Final Emmy Predictions: Lead Actor in a Drama Series – Could Jason Bateman Pull Off a Final Season Acting Win for ‘Ozark’?

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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
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UPDATED: July 9, 2022



At least one man from “Succession” seems like a lock for a nom, and my hunch is Jeremy Strong, who won this category two years ago. However, Brian Cox could either be a formidable threat to win his first lead Emmy (he won supporting actor in a limited series for “Nuremberg” in 2001), or he can be a surprise snub on the nomination morning.

As we maneuver through the season, I’m thinking Jason Bateman’s work in the final season of “Ozark” could be a potential winner mimicking the last season wins of Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”), Matthew Rhys (“The Americans”), Jeff Daniels (“The Newsroom”) and Kyle Chandler (“Friday Night Lights”), which all happened in the last decade.

Lee Jung-jae has wins from the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild and Critics Choice Awards, which give him a considerable advantage. However, not as well known as his competitors, the time lapse between the debut of “Squid Game” and the voting period could lead to a shocking omission or simply being passed over for someone else entirely. Kevin Costner’s work in “Yellowstone” could be that culprit that edges someone like Jung-jae out of the mix.

Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”) and Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”) are establishment choices, and both can easily be included in the lineup. However, Adam Scott (“Severance”) performed well on the campaign trail. So it’ll be a photo finish.

Selected individual category pages with full rankings will be revised, leading to noms. Note the “updated date” on all categories.

Read moreVariety’s Awards Circuit Emmys Predictions Hub.

The complete television awards season calendar is linked here.

Nominations will be announced on Tuesday, July 12. The 74th Primetime Emmy Awards will take place on Monday, Sept. 12, and air on NBC.

2021 category winner: Josh O’Connor, “The Crown” (Netflix)


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Season 3, Episode 1
Brian Cox
Credit: David M. Russell/HBO

Courtesy of HBO

1 Jason Bateman “Ozark” Netflix
2 Jeremy Strong “Succession” HBO
3 Brian Cox “Succession” HBO
4 Kevin Costner “Yellowstone” Paramount Network
5 Bob Odenkirk “Better Call Saul” AMC
6 Lee Jung-jae “Squid Game” Netflix
7 Sterling K. Brown “This Is Us” NBC
8 Adam Scott “Severance” Apple TV+
9 Milo Ventimiglia “This Is Us” NBC
10 Josh Brolin “Outer Range” Amazon Prime Video
11 Tom Hiddleston “Loki” Disney+
12 Gary Oldman “Slow Horses” Apple TV+
13 John C. Reilly “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty” HBO
14 Quincy Isaiah “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty” HBO
15 Jamie Dornan “The Tourist” HBO
16 Chiwetel Ejiofor “The Man Who Fell to Earth” Showtime
17 Courtney B. Vance “61st Street” AMC
18 Jonathan Bailey “Bridgerton” Netflix
19 Jeff Daniels “American Rust” Showtime
21 Michael C. Hall “Dexter: New Blood” Showtime
21 Paul Giamatti “Billions” Showtime
22 Bill Pullman “The Sinner” USA Network
23 J.K. Simmons “Night Sky” Amazon Prime Video
24 Mike Colter “Evil” Paramount+
25 Minho Lee “Pachinko” Apple TV+
26 Albert Rutecki “As We See It” Amazon Prime Video
27 Christopher Meloni “Law & Order: Organized Crime” NBC
28 Billy Bob Thornton “Goliath” Amazon Prime Video
29 Tom Blyth “Billy the Kid” Epix
30 Patrick Stewart “Star Trek: Picard” Paramount+
Abubakar Salim “Raised by Wolves” HBO
Adam Demos “Sex/Life”
Adan Canto “The Cleaning Lady” Fox
Adrien Brody “Chapelwaite” Epix
Alan Ritchson “Reacher” Amazon Prime Video
Alexander Dreymon “The Last Kingdom”
Alexander Ludwig “Heels”
Ami Ameen “The Porter”
Ansel Elgort “Tokyo Vice” HBO
Anson Mount “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” Paramount+
Anthony Anderson “Law & Order” NBC
Ashton Sanders “Wu-Tang: An American Saga” Hulu
Ben Schnetzer “Y: The Last Man”
Billy Barrett “Invasion”
Chase Stokes “Outer Banks”
Chibuikem Uche “One of Us is Lying”
Connor Jessup “Locke & Key” Netflix
Cooper van Grootel “One of Us is Lying”
Corey Stoll “Billions” Showtime
Costa Ronin “The Endgame”
Da’Vinchi “BMF”
Damian Lewis “Billions” Showtime
Damson Idris “Snowfall” FX
Danny Mahoney “Purgatory”
Daveed Diggs “Snowpiercer” TNT
David Ajala “Star Trek: Discovery” Paramount+
David Boreanaz “SEAL Team”
Demetrius “Lil Meech” Flenory Jr. “BMF”
Devale Ellis “Sistas”
Ethan Peck “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” Paramount+
Freddie Highmore “The Good Doctor” ABC
Harold Perrineau “From” Epix
Henry Cavill “The Witcher” Netflix
Hugh Dancy “Law & Order”
Isaiah Hill “Swagger”
J.D. Pardo “Mayans M.C.” FX
Jabari Banks “Bel-Air” Peacock
James Badge Dale “Hightown”
James Spader “The Blacklist” NBC
Jared Padalecki “Walker”
Jason Beghe “Chicago P.D.”
Jason Isaacs “Good Sam”
Jason Mamoa “See” Apple TV+
Jeremy Renner “Mayor of Kingstown” Paramount+
Jim Sturgess “Home Before Dark” Apple TV+
Jin Ha “Pachinko” Apple TV+
John Cho “Cowboy Bebop” Netflix
John Ortiz “Promised Land”
Joseph Sikora “Power Book IV: Force” Starz
Justin Bruening “Sweet Magnolias”
Justin Chatwin “Another Life”
Kofi Siriboe “Queen Sugar” OWN
Kwame Patterson “David Makes Man”
Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs “A House Divided”
Lee Pace “Foundation” Apple TV+
Lennie James “Fear the Walking Dead” AMC
Leo Suter “Vikings: Valhalla”
LL Cool J “NCIS: Los Angeles” NBC
Luke Kleintank “FBI: International”
Mamoudou Athie “Archive 81”
Manuel Garcia-Rulfo “The Lincoln Lawyer” Netflix
Mark Harmon “NCIS” NBC
Martin Henderson “Virgin River”
Matt Czuchry “The Resident”
Matteo Cecchi “My Brilliant Friend: Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay” HBO
MeKai Curtis “Power Book III: Raising Kanan” Starz
Michael Dorman “Joe Pickett”
Michael Rainey Jr. “Power Book II: Ghost” Starz
Mike Vogel “Sex/Life”
Morgan Spector “The Gilded Age” HBO
Nathan Fillion “The Rookie”
Nicholas Ralph “All Creatures Great and Small (MASTERPIECE)”
Norman Reedus “The Walking Dead” AMC
O’Shea Jackson Jr. “Swagger” Apple TV+
Pablo Schreiber “Halo” Paramount+
Penn Badgley “You” Netflix
Peter Krause “9-1-1” Fox
Reno Wilson “Good Girls”
Rick Glassman “As We See It” Amazon Prime Video
Rob Lowe “9-1-1: Lone Star” Fox
Romany Malco” “A Million Little Things” ABC
Ronnie Rowe Jr. “The Porter”
Ryan Eggold “New Amsterdam”
Sam Corlett “Vikings: Valhalla”
Sam Heughan “Outlander” Starz
Samuel Anderson “Another Life”
Samuel West “All Creatures Great and Small (MASTERPIECE)”
Shamier Anderson “Invasion”
Shawn Hatosy “Animal Kingdom” TNT
Shemar Moore “S.W.A.T.”
Skyh Alvester Black “Lace”
Stephen Amell “Heels”
Steven Strait “The Expanse” Amazon Prime Video
Taylor Kinney “Chicago Fire”
Temuera Morrison “The Book of Boba Fett” Disney+
Titus Welliver “Bosch: Legacy” Amazon Prime Video
Toby Kebbell “Servant” Apple TV+
Toby Stephens “Lost in Space” Netflix
Tom Ellis “Lucifer”
Wes Chatham “The Expanse” Amazon Prime Video
Zackary Arthur “Chucky”
Zeeko Zaki “FBI”


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

For wins: Bryan Cranston (AMC’s “Breaking Bad”) and Dennis Franz (ABC’s “NYPD Blue”) hold the record for the most wins in this category with four, with the former winning three consecutively and the latter two. Five actors have won three times — Bill Cosby, Peter Falk, James Gandolfini, James Spader and Robert Young.

Four actors have been nominated in this category eight times – Raymond Burr, Peter Falk, Dennis Franz, and Jon Hamm. James Garner has the second most nods with seven. Michael C. Hall, Hugh Laurie, Martin Sheen and Kiefer Sutherland have the most nominations at six, without winning (although Sheen has won an Emmy for guest actor in a comedy series for “Murphy Brown” in 1994).

“NYPD Blue” has the leading series to have nominations in this category with 14, followed by “St. Elsewhere” at 10 and “Columbo,” “Law & Order” and “Mad Men” at eight apiece.

2022 Primetime Emmy Awards Predictions

2022 Creative Arts Emmys Predictions

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.

Final Emmy Predictions: Lead Actor in a Drama Series – Could Jason Bateman Pull Off a Final Season Acting Win for ‘Ozark’?

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