by Lori Melton

The 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will air live Sunday, Sept. 17 on CBS. This year’s Limited Series and TV Movies have enthralled us with suspenseful, moving, and riveting tales. Some were fictional tales and some were based on true stories. With more legendary film actors gracing the small screen on projects like these, the level of stunning performances has also increased.

Will “Sherlock’s” popularity in its possible final season prompt voters to push “Sherlock: The Lying Detective” toward a Best TV Movie win? Or will a captivating true crime story like “The Wizard of Lies” emerge as the winner?

Will twisted thriller “Big Little Lies” or Ryan Murphy’s heated Hollywood rivalry “Feud: Bette And Joan” win Best Limited Series? Here’s a look at our 2017 Emmy Predictions in the Limited Series and TV Movie categories.

Best Limited Series

Limited Series have gotten bolder, more splendid, and more plentiful in the TV landscape in recent years. This year’s crop of contenders all represent spectacular, nearly cinematic television. The 2017 Best Limited Series nominees are: “Big Little Lies,” “Feud: Bette and Joan,” “The Night Of,” “Fargo,” and “Genius.”

This is arguably going to be the hottest race the Emmys has seen in the Best Limited Series category. “Feud” tells a tale of two of the most celebrated actresses of all time, in Hollywood’s Golden heyday. It leads its contenders with 18 nominations. “Big Little Lies” is close behind, with an impressive 16 nominations and an edge-of-your-seat twisting suspense story of love and betrayal. Like “Feud,” “Big Little Lies’” Oscar-winning lead actresses, Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon are both nominated for their work on the series.

“Fargo,” claimed the Emmy in this category in 2014. It’s been nominated 36 times across three seasons, with five total Emmy wins. Gritty New York crime drama “The Night Of” grabbed 13 nominations this year, including acting nods for Riz Ahmed and John Turturro. Finally, Ron Howard served up a fascinating look at the life of Albert Einstein in “Genius,” starring Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush.

Prediction: “Feud: Bette and Joan”
Best Chance For An Upset Pick: “Big Little Lies”

Best TV Movie

Some wonderful movies played across the small screen this year, making for another impending close call in this category. The 2017 Best TV Movie nominees are: “Black Mirror: San Junipero,” “Sherlock: The Lying Detective,” “The Wizard of Lies,” “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” “Christmas of Many Colors.

“Sherlock” won in this category last year for “The Abominable Bride” and now its final season four installment (which may sadly be the series’ last) is nominated again in this category. The series is brilliant on all fronts and the onscreen chemistry between Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as beloved crime-solving duo Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson is unbeatable.

“Black Mirror” could challenge “Sherlock,” because it is notably the only TV movie being recognized in the writing category. “Wizard of Lies” could be the biggest threat, though. People are fascinated by true crime and Robert De Niro does an amazing job portraying Bernie Madoff. Dolly Parton’s “Christmas of Many Colors” and “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” starring Oprah Winfrey are both heartwarming dramas. However, these last two contenders lack Emmy support in any other category.

Prediction: “Sherlock: The Lying Detective”
Best Chance For An Upset Pick: “The Wizard of Lies”

Best Limited Series/TV Movie Actor

What a truly amazing group of men in this category this year! The 2017 Best Limited Series/TV Movie Actor nominees are: Benedict Cumberbatch (“Sherlock: The Lying Detective”), Riz Ahmed (“The Night Of”), Robert De Niro (“The Wizard of Lies”), Geoffrey Rush (“Genius”), Ewan McGregor (“Fargo”), John Turturro (“The Night Of”).

Riz Ahmed has been busy since “Star Wars” and his work in “The Night Of” is exceptional. He’s competing against his co-star and showbiz veteran John Turturro. Turturro has one Emmy win under his belt. “The Night Of” earned a total of 13 nods, which is impressive. However, Ewan McGregor played a double role as twins in “Fargo” and pulling this off is challenging. Geoffrey Rush is arguably a genius in any role he assumes. He was brilliant as Albert Einstein. But, Benedict Cumberbatch has garnered a cult following while playing fictional flawed genius Sherlock Holmes. This is his fifth straight Emmy nod. Might it be his year to finally win? Maybe. But, Robert De Niro’s portrayal of Bernie Madoff was amazing. Can anyone beat him?

Prediction: Robert De Niro
Best Chance For An Upset Pick: Benedict Cumberbatch

Best Limited Series/TV Movie Actress

This category is chock full of talented, versatile actresses who played some bold, conflicted women to earn their nominations. The 2017 Best Limited Series/TV Movie Actress nominees are: Nicole Kidman (“Big Little Lies”), Jessica Lange (“Feud: Bette and Joan”), Carrie Coon (“Fargo”), Susan Sarandon (“Feud: Bette and Joan”), Reese Witherspoon (“Big Little Lies”), and Felicity Huffman (“American Crime”).

What an interesting list this year, with Lange and Sarandon and Witherspoon and Kidman all being Oscar winners with double Emmy nods this year for acting and producing the projects they are in. These four ladies each gave stunning performances.  Felicity Huffman’s total body of work on “American Crime” is sensational. She played three very different roles across the past three seasons – not unlike Lange, who earned Emmys doing the same on “American Horror Story.” Carrie Coon is an Emmy newbie, snagging her first nomination for her role on “Fargo.”

Prediction: Jessica Lange
Best Chance For An Upset Pick: Nicole Kidman

Best Limited Series/TV Movie Supporting Actor

Some fantastic actors served up some unforgettable roles in this category this year. The 2017 Best Limited Series/TV Movie Supporting Actor nominees are: Alexander Skarsgard (“Big Little Lies”), Alfred Molina (“Feud: Bette and Joan”), David Thewlis (“Fargo”), Stanley Tucci (“Feud: Bette and Joan”), Bill Camp (“The Night Of”), and Michael Kenneth Williams (“The Night Of”).

Once again, co-stars are facing off against each other with Tucci and Molina competing for “Feud” and Camp and Williams competing for “The Night Of.” Tucci’s portrayal of movie studio mogul Jack Warner was spectacular. Molina’s role, by comparison, is more sympathetic as famed director Robert Aldrich. Skarsgard and Thewlis played eerie roles as an abusive husband in “Big Little Lies” and a sociopath in “Fargo,” respectively. Camp and Williams square off for their detective and prisoner roles on “The Night Of.” This is Williams’ second Emmy nod and Camp’s first. Could beginner’s luck help Camp pull out an upset?

Prediction: Stanley Tucci
Best Chance For An Upset Pick: Alfred Molina

Best Limited Series/TV Movie Supporting Actress

Another grand list of starlets rounds out our final Emmy predictions list. The 2017 Limited Series/TV Movie Best Supporting Actress nominees are: Laura Dern (“Big Little Lies”), Judy Davis (“Feud: Bette and Joan”), Regina King (“American Crime”), Michelle Pfeiffer (“The Wizard of Lies”), Shailene Woodley (“Big Little Lies”) and Jackie Hoffman (“Feud: Bette and Joan”).

Regina King seems like the one to beat after winning in this category for the two different “American Crime” roles she played in previous seasons. This year, she captivated us all as at-risk youth social worker Kimara Walters. Will she earn a triple crown of Emmys with a win this year?

Laura Dern and Shailene Woodley play a pair of contentious moms whose open dislike for each other creates a tense undercurrent throughout “Big Little Lies.” Co-stars Davis and Hoffman are also competing for their fabulous portrayals of Hedda Hopper and Joan Crawford’s loyal housekeeper in “Feud.” Let’s not forget Oscar winner Michelle Pfeiffer’s riveting portrayal of real-life wife Ruth Madoff in “The Wizard of Lies.” It’s Pfeiffer’s first Emmy nod and could be her first win. What will voters do?

Prediction: Regina King
Best Chance For An Upset Pick: Laura Dern

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