Who will (and should) win at the 2022 Emmys

Who will (and should) win at the 2022 Emmys

Succession or Squid Game? Jason Sudeikis or Bill Hader? Here are our predictions—and preferences—for the big races on TV's biggest night.

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Clockwork from top left: Squid Games (Photo: Noh Juhan/Netflix); Barry (Photo: Merrick Morton/HBO); Station Eleven (Photo: Ian Watson/HBO Max); Better Call Saul (Photo: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television); Succession (Photo: Graeme Hunter/HBO); The Dropout (Photo: Beth Dubber/Hulu); Euphoria (Photo: Eddy Chen/HBO), Yellowjackets (Photo: Michael Courtney/Showtime)
Clockwork from top left: Squid Games (Photo: Noh Juhan/Netflix); Barry (Photo: Merrick Morton/HBO); Station Eleven (Photo: Ian Watson/HBO Max); Better Call Saul (Photo: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television); Succession (Photo: Graeme Hunter/HBO); The Dropout (Photo: Beth Dubber/Hulu); Euphoria (Photo: Eddy Chen/HBO), Yellowjackets (Photo: Michael Courtney/Showtime)
Graphic: Karl Gustafson

Brace yourselves, the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards are almost here. The show honoring TV’s best takes place on September 12 on NBC, where it will be hosted by Saturday Night Live’s Kenan Thompson. In a year packed with illustrious performances, successful returns, and breakout new series, this year’s races are some of the tightest in years. Like the contest between drama frontrunners Succession and Squid Game, or a limited series/anthology category that’s packed with real-life stories. Will Ted Lasso once again reign supreme in the comedy category, or will it be taken out by Barry? Here, The A.V. Club lays who will beand who should bethe night’s top winners.

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2 / 18

Outstanding Drama Series

Outstanding Drama Series

Succession (2021) | Season 3 Official Trailer | HBO

Nominees: Better Call Saul, Euphoria, Ozark, Severance, Squid Game, Stranger Things, Succession, Yellowjackets 

Will win: It’s fair to say HBO’s acclaimed drama Succession, which nabbed 25 well-deserved nominations for season three, has the upper hand at this year’s Emmys. Still, the show faces competition from global phenomenon Squid Game, which garnered huge numbers for Netflix. The spellbinding South Korean thriller has already scored four Creative Arts Emmy wins and has a shot at the big prize. Severance and Yellowjackets received their reward just by being nominated (and from the increased viewership that brings), while Euphoria doesn’t measure up as best drama despite being one of the most talked about shows on Twitter. This is Ozark’s last chance to grab this award, while Better Call Saul will still be eligible next year for the second half of season six (and deserves a win in this category before bowing out). Finally, it’s entirely possible that Stranger Things—which dropped at the end of May, just in time before Emmy voting ended—can benefit from its release date and emerge with an upset win. The Duffer Brothers’ drama has been nominated for every season, but it’s never won the top honor. Like BCS, the sci-fi drama will have another shot whenever its fifth and final outing arrives.

Should win: Succession will probably ace this, and season three was the show at its peak. However, Squid Game’s captivating turns and jaw-dropping twists have stayed with me for months after watching it. There’s not a single weak moment in its nine-episode run. It would be a thrill to watch the show walk away with this victory. [Saloni Gajjar]

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3 / 18

Outstanding Comedy Series

Outstanding Comedy Series

Barry Season 3 | Official Trailer | HBO

Nominees: Abbott Elementary, Barry, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Hacks, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Only Murders in the Building, Ted Lasso, What We Do In The Shadows

Will win: Last year, new kid on the block Ted Lasso nabbed more nominations than any first-year comedy ever and wound up scooping up four big awards, including the one for this category. Barry, a decidedly deeper, darker, more exciting show, somehow hasn’t won this one yet. And after that stunning third season, it has to, right? But first, a question: Is the series even a comedy at this point? Barry is certainly still very funny—look at most scenes with NoHo Hank (Anthony Carrigan) or the pearls of wisdom slung out by beignet master Mitch (Tom Allen) for proof—but it’s leaned so hard into bleakly comical thriller/existential drama territory that it’s become an increasingly tough question to answer.

Should win: Barry, baby. It may be crossing full-on into several genres, but it’s a remarkable television achievement and deserves the recognition. [Tim Lowery]  

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4 / 18

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series

Squid Game | Official Trailer | Netflix

Nominees: Jason Bateman (Ozark), Brian Cox (Succession), Lee Jung-jae (Squid Game), Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul), Adam Scott (Severance), Jeremy Strong (Succession)

Will win: Lee Jung-jae is a force of nature in the Netflix drama Squid Game. He could win not just because of his indomitable performance, but because he faces off against Succession stars Brian Cox and Jeremy Strong—and you know what they say about split voting. Of the Succession nominees, Strong could edge Cox for a second win in a move that would please Kendall Roy to no end. Jason Bateman has a stronger possibility of winning another director award than he does an acting prize (I know, color us shocked, too!). Bob Odenkirk—who is phenomenal in BCS’s final season—will get another shot next year, not that he shouldn’t win twice, of course. Adam Scott is the undisputed star of Severance, but it would be a big surprise if he brought home his first Emmy here.

Should win: There’s no doubt that Brian Cox and Jeremy Strong elevate Succession’s ensemble, but Lee Jung-jae’s stalwart performance is what makes Squid Game succeed. He absolutely deserves the win. [Saloni Gajjar]

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5 / 18

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series

Zendaya in Euphoria
Zendaya in Euphoria
Photo: Eddy Chen/HBO

Nominees: Jodie Comer (Killing Eve), Laura Linney (Ozark), Melanie Lynskey (Yellowjackets), Sandra Oh (Killing Eve), Reese Witherspoon (The Morning Show), Zendaya (Euphoria)

Will win: This is the messiest category of the year because of unbelievable omissions like Mandy Moore in This Is Us and Minha Kim in Pachinko as well as some questionable inclusions. Killing Eve’s final season was pitiful despite solid efforts from nominated stars Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh. Their work doesn’t save the show’s dispiriting end, so there’s a low chance either will win. Reese Witherspoon scored her first nod for The Morning Show, edging out co-star and previous nominee Jennifer Aniston. Laura Linney is consistently great in Ozark, but she’s unlikely to overtake the two front-runners, Zendaya and Melanie Lynskey. Zendaya, who snagged an Emmy for her work in Euphoria season one, is even more triumphant in season two. Lynskey, who is stellar in Yellowjackets, earned a Critics Choice Award for the role.

Should win: Ideally, Mandy Moore for This Is Us, but she was robbed of a nomination despite her sublime achievement in the show’s final season (did Emmy voters really miss how Moore brought Rebecca Pearson so vividly to life across an entire lifespan?). So the award should go to Zendaya, whose take on Rue Bennett’s recovery made Euphoria more than just buzzy teen TV. [Saloni Gajjar]

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6 / 18

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series

Matthew Macfadyen in Succession
Matthew Macfadyen in Succession
Photo: Graeme Hunter/HBO

Nominees: Nicholas Braun (Succession), Billy Crudup (The Morning Show), Kieran Culkin (Succession), Park Hae-soo (Squid Game), Matthew Macfayden (Succession), John Turturro (Severance), Christopher Walken (Severance), Oh Yeung-su (Squid Game)

Will win: Split voting will be a real issue in this category. The three nominees from Succession delivered their strongest work in season three, none more so than Matthew Macfayden, who could surpass co-stars Kieran Culkin and Nicholas Braun (although the latter transforms his seemingly meek Cousin Greg into a major player). John Turturro and Christopher Walken, who play an unlikely couple on Severance, could also cancel each other out. Ditto for Squid Game’s Park Hae-soo and Oh Yeung-su. That leads us to Billy Crudup, who matches The Morning Show’s delirious script and energy and stands a great chance to win again after a victory at the 2020 ceremony.

Should win: It’s almost impossible to pick a favorite from Succession’s murderer’s row of an ensemble, but Matthew Macfayden’s wrenching turn as Tom was a sight to behold, especially as he finds a way to stand up for himself in the finale. [Saloni Gajjar]

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7 / 18

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series

Rhea Seehorn in Better Call Saul
Rhea Seehorn in Better Call Saul
Photo: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Nominees: Patricia Arquette (Severance), Julia Garner (Ozark), Jung Ho-yeon (Squid Game), Christina Ricci (Yellowjackets), Rhea Seehorn (Better Call Saul), J. Smith-Cameron (Succession), Sarah Snook (Succession), Sydney Sweeney (Euphoria)

Will win: There has been understandable debate as to why Rhea Seehorn submitted herself for this category rather than for lead actress race, especially as her character, Kim Wexler, very much became the beating heart of the final season of Better Call Saul. (The actor recently talked with us at length about that decision, the show’s legacy, and a whole lot more, if you’re looking for clarification.) But as impressive as the other nominees are, it feels like it has to be Seehorn’s year. Not only did the show come to a (very impressive) close, but it boasted her character’s most interesting arc, and Seehorn’s stellar work behind the camera as director feels like it could move her that much closer to clinching this.

Should win: Seehorn. Please. Her breakdown in the penultimate episode is one of my favorite bits of acting this year. [Tim Lowery]  

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8 / 18

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series

Ted Lasso — Season 2 Official Teaser | Apple TV+

Nominees: Donald Glover (Atlanta), Bill Hader (Barry), Nicholas Hoult (The Great), Steve Martin (Only Murders In The Building), Martin Short (Only Murders In The Building), Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso)

Will win: Let’s start by celebrating the joyous addition of Nicholas Hoult to this lineup, whose electric work in Hulu’s The Great absolutely deserves accolades, although I don’t think the Television Academy will give him the win. Jason Sudeikis is the likely winner once more, despite Ted Lasso’s polarizing season two. That is, unless Only Murders In The Building’s Steve Martin or Martin Short dethrone Sudeikis. Both are iconic actors, so it’s possible Emmy voters might want to honor either one for their terrific turns in OMITB, but which one will they favor? Donald Glover scored a nod, but Atlanta didn’t for Outstanding Comedy, and it’s not likely he’ll nab this award. We’re left with Bill Hader, whose astounding turn in Barry’s third season as actor, director, and writer could turn him into a winner.

Should win: Jason Sudeikis remains top-notch as Ted Lasso’s titular coach as Ted confronted his past demons in season two. But this year belongs to Bill Hader—who also won in 2019—for his harrowing work in Barry. HBO’s comedy evolves into a dark character study of Barry Berkman, and Hader untangles the depth of his guilt and rage with nuance. [Saloni Gajjar]

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9 / 18

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series

Hacks Season 2 | Official Teaser | HBO Max

Nominees: Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Quinta Brunson (Abbott Elementary), Kaley Cuoco (The Flight Attendant), Elle Fanning (The Great), Issa Rae (Insecure), Jean Smart (Hacks)

Will win: The Great’s Elle Fanning is a marvel as Queen Catherine, and it’s nice to see the Academy recognize her unfiltered and hilarious performance with a nomination. But this category will once again belong to Jean Smart, a tour de force performer in HBO’s Hacks. Rachel Brosnahan and Kaley Cuoco’s offbeat performances in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and The Flight Attendant, respectively, are worthy of recognition (too bad Tracee Ellis Ross was snubbed for Blackish), and it’s nice to see Abbott Elementary’s Quinta Brunson land a nomination. Her breakout sitcom on ABC has garnered plenty of attention and could lead to a surprise (and wonderful) win for Brunson over Smart. I also hope voters remember it’s the last chance to honor Issa Rae for her own HBO series, Insecure.

Should win: No one does it like Jean Smart, so her win will be most welcome. However, Insecure’s creator and star Issa Rae delivered crushing and comedic work once more in her show’s final season as Issa Dee’s story came to an end. After nominations in 2019 and 2020, she deserves to go out with a victory. [Saloni Gajjar]

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10 / 18

Outstanding Limited Series

Outstanding Limited Series

The White Lotus | Official Trailer | HBO

Nominees: Dopesick, The Dropout, Inventing Anna, Pam And Tommy, The White Lotus

Will win: Who didn’t sigh when Inventing Anna sneaked in a nomination over shows like Netflix’s Maid or HBO’s Station Eleven? I’d even throw in FX’s Under The Banner of Heaven or Netflix’s Midnight Mass as more worthy contenders. The point is, there’s no way Inventing Anna (a.k.a. this year’s Emily In Paris) will win, but Shonda Rhimes and two-time Emmy winner Julia Garner have plenty of Emmy goodwill. The clear competition in this category is between HBO’s striking The White Lotus and Hulu’s Dopesick. I’d bet on Mike White’s The White Lotus for this one. Pam And Tommy and The Dropout feature stellar lead performances, but both shows stumble too much along the way to bag the big prize.

Should win: The White Lotus. And it could just be a warm-up for season two, when the show shifts to Italy. [Saloni Gajjar]

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11 / 18

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Limited Or Anthology Series Or Movie

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Limited Or Anthology Series Or Movie

Himesh Patel in Station Eleven
Himesh Patel in Station Eleven
Photo: Ian Watson/HBO Max

Nominees: Colin Firth (The Staircase), Andrew Garfield (Under The Banner Of Heaven), Oscar Isaac (Scenes From A Marriage), Michael Keaton (Dopesick), Himesh Patel (Station Eleven), Sebastian Stan (Pam And Tommy)

Will win: This category is stacked with big-deal, big-screen draws (Colin Firth, Andrew Garfield, Oscar Isaac, Michael Keaton). And of that group, I’m always going to champion any recognition for Keaton, whose turn as the composite character Dr. Samuel Finnix in Dopesick certainly earned the accolades it has received. But Firth, playing the tricky real-life novelist and convicted killer Michael Peterson in The Staircase, might be the tougher role. This one is a toss-up.

Should win: The brilliant Station Eleven is not only hands-down the best show of the bunch, but Himesh Patel’s work in it moved me more than any of the other contenders. [Tim Lowery]

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12 / 18

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Limited Or Anthology Series Or Movie

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Limited Or Anthology Series Or Movie

MAID | Official Trailer | Netflix

Nominees: Toni Collette (The Staircase), Julia Garner (Inventing Anna), Lily James (Pam And Tommy), Sarah Paulson (American Crime Story: Impeachment), Margaret Qualley (Maid), Amanda Seyfried (The Dropout)

Will win: Fun fact: of all the nominees, Margaret Qualley is the only one who isn’t playing a real-life person. Could that give her brownie points, especially since her performance in Maid is so poignant and raw. Then again, Emmy voters love to honor a biographical depiction, and Sarah Paulson is the category favorite. After winning in 2016 for playing Marcia Clark in American Crime Story: The People Vs. O.J. Simpson, she’s up for her performance as Linda Tripp in American Crime Story: Impeachment. Lily James and Amanda Seyfried scored nominations for transforming into Pamela Anderson and Elizabeth Holmes for their respective Hulu dramas, mining new depths from stories we thought we already knew well, as does Toni Collette in The Staircase. Julia Garner is a massively talented actor, as seen from her double nomination for Ozark, but that’s the show that’ll give her another trophy as opposed to Inventing Anna.

Should win: Margaret Qualley’s potent work in Maid was unexpected, and even though the limited series was rudely snubbed, her win would make up for that. [Saloni Gajjar]

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13 / 18

Outstanding Variety Talk Show

Outstanding Variety Talk Show

Trump’s Month of Mounting Criminal Scandals Intensifies as Biden Surges: A Closer Look

Nominees: The Daily Show With Trevor Noah, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, Late Night With Seth Meyers, The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

Will win: Since the Variety category was split into Outstanding Talk and Outstanding Sketch series in 2015, John Oliver has won the Talk race six out of seven times. Could this be the year Last Week Tonight is dethroned, and who might beat it? Could late-night hosts Jimmy Kimmel, Trevor Noah, or Stephen Colbert—all returning nominees—finally emerge victorious? Of those three, The Daily Show With Trevor Noah has the best chance, but don’t rule out Late Night With Seth Meyers, which finally scored a nod in its eighth year.

Should win: Please, Emmy voters, let this be Late Night With Seth Meyersyear. [Saloni Gajjar]

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14 / 18

Outstanding Directing For A Drama Series

Outstanding Directing For A Drama Series

Succession 3x09 Promo “All the Bells Say” (HD) Season Finale

Nominees: Jason Bateman (Ozark, “A Hard Way To Go”), Ben Stiller (Severance, “The We We Are”), Hwang Dong-hyuk (Squid Game, “Red Light, Green Light”), Mark Mylod (Succession, “All The Bells Say”), Cathy Yan (Succession, “The Disruption”), Lorene Scafaria (Succession, “Too Much Birthday”), Karyn Kusam (Yellowjackets, “Pilot”)

Will win: Why is it that every season finale of Succession feels like the best episode to date? (Easy/dumb answer: The folks behind it are very, very, very good at finales.) The show saved its biggest backstab yet—and there are several in this ep alone, but that last one is a doozy—for “All The Bells Say.” And director Mark Mylod captures all of them beautifully, but the moment I keep going back to is one that’s wedged between all of the double-crossing, when Kendall (Jeremy Strong), sitting in the dirt and under the spotlight of the harsh sun, admits to what he did in the season-one ender. It might be the best-executed scene I’ve seen in the last year. It certainly stuck with me the most.

Should win: See above. [Tim Lowery] 

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15 / 18

Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series

Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series

Only Murders in the Building | The Boy From 6B | Featurette

Nominees: Hiro Murai (Atlanta, “New Jazz”), Bill Hader (Barry, “710N”), Lucia Aniello (Hacks, “There Will Be Blood”), Mary Lou Belly (Ms. Pat Show, “Baby Daddy Groundhog Day), Cherien Dabis (Only Murders In The Building, “The Boy From 6B”), Jamie Babbit (Only Murders In The Building, “True Crime”), MJ Delaney (Ted Lasso, “No Weddings And A Funeral”)

Will win: What if Bill Hader pulls off both an Outstanding Actor and Outstanding Director win? It’s entirely possible because he helmed one of Barry’s most exciting half-hours in “710N.” Hiro Murai’s stunning work in Atlanta is a solid option, but let’s consider the nomination a reward in itself. This category is dominated by women for a pleasant change. Lucia Aniello won for Hacks last year, but this year the odds favor either of the Only Murders In The Building directors. Jamie Babbit’s “True Crime” episode is a fantastic set-up of the show’s world, while Cherien Dabis’ “The Boy From 6B” is critically acclaimed. MJ Delaney directed Ted Lasso’s best season two outing in “No Weddings And A Funeral,” so she has the potential to continue the Apple TV+ comedy’s winning streak.

Should win: Cherien Dabis pulled off a tough outing, the silent “The Boy From 6B,” that breaks up the OMITB rhythm without derailing the narrative. She spoke to The A.V. Club about the experiences of helming this almost standalone half hour. Her well-deserved win will also make her the first woman of color to win in this category. [Saloni Gajjar]

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16 / 18

Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series

Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series

What We Do in the Shadows | The Wellness Center - Season 3 Ep.8 Preview | FX

Nominees: Quinta Brunson (Abbott Elementary, “Pilot”), Duffy Boudreau (Barry, “710N”), Bill Hader and Alec Berg (Barry, “starting now”), Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs, Jen Statsky (Hacks, “The One, The Only”), Steve Martin and John Hoffman (Only Murders In The Building, “True Crime”), Jane Becker (Ted Lasso, “No Weddings And A Funeral”), Sarah Naftalis (What We Do In The Shadows, “The Casino), Stefani Robinson (What We Do In The Shadows, “The Wellness Center”)

Will win: If there’s a category where Emmy voters could honor a debut series, it’s this one, where Quinta Brunson could win for writing Abbott Elementary’s clever pilot. But let’s not rule out Barry’s “710N” and “starting now,” since both episodes have scored multiple Emmy nominations. This also applies to OMITB’s “True Crime” and Ted Lasso’s “No Weddings And A Funeral.” It’s also nice to see What We Do In The Shadows get two slots.

Should win: What We Do In The Shadows is long overdue for a big Emmy takeover, and if it can’t earn Outstanding Comedy Series or nominations for its fabulous ensemble, then Stefani Robinson at least deserves to take home the gold for “The Wellness Center.” She gave us the gift of Nandor taking up exercise amid a mid-eternal-life crisis. [Saloni Gajjar]

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17 / 18

Outstanding Writing In A Drama Series

Outstanding Writing In A Drama Series

Matthew Macfadyen and Sarah Snook in Succession’s “All The Bells Say”
Matthew Macfadyen and Sarah Snook in Succession’s “All The Bells Say”
Photo: Graeme Hunter/HBO

Nominees: Thomas Schnauz (Better Call Saul, “Plan And Execution”), Chris Mundy (Ozark, “A Hard Way To Go”), Dan Erickson (Severance, “The We We Are”), Hwang Dong-hyuk (Squid Game, “One Lucky Day”), Jesse Armstrong (Succession, “All The Bells Say”), Jonathan Lisco, Ashley Lyle, Bart Nickerson (Yellowjackets, “F Sharp”), Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson (Yellowjackets, “Pilot”)

Will win: This is Jesse Armstrong’s race to lose for Succession, even though Thomas Schnauz’s Better Call Saul episode was a surprising and fantastic outing. Succession’s third season finale, “All The Bells Say,” is a masterpiece, but it also faces stiff competition from debut series Severance, Squid Game, and Yellowjackets. Emmy voters have their work cut out for them choosing from this group.

Should win: Armstrong is likely the undisputed winner, but on the off chance that I’m wrong, Thomas Schnauz deserves all the praise and glory for pulling off Better Call Saul’s midseason finale, “Plan And Execution.” The detailed script that leads to a deathly cliffhanger was one of the show’s best episodes. [Saloni Gajjar]

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18 / 18