Variety talk series: John Oliver is the two-time defending champ for “Last Week Tonight,” and it’s hard to argue with a threepeat. Even so, Stephen Colbert has truly come into his own since Trump’s inauguration, providing an essential mix of comedy, astute political satire and humanity — sometimes, in the case of the recent departure of CBS chief Leslie Moonves, while facing a pretty high degree of difficulty. Moreover, he’s done so on a five-night-a-week basis, a distinction that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Lead actress, drama: This is one of those categories where you really can’t go wrong, and Elisabeth Moss is a likely repeat winner for “Handmaid’s Tale.” Still, Claire Foy’s regal, wonderfully restrained performance in “The Crown” — headwear that she’s handing over after two seasons — shouldn’t go unnoticed, even if it probably will.
Lead actress, comedy: Rachel Brosnahan is the odds-on favorite for “Mrs. Maisel,” and she’s terrific. But Issa Rae has really blossomed in the lead role in “Insecure,” an HBO series whose current sophomore season helps buttress the case for her — eventually, if not now.
Supporting actor, comedy: Somehow, Henry Winkler has never won an Emmy (there were nods for “Happy Days,” as well as Golden Globes), something that his sixth nomination — a wonderfully quirky turn as an eccentric acting coach in “Barry” — not only is likely to remedy, but should.
Supporting actress, drama: Both supporting categories in drama are completely loaded, but nobody was better than Yvonne Strahovski, whose subtle, heartbreaking work in “The Handmaid’s Tale” exposed new facets of her complicated character that the first season didn’t.
Writing, drama series: “The Americans” likely won’t win for best drama, but the FX show’s riveting series finale desperately merits recognition, and honoring creators Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg for the graceful way in which they sent their Russian spies into the sunset would be a fitting consolation prize.