, and updates on everything from late-surging dark horses to TV Academy rule changes.
The IndieWire team, led by TV Awards Editor Libby Hill, is 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. This landing page will be updated throughout the season, along with all our predictions for the Primetime Emmy Awards (and beyond), so make sure to keep checking IndieWire for the latest news from the 2021 race.
Voting for the 2021 Emmys was held from June 17 through June 28 (with polls closing at 10 p.m. PT). Emmy nominations were announced Tuesday, July 13. The Creative Arts Emmy Awards were given out over three separate ceremonies, with one on Saturday, September 11 and two on Sunday, September 12. The 73rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will take place Sunday, September 19. CBS is broadcasting this year’s ceremony, which is also available to stream on Paramount+. The winners’ list can be seen here and will be updated throughout the ceremony.
The State of the Race
‘Tis the season — Emmy season. While other awards shows may have shifted eligibility dates and altered event schedules after pandemic-related release delays, the TV Academy had none of that. Emmy eligibility was steadfast, set from June 1, 2020 through May 31, 2021; nominations were announced on schedule in July, as usual; this year’s ceremony is ready to take place exactly 364 days after last year’s, in accordance with its informal duty: to launch the fall TV season.
And still, the effects of the pandemic are being felt at this year’s Emmy Awards. Annual favorites like “Succession,” “Ozark,” “Killing Eve,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” and more all saw their productions disrupted enough to miss this year’s Emmy deadlines. Considering TV Academy voters tend to stand by ongoing nominees, year after year, that means the 2021 race is filled with unexpected openings. New series (like “Ted Lasso”) fought to gain a foothold that could keep them in the awards conversation for seasons to come. Old series left off recent ballots (like “The Boys”) angled hard for reconsideration, knowing that mounting a prestigious resurgence in 2021 could broaden their audience. And of course, any show nominated last year that’s still eligible this year had to maintain their Emmy momentum (like “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Black-ish”), or risk losing out when all those ineligible shows return next year — and competition intensifies.
Phew! That’s a lot of pressure! Network executives and PR reps may be sweating, but what any awards race really boils down to is good, wholesome advocacy: Great TV needs any extra exposure it can get these days, as the sheer quantity of available programs can overshadow even the brightest diamonds. The best campaigns know how to unearth those rough-covered gems, and Emmy voters should be hungry for the best TV available, especially with so many standing favorites off the menu.
So what’s in the running? On the Drama side, Netflix has the frontrunner in Peter Morgan’s “The Crown,” as well as the surging upstart in “Bridgerton.” They’ll go toe-to-toe with the Disney+ drama “The Mandalorian,” one of last year’s big winners that performed well again in 2021, as well as a slew of other streaming and non-streaming contenders. (Don’t forget about “The Boys,” voters!) The Comedy slate is led by a couple of newcomers: “Ted Lasso” from Apple TV+ and HBO Max’s “Hacks,” the former of which built momentum over the winter awards season and the latter made a splash in May. And don’t get me started on the limited series race: “I May Destroy You” (HBO), “The Queen’s Gambit” (Netflix), and “The Underground Railroad” (Amazon Prime Video) made forecasting a winner all but impossible, and that was before “WandaVision” (Disney+) and “Mare of Easttown” (HBO) overwhelmed the nomination ballot.
For more, head to our individual prediction pages listed below. IndieWire’s Emmy predictions will be refreshed throughout the race, so bookmark this page for the most accurate power rankings out there, and make sure to follow IndieWire on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest Emmys news.
Outstanding Drama Series — Updated
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series — Updated
Outstanding Comedy Series — Updated
Limited Series and TV Movie
Outstanding Limited Series — Updated
Outstanding TV Movie — Updated
Outstanding Animated Program — Updated
Outstanding Variety Talk Series — Updated
Outstanding Variety Sketch Series — Updated