Here's who should and will win at the 2016 Emmy Awards
But beyond the beloved HBO fantasy drama, which series and performers should and will win honors? Mic's arts editor Kevin O'Keeffe and staff writer Miles Surrey break down their preferences and the odds.
Outstanding drama series
Miles Surrey: The thought of one of the promising newcomers to the category, The Americans or Mr. Robot, usurping Game of Thrones is tempting, but ultimately fruitless. I've written about it at length before, but the fact that Game of Thrones won the award last year — despite it being one of the show's weakest seasons — is quite telling. Game of Thrones' sixth season was great television, so unlike 2015, the Emmy would be deserving.
Kevin O'Keeffe: You're totally right it's going to be Game of Thrones, but I'd vastly prefer if The Americans took home gold. That show has been such a critical darling for so long — it'd be nice to see that love validated, and to expose the show to a whole new audience.
Should win: Game of Thrones (MS), The Americans (KO)
Will win: Game of Thrones (MS, KO)
Outstanding limited series
MS: This category is stacked, which says a lot about the future of limited series (it's very good). That said, The People v. O.J. Simpson stands out above the rest. The acting was superb — they'll probably nab a couple of those awards too — and the show managed to excite audiences in a murder case that was covered exhaustingly in the '90s with new depth.
KO: The People vs. O.J. Simpson will be a very deserving winner, but American Crime was just superb last season. It was the definition of groundbreaking. A win for it here would be appropriate, but I'd say its best chance is in supporting actress.
Should win: The People v. O.J. Simpson (MS), American Crime (KO)
Will win: The People v. O.J. Simpson (MS, KO)
Outstanding comedy series
MS: Veep deserves a ton of credit for not skipping a beat in its fifth season after losing its original showrunner. However, in 2016, we need shows like Black-ish more than ever. It's funny, yes, but the show's not afraid to tackle important issues, either (see: episodes on police brutality and using the n-word). Great comedy should have a strong message, and Black-ish has it in spades.
KO: I don't think Veep is gonna take it again. Last year felt like the Emmy voters were confused and went with something they like, but I think they'll gravitate toward something more serious this year. Transparent fits that bill, but I wish it'd be Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. That show tackled PTSD in a really fascinating way last season, and (unlike Transparent) stayed incredibly funny.
Should win: Black-ish (MS), Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (KO)
Will win: Veep (MS), Transparent (KO)
Outstanding variety talk series
Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
MS: Just to clarify: Last Week Tonight is one of late night's best offerings, and really deserves to win since Full Frontal wasn't even nominated. But The Late Late Show — and particularly its Carpool Karaoke segment — has taken late night by storm. The show already won two awards at the Creative Arts Emmys last weekend (beating goddamn Lemonade in one of them!), and clearly there's no stopping James Corden's clickbait fodder.
KO: You may be right, but I have to assume that Carpool Karaoke alone won't be enough to reverse the trend of going for Daily Show-type programming over Tonight Show-style shows. That gives Last Week Tonight the edge, but of course, this category is a joke without Full Frontal.
Should win: Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (MS, KO)
Will win: The Late Late Show With James Corden (MS), Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (KO)
Outstanding lead actor in a drama series
Kyle Chandler, Bloodline
MS: Despite what people might think of Mr. Robot's ongoing second season, Rami Malek has been a delight as the series' twitchy protagonist. Without giving away too much on the show's biggest twists, Malek's had a lot to shoulder — especially in season one, which he's nominated for — and already nabbed a Golden Globe nomination. The Emmys don't always align with the other awards show, but the Golden Globes got it right: This is Malek's year.
KO: I think Malek is adorable, and I would love to watch him give an acceptance speech. But the nominees in this category speak to Emmy's taste for drama actors: older, white, broad. So Kevin Spacey's got this.
Should win: Rami Malek (MS, KO)
Will win: Rami Malek (MS), Kevin Spacey (KO)
Outstanding lead actress in a drama series
Claire Danes, Homeland
MS: This is a pretty stacked category: You have Viola Davis back again after winning it last year — an award Taraji P. Henson might have actually deserved (and she's back!). However, while it would be great for the Emmys to recognize Keri Russell's work in The Americans, this looks like Robin Wright's year. The Emmys love House of Cards for some reason — despite it basically becoming a soap opera set in the White House — and for what it's worth, this was the best season of Wright's enigmatic Claire Underwood.
KO: I think this is Henson's year! I sat through enough years of watching less deserving performers beat Kyra Sedgwick for The Closer that I know well how long it sometimes takes for the Emmys to catch up. This could be their slightly delayed win for her, even after a worse season of Empire, and I do hope she gets recognized. Cookie is such a marvelous creation, and I'm super fond of the performance.
Should win: Keri Russell (MS), Taraji P. Henson (KO)
Will win: Robin Wright (MS), Taraji P. Henson (KO)
Outstanding supporting actor in a drama series
Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
MS: Well, OK. This is far and away the weakest acting category, but if we're going to pick a winner here, it's Kit Harington. He may be a mopey-as-hell Jon Snow, but he did deliver an impressive performance in "Battle of the Bastards" without much dialogue to work with. It draws some parallels to Leonardo DiCaprio's Oscar win earlier this year: The category was also weak, and DiCaprio carried a strong performance mostly through physical acting and a handful of lines. Though in a perfect Emmys world, this award ought to be going to Golden Globe winner Christian Slater for his work on Mr. Robot.
KO: What overcame voters on this one? This category is dull, and it says a lot about the state of supporting actors on TV that I can't name a lot of replacements that should've gotten in. I can't even pick who should win, but I guess if voters are really on board for Better Call Saul, rewarding Banks is a good way to reward the show.
Should win: An excluded Christian Slater for Mr. Robot (MS), N/A (KO)
Will win: Kit Harington (MS), Jonathan Banks (KO)
Outstanding supporting actress in a drama series
Dame Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
MS: Could the fact that three actresses from Game of Thrones cancel out a potential win for Lena Headey? In another year, perhaps, but Headey's work in season six's explosive finale was her best yet. Heck, this incredible GIF — my personal go-to — of Cersei Lannister basking in the glory of the Sept of Baelor's destruction with a glass of wine might as well take the award Sunday.
KO: It's Headey, but pour one of those glasses of wine out for Zimmer, who was a total kick during Unreal's first season. Really, though, I would have given this to Christine Baranski for The Good Wife. Diane Lockhart was such a delectable character for seven seasons of that show, and she did not win once. Her not getting nominated this year is the cherry on top of the snub sundae.
Should win: Lena Headey (MS), Constance Zimmer (KO)
Will win: Lena Headey (MS, KO)
Outstanding lead actor in a limited series or a movie
Outstanding supporting actor in a limited series or a movie
Outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series