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Our critic picks who should win and who will win at this year's Emmys

Without "Modern Family" or "Veep" in the mix, best comedy will likely go to "Atlanta" -- but "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" deserves it, too.

Donald Glover and his FX show, "Atlanta," are

Donald Glover and his FX show, "Atlanta," are both Emmy-nominated. Photo Credit: FX/Guy D'Alema

Who will win at the 70th Annual Primetime Emmys? Who should win? Befitting the landmark 70th, there are some seismic changes arriving Monday, Sept. 17. Longtime repeat winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus and "Veep" were not eligible this year (the seventh season was delayed due to Louis-Dreyfus' health issues), leaving the comedy field wide open. Two-time drama winner "Game of Thrones" is back after an absence in 2017, perhaps narrowing the field in that category. Here are my picks: 


NOMINEES "Atlanta," "Barry," "Black-ish," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Glow," "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," "Silicon Valley," "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"

SHOULD WIN Toss-up between "Atlanta" and "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel."

Hey, we're all new to this — having to predict an outcome without "Modern Family" or "Veep" in the mix. Both so thoroughly dominated this category over the past 10 years that there was never a chance for any other show, but there is now and it's "Atlanta's" turn. But "Maisel" had such a stellar freshman season that it could be its turn, too. In any event, both deserve to win, so "toss-up."

WILL WIN "Atlanta"


NOMINEES "The Crown," "Game of Thrones," "The Handmaid’s Tale," "Stranger Things," "The Americans," "This Is Us," "Westworld"

SHOULD WIN "The Americans"

While "Handmaid's" was not the sensation it was in its freshman (and winning) season, there were enough good episodes (nominees submit six) in the second season to lock down another win. But overall, "The Americans" was the superior show: A superb final season that built to a perfect series finale. What about "GoT"? It could easily demolish these picks, but a yearlong absence might not have helped its cause.   

WILL WIN "The Handmaid's Tale"


NOMINEES Anthony Anderson ("Black-ish"), Ted Danson ("The Good Place"), Larry David ("Curb Your Enthusiasm"), Donald Glover ("Atlanta"), Bill Hader ("Barry"), William H. Macy ("Shameless")


The calculus here is both easy and obvious. If Glover was as good in the second season as he was in the first — and he was — and if he was even better than in the first — and he was — then why not successive wins? He not only played Earn Marks last season, but also the deeply eccentric and possibly (probably) homicidal musician, Theodore "Teddy" Perkins, one of the standout characters of the 2018 TV season. Sure, it would be nice to see Macy win for Frank Gallagher if only because he's been in this lineup for so long. But Glover looks unbeatable for the second year in a row.  



NOMINEES Pamela Adlon ("Better Things"), Rachel Brosnahan ("The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"), Allison Janney ("Mom"), Issa Rae ("Insecure"), Tracee Ellis Ross ("Black-ish"), Lily Tomlin ("Grace and Frankie")


Without Louis-Dreyfus in the mix, this category should officially be the most interesting and competitive of all. Except that it's apparently not: If you believe the oddsmakers, like, this race is all but over. Brosnahan — who plays a budding Joan Rivers-type in this first-rate period dramedy — should walk away with this. Rae, however, would be a surprise, and a nice one. Her Issa Dee — a woman trying to make a life for herself in Los Angeles — has an alter ego, too, a rapping one. Both have facets and both inhabit complex emotional worlds. Rae makes it all look effortless, and often funny. 

WILL WIN Brosnahan


NOMINEES Jason Bateman ("Ozark"), Sterling K. Brown ("This Is Us"), Ed Harris ("Westworld"), Matthew Rhys ("The Americans"), Milo Ventimiglia ("This Is Us"), Jeffrey Wright ("Westworld")


Brown had another great season, which makes the choice paradoxically easy for voters and more difficult. Consider that the Academy voters who vote for actors are other actors, or the so-called "peer group." The veteran Wright — who won a supporting Emmy for "Angels in America" in 2003 — is an actor's actor, and much esteemed by this peer group. His quizzical and endearing Bernard Lowe is a "Westworld" breakout. If anyone can beat endearing Randall Pearson at the 70th, he's the one to do it.  



NOMINEES Claire Foy ("The Crown"), Tatiana Maslany ("Orphan Black"), Elisabeth Moss ("The Handmaid's Tale"), Sandra Oh ("Killing Eve"), Keri Russell ("The Americans"), Evan Rachel Wood ("Westworld")


Ah, my favorite category and the hardest one to call. If it's Oh — who plays an obsessive MI5 official, Eve Polastri, in search of an elusive (and female) serial killer — she makes history as the only actress of Asian descent to have won. That's exciting. If Russell wins for her wig-wearing KGB operative Elizabeth Jennings, aka Nadezhda, she finally scores after three straight tries. That's exciting, too. If Wood wins for Dolores Abernathy, the android on a mission, she might match a Wright victory. If Foy does for Queen Elizabeth II, her brilliance on "The Crown" is rewarded. But Moss, as "handmaid" June Osboure, was even better in the second season than the first. How could she not win? This is easily the most competitive -- and, yes, exciting -- category of the 70th.

WILL WIN Russell


NOMINEES "The Alienist," "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story," "Genius: Picasso," "Godless," "Patrick Melrose"

SHOULD WIN "Versace"

The gaping hole in the limited series category is "Twin Peaks: The Return," a brilliant reworking of the classic ABC series that probably never stood a chance with the Emmy crowd anyway. And so (the very good) "Versace" is now the easy favorite, but don't be too surprised if "Melrose" pulls off an upset. The performance of Benedict Cumberbatch — as the deeply scarred Melrose, who was based on writer Edward St Aubyn — was that good.   

WILL WIN "Versace"


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