The flip side: For those trying to handicap the winners in an always unpredictable and increasingly crowded field, it’s more of a crapshoot than ever.
The feuding families of Game of Thrones aren’t competing (the show didn’t air during this year’s eligibility period), opening the door for five freshman series to battle against veteran nominees Better Call Saul and House of Cards. The contenders couldn’t be more different. Netflix’s sumptuous historical drama The Crown would be a slam dunk if this were the Oscars, and while it’s absolutely a front-runner, the competition is fierce. Hulu’s devastating The Handmaid’s Tale has strong buzz for its allegorical topicality, and a win for NBC’s heartwarming hit This Is Us—the first commercial broadcast drama nominee since 2011’s The Good Wife—would be a stunning industry reversal. Any of these three might triumph, though don’t count out Netflix’s cult phenom Stranger Things or HBO’s dark fantasy Westworld, either of which could inherit Thrones’ spot.
The acting categories are just as tight. The lead actress race looks to be a contest between Claire Foy’s nuanced Queen Elizabeth in The Crown and Elisabeth Moss as Handmaid’s oppressed heroine. If either show sweeps, it will likely carry its star along. Sterling K. Brown, a winner last year for The People v. O.J. Simpson, is f