Who needs to win? Every nominee, of course, who would prefer to avoid being an also-ran smiling bravely for the cameras. There's also the producers of the Sept. 22 Emmy Awards ceremony and Fox , the network airing it, with an event to sell.
"Game of Thrones," ''Veep" and "When They See Us" look like front-runners but the outcome is anyone's guess. AP Television Writer Lynn Elber and Entertainment Writer Mark Kennedy's offer theirs in the top categories.
DRAMA SERIES ELBER: Should win: "Pose." An opulent, clear-eyed embrace of the late-20th-century LGBTQ ballroom scene deserves its due. Will win: "Game of Thrones." A landmark show that brought cinematic sweep to TV gets a big farewell, finale naysayers be damned.
KENNEDY: Should win: Agreed on "Pose," a loving look at a world that has never been celebrated on TV before, starring the largest LGBTQ cast ever for a scripted series. Will win: "Pose" is up against the behemoth "Game of Thrones," which triggered parodies and homages, memes and talk show publicity. Even the president tried to co-opt its tagline "Winter Is Coming." The Emmy is coming.
COMEDY SERIES ELBER: Should win: "Fleabag." Such shocking sexual abandon and emotional dysfunction is downright un-American. Three cheers for this British invasion! Will win: "Veep." A three-for-three winner won't be defeated in its last hurrah, especially when politics are all the rage.
KENNEDY: Should win: The second season of "Fleabag" — with a woman resisting her feelings for a priest — and the debut of "Russian Doll" — in which a New Yorker keeps reliving the night of her 36th birthday — were deeply worthy of wins for writing and originality.
Will win: "Veep," the safe and more popular choice. But Emmy voters may learn to regret this predictable decision. ACTOR, DRAMA SERIES ELBER: Should win: Billy Porter, "Pose." The Tony-winning actor's performance, by turns brassy, tender and brave, anchors the sprawling drama.
Will win: Billy Porter. He found the TV role he deserved and gets the award he earned. KENNEDY: Should win: Yes, yes, yes. Porter is always the best thing in whatever he's in and he's truly fierce in "Pose." But did enough people watch?
Will win: Kit Harington, buffeted by the waves of "Game of Thrones" nostalgia, will give a knightly farewell to Jon Snow with a statuette. ACTRESS, DRAMA SERIES ELBER: Should win: Sandra Oh, "Killing Eve." A tour-de-force performance of vulnerability and, to her character's dismay, brutality.
Will win: Sandra Oh. Deserved, history-making recognition as she becomes the first actress of Asian descent to win a lead actress trophy. Also makes up for her five "Grey's Anatomy" supporting nods without wins.
KENNEDY: Should win: The mouse to Sandra Oh's cat — Jodie Comer. She has, criminally, not earned enough recognition for her special brand of killer. Will win: Sandra Oh. Especially since there's no Claire Foy from "The Crown" to ruin her night.
ACTOR, COMEDY SERIES ELBER: Should win: Bill Hader, "Barry." His scarily winning portrayal of a hit man with a Hollywood dream was voted tops last year and remains deserving. Will win: Michael Douglas, "The Kominsky Method." The movie star's inner comedian comes out and plays, wowing Emmy voters.
KENNEDY: Should win: Hader already has his Emmy. Douglas won a Golden Globe for "The Kominsky Method." The Emmy should go to Anthony Anderson, the beating heart of "black-ish," who makes lovingly exasperated completely hysterical but has been overlooked too long.
Will win: The award clearly will go to Eugene Levy, who is a comedic treasure and rightfully should be showered with awards. His last Emmy was in 1983. It's time, people. ACTRESS, COMEDY SERIES ELBER:
Should win: Catherine O'Hara, "Schitt's Creek." Consider it a lifetime achievement award, with her delectably self-absorbed, absurd Moira topping her inventive catalog of characters (and yes, I'm including the Christopher Guest films. Movies, TV — it's all the same now).
Will win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep." The queen of TV comedy ("Seinfeld," ''The New Adventures of Old Christine," this) will add a record-setting ninth Emmy to her haul, breaking a tie with Cloris Leachman for most-honored performer ever.
KENNEDY: Should win: Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who in "Fleabag" needs only to look over her shoulder at us, lower her eyes and convey everything that's churning in her complex mind. Will win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Who is silly enough to vote against her?
LIMITED SERIES ELBER: Should win: "When They See Us." The superb cast, the unsparing writing, the dismaying currency of a 20-year-old case's implications for American justice and racial inequality demand an Emmy.
Will win: "When They See Us." "Chernobyl" is a deeply worthy competitor, but Emmy voters put domestic concerns first. KENNEDY: Should win: In many ways, this category represented the best of TV this season — "Chernobyl," ''Escape at Dannemora," ''Fosse/Verdon," ''When They See Us" and "Sharp Objects." Any is a worthy winner.
Will win: "When They See Us," perhaps the best of this exciting category. It had searing acting, harrowing circumstances and brilliant writing.
Lynn Elber is at email@example.com and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber . Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits .