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'Game of Thrones,' 'Handmaid's Tale' and 'black-ish' lead our 2018 Emmys buzzmeter

It’s the year(s) of Peak TV when there’s so much quality programming on the air that it seems there’s just never enough time to watch everything. All of which makes the Emmys a confusing time for many. How can you know what series might rise above the others come awards time if you haven’t seen them all? That’s exactly why we have a panel of professionals to guide you through it. Here, our Buzzmeter experts tell us what they think will stand out in 14 key Emmy categories come nomination day July 12. Have other suggestions? Let us know in the comments.

Our panelists:

Lorraine Ali/Los Angeles Times; Tom O’Neil/Gold Derby; Matt Roush/TV Guide; Glenn Whipp/The Envelope

Their picks in the key categories:

Drama series frontrunners: 'Handmaid's Tale' | 'The Americans' | 'The Crown' | 'Game of Thrones'

"The Handmaid's Tale"
"The Handmaid's Tale" took the drama series Emmy last year. George Kraychyk / Hulu

“There’s a good chance ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ will beat out Emmy juggernaut ‘Game of Thrones,’ giving the frighteningly timely Hulu series its second consecutive win here. But never underestimate the supernatural power of ‘Stranger Things.’”

Lorraine Ali

Critics’ Picks

“The Handmaid’s Tale”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

“The Americans”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

“This Is Us”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

“Stranger Things”: Glenn, Lorraine, Tom

“Game of Thrones”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

“The Crown”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

“Westworld”: Glenn, Matt, Tom

“Ozark”: Matt

“Trust”: Lorraine


Comedy series frontrunners: 'Atlanta' | 'black-ish' | 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'

Atlanta
Lakeith Stanfield, left, and Donald Glover in "Atlanta." Guy D'Alema / FX

“FX’s ‘Atlanta’ is the strongest comedy series contender, especially given that ‘Veep’ isn’t in the running this year. But ABC’s ‘Roseanne’ reboot could be the wild card here.”

Lorraine Ali

Critics’ Picks

“Atlanta”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”: Glenn, Matt, Tom

“Silicon Valley”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine

“black-ish”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

“Curb Your Enthusiasm”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

“GLOW”: Glenn, Lorraine

“Barry”: Glenn

“Will and Grace”: Matt, Tom

“One Day at a Time”: Matt

“Roseanne”: Lorraine, Tom

“Better Things”: Lorraine

“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”: Tom


Drama actress frontrunners: Elisabeth Moss, 'The Handmaid’s Tale' | Claire Foy, 'The Crown' | Keri Russell, 'The Americans' | Evan Rachel Wood, 'Westworld'

Sandra Oh
Sandra Oh in the BBC America show "Killing Eve." BBC America

“There’s likely one spot for a newcomer, and Sandra Oh is by far the most deserving for her funny, vulnerable turn on ‘Killing Eve.’”

Glenn Whipp

Critics' Picks

Keri Russell, “The Americans”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

Claire Foy, “The Crown”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

Evan Rachel Wood, “Westworld”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

Mandy Moore, “This Is Us”: Glenn, Tom

Sandra Oh, “Killing Eve”: Glenn

Laura Linney, “Ozark”: Matt, Lorraine

Maggie Gyllenhaal, “The Deuce”: Matt

Kerry Washington, “Scandal”: Lorraine

Caitriona Balfe, “Outlander”: Tom


Drama actor frontrunners: Sterling K. Brown, 'This Is Us' | Matthew Rhys, 'The Americans' | Freddie Highmore, 'The Good Doctor'

'Trust'
Donald Sutherland as J. Paul Getty in "Trust." Kurt Iswarienko / FX

“Months after being given an honorary Oscar, Donald Sutherland delivers one of his strongest performances, playing J. Paul Getty in ‘Trust.’”

Glenn Whipp

Critics' Picks

Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

Milo Ventimiglia, “This Is Us”: Glenn, Matt, Tom

Matthew Rhys, “The Americans”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

Jason Bateman, “Ozark”: Glenn, Matt

Freddie Highmore, “The Good Doctor”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

Donald Sutherland, “Trust”: Glenn, Lorraine

J.K. Simmons, “Counterpart”: Matt

Jeffrey Wright, “Westworld": Lorraine

Kit Harington, “Game of Thrones”: Lorraine, Tom

Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan”: Tom


Comedy actress frontrunners: Tracee Ellis Ross, 'black-ish' | Allison Janney, 'Mom'

Better Things
Pamela Adlon as Sam Fox in "Better Things." Beth Dubber / FX

“‘Better Things’ was even better in its second season; hopefully voters will remember to reward Pamela Adlon with another nomination.”

Glenn Whipp

Critics' Picks

Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”: Glenn, Matt, Tom

Tracee Ellis Ross, “black-ish”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

Alison Brie, “GLOW”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine

Allison Janney, “Mom”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

Lily Tomlin, “Grace and Frankie”: Glenn

Pamela Adlon, “Better Things": Glenn, Matt, Lorraine

Debra Messing, “Will and Grace”: Matt, Tom

Issa Rae, “Insecure”: Lorraine

Kristen Bell, “The Good Place”: Lorraine

Roseanne Barr, “Roseanne”: Tom

Ellie Kemper, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”: Tom


Comedy actor frontrunners: Donald Glover, 'Atlanta' | Anthony Anderson, 'black-ish'

'Atlanta'
Donald Glover as Earnest Marks in "Atlanta.' Quantrell D. Colbert / FX

“Glover, who’s having a most excellent year, will likely get his second Emmy for his visionary ‘Atlanta,’ but Bill Hader’s hit-man-turned-actor is an edgy tour-de-force, and I’m hoping Hank Azaria gets noticed for his bawdy broken-down sportscaster. Tracy Morgan is the comeback story of the year and Emmy should reward that with a well-deserved nod.”

Matt Roush

Critics' Picks

Donald Glover, “Atlanta”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

Anthony Anderson, “black-ish": Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

Bill Hader, “Barry”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine

William H. Macy, “Shameless”: Glenn, Lorraine, Tom

Zach Galifianakis, “Baskets”: Glenn, Tom

Ted Danson, “The Good Place”: Glenn, Lorraine,

Larry David, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”: Matt, Tom

Hank Azaria, “Brockmire”: Matt

Tracy Morgan, “The Last O.G.”: Matt

Eric McCormack, “Will and Grace”: Lorraine, Tom


Comedy supporting actress frontrunners: Kate McKinnon, 'Saturday Night Live' | Laurie Metcalf, 'Roseanne' | Alex Borstein, 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' | Rita Moreno, 'One Day at a Time'

'Roseanne
Roseanne Barr, left, and Laurie Metcalf in "Roseanne." Adam Rose / ABC

“How to acknowledge the success of a rebooted ‘Roseanne’ without rewarding the show's polarizing namesake? Honor Laurie Metcalf, whose idiosyncratic Jackie is the redeemable answer to an infuriatingly one-dimensional Roseanne.”

Lorraine Ali

Critics' Picks

Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

Laurie Metcalf, “Roseanne”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

Alex Borstein, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

Rita Moreno, “One Day at a Time”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

Zazie Beetz, “Atlanta”: Glenn, Lorraine

Betty Gilpin, “GLOW”: Glenn

Megan Mullally, “Will and Grace”: Matt, Tom

Judith Light, “Transparent”: Matt

Tiffany Haddish, “The Last O.G.”: Lorraine

Leslie Jones, “Saturday Night Live”: Tom


Comedy supporting actor frontrunners: Sean Hayes, 'Will and Grace' | Brian Tyree Henry, 'Atlanta'

'Will & Grace'
Sean Hayes as Jack McFarland and Megan Mullally as Karen Walker in "Will & Grace." Chris Haston / NBC

“Sean Hayes won this race the first time he was nominated in 2000 but then lost six times. Can he cap off the recent, triumphant ‘Will and Grace’ comeback with a fresh victory?”

Tom O’Neill

Critics' Picks

Henry Winkler, “Barry”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine

Sean Hayes, “Will and Grace”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

Tituss Burgess, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”: Glenn, Matt, Tom

Brian Tyree Henry, “Atlanta”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

Louie Anderson, “Baskets”: Glenn, Matt, Tom

Alec Baldwin, “Saturday Night Live”: Glenn, Matt, Tom

Lakeith Stanfield, “Atlanta”: Lorraine

Marc Maron, “GLOW”: Lorraine

Kumail Nanjiani, “Silicon Valley”: Lorraine

Tony Shalhoub, “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”: Tom


Drama supporting actress frontrunners: Ann Dowd, 'The Handmaid’s Tale' | Thandie Newton, 'Westworld'

"˜Westworld"
Thandie Newton in "Westworld." HBO / TNS

“Fierce and funny, Thandie Newton’s rebellious host is a standout in ‘Westworld’s’ sprawling cast. The two ‘Handmaid’s’ actresses could cancel each other out. Chrissy Metz had a strong season and could reap the rewards of a ‘This Is Us’ sweep.”

Matt Roush

Critics' Picks

Ann Dowd, “The Handmaid’s Tale”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

Thandie Newton, “Westworld”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things”: Glenn, Lorraine, Tom

Lena Headey, “Game of Thrones”: Glenn, Matt, Tom

Chrissy Metz, “This Is Us”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

Alexis Bledel, “The Handmaid’s Tale”: Glenn, Matt

Margo Martindale, “The Americans”: Matt

Uzo Aduba, “Orange Is the New Black”: Lorraine, Tom

Vanessa Kirby, “The Crown”: Lorraine


Drama supporting actor frontrunners: Peter Dinklage, 'Game of Thrones' | Mandy Patinkin, 'Homeland'

'This Is Us'
Justin Hartley as Kevin Pearson in "This Is Us." Ron Batzdorff / NBC

“No slam-dunk front-runners here. Justin Hartley’s meltdown as Kevin Pearson on ‘This Is Us’ was Emmy bait for sure, but David Harbour is terrific as ‘Stranger Things’ moral compass and Richard Schiff defines the category as ‘Good Doctor’ Sean’s most ardent supporter.”

Matt Roush

Critics' Picks

David Harbour, “Stranger Things”: Glenn, Matt, Tom

Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

Justin Hartley, “This Is Us”: Glenn, Matt, Tom

Noah Schnapp, “Stranger Things”: Glenn, Lorraine

Mandy Patinkin, “Homeland”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, “Game of Thrones”: Glenn, Lorraine, Tom

Jon Voight, “Ray Donovan”: Matt

Richard Schiff, “The Good Doctor”: Matt

Ed Harris, “Westworld”: Lorraine

Brendan Fraser, “Trust”: Lorraine, Tom


TV movie frontrunners: 'Fahrenheit 451' | 'Black Mirror: USS Callister' | 'Paterno'

'Black Mirror'
Cristin Milloti in a scene from "Black Mirror." Jonathan Prime / Netflix

“‘Black Mirror’s’ superb ‘Star Trek’ parody might earn the anthology its first Emmy in this category.”

Glenn Whipp

Critics' Picks

“Fahrenheit 451”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

“Paterno”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

“Black Mirror: USS Callister”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

“The Tale”: Glenn, Matt, Tom

“Flint”: Glenn, Tom

“Notes from the Field”: Matt

“The Christmas Prince”: Lorraine

“Cocaine Godmother”: Lorraine

“Phillip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams”: Lorraine


Limited series frontrunners: 'The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story' | 'Looming Tower' | 'Godless'

'The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story'
Edgar Ramirez as Gianni Versace in "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story." Jeff Daly / FX

“Ryan Murphy’s adventurous study of a gay psychopath, told in reverse chronology, was unexpectedly fascinating and unsettling. But in terms of pure entertainment, how I loved the female-driven Western shenanigans of ‘Godless.’”

Matt Roush

Critics' Picks

“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

“Twin Peaks: The Return”: Glenn, Matt, Tom

“Looming Tower”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

“Howards End”: Glenn, Matt, Tom

“Godless”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

“Genius: Picasso”: Lorraine

”Alias Grace”: Lorraine

”The Terror”: Lorraine


Limited series actress frontrunners: Michelle Dockery, 'Godless' | Edie Falco, 'Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders'

Elisabeth Moss
Elisabeth Moss as Detective Robin Griffin in "Top Of The Lake: China Girl." See-Saw Films / SundanceTV

“In 2013, Elisabeth Moss lost this race when nominated for a previous installment of ‘Top of the Lake.’ After winning the drama actress prize last year for ‘Handmaid's Tale,’ can she now triumph twice?”

Tom O’Neill

Critics' Picks

Laura Dern, “The Tale”: Glenn, Matt, Tom

Jessica Biel, “The Sinner”: Glenn, Matt, Tom

Hayley Atwell, “Howard’s End”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine

Elisabeth Moss, “Top of the Lake”: Glenn, Lorraine, Tom

Michelle Dockery, “Godless”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

Edie Falco, “Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

Sarah Paulson, “American Horror Story: Cult”: Matt, Lorraine, Tom

Sarah Gadon, “Alias Grace”: Lorraine


Limited series actor frontrunners: Kyle MacLachlan, 'Twin Peaks' | Darren Criss, 'Versace' | Al Pacino, 'Paterno' | Michael B. Jordan, 'Fahrenheit 451'

Darren Criss
Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan in "The Assassination of Gianni Versace." Jeff Daly / FX

“Traditionally, this category is claimed by big movie stars like Al Pacino, who won twice (2004, 2010), but recent champs have been appealing newcomers like Riz Ahmed and Courtney B. Vance. That's good news for Darren Criss.”

Tom O’Neill

Critics' Picks

Kyle MacLachlan, “Twin Peaks”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

Darren Criss, “Versace”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

Al Pacino, “Paterno”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

Jeff Daniels, “The Looming Tower”: Glenn, Matt, Tom

Benedict Cumberbatch, “Patrick Melrose”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine

Michael B. Jordan, “Fahrenheit 451”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

Antonio Banderas, “Genius: Picasso”: Lorraine, Tom


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