Who should win vs. who will win

Who should win vs. who will win

In a battle of the worst people on Earth, “Succession” and “The White Lotus” are poised for Emmy glory.

Will Ben Stiller’s workplace nightmare “Severance” be a lucky freshman winner or will that honor go to Quinta Brunson’s “Abbott Elementary?” Can formerly favorite “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” keep it up or is a “Hacks” win inevitable?

Here are our best bets on how the awards show — hosted by “Saturday Night Live” comedian Kenan Thompson — will go Monday night on NBC.


Will win: “Succession”

As long as the Roys keep stabbing each other in the back, we’ll keep tuning in. The dynastic HBO drama features some of the most unlikable characters on TV doing awful things to each other and we should be cheering for all of them to fail. But the insults? The switching loyalties? Kendall Roy’s unbearably awkward rapping and entire existence? They can’t be denied.

Should win: “Yellowjackets”

Blah blah blah, my daddy doesn’t love me and won’t give me a billion-dollar company, poor me. You know what really sucks? Being stranded in the woods for 19 months with a bunch of high school girls. Let’s see Kendall Roy survive that. “Yellowjackets” wasn’t the first teen survivor series of the last few years but it was certainly the best, even when it let us down with the cannibalism tease. The Showtime thriller made us root for a bunch of teenage girls at their worst and then again as adults, still often at their worst.

“Ted Lasso”

Will win: “Ted Lasso”

“Ted Lasso’s” sophomore season was a little more controversial than its first, as viewers struggled to wait for storylines to pay off (the weekly rollout instead of a binge apparently broke people’s brains), but by the end, it was hard to deny it was a total triumph. Even with a funeral sing-along, Sam Richardson’s unimpeachable Ghanian gazillionaire and Trent Crimm’s texts, season 2 proved that Jason Sudeikis and friends weren’t just a flash in the pan, but a comedy club for the ages.

Should win: “Abbott Elementary”

Raise your hand if “Abbott Elementary” made you reach for a Trapper Keeper and three-ring binder wishing you could go back to grade school. Quinta Brunson’s half-hour comedy was so irresistible that it did what no broadcast show has done in years: made 20-somethings turn on cable. That in and of itself is award-worthy, but “Abbott Elementary” went even farther, with heart and humor and a bite to it that no one knew was allowed on terrestrial TV.

“The White Lotus”

Will win: “The White Lotus”

It feels a little silly to still be categorizing “The White Lotus” as a limited series after production has already wrapped on its second season, but here we are. Mike White’s farcical show about awful people hidden beneath totally normal masks was a terrifying mirror to society against a gorgeous Hawaiian backdrop, filled to the brim with standout performances from everyone from Murray Bartlett to Jennifer Coolidge.

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Should win: “The White Lotus”

“Dopesick” was the most underrated show in this category, but Danny Strong’s story about the rise of the opioid crisis and the people who drove it was an almost impossible watch. “The White Lotus,” on the other hand, was easy, which was the point: cruelty and evil can be average. Most people don’t sit around twirling their mustaches and cackling. It’s subtle, in how they treat people who make less than them and what they’ve decided they deserve, no matter who it takes from.

Lee Jung-jae in “Squid Game.”

Will win: Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”

Odenkirk went out with a bang as Saul Goodman in the “Breaking Bad” sequel that some have said surpassed the original. Due to weird Emmy timing, the second half of the final “Better Call Saul” season will still be eligible next year, but it’s hard to deny just how endlessly watchable everyone’s favorite criminal lawyer was.

Should win: Lee Jung-jae, “Squid Game”

“Squid Game” was unlike anything we’ve ever seen on TV, equal parts horrifying, dystopian and a little too realistic for words. At the center of it is Seong Gi-hun, a divorced father who decides that a win-or-die competition with a cash prize at the end is the only way to fix his life. This is a strong category but Jung-jae and “Squid Game” were haunting in a way that few other shows have broken through our collective consciousness.

Melanie Lynskey in “Yellowjackets.”

Will win: Zendaya, “Euphoria”

Yes, sure, Sydney Sweeney’s bathroom breakdown created a meme for the ages, but Zendaya’s drug-addled performance in “Euphoria” has been an addictive role for the youngest two-time nominee in Emmy history. As much as we want to shake Rue until she pulls her life together, because we know she can, Zendaya has created a character you pity, love and sometimes sympathize with all at the same time.

Should win: Melanie Lynskey, “Yellowjackets”

“Yellowjackets” is such a clean ensemble that it’s almost impossible for one of the teen or adult actresses to stand out. And yet here’s Melanie Lynskey, cutting up rabbits in her kitchen and sleeping with a guy who may be stalking and blackmailing her. Shauna is a little less crazy than her counterparts, but her trauma is just as fresh, and Lynskey plays it all with sadness and strength. After decades of being underappreciated in Hollywood, it’s finally her time.

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Bill Hader in “Barry.”

Will win: Bill Hader, “Barry”

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Martin Short and Steve Martin are both arguably doing some of the best work of their career on “Only Murders in the Building” and Jason Sudeikis is still having the time of his life on “Ted Lasso,” but Bill Hader is just on another level as the depressed assassin-turned-standup-comic. He’s already won this category twice, and third time’s the charm.

Should win: Bill Hader, “Barry”

At some point, we should have a conversation about whether “Barry” is even a comedy series, but that’s for another time. For now, let’s just focus on Barry Berkman, Barry Block and the failed attempt to change your own life. If this assassin can’t rewrite his own story, who can?

Quinta Brunson in “Abbott Elementary.”

Will win: Jean Smart, “Hacks”

The year of Jean Smart has now stretched into at least its second year, and we are all better for it. This season, Smart, as her Joan Riversesque standup comedian Deborah Vance, even got to show off some vulnerability, a welcome change from Vance’s hardened – and understandably so – demeanor. She shines when she needs to shine, melts into the ground when she needs to melt and raises up everyone around her on camera.

Should win: Quinta Brunson, “Abbott Elementary”

Emmy voters are not allergic to newcomers (everyone remember Phoebe Waller-Bridge?), but they do get the sniffles around broadcast shows. That said, Quinta Brunson, star and creator of “Abbott Elementary,” deserves the world. Not only has she built a sweet, hilarious, heartwarming world in a poorly funded Philadelphia elementary school behind the camera, but in front of it she’s managed to make an annoying know-it-all loveable in the irritatingly optimistic second-grade teacher Janine Teagues.

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