Our top picks and predictions for the 2022 Emmy Awards

Media Credit: Krishna Rajpara I Assistant Photo Editor

The list of nominees, unveiled in July exactly two months before the awards show, has generated both excitement and controversy.

With the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards rapidly approaching Monday, critics and fans alike are speculating who will come out on top in stacked, star-studded categories filled with big names like Zendaya, Reese Witherspoon and Sandra Oh.

The list of nominees, unveiled in July exactly two months before the awards show, has generated both excitement and controversy. Because multiple acclaimed series like “Ozark” and “Killing Eve” are in their final seasons this year, the pressure is on for all of the Academy’s favorite shows and actors to receive their rightful recognition – but snubs will be inevitable with many of these series up against one another.

We’ve narrowed down our top picks and predictions in major categories to highlight the shows and performances we think stood out from the pack.

Outstanding Drama Series:

Top Pick: “Euphoria” (HBO)
Sam Levinson’s autobiographical hit series returned last winter for its highly anticipated and long-awaited second season – aside from two standalone episodes released in December 2020 and January 2021, loyal viewers have been longing for more of the popular series since Season 1 aired in summer 2019.

Season 2 did not disappoint, taking the world by storm – it was essentially impossible to scroll through Twitter from 9 to 10 p.m. on a Sunday night without a Euphoria-filled timeline. Fans almost always watched live, bringing back the lost art of weekly episodes in a new world of streaming and binge-watching. Impeccable acting performances from Zendaya, Hunter Schafer and Sydney Sweeney paired with hard-hitting storylines made Euphoria’s Season 2 a memorable one, overall deserving of a win.

Prediction: “Euphoria” (HBO)
2022 is clearly the year of “Euphoria” – not only is the series itself nominated, but Zendaya and Sweeney are each nominated for Lead Actress and Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, respectively. Zendaya took home the same award in 2020 for the show’s first season, making history as the youngest ever to win in the category. While it is unlikely that the Academy will give her the award twice in a row, there is most certainly hope for the show itself, given its historic and record-breaking year in addition to the Academy’s affinity for HBO shows.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series:

Top Pick: Reese Witherspoon (“The Morning Show”)
Reese Witherspoon’s recent television performances, particularly in Season 2 of “The Morning Show,” are severely underrated in comparison to her film career. Witherspoon shines as Bradley Jackson, a local journalist thrust into the spotlight, aided by her new scene partner Julianna Margulies. This season, her character deals with familial addiction, a coming-out storyline and a newfound level of power, all of which create a career-defining performance for Witherspoon.

Since 2016, Witherspoon has starred in and produced three television series simultaneously – “Big Little Lies,” “Little Fires Everywhere” and “The Morning Show” – under her production company Hello Sunshine. Witherspoon has yet to win an Emmy for her acting work in television, despite being nominated for all three of her recent series. This track record in addition to incredibly tough competition does not bode well for Witherspoon this year, no matter how deserving she may be.

Prediction: Sandra Oh (“Killing Eve”)
Acclaimed actor Sandra Oh made a name for herself with five Emmy nominations for her role as Cristina Yang on Shonda Rhimes’ “Grey’s Anatomy.” But after departing the show in 2014, Oh achieved something few Grey’s alumni could find following their departures – even more success. In her titular role in BBC’s “Killing Eve,” Oh received much critical acclaim, earning back-to-back Emmy nominations for her portrayal of Eve Polastri in all four seasons of the series and two nominations for executive producing the show.

While critics have showered her in immense praise for her role in “Killing Eve,” Oh has yet to take home an Emmy for the series. With her luck and the Television Academy’s clear affinity for her, she just might bring home the win for the show’s final season – that is if “Ozark” star Laura Linney, also finishing a successful final season, doesn’t beat her to it.

Outstanding Limited Series:

Top Pick: “The Dropout” (Hulu)
A critically acclaimed performance from Amanda Seyfried combined with stellar writing places “The Dropout” among the most memorable limited series of the year. The fascinating story of infamous Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes has been told through media in countless ways, beginning with the popular 2019 HBO documentary “The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley.” But no storytelling was as riveting as Seyfried’s surprising portrayal of Holmes, somehow simultaneously humanizing and vilifying the fraudulent figure.

Prediction: “The Dropout” (Hulu)
Seyfried has received an abundance of acclaim for her transformative and career-defining portrayal of Holmes – so much so that this series is sure to come out on top, especially considering many of its competitors overwhelmingly fell short this year. “Inventing Anna” features a similar, based-on-a-true-story take on a controversial blonde protagonist-villain, yet ultimately falls short in the places where “The Dropout” shines.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie:

Top Pick: Sarah Paulson (“Impeachment: American Crime Story”)
Ryan Murphy’s third installment of his “American Crime Story” series was long-anticipated after its two-year COVID hiatus, and with good reason. This season outdid both of its predecessors, “The People v. OJ Simpson” and “The Assassination of Gianni Versace,” two extremely tough acts to follow.

Sarah Paulson, who plays the fascinating role of Linda Tripp, the woman responsible for leaking her personal phone calls with Monica Lewinsky detailing her affair with former President Bill Clinton, is the absolute cherry on top of this incredible ensemble. She was nothing short of remarkable in this role – it is truly difficult to determine where Tripp ends and Paulson begins. The two women appear one and the same, essential for a series re-examining a public sex scandal through the lens of the women involved.

Prediction: Sarah Paulson (“Impeachment: American Crime Story”)
The Television Academy has a clear fondness for Paulson – not only has she received eight nominations for her work, but she also won her first Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series Or Movie for her portrayal of Marcia Clark in “The People v. OJ Simpson.” If this trend continues, Paulson is a shoo-in for this award. Paulson has a natural talent that forces viewers to re-examine the controversial women at the center of public scandals, and this role is no exception.

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