As the Television Academy approaches the end of the voting deadline this evening, there is already a predetermined feeling about the overall outcomes of the ceremony. Most people feel that the inevitable steamroll will occur in the Drama categories for “Succession.” While in the Comedy categories, it wouldn’t be shocking if “Ted Lasso” ended up winning Best Comedy Series for the third year in a row. Still, the best part of awards ceremonies like these are the winners you don’t expect. The surprising winners not only shock audiences but also feel warranted. It’s not only rewarding to the incredible talent that receives the award but also to the audiences that have enjoyed the work delivered. Here are some of the nominees that voters should give a spotlight to this year for their incredible work in television.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series: Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”)
For the past six seasons of “Better Call Saul,” Bob Odenkirk has delivered one of the most engaging lead performances on television. Odenkirk not only accomplished the daunting task of bringing such depth to everyone’s favorite slimeball lawyer but possibly gave a performance on par with Bryan Cranston in “Breaking Bad.” Unfortunately, every year, Odenkirk has lost out to other performances that always ended up stealing the spotlight. This year is no different as a slew of “Succession” men (Strong, Culkin, and Cox) are fighting for the top spot. Hopefully, the Television Academy comes through and, with a potential case of vote splitting, Odenkirk can slip his way to Emmy gold. It’s about time Odenkirk receives the recognition for his dramatic work, which is more than overdue.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Rhea Seehorn (“Better Call Saul”)
Continuing the “Better Call Saul” praise, it’s impossible to shout out how great Odenkirk is without recognizing the brilliant talent that is Rhea Seehorn. It is pretty unforgivable that it took six seasons for the Television Academy even to acknowledge her performance, which has been a masterclass throughout the entire series. As Seehorn has earned her second nomination for the second half of the final season, there is no reason she shouldn’t go home with the Emmy. Currently, it’s looking pretty likely that the Television Academy is leaning toward Jennifer Coolidge for the second season of “The White Lotus.” While Coolidge is a beloved performer, and her work this past season was a highlight of a massively rewarding ensemble, it ultimately is more of the same. Coolidge already won the previous year and has swept every precursor this Emmy’s season (SAG, CCA, and Golden Globe). Coolidge has had her moment, and it was glorious. Now, let’s share the spotlight and allow Seehorn the opportunity to be recognized.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Jessica Williams (“Shrinking”)
There are plenty of new series that jumped onto the scene this year, but few contain a performance that is as scene-stealing as Jessica Williams’s portrayal of Gabby in “Shrinking.” Although it is a freshman season, it feels as if Williams has been playing this role for years. Every line reading is hysterical, and Williams constantly injects the show with a vivacious energy that is more than contagious. If your eyes aren’t closed from laughing so hard, you can physically see how her performance elevates Jason Siegel and Harrison Ford to be even better performers. William’s nomination is more than warranted, and a win would be one of the telecast’s most delightful surprises.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Ayo Edebiri (“The Bear”)
As “The Bear” picked up momentum during the Emmy voting season due to the release of the second season over the summer, now would be a great time to mention the all-around star that is Ayo Edebiri. Producing, writing, acting, Edebiri does it all. Her presence is more than felt as Sydney Adamu, an up-and-coming chef who brings normalcy to a more-than-neurotic environment. Everyone has praised Jeremy Allen White (and deservingly so), but Edebiri is the secret ingredient that holds the series together. Edebiri’s heartfelt and honest performance is the perfect counterbalance to the chaos Allen, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, and even Jon Bernthal bring to the series.
Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series: “Beef”
“Beef” is easily one of the most well-reviewed series of the year so far, and justifiably so. The series is anchored by two emotionally raw performances by Ali Wong and Steven Yeun, so much so that it’s hard to mention one without talking about the other. Both actors wonderfully bring the characters of Amy and Danny to life. Amy and Danny, both angry at the world, repress their frustrations with their own lives, bonding them with one another in a sadistic yet relatable manner. Throughout the series’ ten episodes, the tension only builds, leading to a more than satisfying boiling point. It helps that the series creator, Lee Sung Jin, has written a wholly unique and culturally distinctive series that makes it stand apart from the rest of television’s offerings.
Outstanding Writing For a Drama Series: “Andor,” ONE WAY OUT written by Beau Willimon
Speaking of writing, it would have been a travesty if “Andor” wasn’t celebrated in some capacity. Being a lifelong “Star Wars” fan has genuinely brought more disappointment than actual happiness, especially recently. That is why “Andor” delivered something not only excellent but a piece of television that audiences most likely never thought was possible within the franchise. The writing of “Andor” is methodical yet riveting. Every scene is filled with purpose, brimming with an interest in the things behind the surface. This was the only time it felt like audiences were watching a Disney Plus series that felt like, looked like, and could be considered prestige television.
Additionally, “Andor” easily has the best material of any group of actors in a “Star Wars” project has ever been given. “Andor’s” nominated episode, “One Way Out,” feels like the culmination of everything the show aspires to be, building towards an impactful, tension-filled prison break. The episode is also led by terrific performances by Diego Luna and Andy Serkis. Serkis not only delivers one of the best performances of the series but possibly his career as well. Beau Willmon’s script is terrific, benefiting not only the series’s characters but also the audiences that are invested in the story. It is, without a doubt, one of the more meticulously scripted episodes of 2023. Tony Gilroy, Willmon, and Co. show that franchise television can be massively rewarding to audiences and more than surface-level easter egg hunting.
There is such an overabundance of talent that could surprise the Emmys this year. Sure, it will most likely play out just as everyone expects it to, but does it have to? Just think back on the last Emmys telecast when Sheryl Lee Ralph won Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Not only was it a great win, but it led to one of the most endearing Emmy speeches that will never be forgotten. Sure, award pundits give the Television Academy flack for the way it over-nominates populist television series, but sometimes they actually pull through. Maybe the Emmys will have a few surprises in store for audiences when they watch the telecast in January of 2024. If you need any suggestions, Television Academy there’s more than an abundance of choices here to pick from.
Who do you think should be highlighted as voting is coming to an end? Do you think it will be a fairly predictable Emmy ceremony? Please let us know in the comments section below or over on our Twitter account, and be sure to check out our latest Emmy predictions here.