Emmys 2018: 6 instant dark horse picks to start your ballot


Even though the Emmy nominations were just announced, there are already ideas about which series has frontrunners. Here are some alternative picks instead.

It’s not hard to go with gut feelings on which awards at this year’s Emmys will belong to whom. After all, there’s plenty of research to show which shows usually win big. However, surprises are always possible — and perhaps even likely, given the top-tier shows all competing for the same awards, especially over in the drama categories.

We’re here to encourage you to go beyond those gut feelings. Look a little deeper at the list of nominees for each category.

Here are five picks to get you started.

Outstanding Drama Series: The Americans

This is the first time that The Handmaid’s Tale and Game of Thrones will go up against each other. Last year, without the HBO dragon (pun intended), Hulu’s baby took home a lot of hardware. This year, it might not be so easy for people to pick.

The Americans, meanwhile, wrapped its run up with a finale that left a writer here at Culturess ready to meditate on the choices Philip and Elizabeth Jennings made, and it’s pretty well-known as an always-the-bridesmaid show. However, it has one last shot to be the bride. Keep a close eye on this one.

Outstanding Comedy Series: Barry

The Emmys also really like HBO comedies, just to state the obvious. Veep won last year, but it’s not eligible this time around. Atlanta will probably score the win based on its powerful Robbin’ Season, but Barry has grabbed a lot of critical praise for not only Bill Hader, but its premise in general — an assassin who wants to be a better person, but is generally bad at it. Both made it onto our list of top TV shows so far in 2018, so we’d be happy with either taking the award home.

Lead Actress in a Drama Series: Sandra Oh, Killing Eve

Yes, yes, Elisabeth Moss can point at “Holly” from The Handmaid’s Tale and hold her hand out for the Emmy. But in a shorter period of time and on a new series, Sandra Oh’s work on Killing Eve stood out on so many levels that it’s hard to describe them all, so we’ll just direct you to our coverage of the show.

Then you should go watch it. Yes, again if you’ve already seen it. Jodie Comer got robbed; Killing Eve deserved more nominations; Sandra Oh should at least get this one, or there is little justice in the world of entertainment awards. (Okay, we already knew that last one.)

Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones

Peter Dinklage is in this category. Joseph Fiennes is in this category. Everyone else is instantly a dark horse. Now, it’s possible that the double Game of Thrones here will lessen both Dinklage and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s chances; it’s happened before for the show.

But this is also, pointedly, the first time that the man behind Jaime Lannister actually has a nomination in the first place. Dinklage, meanwhile, usually gets the nomination if not the win — so the novelty might just be what’s needed for the other Lannister brother to bring home the gold for once.

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Yvonne Strahovski, The Handmaid’s Tale

How can The Handmaid’s Tale have a dark horse pick? Half of this category is Handmaid’s Tale actresses! But much like Game of Thrones, there’s some sense that both Alexis Bledel and Ann Dowd could cancel out and leave things wide open for Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Joy Waterford.

The second season just wrapped up, and Serena steps to the forefront and reduces the role of both Bledel and Dowd’s characters. If she doesn’t win, we’re not sure the Emmy voters watched the same episodes we did.

Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie: Benedict Cumberbatch, Patrick Melrose

With American Crime Story back in play, this category probably belongs to Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan. But Benedict Cumberbatch had a very solid run of his own in Patrick Melrose — and an Emmys pedigree to boot thanks to Sherlock.

Of course, Black Mirror‘s Jesse Plemons could also steal the trophy, but something about Cumberbatch just makes us think that he’s a little more likely to snatch the win away.

Next: 15 best TV shows of 2018 so far

What are your top surprise Emmy picks?