Critic’s picks for Emmy nominations: Expect ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ and ‘Atlanta’

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Television Critic

The nominations for the 70th annual Emmy Awards will be announced July 12. And once again, a lot of excellent television airing on networks, cable and streaming services will get nods while more excellent television on those same platforms is relegated to the sidelines.

However, TV critics Lorraine Ali and Robert Lloyd have come up with their picks on what they feel is Emmy-nomination worthy. There are some familiar choices, and even more unfamiliar choices. If they were voting, here’s what they would choose.

For the record:

8:25 p.m. July 10, 2018An earlier version of this post described “SMILF” as an AMC series. The series is on Showtime.



Drama series

I’d love to root for something new — a show that hasn’t been nominated or won before, or perhaps a series that just debuted — but nothing on television beats the second season of Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.” This year, the dark drama stretched its dystopian narrative beyond the Margaret Atwood novel from which it was adapted and hit even closer to the bone in its themes of subjugation, authoritarianism and religious persecution. All that, and it also managed to make a tune covered by the Bay City Rollers sound meaningful. Close behind, however, are other shows familiar to the Emmys where women ruled: “Game of Thrones” and “The Crown.” And if the world were turned upside down? “Stranger Things.”

Comedy series

All the comedies I’d like to see nominated feature awkward, broke and often high lead characters who I’m pretty sure at one time or another wore tube socks out in public. “Atlanta” is my top hope, and since “Veep” is no longer in the running, the FX series created by Donald Glover stands a chance. HBO’s “Insecure,” which is coming up on season three, hasn’t gotten the love it deserves, so I’m rooting for the LA-based comedy as well. And for a brutally funny take on penniless, single motherhood, there’s “SMILF.” The Showtime series will never win because it scares people — but that’s exactly why it should get the prize

Actor, drama

As the self-absorbed, cruel patriarch John Paul Getty of “Trust,” Donald Sutherland elevated this compelling original drama from good to great with a stellar performance. Even if you have seen that other drama about the 1970s kidnapping of John Paul Getty III, this narrative (helmed by director Danny Boyle) lays bare the moral bankruptcy of the world’s wealthiest man.


Actress, drama

Again, not the most original choice, but this should go to Elisabeth Moss for her portrayal of the enslaved Offred (aka June) in “The Handmaid’s Tale.” The silent rage Moss conveyed all season from under the horrible red hood and winged hat was a thing of sadness and beauty. My second choice also knows how to convey myriad emotions with the smallest of gestures: Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II in Netflix’s “The Crown.” She just gets to throw shade while wearing a tiara.

Actor, comedy

Donald Glover should win this prize again for his performance as the inconsistently ambitious Earn in FX’s “Atlanta.” And though I have many problems with the Netflix show “GLOW,” Marc Maron is the main reason I continue to watch it. He’s a natural as the sleazy, B-movie director Sam Sylvia. A longer shot than Maron? Zach Galifianakis, who plays two roles — the forlorn clown, Chip, and his twin brother, Dale — in FX’s “Baskets.” And with Louie Anderson playing their mother, Christine, the evolving family dynamics make the show better with each season.

Actress, comedy

This one’s tricky, so I’m splitting the award four ways. And the dismembered Emmy goes to … “Insecure” creator Issa Rae, Tracee Ellis Ross of “black-ish,” the unbreakable Ellie Kemper of the “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and Frankie Shaw as the messy single mom in “SMILF.”


Limited series

You probably missed all of these limited series, but I promise they are better than that one about Versace. First on my list of dream wins that will never happen is AMC’s period drama “The Terror” starring Jared Harris. The fictionalized tale is based on the true story of British Royal Navy ships that became stranded in ice while on route to discover the Northwest Passage. The crew are exposed to the elements — and something far worse. Close behind are two Netflix series: the psychological thriller “Alias Grace” and the teenage runaway comedy “End of the F***ing World.”