LOS ANGELES — Free of the controversy that overshadowed this year’s Academy Awards and its lineup of all-white acting nominees, the 68th Primetime Emmysarrive on ABC on Sunday night with the focus squarely on the awards at a time when there’s never been more competition in TV.
Will HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and “Veep” repeat for best drama and best comedy? (They’re favorites.) Will FX’s “The People v. O. J. Simpson” and its star-studded cast come close to sweeping all the limited series categories? (Very possibly.) And will Netflix benefit from this year’s presidential election and finally break through in the top acting categories for Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in “House of Cards?” (Maybe.)
Oh, and just how much will the show’s host, Jimmy Kimmel, address the election and its sometimes nasty overtones at what is supposed to be a (mostly) feel-good celebration about television?
Here are five things to look for at this year’s Emmys ceremony:
‘Thrones’ and ‘Veep’ Look to Repeat
The Emmys tend to find winners and cling to them for years (Jim Parsons, “Modern Family,” Allison Janney), which is what made last year’s first-time victories for HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and “Veep” in the best drama and best comedy categories so refreshing.
New voting rules helped secure their victories. (Everyone in the Television Academy, which organizes the Emmys, can now vote in the top categories, instead of just members of a closed-off committee.) But the question looming over Sunday’s selections is whether their victories usher in a new era of unpredictability, or whether Emmy voters have simply found new thoroughbreds to ride.
There is some good news for HBO’s rivals: Next year, “Game of Thrones,” one of the most widely praised dramas, will not be eligible for the Emmys;the network elected to start the show’s seventh season next summer, outside of the Emmy-eligible window.
Though the Emmys are usually numbingly predictable, two categories seem very much up for grabs, and they are big ones: best actor and best actress in a drama. Will Viola Davis repeat her victory last year for “How to Get Away With Murder,” when she became the first African-American woman to win in that category — or, with politics in the air, will Ms. Wright’s portrayal of the vice presidential candidate Claire Underwood result in her first prime-time Emmy?