Emmy Predictions: Lead Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie – Should Pundits Make Room for Colin Firth in ‘The Staircase’?

Variety Awards Circuit section is the home for all awards news and related content throughout the year, featuring the following: the official awards predictions for the upcoming Oscars and Emmys ceremonies, curated by Variety senior awards editor Clayton Davis; Awards Circuit Column, a weekly analysis dissecting the trends and contenders by television editor Michael Schneider (for Emmys) and Davis (for Oscars); Awards Circuit Podcast, a weekly interview series with talent and an expert roundtable discussion; and Awards Circuit Video analyzes various categories and contenders by Variety's leading awards pundits. Variety's unmatched coverage gives its readership unbeatable exposure in print and online, as well as provide inside reports on all the contenders in this year's awards season races.

To see all the latest predictions, of all the categories, in one place, visit THE EMMYS COLLECTIVE
Visit each category, per the individual awards show from THE EMMYS HUB
To see old predictions and commentary, click the EMMY PREDICTIONS ARCHIVES
For film awards predictions go toTHE OSCARS HUB

UPDATED: April 28, 2022



Early word is very promising for Colin Firth’s work on HBO’s “The Staircase” alongside Toni Collette, which could be a latecomer to a race that has been dominated by Michael Keaton’s work in Hulu’s “Dopesick.”

Oscar Isaac will be pulling double duty with Marvel’s “Moon Knight” and HBO’s “Scenes from a Marriage,” the latter of which is a stronger awards play, given the competition in this tight race.

Established and respected veterans are in the mix such as Ben Foster in”The Survivor” by Oscar-winner Barry Levinson, the only television movie with the best chance at multiple awards recognition (at the moment).

Samuel L. Jackson was honored with an Honorary Oscar earlier this year, and he could add an Emmy to hit for his passion project, “The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey” on Apple TV+.

Other big names eyeing consideration are Andrew Garfield (“Under the Banner of Heaven”), Sebastian Stan (“Pam and Tommy”), Sean Penn (“Gaslit”) and Tom Hiddleston (“The Essex Serpent”).

Read moreVariety’s Awards Circuit Emmys Predictions Hub

The Emmy eligibility period runs from June 1, 2021, to May 31, 2022. The deadline for entering programs for Primetime programming and uploading all entry materials is on May 12, 2022, at 6:00 PM PT.

The nomination round of voting runs from June 16 to June 27. The official nominations for the 74th Emmy Awards will be announced Tuesday, July 12.

The list of programs and potential nominees listed below is incomplete and is subject to change. The full television awards season calendar is linked here.

2021 category winner: Ewan McGregor, “Halston” (Netflix)


Courtesy of HBO

1 Michael Keaton “Dopesick” Hulu
2 Ben Foster “The Survivor” HBO/HBO Max
3 Andrew Garfield “Under the Banner of Heaven” FX
4 Oscar Isaac “Scenes from a Marriage” HBO/HBO Max
5 Sebastian Stan “Pam and Tommy” Hulu
6 Samuel L. Jackson “The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey” Apple TV+
7 Liev Schreiber “Ray Donovan: The Movie” Showtime
8 Colin Firth “The Staircase” HBO/HBO Max
9 Tom Hiddleston “The Essex Serpent” Apple TV+
10 Sean Penn “Gaslit” Starz
11 Paul Bettany “A Very British Scandal” Amazon Prime Video
12 Clive Owen “Impeachment: American Crime Story” FX
13 Joshua Jackson “Dr. Death” Peacock
14 Jamie Dornan “The Tourist” HBO/HBO Max
15 Tim McGraw “1883” Paramount+
16 Himesh Patel “Station Eleven” HBO/HBO Max
17 Jared Leto “WeCrashed” Apple TV+
18 Sam Elliott “1883” Paramount+
19 Jaden Michael “Colin in Black and White” Netflix
20 Hamish Linklater “Midnight Mass” Netflix
21 David Thewlis “Landscapers” HBO/HBO Max
22 Tony Goldwyn “The Hot Zone: Anthrax” National Geographic
23 Ben Whishaw “This is Going to Hurt” BBC One
24 Martin Freeman “Angelyne” Peacock
25 Oscar Isaac “Moon Knight” Disney+
26 Jeremy Renner “Hawkeye” Disney+
27 Will Ferrell “The Shrink Next Door” Apple TV+
28 Paul Rudd “The Shrink Next Door” Apple TV+
29 David Oyelowo “The Girl Before” HBO/HBO Max
30 Bruce Davison “The Manor” Amazon Prime Video
Charlie Day “I Want You Back” Amazon Prime Video
Finn Wittrock “American Horror Story: Double Feature” FX
Harry Connick Jr. “Annie Live!” NBC
John Cameron Mitchell “Joe vs. Carole” Peacock
Joseph Gordon-Levitt “Super Pumped” Showtime
Kevin Hart “True Story” Netflix
Kevin Hart “Live in Front of a Studio Audience: ‘The Facts of Life’ and ‘Diff’rent Strokes’” ABC
Louis Patridge “Pistol” FX
Miles Teller “The Offer” Paramount+
Stephen Graham “Help” Channel 4
Tom Riley “The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window” Netflix
William Jackson Harper “Love Life” HBO/HBO Max
Zach Braff “Moonshot” HBO/HBO Max
Zach Braff “Cheaper by the Dozen” Disney+


The Primetime Emmy Awards, better known simply as the Emmys, is television’s most prestigious artistic award. There are many records held for both wins and nominations in the near eight decades.

For wins: This category has had many rule changes and inceptions in its history, but it’s worth noting that Laurence Olivier has the most wins in this category, with four with Peter Ustinov behind him with three.

For nominations: Hal Holbrook has the most nominations in this category of any actor with seven, while Benedict Cumberbatch and Laurence Olivier follow close behind with six apiece.

2022 Primetime Emmy Awards Predictions

2022 Creative Arts Emmys Predictions

  • Outstanding Television Movie
  • Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
  • Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
  • Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
  • Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
  • Outstanding Reality Host
  • Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series
  • Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series
  • Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special
  • Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special
  • Outstanding Animated Program
  • Outstanding Short Form Animated Program
  • Outstanding Voice-Over Performance
  • Outstanding Narrator
  • Outstanding Structured Program
  • Outstanding Unstructured Program
  • Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series
  • Outstanding Documentary Special
  • Outstanding Documentary Filmmaking
  • Outstanding Hosted Nonfiction Series or Special
  • Outstanding Main Title Design
  • Outstanding Main Title Theme Music
  • Outstanding Music for Series
  • Outstanding Music for Limited Series
  • Outstanding Music and Lyrics
  • Outstanding Music Supervision

About the Primetime Emmy Awards (Emmys)

The Primetime Emmy Awards, better known as the Emmys, are given out by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS). Since 1949, the awards have recognized excellence in American primetime television programming. They are divided into three classes – Primetime Emmy Awards, the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards (honors artisan achievements), and the Primetime Engineering Emmy Awards (recognizes significant engineering and technological contributions). The typical eligibility period is between June 1 and May 31 of any given year. The Television Academy comprises over 25,000 members, representing 30 professional peer groups, including performers, directors, producers, art directors and various artisans and executives.

  • The 74th Emmy Awards will take place on Monday, Sept. 12, and air on NBC.