April 10, 2023

Emmy Predictions: Lead Actor (Drama) – 30 Days Until Submission Deadline, So What Will ‘Succession’ Actors Choose for Themselves?

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Variety Awards Circuit section is the home for all awards news and related content throughout the year, featuring the following: the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and Tony Awards ceremonies, curated by Variety senior awards editor Clayton Davis. The prediction pages reflect the current standings in the race and do not reflect personal preferences for any individual contender. As other formal (and informal) polls suggest, competitions are fluid and subject to change based on buzz and events. Predictions are updated every Thursday.

Visit the prediction pages for the respective ceremonies via the links below:

OSCARS | EMMYS | GRAMMYS | TONYS

UPDATED: April 10, 2023

2023 Emmy Predictions:
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

“The Last of Us” (HBO)
HBO

Weekly Commentary: This year, there seems to be an “Emmy chicken” game with actors’ campaigns, notably the men of HBO’s “Succession.”

If you watched the episode “Connor’s Wedding,” you saw some of the most jaw-dropping moments of the show’s history. Without revealing spoilers (the breakdown of what could happen is here), we likely won’t know who will submit in any given category until the submission deadline on May 9. However, remember that Brian Cox has three options for him: lead, supporting and guest. Kieran Culkin’s decision will rest upon Cox’s choice, while Strong will likely remain in this race.

And then there’s Pedro Pascal, with three wildly different performances available for the Television Academy to consider this year. He has his guest comedy actor bid for hosting NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” and two spectacular turns in the science fiction genre — “The Mandalorian” from Disney+ and “The Last of Us” from HBO.

With “Mandalorian” it’s currently airing week-to-week on the “Mouse House’s” streaming platform. Still, it isn’t garnering the enthusiastic responses the two previous seasons did, so that is a long shot. His best chances lie in his creation of Joel, a hardened survivor of a global pandemic that finds a vulnerability in 14-year-old Ellie (Bella Ramsey) in the video game adaptation. Is it “winnable?” It depends on how well the show performs with the Television Academy (i.e., does it pick up writing and directing noms, along with a slew of techs?)

Pascal and the rest of the field are facing Saul Goodman, portrayed by Bob Odenkirk, for the final season of “Better Call Saul” that aired last summer. While fair to point out the show’s 46 series noms, none of which have resulted in a win, is the clear hurdle for the veteran actor to overcome. Still, like former final season winners across the Emmy spectrum, such as Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”), you can never be sure how sentimental the Emmys will get for a respected actor.

Emmy Nominations voting runs from June 15-26. The Primetime Emmy nominations will be announced on July 12. Check back every Thursday for the latest updates. All information is preliminary and is subject to change.


And the Predicted Nominees Are:


  1. Brian Cox — “Succession” (HBO) **
  2. Paddy Considine — “House of the Dragon” (HBO)
  3. Dominic West — “The Crown” (Netflix)
  4. Harrison Ford — “1923” (Paramount+)

Other Top-Tier Possibilities


  1. Kevin Costner — “Yellowstone” (Paramount Network)
  2. Matthew Rhys — “Perry Mason” (HBO)
  3. Arnold Schwarzenegger — “Fubar” (Netflix)
  4. Antony Starr — “The Boys” (Prime Video)
  5. Bryan Cranston — “Your Honor” (Showtime)
  6. Forest Whitaker — “Godfather of Harlem” (MGM+)
  7. Jeremy Renner — “Mayor of Kingstown” (Paramount+)
  8. Joshua Jackson — “Fatal Attraction” (Paramount+)
  9. Pedro Pascal — “The Mandalorian” (Disney+)
  10. Gary Oldman — “Slow Horses” (Apple TV+)

All Eligible Titles (Alphabetized by Network)**


** This list or category submission is not yet complete or confirmed and is subject to change.

2022 category winner: Lee Jung-jae, “Squid Game” (Netflix)


Emmy Awards Predictions Categories

DRAMA SERIES | COMEDY SERIES | LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES | TV MOVIE | LEAD ACTOR (DRAMA) | LEAD ACTOR (COMEDY) | LEAD ACTOR (LIMITED/TV MOVIE) | LEAD ACTRESS (DRAMA) | LEAD ACTRESS (COMEDY) | LEAD ACTRESS (LIMITED/TV MOVIE) | SUPPORTING ACTOR (DRAMA) | SUPPORTING ACTOR (COMEDY) | SUPPORTING ACTOR (LIMITED/TV MOVIE) | SUPPORTING ACTRESS (DRAMA) | SUPPORTING ACTRESS (COMEDY) | SUPPORTING ACTRESS (LIMITED/TV MOVIE) | TALK SERIES | SCRIPTED VARIETY SERIES | GAME SHOW | DIRECTING (DRAMA, COMEDY, LIMITED/TV MOVIE) | WRITING (DRAMA, COMEDY, LIMITED/TV MOVIE) | VARIETY SKETCH, SERIES, SPECIALS |

Creative Arts and Other Emmy Categories

GUEST ACTING, VOICE-OVER | SHORT FORM | DOCUMENTARY | MUSIC | ANIMATED |

About the Primetime Emmy Awards

The Primetime Emmy Awards, better known as the Emmys, are given out by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS). Since 1949, the awards have recognized excellence in American primetime television programming. They are divided into three classes – Primetime Emmy Awards, the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards (honors artisan achievements), and the Primetime Engineering Emmy Awards (recognizes significant engineering and technological contributions). The typical eligibility period is between June 1 and May 31 of any given year. The Television Academy comprises over 25,000 members, representing 30 professional peer groups, including performers, directors, producers, art directors, artisans, and executives.



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