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‘Succession’ and strikes: What to expect from Emmy nominations

Can any TV show topple “Succession” at the Emmys? Will Amazon’s lavish “Lord of the Rings” prequel rule them all? And, with ongoing Hollywood strikes, will television’s finest even be honored this year? Nominations for television’s equivalent of the Oscars will be announced in a live-streamed ceremony Wednesday starting at 8:30 am Pacific time (1530 GMT), after which final-round voting begins for the 75th Emmy Awards, tentatively set for September 18.

Here are five things to look out for: Will protests strike the Emmys? In normal years, TV pundits argue over which shows will be nominated—not whether the Emmys will even take place. But this year’s ceremony is already jeopardized by a writers’ strike, now in its 11th week. Nominations are to be announced on the same day that Hollywood actors will decide whether to walk off the job too, over pay and other conditions. A Screen Actors Guild (SAG) shutdown would mean a boycott by stars—and therefore, a likely delay—of the Emmys.

“If there is a strike, that’s going to really affect the Emmys going forward,” said Deadline awards columnist Pete Hammond. “Because the TV Academy is going to have to decide, ‘How long is this going to go on?’ and ‘What’s our drop-dead date to move the show?’” ‘Succession’ to steamroll? Emmy voters love “Succession.” The HBO drama about the warring family behind a sinister media empire has already earned 48 nods, with 13 wins—including the best drama prize, twice. The series concluded this year with a critically adored final season, and voters are expected to shower nominations on its cast.

Best actor in a drama, alone, could feature three “Succession” stars—Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, and Kieran Culkin—among its six nominees. “I would say with all the acting they have, they’re looking at 20 nominations or more, easily,” said Hammond. Much of the competition will come from within HBO, which also boasts popular dramas “The White Lotus,” “The Last of Us” and “House of the Dragon,” a prequel to “Game of Thrones.” School, soccer and sandwiches The comedy categories look like they will feature a more open and varied field.

Feel-good soccer show “Ted Lasso” from Apple TV+ has thrashed its rivals in recent years, but its third—and possibly final—season was not well received. ABC’s “Abbott Elementary”—a rare non-streaming show, set at a struggling Philadelphia school—won three out of seven Emmys in a breakthrough debut last year, and will now be seeking even higher grades. And then there is “The Bear.” Taking viewers inside the astonishingly stressful, frantic and occasionally violent kitchen of a run-down Chicago sandwich shop, it is not your typical comedy, but became a cultural phenomenon last summer.

Limited appeal In recent years, the Emmys’ “limited series” category—for shows that end after a single season—has been arguably the most competitive, stuffed with high-budget, star-studded shows. But this has been a quiet, and notably dark, season for prestige one-offs, with serial-killer and crime shows “Dahmer—Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” and “Black Bird” out in front. Netflix’s popular “Beef” offers a (slightly) lighter alternative—despite being premised on a road-rage encounter that spirals into a bitter feud. Can lavish ‘Rings’ woo voters? With an overall $1 billion budget, Amazon’s “Lord of the Rings” prequel “The Rings of Power” has been dubbed the most expensive television show ever made.

While its first season earned weak reviews, even the toughest critics were impressed by the show’s luxurious production values. So “Rings” should perform strongly across technical categories, from special effects to makeup. But few fantasy genre productions—with the notable exception of “Game of Thrones,” or the “Lord of the Rings” movies at the Oscars—have been big winners at awards shows. “I don’t think you’re going to see it in any major categories,” said Hammond. Competition from “House of the Dragon” could also “burst its bubble,” he said.—AFP

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