Here's who should and will win at the 2016 Emmy Awards

Here's who should and will win at the 2016 Emmy Awards
Source: AP
Source: AP

The 2016 Emmy Awards promise a few things: One, talented artists and great shows will go home with gold. Two, Beyoncé will be there. Three, it's going to be a great night for Game of Thrones.

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

The Americans
Better Call Saul
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Homeland
House of Cards
Mr. Robot

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)

Source: YouTube

Outstanding limited series

American Crime
Fargo
Roots
The Night Manager
The People v. O.J. Simpson

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

Black-ish
Master of None
Modern Family
Silicon Valley
Transparent
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Veep

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
The Late Late Show With James Corden
Real Time With Bill Maher
Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

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
Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

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)

Rami Malek
Source: Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

Outstanding lead actress in a drama series

Claire Danes, Homeland
Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder
Taraji P. Henson, Empire
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Keri Russell, The Americans 
Robin Wright, House of Cards

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 
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Kit Harington, Game of Thrones
Michael Kelly, House of Cards
Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline
Jon Voight, Ray Donovan

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 
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones
Maura Tierney, The Affair
Constance Zimmer, UnREAL

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. 

Long may she reign.
Source: Giphy

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

Bryan Cranston, All the Way
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: The Abominable Bride   
Idris Elba, Luther
Cuba Gooding Jr., The People v. O.J. Simpson
Tom Hiddleston, The Night Manager
Courtney B. Vance, The People v. O.J. Simpson

MS: You'll be sensing a The People v. O.J. Simpson trend soon, but this should be Courtney B. Vance's to lose as Johnnie Cochran, O.J. Simpson's lawyer. He brought new life into some of the Simpson trial's most infamous moments. That should be enough to beat out Gooding Jr., whom he got acquitted in the series. 

KO: Took the words right out of my mouth. It's Vance, and he deserves it.

Should win: Courtney B. Vance (MS, KO) 

Will win: Courtney B. Vance (MS, KO) 

Outstanding lead actress in a limited series or a movie

Kirsten Dunst, Fargo
Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill
Felicity Huffman, American Crime 
Sarah Paulson, The People v. O.J. Simpson
Lili Taylor, American Crime
Kerry Washington, Confirmation

MS: How good was Sarah Paulson's Marcia Clark in The People v. O.J. Simpson? She practically changed the real-life lawyer's public perception, turning her into an unexpected feminist hero, as aptly described by Vanity Fair's Katey Rich. Of all the acting categories, this one is the most secure.  

KO: Agreed, but I honestly would have gone with Felicity Huffman for American Crime. Her controlling principal character was iconic from the word "go" in season two, what with her love of her school and her hatred of email. Paulson's was a revelatory impersonation, but I just barely preferred Huffman's creation.

Should win: Sarah Paulson (MS), Felicity Huffman (KO) 

Will win: Sarah Paulson (MS, KO)

Sarah Paulson
Source: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Outstanding supporting actor in a limited series or a movie

Jesse Plemons, Fargo
Bokeem Woodbine, Fargo
Hugh Laurie, The Night Manager
Sterling K. Brown, The People v. O.J. Simpson
David Schwimmer, The People v. O.J. Simpson
John Travolta, The People v. O.J. Simpson

MS: Don't worry, there's still plenty of space on the People v. O.J. Simpson Emmy's bandwagon for Sterling K. Brown. 

KO: Agreed that Brown should get it, but I think Travolta's campier performance will win out with voters.

Should win: Sterling K. Brown (MS, KO)

Will win: Sterling K. Brown (MS), John Travolta (KO)

Outstanding supporting actress in a limited series or a movie

Melissa Leo, All the Way
Regina King, American Crime
Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Hotel
Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Hotel
Jean Smart, Fargo
Olivia Colman, The Night Manager

MS: Regina King should be considered for an Emmy, but arguably for her supporting role in The Leftovers. Ironically, she still might repeat for American Crime, but it would be a shame for Olivia Colman's performance in The Night Manager to be overlooked. When you're stealing scenes from Tom Hiddleston and an seven-time Emmy nominated Hugh Laurie, you deserve recognition. 

KO: King wasn't my favorite part of American Crime season two, but she was solid. Better even was Jean Smart, who better than anyone understood the tone of Fargo's second season. Doesn't matter, though; this is King's.

Should win: Olivia Colman (MS), Jean Smart (KO)

Will win: Regina King (MS, KO)

Outstanding lead actor in a comedy series

Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Aziz Ansari, Master of None
Will Forte, The Last Man on Earth
Thomas Middleditch, Silicon Valley
William H. Macy, Shameless
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

MS: This is a sneakily good category — you could make an argument for anyone on this list and it wouldn't be off-base (yes, even Thomas Middleditch's oddly compelling Richard Hendricks). Anthony Anderson deserves to win, however, his speech in Black-ish's police brutality episode brought Twitter to tears. Of course, Tambor repeating for his complex performance in Transparent — which should happen — wouldn't be unjust. 

KO: Your will win is my should win, but my will win is Aziz Ansari. It's rare that the Emmys get excited about a debut show, but there's a good deal of love for Master of None. If voters are as in love with the show as I think they are, giving Ansari this win would be an easy (not to mention historic) way to express that.

Should win: Anthony Anderson (MS), Jeffrey Tambor (KO)

Will win: Jeffrey Tambor (MS), Aziz Ansari (KO)

Outstanding lead actress in a comedy series

Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Laurie Metcalf, Getting On
Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie

MS: I'm unconvinced that someone is going to take the award away from Julia Louis-Dreyfus as long as Veep — and indomitable political prowess of her Selina Meyer — continues being great. If there's anyone who deserves to take her crown, however, it's Ellie Kemper. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt wouldn't work without its exuberant lead, who's already navigating New York better than I have in nine months.   

KO: Absolutely should be Kemper, but I wonder if voters won't try to go somewhere very different this year after four straight Louis-Dreyfus wins. If they do, look no further than Tracee Ellis Ross. She and Black-ish both had strong seasons. Hers would be a win to feel good about.

Should win: Ellie Kemper (MS, KO)

Will win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus (MS), Tracee Ellis Ross (KO)

Ellie Kemper
Source: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series

Louie Anderson, Baskets
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Keegan-Michael Key, Key and Peele 
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Tony Hale, Veep
Matt Walsh, Veep

MS: Emmy voters, this is your last chance to give Keegan-Michael Key recognition for his hilarious work on Key and Peele. What's more, Key and Peele has been nominated 18 times, and it's only won a single Emmy! Oh, who are we kidding, Tony Hale's going to win it again. 

KO: I think they still go Veep, but a different Veep man. Matt Walsh submitted a strong episode, and giving it to him will at least feel like a change from Hale. But let's not kid ourselves: This award belongs to Tituss Burgess in any fair or just society.

Should win: Keegan-Michael Key (MS), Tituss Burgess (KO)

Will win: Tony Hale (MS), Matt Walsh (KO)

Outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series

Niecy Nash, Getting on 
Allison Janney, Mom
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Judith Light, Transparent
Gaby Hoffmann, Transparent 
Anna Chlumsky, Veep

MS: Since the Emmys are notoriously stale with their choices, another win for Allison Janney in Mom appears imminent. However, if there was ever a year for Kate McKinnon to win for her work in Saturday Night Live, this is it. She's riding off the success of her standout role in Ghostbusters to go along with a resonant (and hilarious) portrayal of Hillary Clinton in SNL. Plus, extra brownie points have to be given for making Ryan Gosling break character and laugh uncontrollably. 

KO: To be honest, though I love many of these women, I don't feel super passionately about any of them. Nash should actually be here for her work on Scream Queens, but she didn't even submit for that role. It wasn't a very funny performance this year, but Light's work in Transparent season two was just amazing. Give it to her.

Should win: Kate McKinnon (MS), Judith Light (KO)

Will win: Allison Janney (MS, KO)