Given the array of talent in this category, allow me to make a plug for an actor who is most certainly an underdog. Lovecraft Country was not a show I loved. Admired, was intrigued by, commended—didn’t love. But I did love seeing Jurnee Smollett in her second or third or nineteenth act. Smollett—a.k.a. Jess from Friday Night Lights, forever and ever in my heart—is one of those actresses who has been working for decades, and it was such a pleasure to have this reminder of her talent and personality come across my screen this year. With the passing of Michael K. Williams, it also seems like it would be a nice tribute to honor the show for which he was nominated, even if he sadly cannot be in attendance.—Chloe Schama
Outstanding Drama Series (and everything else it’s up for): The Crown
It’s certainly not an underdog with 24 nominations, tying The Mandalorian for the highest count this year. But The Crown deserves most of them, in particular: Josh O’Connor, who rivetingly descends from mummy’s little milquetoast to a recriminating little bitch; Emma Corrin, who somehow surfaces new facets of the princess everyone thinks they already know; and Gillian Anderson and Helena Bonham Carter, who must both win in a tie in the supporting drama actress category, for fully inhabiting two towering women. Taking home the best drama series prize would be a fitting farewell to maybe the best ensemble of The Crown yet.—L.M.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Jean Smart
I’ll keep this short: Jean Smart is a revelation in Hacks. As Deborah Vance, a Joan Rivers-esque comedienne attempting to zhush up her Vegas act, Smart is so sharp and so funny—just a privilege to watch in every way. Yes, she’s already got three Emmys (two for her iconic guest spot on Frasier, one for Samantha Who?), but give her another, please! It’s been years, and what’s good is good!—Marley Marius
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Hannah Einbinder
Hello, it’s me on Hacks again! Hannah Einbinder is, without question, a co-lead—this is category fraud!—but at least she and Jean Smart can’t divide votes this way. In her first major onscreen role, Einbinder is intensely compelling—even as a mildly annoying millennial comedy writer!—and a more than capable scene partner for Smart (see above). I can’t wait to see them both again in Season 2, but don’t wait, Television Academy: Give Hannah Einbinder her flowers now!—M.M.