THR TV critic Tim Goodman roots for 'Game of Thrones' and 'Master of None,' while awards analyst Scott Feinberg breaks down the drama and comedy contenders' winning chances.
SHOULD WIN: Game of Thrones
This one isn't even close. The depth of the multilayered storytelling, the nuance of each character, the enormity of the full story coalescing — it was all there in its pulse-pounding glory. There wasn't a more thrilling drama series in 2017.
WILL WIN: The Handmaid's Tale
The last three winners won for their first season — bad for Games of Thrones (it has never won), The Crown (won last year) plus Stranger Things and This Is Us (lost last year). The HFPA dislikes copying the Emmys but it'll make an exception for Handmaid's, which, like This Is Us, has a category-high three noms.
SHOULD WIN: Master of None
A stupefying category makes this easy. Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang keep nailing this sweet, idiosyncratic and personal story of life's little moments. From black-and-white homages to Italy, the joy of pasta and wine, and stories of dating, loving New York and, most memorably, coming out, this series revels in minor-key details.
WILL WIN: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Will & Grace, the first multicam nom in years, went 0-for-27 at the Globes during its initial run; I doubt it's better-liked now. The last five winners were rookies, not good news for Black-ish and Master of None. This could be close between The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and SMILF; the former is much more polished.
SHOULD WIN: Fargo
Both the show and Billy Bob Thornton have won in the past, so there's history, but there's also this thing about deserving it. While Big Little Lies is basically awards crack, this series is the heavy hitter, qualitatively, of the bunch. If it's going to lose out on the acting categories, it should at least win here.
WILL WIN: Big Little Lies
We learned that HBO's breakout hit is neither a miniseries nor a TV film — just as Globes voting ended, meaning there won't be category-fraud backlash. It's the most nominated TV program by far — its six noms lead Feud: Bette and Joan's four, Fargo's three, The Sinner's two and Top of the Lake: China Girl's one. By honoring Sinner or China Girl, the HFPA could separate itself from the TV Academy and champion a newer show, but I wouldn't bet on it.
SHOULD WIN: Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us)
The combination of Brown's brilliant acting and the fact that the emotional string-pulling show is a zeitgeisty crowd-pleaser is a force too hard to ignore (or overcome for the others). What Brown does seems so simple — he projects humanity in all of its patterns, in every situation and scene — but, obviously, it's not so simple.
WILL WIN: Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan)
Sterling K. Brown wasn't even nominated for This Is Us' first season. Ozark's Jason Bateman is a past winner who could repeat. Freddie Highmore stars on popular The Good Doctor. But, seeing as voters liked Schreiber enough to nominate him for all five Ray Donovan seasons, I think he'll finally win for its last.
SHOULD WIN: Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Deuce)
Gyllenhaal was most impressive at a very difficult task — conveying her character's dignity in a cruel world as she learns how to maneuver to have a chance at prospering in that world. She made art out of a character trying to survive travails of body, mind and spirit.
WILL WIN: Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid's Tale)
Outlander's Caitriona Balfe's a perennial bridesmaid. The Deuce's Maggie Gyllenhaal's a past winner up for a show voters didn't love. 13 Reasons Why newbie Katharine Langford could surprise. But the smart money's on 2017 winner Claire Foy (The Crown) or Moss, for her rookie show. The wind's behind Moss.
SHOULD WIN: Anthony Anderson (Black-ish)
He's called on to perform a bevy of beats from outlandish outrage, to surprise at having his assumptions undercut, to being peg-dropped by his wife and father. Anderson manages it all adroitly.
WILL WIN: Eric McCormack (Will & Grace)
Six straight winners hailed from first-year shows. That's bad for Black-ish's Anthony Anderson, Master of None's Aziz Ansari and Shameless' William H. Macy, but could be good for I Love Dick's Kevin Bacon or, subject to interpretation, McCormack, particularly after he co-hosted the HFPA's 75th anniversary special.
SHOULD WIN: Pamela Adlon (Better Things)
This is arguably one of the strongest categories (smartly picked), but Adlon gets the nod because she proved in season two that her acting toolbox was maybe bigger than some expected (she also directed every episode). In stories revolving around her own mother's woes and her three daughters and their needs, Adlon had to pivot and react accordingly as daughter, parent and individual with her own issues; the emotional gradations were impressive in every episode.
WILL WIN: Frankie Shaw (SMILF)
Five possible winners: Alison Brie (series-snubbed GLOW); Rachel Brosnahan (series nom Mrs. Maisel); or one of the multihyphenates behind a semi-autobiographical show, Insecure's Issa Rae (a nom last year), Better Things' Pamela Adlon (not nominated last year) or Shaw. Slight edge to the most recent revelation.
SHOULD WIN: Jude Law (The Young Pope)
Sure the show is crazy weird, but lest voters forgot this one already (you can't blame them — Peak TV), Law killed it in his own magnetic way, start to finish.
WILL WIN: Kyle McLachlan (Twin Peaks)
Any of these five could win — Genius' Geoffrey Rush has won twice before, The Wizard of Lies' Robert De Niro has won once, and this is nom No. 4 for The Young Pope's Jude Law and No. 2 for Fargo's Ewan McGregor. But I suspect this will be the category in which Twin Peaks receives its sole recognition. McLachlan previously won for the show's first incarnation 27 years ago.
SHOULD WIN: Jessica Biel (The Sinner)
Jessica Biel gave a head-turning, headline-making performance in The Sinner, and that's exactly the kind of stunner that makes a show like the Globes interesting (but wow, she's up against some big fish that HFPA members won't want to snub).
WILL WIN: Nicole Kidman (Big Little Lies)
Of this category's five slots, two belong to Big Little Lies (three-time winner Kidman and one-time winner Reese Witherspoon) and two belong to Feud: Bette and Joan (five-time winner Jessica Lange and eight-time nominee Susan Sarandon). A split could benefit the category's fifth occupant, first-time nominee Jessica Biel (The Sinner). But, by general acclamation, Kidman's powerful turn towers above the others.
SHOULD WIN: David Thewlis (Fargo)
A win here would be 2015 all over again for Fargo, but it would also be a damned worthy pick; Thewlis ate up his role and purged it, too. A virtuoso turn.
WILL WIN: Alexander Skarsgard (Big Little Lies)
Mr. Robot's Christian Slater won two years ago, and could win again. But, as often as a series, this winner hails from a miniseries or TV movie which is what voters thought Big Little Lies was when they voted. That, plus this Swede's looks and star-power, should propel him past Slater and character actors David Harbour (Stranger Things), Alfred Molina (Feud: Bette and Joan) and David Thewlis (Fargo).
SHOULD WIN: Ann Dowd (The Handmaid's Tale)
These supporting catch-all categories are brutal and unfair, but hey, so was Dowd in yet another notable role for her.
WILL WIN: Michelle Pfeiffer (The Wizard of Lies)
The TV Academy honored Handmaid's star Ann Dowd, but the HFPA rarely goes for character actors, which is bad for This Is Us' Chrissy Metz, too. I expect Big Little Lies' Laura Dern and Shailene Woodley to cancel out each other, paving the way for a victory by veteran A-lister Pfeiffer, who played Ruth Madoff.