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Our predictions for how the Emmy nominations should shake out Thursday morning

Our predictions for how the Emmy nominations should shake out Thursday morning
Ron Cephas Jones, left, and Sterling K. Brown in "This Is Us." (Ron Batzdorff / NBC)

"Game of Thrones" is taking an Emmy break. Nothing personal, television academy. HBO's three-time drama winner just needed some time alone, to think, to brood, to devise new ways to brutally dismember and disembowel characters. You know, the usual stuff when relationships have gone on for a few years.

Because the new season of "Thrones" comes after this year's Emmy eligibility deadline, we're going to have a new drama series winner. And since the series had a way of vacuuming up acting nominations in the supporting categories, it also means we're going to have a bunch of fresh nominees replacing the likes of Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey and Masie Williams.

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That turnover adds an extra level of intrigue to this year's Emmy nominations, which is a good thing because I've run out of ways to describe how amazing Julia Louis-Dreyfus is in "Veep." (Yes, she's going to be nominated again.)

Here's how the races should shake out when the names are announced Thursday morning.

DRAMA SERIES

"The Americans"

"Better Call Saul"

"The Crown"

"The Handmaid's Tale"

"Stranger Things"

"This Is Us"

"Westworld"

Spoiler: "The Leftovers"

Comment: Unprecedented changes here with five first-year shows expected to be among the seven nominees.

LEAD ACTRESS, DRAMA

Christine Baranski, "The Good Fight"

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Viola Davis, "How to Get Away With Murder"

Claire Foy, "The Crown"

Elisabeth Moss, "The Handmaid's Tale"

Keri Russell, "The Americans"

Robin Wright, "House of Cards"

Spoiler: Evan Rachel Wood, "Westworld"

Comment: Leaning toward old favorites (Baranski, Davis, Wright), but Wood could easily make it in and Carrie Coon won many fans for the brilliant third season of "The Leftovers." Might be the year's category of surprises.

LEAD ACTOR, DRAMA

Sterling K. Brown, "This Is Us"

Rami Malek, "Mr. Robot"

Bob Odenkirk, "Better Call Saul"

Matthew Rhys, "The Americans"

Liev Schreiber, "Ray Donovan"

Kevin Spacey, "House of Cards"

Spoiler: Billy Bob Thornton, "Goliath"

Comment: Those craving stability will find it here with Brown the only newcomer, replacing Kyle Chandler ("Bloodline").

SUPPORTING ACTRESS, DRAMA

Uzo Aduba, "Orange Is the New Black"

Millie Bobby Brown, "Stranger Things"

Vera Farmiga, "Bates Motel"

Chrissy Metz, "This Is Us"

Thandie Newton, "Westworld"

Winona Ryder, "Stranger Things"

Spoiler: Ann Dowd, "The Handmaid's Tale"

Comment: Farmiga, nominated for lead actress in "Bates Motel's" first season, shifts to supporting and deserves to be recognized for the show's last go-around, in which she deftly played Norma from Norman's point of view.

SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA

Jonathan Banks, "Better Call Saul"

Ed Harris, "Westworld"

Jared Harris, "The Crown"

Ron Cephas Jones, "This Is Us"

John Lithgow, "The Crown"

Jeffrey Wright, "Westworld"

Spoiler: Michael McKean, "Better Call Saul"

Comment: Lots of ways this could go, with past nominees Michael Kelly ("House of Cards") and Jon Voight ("Ray Donovan") also in play. And it's the last chance to honor McKean, the MVP of this past season of "Saul."

COMEDY SERIES

"Atlanta"

"black-ish"

"Master of None"

"Silicon Valley"

"Transparent"

"Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"

"Veep"

Spoiler: "Modern Family"

Comment: "Modern Family" currently has seven series noms. The only comedies with more: "Cheers" and "MASH" with 11, "All in the Family" (nine) and "Frasier" (eight). I'm thinking it just misses a nom.

LEAD ACTRESS, COMEDY

Allison Janney, "Mom"

Ellie Kemper, "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep"

Issa Rae, "Insecure"

Tracee Ellis Ross, "black-ish"

Lily Tomlin, "Grace and Frankie"

Spoiler: Phoebe Waller-Bridge, "Fleabag"

Comment: Question to every Emmy voter over the last four months: "You saw 'Fleabag,' right?" Answers were encouraging.

LEAD ACTOR, COMEDY

Anthony Anderson, "black-ish"

Aziz Ansari, "Master of None"

Hank Azaria, "Brockmire"

Donald Glover, "Atlanta"

William H. Macy, "Shameless"

Jeffrey Tambor, "Transparent"

Spoiler: Thomas Middleditch, "Silicon Valley"

Comment: Middleditch is the safe pick, but I'm betting Jim Brockmire's plaid jacket sticks in voters' minds.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS, COMEDY

Anna Chlumsky, "Veep"

Jane Krakowski, "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"

Judith Light, "Transparent"

Andrea Martin, "Great News"

Kate McKinnon, "Saturday Night Live"

Rita Moreno, "One Day at a Time"

Spoiler: Gaby Hoffman, "Transparent"

Comment: Martin, 70, has won two Tonys and was just nominated again last year. She has two Emmys — for writing on the beloved "SCTV." Yes, she's having a moment.

SUPPORTING ACTOR, COMEDY

Louie Anderson, "Baskets"

Alec Baldwin, "Saturday Night Live"

Tituss Burgess, "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"

Ty Burrell, "Modern Family"

Tony Hale, "Veep"

Brian Tyree Henry, "Atlanta"

Spoiler: Matt Walsh, "Veep"

Comment: Look for Henry in the comedy guest actor category too for his powerful turn on "This Is Us."

LIMITED SERIES

"Big Little Lies"

"Fargo"

"Feud: Bette and Joan"

"Genius"

"The Night Of"

Spoiler: "American Crime"

Comment: National Geographic spent heavily promoting "Genius," its first scripted series. That promotional push gives it a slight edge over twice-nominated "Crime."

TV MOVIE

"Black Mirror"

"Churchill's Secret"

"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks"

"Sherlock: The Lying Detective"

"Wizard of Lies"

Spoiler: "Agatha Christie's The Witness for the Prosecution"

Comment: Path seems clear for "Sherlock" to repeat.

LEAD ACTRESS, LIMITED SERIES/TV MOVIE

Carrie Coon, "Fargo"

Nicole Kidman, "Big Little Lies"

Jessica Lange, "Feud: Bette and Joan"

Susan Sarandon, "Feud: Bette and Joan"

Oprah Winfrey, "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks"

Spoiler: Felicity Huffman, "American Crime"

Comment: And the stage is set for the "Big Little Lies" v. "Feud" showdown.

LEAD ACTOR, LIMITED SERIES/TV MOVIE

Riz Ahmed, "The Night Of"

Benedict Cumberbatch, "Sherlock: The Lying Detective"

Robert De Niro, "The Wizard of Lies"

Ewan McGregor, "Fargo"

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Geoffrey Rush, "Genius"

John Turturro, "The Night Of"

Spoiler: Jude Law, "The Young Pope"

Comment: Too bad McGregor can't earn a double nomination for his twin turn on "Fargo."

Twitter: @glennwhipp

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