On Tuesday, July 16, starting at 8:30 am PT, the Television Academy will announce the nominees for the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards. 

This year is shaping up to be another exciting race for the top prizes with two juggernaut HBO series -- Game of Thrones and Veep -- both expected to go out on top with their final seasons. Meanwhile, a number of top contenders are not eligible this year after going off the air last year or shifting their release schedules around, perhaps to avoid going up against those HBO shows and losing out on potential nominations or hardware come September. No matter what, the top series prizes will look notably different this year, with new series expected to fill the open slots. 

Meanwhile, on the acting side, there’s no doubt that Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus will be mentioned among the contenders for lead comedy Actress. But the rest of the names are less of a sure bet, especially on the drama side, where the categories are really wide open this year and plenty of Game of Thrones performers are vying for the first (and last) chance to be included among the acting nominees.

Of course, this year’s Emmys are not only about Game of Thrones and Veep. Expect Bodyguard, Fleabag, The Good Place, Pose and Russian Doll all to make a big splash in the major categories. This is what to watch for when the nominees are announced on Tuesday: 

Will Game of Thrones Go Out on Top?  

Game of Thrones will definitely be a major player at the 2019 Emmys, but just how big of a contender will the HBO series be? Last season, it garnered 22 nominations, including seven for the top acting, writing and directing prizes as well as Outstanding Drama Series. But this season was met with fan backlash and mixed reviews, which could temper the runaway success that was expected at this year’s ceremony.

It undoubtedly will see an increase in acting prizes, however, with past nominees Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Peter Dinklage all expected to be recognized again. But will Maisie Williams, Lena Headey, Sophie Turner or even Gwendoline Christie break through the pack and pick up their first nominations in the final season? It certainly would be welcome, given most of their arcs -- but a Game of Thrones-heavy Supporting Actress category could work against them come September. They could end up splitting the votes and all go home empty-handed.   

Julia Louis-Dreyfus Is a Shoe-In, but What About the Rest of the Veep Cast?

There’s no more of a sure thing on Tuesday other than Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ name being read as one of the nominees for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. Her role as Selina Meyer on Veep has earned her six nominations and wins over the course of the series. Now, in its final season, she’s expected to finish out strong. But will all the love only extend to her, or will past nominees Anna Chlumsky and Tony Hale also pick up deserved noms? Not to mention, Timothy Simons, who certainly deserves to be recognized for his wild turn as Jonah Ryan

The series will likely do well in the writing and directing categories, where it has picked up numerous awards. In total, Veep has earned 59 nominations and 17 wins over six seasons. Expect the series to add at least a few more to that total this year. 

Meanwhile, the other big TV comedy looking to make a splash in its final year is The Big Bang Theory. But outside of recognition for Jim Parsons, it may not be as big of a contender in the top categories that it once was. 

What Shows or Big Names Will Be Missing From This Year’s Competition? 

Even though Game of Thrones and Veep are the big contenders, there many more series vying for recognition and some openings in the top categories could give them a shot. 

Among last year’s Outstanding Comedy Series contenders, Atlanta, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Silicon Valley will not be competing since they did not air any new episodes within the eligibility window. On the drama side, the same goes for The Crown, The Handmaid’s Tale, Stranger Things and Westworld. The only two returning nominees expected from last year are Game of Thrones and This Is Us, meaning five slots are open to new contenders. (Although, a new rule for dangling episodes that debuted past last year’s eligibility means that The Handmaid’s Tale can still submit a few season-two episodes for writing, directing, guest acting and other technical categories.) 

While Oscar winners Mahershala Ali, Olivia Colman and Regina King are all eligible for Emmys this year, with Ali likely to pick up a nom for leading True Detective season three, Rami Malek’s name will not be mentioned among the lead drama actors for Mr. Robot since the series still has not debuted its fourth and final season. In fact, he didn’t even start filming until shortly after winning big at the 2019 Academy Awards for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody.

Will Pose Make History for Transgender Representation? 

The groundbreaking FX series from Steven Canals and Ryan Murphy has a real chance at major nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series, Billy Porter for lead drama actor as well as writing and directing categories, which Murphy is no stranger to winning. But the real question is: will any of the series’ transgender talent be recognized and make history on Tuesday? 

There’s been lots of love for breakout stars Mj Rodriguez and Indya Moore, but Laverne Cox is the only transgender performer ever to be nominated for a primetime acting Emmy -- in 2014 for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy for Orange Is the New Black. Meanwhile, Janet Mock, who made her directorial debut in season one, has an uphill battle in the directing category, which has nominated very few women. Though, Reed Morano made history when she took home the directing prize in 2017 for The Handmaid’s Tale. Mock, however, may have a better chance in the writing category, having a hand in writing some of the best episodes of season one. Meanwhile, a writing nomination for Our Lady J would be long overdue following her excellent work on Transparent

Can The Good Fight Finally Earn the F**king Recognition It Deserves?

Up until now, The Good Fight has only picked up two Emmy nominations, for original music and lyrics and main title theme music. Really?! After giving zero f**ks in its third season -- Christine Baranski and Audra McDonald performed a duet of Prince’s “Raspberry Beret”!!  -- the CBS All-Access series easily delivered its best yet. With the drama categories opening up this year, it could mean that The Good Wife spinoff could finally slip in with a long overdue lead actress nomination for Baranski as well as guest acting noms for Alan Alda and Andrea Martin.  

Does Schitt’s Creek or Other Alternative Comedies Have a Chance? 

Even though the comedy side is not as wide open this year as the drama categories, there are a few chances for some newer or overlooked series to get recognized. Among them, The Good Place could be vying for its first Outstanding Comedy Series nomination in addition to a few acting prizes for Ted Danson and Maya Rudolph. Meanwhile, Fleabag seems to be benefiting from all the love for creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who is still riding high after Killing Eve earned her a writing nomination last year. Those two series will likely be joined by Netflix’s newcomer, Russian Doll, which marks Natasha Lyonne’s first starring TV role after years in the Orange Is the New Black ensemble. 

One series that deserves more love than it’s going to get is Schitt’s Creek. Created by father-son duo, Eugene and Dan Levy, the heartfelt family comedy joined the pop culture zeitgeist in its fifth season. Any recognition for the show and its stars, including both Levys and Catherine O’Hara, is long overdue. It’s a shame but Broad City will probably be overlooked in its final season and Comedy Central’s other acclaimed series, The Other Two,will have to wait and see if Schitt’s Creek ever cracks the top seven before it can consider being a viable contender. 

How Will This Year’s Scandals Affect the Potential Nominees? 

While Kevin Spacey’s sexual misconduct allegations toppled House of Cards, the Netflix original re-emerged with its final season fronted by Robin Wright. If the Academy is willing to look past Spacey’s lingering presence, she could land her sixth and final nomination for playing Claire Underwood.

Meanwhile, Felicity Huffman -- normally a reliable contender with five nominations and one win -- isn’t expected to bring down Ava DuVernay’s acclaimed limited Central Park Five series, When They See Us, with her college admissions scandal. In fact, she wasn’t even submitted for Emmy consideration and the series still looks to be a top contender in the limited series categories.

 

The 71st Emmy Awards will be handed out live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, Sept. 22 on Fox. Check out ET Live and ETonline for ongoing coverage of the awards.  

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