Emmys 2020 predictions: Who should win the top acting awards

Emmys 2020 predictions: Who should win the top acting awards

It’s that time of year again, when the television industry celebrates its best and brightest with the 2020 Emmy Awards.


This year’s ceremony will be radically different, of course — can you say “pandemic?” — but host Jimmy Kimmel and crew will soldier on with a telecast conducted remotely.


But that doesn’t mean there won’t be the nail-biting envelope-opening (how will that work?) and the crowning of winners in many major categories.


Here are my picks for who will be (virtually) rewarded with a prime time Emmys statuette Sunday at 8 p.m. EST, 5 p.m. PST on ABC.


Best Drama


“Ozark” stars Laura Linney and Jason Bateman.Netflix

Nominees:


  • “Better Call Saul”

  • “The Crown”

  • “The Handmaid’s Tale”

  • “Killing Eve”

  • “The Mandalorian”

  • “Ozark”

  • “Succession”

  • “Stranger Things”

Predicted Winner: “Ozark”


I feared it ran out of steam after two seasons, but Season 3 was riveting: gripping, edge-of-your-seat drama with a twisty season finale that took the series in a completely different direction.


Best Comedy


Eugene Levy, Emily Hampshire, Annie Murphy, Daniel Levy, Catherine O'HaraEugene Levy, Emily Hampshire, Annie Murphy, Dan Levy and Catherine O’Hara in “Schitt’s Creek.”Canadian Broadcast Corp/POP.)

Nominees:


  • “Curb Your Enthusiasm”

  • “Dead to Me”

  • “The Good Place”

  • “Insecure”

  • “The Kominsky Method”

  • “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

  • “Schitt’s Creek”

  • “What We Do in the Shadows”

Predicted Winner: “Schitt’s Creek”


“What We Do in the Shadows” should win here — I’ve been a fan of its off-kilter humor since Day 1 — but “Schitt’s Creek” was an industry darling in its final season and will walk away with a statuette.


Outstanding Limited Series


Regina King in Regina King in “Watchmen.”HBO

Nominees:


  • “Little Fires Everywhere”

  • “Mrs. America”

  • “Unbelievable”

  • “Unorthodox”

  • “Watchmen”

Predicted Winner: “Watchmen”


It’s a shoo-in: The alt-history, socially conscious superhero series starring Regina King was an immediate critical and viewer hit — racking up a whopping 26 nominations and walking off with several Creative Arts Emmys (the ones you don’t see on TV).


Best Actor, Drama


“Ozark” stars Laura Linney and Jason Bateman.Netflix

Nominees:


  • Brian Cox, “Succession”

  • Jeremy Strong, “Succession”

  • Jason Bateman, “Ozark”

  • Billy Porter, “Pose”

  • Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us”

  • Steve Carell, “The Morning Show”

Predicted Winner: Jason Bateman


This is a race between Brian Cox and Bateman. I’m going with the latter for his steady work as unflappable, devious, win-at-all-costs Marty Byrde.


Best Actress, Drama


Jennifer AnistonApple

Nominees:


  • Jodie Comer, “Killing Eve”

  • Jennifer Aniston, “The Morning Show”

  • Laura Linney, “Ozark”

  • Sandra Oh, “Killing Eve”

  • Olivia Colman, “The Crown”

  • Zendaya, “Euphoria”

Predicted Winner: Jennifer Aniston


Yeah, yeah, I know, she’s this year’s out-of-the-box pick — but Aniston can win her first Emmy in a surprisingly weak field vis-à-vis originality (that’s you, Olivia, Jodie and Sandra).


Best Actor, Comedy


Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara play a once-wealthy couple forced to move to a run-down town.Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara play a once-wealthy couple forced to move to a run-down town.Pop TV

Nominees:


  • Anthony Anderson, “Black-ish”

  • Don Cheadle, “Black Monday”

  • Ted Danson, “The Good Place”

  • Michael Douglas, “The Kominsky Method”

  • Eugene Levy, “Schitt’s Creek”

  • Ramy Youssef, “Ramy”

Predicted Winner: Eugene Levy


I’m going to jump on the “Schitt’s Creek” bandwagon and go with this true pro, who was terrific through the entire run of the series. He deserves to be recognized for his years of solid (and very funny) work.


Best Actress, Comedy


Issa Rae and Yvonne Orji in Season 3 of Issa Rae and Yvonne Orji in Season 3 of “Insecure.”HBO

Nominees:


  • Tracee Ellis Ross, “Black-ish”

  • Christina Applegate, “Dead to Me”

  • Linda Cardellini, “Dead to Me”

  • Issa Rae, “Insecure”

  • Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

  • Catherine O’Hara, “Schitt’s Creek”

Predicted Winner: Issa Rae


She’s struck a chord among younger viewers by wrapping her perspectives on friendship, dating and life in general into one funny, poignant package.


Best Supporting Actor, Comedy


“Schitt’s Creek” creator and actor Dan Levy (right, with co-star Annie Murphy) plays David Rose, who identifies as pansexual.Steve Wilkie

Nominees:


  • Mahershala Ali, “Ramy”

  • Alan Arkin, “The Kominsky Method”

  • Andre Braugher, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”

  • Sterling K. Brown, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

  • William Jackson Harper, “The Good Place”

  • Dan Levy, “Schitt’s Creek”

  • Tony Shalhoub, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

  • Kenan Thompson, “Saturday Night Live”

Predicted Winner: Dan Levy


He’ll ride the “Schitt’s Creek” popularity train to victory. That being said, he was very funny as savagely snarky David Rose, who was, by the series finale, humanized by his down-to-earth husband Patrick (Noah Reid).


Best Supporting Actress, Comedy


Annie Murphy as Alexis Rose on PopTV

Nominees:


  • Betty Gilpin, “GLOW”

  • D’Arcy Carden, “The Good Place”

  • Yvonne Orji, “Insecure”

  • Alex Borstein, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

  • Marin Hinkle, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

  • Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live”

  • Annie Murphy, “Schitt’s Creek”

  • Cecily Strong, “Saturday Night Live”

Predicted Winner: Annie Murphy


Boop! Her dim-bulb, fish-out-of-water Alexis Rose transformed over the course of the series into, well, a brighter bulb with surprising depth — while keeping us laughing with her cartoonish turns of phrase and mannerisms.


Best Supporting Actor, Drama


Giancarlo Esposito as Gus FringGiancarlo Esposito as Gus Fring on “Better Call Saul”Michele K.Short/AMC/Sony Picture

Nominees:


  • Nicholas Braun, “Succession”

  • Giancarlo Esposito, “Better Call Saul”

  • Bradley Whitford, “The Handmaid’s Tale”

  • Kieran Culkin, “Succession”

  • Mark Duplass, “The Morning Show”

  • Matthew Macfadyen, “Succession”

  • Jeffrey Wright, “Westworld”

Predicted Winner: Giancarlo Esposito


This one’s a tough call, since nominees in the same category (Braun, Culkin and Macfadyen) traditionally cancel each other out. I’m going with Esposito who was, as always, terrific as Gus Fring — a man whose neutral demeanor, as we know all-too-well, masks an evil core. (Esposito is also one of the industry’s nice guys.)


Best Supporting Actress, Drama


Sarah Snook in Sarah Snook in “Succession.”Peter Kramer/HBO

Nominees:


  • Laura Dern, “Big Little Lies”

  • Meryl Streep, “Big Little Lies”

  • Helena Bonham Carter, “The Crown”

  • Fiona Shaw, “Killing Eve”

  • Samira Wiley, “The Handmaid’s Tale”

  • Julia Garner, “Ozark”

  • Sarah Snook, “Succession”

  • Thandie Newton, “Westworld”

Predicted Winner: Sarah Snook


It’s her first nomination — and it’s time this fine actress was recognized for her work as Siobhan “Shiv” Roy in “Succession,” which has everyone talking. I found Streep’s performance extremely grating (the bad prosthetic teeth didn’t help) and she’ll cancel out Dern in a series that did not need a second season. (Samira Wiley barely registered in “The Handmaid’s Tale.”)


Best Actor, Limited Series or TV Movie


Mark Ruffalo in Mark Ruffalo in “I Know This Much Is True.”HBO

Nominees:


  • Jeremy Irons, “Watchmen”

  • Hugh Jackman, “Bad Education”

  • Paul Mescal, “Normal People”

  • Mark Ruffalo, “I Know This Much Is True”

  • Jeremy Pope, “Hollywood”

Predicted Winner: Mark Ruffalo


Playing identical twins is never easy, even with state of the art film technology — but Ruffalo made it look easy and etched two extremely different portraits of brothers Dominick and Thomas Birdsey in a compelling, bravura performance. This one’s a no-brainer.


Best Actress, Limited Series or TV Movie


Regina King in HBO's Regina King in HBO’s “Watchmen.”Colin Hutton/HBO

Nominees:


  • Cate Blanchett, “Mrs. America”

  • Shira Haas, “Unorthodox”

  • Regina King, “Watchmen”

  • Kerry Washington, “Little Fires Everywhere”

  • Octavia Spencer, “Self Made”

Predicted Winner: Regina King


Shira Haas will get some votes — “Unorthodox” was good, not great — but expect King to walk away with this one, for all the reasons I noted in picking the series to win for Outstanding Limited Series.


Best TV Movie


Kenny Leon, Kerry Washington and Steven PasqualeKenny Leon, Kerry Washington and Steven Pasquale in “American Son”Patrick Lewis/StarPix for Netflix

Nominees:


  • “American Son”

  • “Bad Education”

  • “Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings: These Old Bones”

  • “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie”

  • “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend”

Predicted Winner: “American Son”


This category makes me feel like Bill Murray in those old “SNL” sketches where he picked Oscar winners: “No one cares.”  “El Camino” was overrated and unnecessary, while “American Son” (starring Kerry Washington and Steven Pasquale) was socially conscious and timely — important to Academy voters.