By Lynn Elber and Frazier Moore
Associated Press Television Writers
The winners will be named tonight when the 69th Emmy Awards are presented at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The show will air at 8 p.m. on CBS.
In the meantime, guesses will have to suffice. With that in mind, a pair of intrepid Associated Press television critics are going public with their picks for who will win – and who should.
Will Jeffrey Tambor make it three Best Comedy Actor wins for his performance on “Transparent”? They say: yes and no.
Will the distaff whodunit “Big Little Lies” fall to the splashy “Feud: Bette and Joan” for Best Limited Series? They say: No and yes.
Here are their forecasts for seven major Emmy races:
Should win: “The Handmaid’s Tale.” A work of art so revelatory of our time should reign.
Will win: “The Crown.” It’s not just that Hollywood is filled with Anglophiles, although that’s one reason the lavish story of young Queen Elizabeth will win. Emmy voters also adore epic sweep (see previous winner “Game of Thrones”), and this has it.
Should win: “This Is Us.” Is this the gutsiest drama on TV? It dares to confront everyday, ordinary life – and makes it extraordinary. No wonder it touched hearts.
Will win: “The Handmaid’s Tale.” A classic novel from the past is transformed into a hauntingly up-to-the-minute cautionary tale. No wonder it touched nerves.
Should win: “Atlanta.” A tour de force by creator and star Donald Glover epitomizing the small screen’s embrace of unexpected and challenging material.
Will win: “Veep.” Comedies keep winning streaks going, and with just two Emmys so far, it’s far behind the five top comedy trophies each that “Modern Family” and “Frasier” collected.
Should win: “Master of None.” Moving even beyond the masterful first season, Year Two was a festival of inspired short films, with emotions and ideas supplementing its wit.
Will win: “Veep.” Despite a field of bright, new and varied candidates, voters will default to this plenty-rewarded, all-too-seasoned Emmy mainstay.
ACTOR, DRAMA SERIES
Should win: Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”). First among equals in an excellent cast, with a nuanced vulnerability that always keeps the heartbreak on the right side of soap opera.
Will win: Brown. His winning turn last year as determined O.J. Simpson prosecutor Christopher Darden shows his versatility. Emmy voters get it.
Should win: Matthew Rhys (“The Americans”). He’s so long overdue after five seasons of high intrigue and multiple personas in his role as a Russian spy masquerading as a 1980s American suburban dad!!
Will win: “This Is Us” stars Sterling K. Brown and Milo Ventimiglia will cancel out each other in the voting. That leaves lovably shifty Bob Odenkirk the winner after three-consecutive nominations as the lead on “Better Call Saul.”
ACTRESS, DRAMA SERIES
Should win: Elisabeth Moss (“The Handmaid’s Tale”). The “Mad Men” curse never lifted for Moss as it did for Jon Hamm, but her subtly fierce portrayal of a woman caught in hell shouldn’t be slighted.
Will win: Claire Foy (“The Crown”). A lovely and delicate turn, and playing British queens on the big screen worked for Judi Dench and Helen Mirren, the latter also nabbing an Emmy for the miniseries “Queen Elizabeth I.”
Should win: Keri Russell (“The Americans”). She’s so long overdue after five seasons of high intrigue and multiple personas in her role as a Russian spy masquerading as a 1980s American suburban mom!!
Will win: Elisabeth Moss (“The Handmaid’s Tale”), passed over as a nominee seven times in the past for “Mad Men” and other great work. Voters realize it’s her turn.
ACTOR, COMEDY SERIES
Should win: Donald Glover (“Atlanta”). An auteur who has the magnetism of a star, but it can take time for voters to warm up to a new voice.
Will win: Jeffrey Tambor (“Transparent”). He’s brilliant, he’s won twice before and his transgender role makes a deeply affecting statement.
Should win: Aziz Ansari. Previously known as a clever comic presence, he went even further with this season’s “Master of None.” That extra credit should translate into an Emmy.
Will win: Donald Glover (“Atlanta”). A breakout talent with a fresh and deeply felt comic vision. Who wouldn’t want to give this star an Emmy salute?
ACTRESS, COMEDY SERIES
Should win: Tracee Ellis Ross (“black-ish”). Putting the indomitable Julia Louis-Dreyfus aside for argument’s sake, doesn’t Ross deserve respect for combining the rubber-faced charm of Lucille Ball with a modern woman’s spine of steel?
Will win: Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep”). She is undeniably sublime, and it was announced that next season will be the political satire’s last. So, no stinting!
Should win: So many overlooked funny ladies should be here: Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer of “Broad City.” Julie Klausner of “Difficult People.” Rashida Jones of “Angie Tribeca.” Sharon Horgan of “Catastrophe.” Sarah Jessica Parker of “Divorce.” Since they aren’t, and Ellie Kemper is, why not reward her for the gradually wisening naif she plays so irresistibly on “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”?
Will win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep”). Why would voters stop with five in a row?
Should win: “The Night Of.” As consuming as a true-crime documentary but with human frailty made indelible in this superb production.
Will win: “Big Little Lies.” It’s close between Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon’s addictive drama versus the juicy “Feud: Bette and Joan,” but Kidman and Witherspoon were also hands-on executive producers. Entrepreneurial women win.
Should win: Edging out the equally deserving “Big Little Lies” in a photo finish: “The Night Of,” a dark and disturbing feast of storytelling, acting, pathos and suspense. Not a false note or a moment of relief. A masterpiece.
Will win: “Feud: Bette and Joan.” Flashy, lavish and blessed with bravura performances by Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange. Hooray for Hollywood!