By Kristen Baldwin
September 13, 2019 at 09:00 AM EDT
Illustration By Kyle Hilton for EW

The nominees for the 71st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards were a welcome mix of the expected and the truly surprising. Naturally, HBO’s global fantasy hit Game of Thrones was inundated with accolades: Even with a polarizing final season, Thrones earned 32 nominations in total, including Outstanding Drama Series and nine acting nods.

But who could’ve predicted the infusion of fresh blood flooding the ballots this year? Forty-six performers, many of them well-established stars, earned their first-ever Emmy noms, including Hugh Grant (A Very English Scandal), Michelle Williams (Fosse/Verdon), and Kristin Scott Thomas (Fleabag).

Among the first-time nominees were some true long shots — and is there anything more delightful than hearing your new favorite binge (like Schitt’s Creek) or the name of that breakout actor you love (like Anthony Carrigan, so brilliant as Barry‘s Noho Hank) called out on nomination morning? Even if all of our favorites don’t end up taking home the gold on Emmy night, we can take comfort in knowing that so many of them were invited to the party.

Outstanding Drama Series
Don’t forget: Game of Thrones took this title for seasons 5, 6, and 7. Despite the final season’s mixed reviews, voters are a nostalgic sort.

Lead Actor in a Drama Series
One of these days, the Academy will recognize four-time nominee Bob Odenkirk for his stunning work on Better Call Saul. But this year it’ll go to Game of Thrones‘ heart and soul, Kit Harington.

  • Jason Bateman, Ozark (Netflix)
  • Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us (NBC)
  • Kit Harington, Game of Thrones (HBO)—WILL WIN
  • Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul (AMC)—SHOULD WIN
  • Billy Porter, Pose (FX)
  • Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us (NBC)

Lead Actress in a Drama Series
The nomination is the victory for Killing Eve‘s brilliant Jodie Comer, who can compete again next year. Much like the Mother of Dragons, Emilia Clarke will get an epic send-off.

  • Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones (HBO)—WILL WIN
  • Jodie Comer, Killing Eve (BBC America)—SHOULD WIN
  • Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder (ABC)
  • Laura Linney, Ozark (Netflix)
  • Mandy Moore, This Is Us (NBC)
  • Sandra Oh, Killing Eve (BBC America)
  • Robin Wright, House of Cards (Netflix)

Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Eight nominations, three previous wins — Peter Dinklage is clearly an Academy favorite.

  • Alfie Allen, Game of Thrones (HBO)
  • Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul (AMC)
  • Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones (HBO)
  • Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones (HBO)—SHOULD AND WILL WIN
  • Giancarlo Esposito, Better Call Saul (AMC)
  • Michael Kelly, House of Cards (Netflix)
  • Chris Sullivan, This Is Us (NBC)

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
It’s pretty much a toss-up with these Game of Thrones actresses, but my loyalty lies with Ser Brienne of Tarth.

  • Gwendoline Christie, Game of Thrones (HBO)—SHOULD AND WILL WIN
  • Julia Garner, Ozark (Netflix)
  • Lena Headey, Game of Thrones (HBO)
  • Fiona Shaw, Killing Eve (BBC America)
  • Sophie Turner, Game of Thrones (HBO)
  • Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones (HBO)

Outstanding Comedy Series
HBO’s Veep won in this category in 2015, 2016, and 2017 — and then sat out last year. After a nearly perfect final season, voters will want to honor it one last time.

Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
There are a lot of comedy legends to choose from in this category, but the TV Academy’s weakness for movie stars gives Michael Douglas a slight edge over the others.

  • Anthony Anderson, black-ish (ABC)
  • Don Cheadle, Black Monday (Showtime)
  • Ted Danson, The Good Place (NBC)—SHOULD WIN
  • Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method (Netflix)—WILL WIN
  • Bill Hader, Barry (HBO)
  • Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek (Pop TV)

Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Julia Louis-Dreyfus beat cancer and delivered another “performance of her career” in Veep‘s final season. If she doesn’t leave the Emmy ceremony with a 7/7 record for Veep, we’ll start swearing.

  • Christina Applegate, Dead to Me (Netflix)
  • Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime Video)
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep (HBO)—SHOULD AND WILL WIN
  • Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll (Netflix)
  • Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek (Pop TV)
  • Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag (Amazon Prime Video)

Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
With a trio of deserving Barry actors splitting the vote, it’s likely that Veep‘s stealthily hilarious Tony Hale will take home his third statuette.

  • Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method (Netflix)
  • Anthony Carrigan, Barry (HBO)—SHOULD WIN
  • Tony Hale, Veep (HBO)—WILL WIN
  • Stephen Root, Barry (HBO)
  • Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime Video)
  • Henry Winkler, Barry (HBO)

Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Fleabag season 2 is just about flawless, and so is Olivia Colman‘s performance as the brutally passive-aggressive Godmother. Plus, she gives a great acceptance speech.

  • Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime Video)
  • Anna Chlumsky, Veep (HBO)
  • Sian Clifford, Fleabag (Amazon Prime Video)
  • Olivia Colman, Fleabag (Amazon Prime Video)—SHOULD AND WILL WIN
  • Betty Gilpin, GLOW (Netflix)
  • Sarah Goldberg, Barry (HBO)
  • Marin Hinkle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime Video)
  • Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live (NBC)

Outstanding Limited Series
Both Chernobyl and When They See Us examine the failings of deeply broken systems, but WTSU‘s themes of racially motivated injustice feel particularly relevant today.

Lead Actor in a Limited Series
First-time nominee Jharrel Jerome, who plays WTSU‘s Korey Wise from the age of 16 to 28, gives one of the year’s most devastating performances.

  • Mahershela Ali, True Detective (HBO)
  • Benicio Del Toro, Escape at Dannemora (Showtime)
  • Hugh Grant, A Very English Scandal (Amazon Prime Video)
  • Jared Harris, Chernobyl (HBO)
  • Jharrel Jerome, When They See Us (Netflix)—SHOULD AND WILL WIN
  • Sam Rockwell, Fosse/Verdon (FX)

Lead Actress in a Limited Series
There are very few sure things in this world. Michelle Williams winning for her mesmerizing turn as Gwen Verdon is one of them.

  • Amy Adams, Sharp Objects (HBO)
  • Patricia Arquette, Escape at Dannemora (Showtime)
  • Aunjanue Ellis, When They See Us (Netflix)
  • Joey King, The Act (Hulu)
  • Niecy Nash, When They See Us (Netflix)
  • Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon (FX)—SHOULD AND WILL WIN

Winners will be announced during the Emmys ceremony, airing live, Sept. 22, starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Fox.

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