Netflix And HBO Are Battling It Out At The 2018 Emmys (Here's Who We Think Should Win)

Netflix has annihilated HBO’s Emmy nomination throne, and there’s no going back. For the first time ever, the beloved streaming service garnered more Emmy nods than any other network, cable provider, or streaming service. So what does that mean exactly? Well, Netflix ended HBO’s 17-year domination at the Emmys by reigning in 112 total nominations. Meanwhile, HBO came in second with a cool 108 nominations. 

The victory is a direct result of Netflix’s overwhelming but effective flood-the-market strategy. In 2018, Netflix is spending $12 to $13 billion on original planning alone. Those numbers are particularly shocking, given that HBO spent $2.5 billion on its shows in 2017. Although HBO has always been considered a prestigious cable network, Netflix churns out extreme fanfare while also looking out for awards contenders. Rather than focusing on select mega-hits like HBO, Netflix’s competitive platform is built by the breadth of its archive. A total of 40 Netflix shows received Emmy nominations year: The Crown received 13, Stranger Things picked up 12, GLOW snagged 10, Black Mirror snatched seven, and Ozark and Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown got five each. This list goes on and on, and it certainly adds up.

Although Netflix’s numbers game is paying off, does it have enough gumption to push HBO in the corner on Emmy’s night? Let’s break it down by the most competitive categories to see who has the best chances of scoring those coveted golden trophies.

Outstanding Comedy Series

Atlanta, FX
Barry, HBO
black-ish, ABC
Curb Your Enthusiasm, HBO
GLOW, Netflix
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Amazon
Silicon Valley, HBO
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Netflix

Who should win: Now that Veep is out of the running, the race is certainly wide open. Ideally, this award should go to FX’s Atlanta, but when it comes to a Netflix and HBO showdown, we certainly favor the latter. HBO has three horses in the running which significantly increases its chances over Netflix’s single nod. If we had to pick one of these HBO series as the winner, we would give it to Curb Your Enthusiasm simply because people love rewarding Larry David’s eternal grumpiness.

Outstanding Drama Series

The Americans, FX
The Crown, Netflix
Game of Thrones, HBO
The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu
Stranger Things, Netflix
This Is Us, NBC
Westworld, HBO

Who should win: Well, hopefully FX’s The Americans will rightfully claim this trophy, but this is an intense category. Both Netflix and HBO have heavy hitters which means we have a bloodbath on our hands. Netflix’s Stranger Things is arguably a better and more entertaining show, although The Crown falls into the coveted “historical genre” category and is also a critics darling. HBO’s Game of Thrones is a ratings juggernaut and a critical success, while Westworld just premiered a rather unsteady sophomore season. When it comes down to it, Netflix’s The Crown and HBO’s Game of Thrones will be battling each other (and The Americans, hopefully) on Emmys night.

Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Jason Bateman, Ozark (Netflix)
Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us
Ed Harris, Westworld (HBO)
Jeffrey Wright, Westworld (HBO)

Who should win: Either Matthew Rhys or Sterling K. Brown will most likely snag this Emmy. However, HBO has two of its top performers nominated as well and we’re rooting for Jeffrey Wright for obvious reasons. He’s simply spectacular on Westworld and, quite frankly, the crux of Season 2. Of course, Jason Bateman gave his best dramatic performance to date in Netflix’s Ozark which makes him a very likable underdog.

Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Sandra Oh, Killing Eve
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Keri Russell, The Americans
Claire Foy, The Crown (Netflix)
Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale
Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld (HBO)

Who should win: This Emmy is either going to Elisabeth Moss for a second time or Sandra Oh for a history-making moment. Of course, counting out The Crown‘s Claire Foy would be a mistake because she’s always looming in the shadows when it comes to awards season. Despite her stellar performance on Westworld, Evan Rachel Wood’s nomination already feels like a win, and she will most likely lose out on this Emmy.

Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Jessica Biel, The Sinner
Laura Dern, The Tale (HBO)
Michelle Dockery, Godless (Netflix)
Edie Falco, Law and Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders
Regina King, Seven Seconds (Netflix)
Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Cult

Who should win: This category is ripe for the taking. Laura Dern is nominated for HBO’s TV movie, The Tale and feels like the best choice to win. Of course, Michelle Dockery abandoned her crusty, uppity TV image with her remarkable turn in Netflix’s Godless. Then there’s Regina King who is nominated for Netflix’s Seven Seconds, but a win for her feels rather unlikely.

Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones (HBO)
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones (HBO)
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
David Harbour, Stranger Things (Netflix)
Matt Smith, The Crown (Netflix)
Joseph Fiennes, The Handmaid’s Tale

Who should win: Joseph Fiennes might snag a win for Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale given his amped up and even more disturbing performance in Season 2. Another disruptor in this category would be Matt Smith, who truly elevated his game in the last season of The Crown. However, this category really does and always has belonged to Peter Dinklage. His HBO and Game of Thrones comrade Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is also nominated, but it’s Dinklage who remains a standout, year after year.

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Lena Headey, Game of Thrones (HBO)
Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things (Netflix)
Vanessa Kirby, The Crown (Netflix)
Ann Dowd, The Handmaid’s Tale
Yvonne Strahovski, The Handmaid’s Tale
Alexis Bledel, The Handmaid’s Tale
Thandie Newton, Westworld (HBO)

Who should win: This is probably the most talented category of the bunch. Each and every single actress gave a knockout performance, and it would be a well-deserved win for any of these ladies. But if we get down to the nitty-gritty, Netflix’s Vanessa Kirby is a force to be reckoned on The Crown, while HBO’s Lena Headey remains the greatest Game of Thrones villain (for good reason) and the best performer in this category.

Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Brian Tyree Henry, Atlanta
Henry Winkler, Barry (HBO)
Louie Anderson, Baskets
Alec Baldwin, Saturday Night Live
Kenan Thompson, Saturday Night Live
Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)

Who should win: Both HBO and Netflix have one nod in this category. Henry Winkler gave a great performance on HBO’s Barry, but it’s Tituss Burgess who shines the brightest on Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. The man is a tour de force in comedy, and it’s about damn time he earned an Emmy.

The 70th annual Emmy Awards will be held at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on September 17, 2018 at 5 p.m. on NBC. SNL’s Michael Che and Colin Jost will host the festivities. Netflix darlings Stranger Things, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and The Crown all snagged nominations, while HBO’s Game of Thrones and Westworld are the most-nominated dramas of the year.

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