Winter is coming, and so are the Emmys.
On Sunday, the best and brightest of the TV world gather (without a host) to honor the 2018-2019 season in television, and to give out at least one or two awards that aren't for "Game of Thrones."
Because "Thrones," HBO's juggernaut, is expected to dominate in many of its categories, this year's awards include an odd grouping of nominees in drama, as several heavy-hitting series including "The Crown," "Stranger Things" and "The Handmaid's Tale" artfully dodged this year's eligibility window by delaying their new seasons. The comedy category is a competition between old favorites ("Veep") and shiny new up-and-comers ("Fleabag"), while the limited-series race offers serious issues and movie stars.
In advance of the ceremony (Fox, 8 EDT/PDT), we predict who will win on the big night, and who really should.
"Better Call Saul" (AMC)
"Game of Thrones" (HBO)
"Killing Eve" (BBC America)
"This Is Us" (NBC)
Should win: "Game of Thrones"
Will win: "Game of Thrones"
This one is a gimme for anyone who has an Emmy office pool. An ice dragon would freeze over all of Hollywood before "Thrones" loses this award for its final season. Sure, the finale was poorly received by many (including this critic), but the quality of the show almost doesn't matter at this point. It's a runaway train of awards, acclaim, ratings and cultural influence, and to ignore its impact on the TV industry would be embarrassing for the Television Academy. Despite its flaws this year, "Thrones" really should win. It's the kind of graduation award that's really a recognition of all the years that came before, just as when Jon Hamm finally won for the last season of "Mad Men."
"The Good Place" (NBC)
"The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" (Amazon)
"Russian Doll" (Netflix)
"Schitt's Creek" (Pop)
Should win: "Fleabag"
Will win: "Veep"
Just like "Thrones," "Veep" is likely to walk away with a cumulative award for a slightly disappointing final season, but unlike "Thrones," "Veep" actually has some decent competition. No comedy (or really any show) had the emotional depth of Amazon's "Fleabag," starring and written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. The buzz around "Fleabag" and its multi-hyphenate star just keeps growing, and perhaps in a different year it could unseat "Veep," but don't count on an upset as "Veep" takes its final victory lap. The political satire has won this category in the last three years it was eligible.
"Escape at Dannemora" (Showtime)
"Sharp Objects" (HBO)
"When They See Us" (Netflix)
Should win: "When They See Us"
Will win: "When They See Us"
Netflix's "When They See Us" has everything going for it. It's a historic retelling of the so-called Central Park Five saga of five young black and Latino boys wrongfully convicted of the rape of a jogger. But its examination of a corrupt criminal justice system and the shaky relationships between communities of color and the police is incredibly timely. The series has a great cast, a great director/producer (Ava DuVernay) and is well-written and performed. Although "Chernobyl" and "Sharp Objects" stirred up their own buzz, this award is Netflix's to lose.
Lead actress, drama series
Emilia Clarke, "Game of Thrones" (HBO)
Jodie Comer, "Killing Eve" (BBC America)
Viola Davis, "How to Get Away With Murder" (ABC)
Laura Linney, "Ozark" (Netflix)
Mandy Moore, "This Is Us" (NBC)
Sandra Oh, "Killing Eve" (BBC America)
Robin Wright, "House of Cards" (Netflix)
Should win: Jodie Comer, "Killing Eve"
Will win: Sandra Oh, "Killing Eve"
The first season of "Killing Eve" (also created by Waller-Bridge), was mostly overlooked by Emmy voters, who nominated Oh but gave the acting trophy to Claire Foy for "The Crown." However, since then Oh has been on an awards-winning spree for "Eve," collecting a Golden Globe, a Critics' Choice Award and SAG Award for her role as obsessive intelligence agent Eve Polastri. Voters won't ignore being off-trend last year, and will likely give Oh the award this time around to make up for its lapse. But as good as Oh is (and she is wonderful), her performance is slightly edged out in bravura and charm, especially in Season 2, by her "Eve" co-star Jodie Comer.
Lead actor, drama series
Jason Bateman, "Ozark" (Netflix)
Sterling K. Brown, "This Is Us" (NBC)
Kit Harington, "Game of Thrones" (HBO)
Bob Odenkirk, "Better Call Saul" (AMC)
Billy Porter, "Pose" (FX)
Milo Ventimiglia, "This Is Us" (NBC)
Should win: Billy Porter, "Pose"
Will win: Billy Porter, "Pose"
The most pleasant surprise in this year's nominations was that smaller, more diverse shows such as "Pose" collected so many nods, and the groundbreaking FX series has the best chance in this category. Broadway and Hollywood veteran Porter will likely do a runway walk for his heartbreaking performance as drag ball emcee Pray Tell.
Lead actress, comedy series
Christina Applegate, "Dead to Me" (Netflix)
Rachel Brosnahan, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" (Amazon)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep" (HBO)
Natasha Lyonne, "Russian Doll" (Netflix)
Catherine O'Hara, "Schitt's Creek" (Pop)
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, "Fleabag" (Amazon)
Should win: Phoebe Waller-Bridge, "Fleabag"
Will win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep"
The TV Academy has given this award to Louis-Dreyfus for each season she's played Selina Meyer on "Veep," and there's no reason to expect anything different for her final outing as the hapless politician. But Louis-Dreyfus has enough Emmys (eight) to build a house, and Waller-Bridge, with her riotously funny and gut-wrenching turn on "Fleabag," deserves this one recognition. She won't get it, but we can dream.
Lead actor, comedy series
Anthony Anderson, "Black-ish" (ABC)
Don Cheadle, "Black Monday" (Showtime)
Ted Danson, "The Good Place" (NBC)
Michael Douglas, "The Kominsky Method" (Netflix)
Bill Hader, "Barry" (HBO)
Eugene Levy, "Schitt's Creek" (Pop)
Should win: Ted Danson, "The Good Place"
Will win: Bill Hader, "Barry"
For his role as the assassin with the acting dream and a heart of gold, Bill Hader has already collected an Emmy for the first season of HBO's "Barry." But Danson has been doing complex and hilarious work on "The Good Place" for three seasons, and the Emmys have finally taken notice. But the NBC sitcom is so quirky, Hader will probably edge out Danson's wild performance.
Supporting actress, drama series
Gwendoline Christie, "Game of Thrones" (HBO)
Julia Garner, "Ozark" (Netflix)
Lena Headey, "Game of Thrones" (HBO)
Fiona Shaw, "Killing Eve" (BBC America)
Sophie Turner, "Game of Thrones" (HBO)
Maisie Williams, "Game of Thrones" (HBO)
Should win: Maisie Williams, "Game of Thrones"
Will win: Julia Garner, "Ozark"
With four women from Westeros competing, the "Thrones" vote is likely to be split. Although Williams was a shining spot in an otherwise mediocre season, one of the two non-"Thrones" actresses will probably take the crown. My money is on Garner, an up-and-coming actress who is the best part of the bleak "Ozark," and has popped up in other prestigious shows, including "Maniac," "Dirty John" and "The Americans."
Supporting actor, drama
Alfie Allen, "Game of Thrones" (HBO)
Jonathan Banks, "Better Call Saul" (AMC)
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, "Game of Thrones" (HBO)
Peter Dinklage, "Game of Thrones" (HBO)
Giancarlo Esposito, "Better Call Saul" (AMC)
Michael Kelly, "House of Cards" (Netflix)
Chris Sullivan, "This Is Us" (NBC)
Should win: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, "Game of Thrones"
Will win: Peter Dinklage, "Game of Thrones"
"Thrones" has never had much luck in the acting categories, with the exception of the great Dinklage, who's won three times. And while Tyrion Lannister had a big, meaty role in the "Thrones" finale, his brother Jaime (Coster-Waldau) had subtler scenes this year, and he pulled them off beautifully.
Supporting actress, comedy
Alex Borstein, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" (Amazon)
Anna Chlumsky, "Veep" (HBO)
Sian Clifford, "Fleabag" (Amazon)
Olivia Colman, "Fleabag" (Amazon)
Betty Gilpin, "GLOW" (Netflix)
Sarah Goldberg, "Barry" (HBO)
Marin Hinkle, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" (Amazon)
Kate McKinnon, "Saturday Night Live" (NBC)
Should win: Sian Clifford, "Fleabag"
Will win: Olivia Colman, "Fleabag"
If you want to take a big swing with your predictions, this is the category to do it. Between past winners (Borstein and McKinnon), repeat nominees (Chlumsky and Gilpin), exciting fresh blood ( Goldberg and Clifford) and the Queen of England (Colman), it's one of the most competitive. It's also the best chance for critical darling "Fleabag" to win. Despite Clifford's sublime performance as a restrained career woman, Colman's celebrity, recent Oscar and flashy turn as the deliciously horrid godmother could push her to the top of the pack.
Supporting actor, comedy
Alan Arkin, "The Kominsky Method" (Netflix)
Anthony Carrigan, "Barry" (HBO)
Tony Hale, "Veep" (HBO)
Stephen Root, "Barry" (HBO)
Tony Shalhoub, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" (Amazon)
Henry Winkler, "Barry" (HBO)
Should win: Anthony Carrigan, "Barry"
Will win: Tony Shalhoub, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"
NoHo Hank gets all the laughs on "Barry," but Carrigan is a small fish in a big pond. Longtime Emmy favorite Shalhoub will snatch this award away from the "Barry" boys and other nominees for his performance in Season 2 of "Maisel." From dorky calisthenics to silent anger, Shalhoub showed the kind of depth and range voters love.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Emmys 2019: Who will (and should) win