With less than 48 hours to go, the countdown to the 2016 Emmys is officially on—and we’re getting pumped to see our favorite TV stars take home some well-deserved trophies on Sunday night.
This year’s batch of nominees is seriously worth the hype, from perpetual fan favorites like Game of Thrones—which leads the pack with a whopping 23 nominations—and House of Cards, to new but buzz-worthy hits like Mr. Robot and Master of None. The list of contenders is strong, and InStyle’s most TV-obsessed editors are already placing bets as to who will walk away with the night’s biggest honors.
Scroll down for nine nominees that we’re pulling for, and see the winners announced live during the ABC’s televised broadcast on Sunday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. ET.
1. Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Thomas Middleditch, Silicon Valley
“My dream? Seeing Thomas Middleditch winning the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series category for Silicon Valley. His performance is impressively physical—from the anxious stutter that’s his character, Richard Hendrick’s hallmark to actual pratfalls, of which there were many this season. (Watch this for a prime example.) He plays uncomfortable so well that whenever I’ve seen him NOT in character it’s thrown me off. His work in the third season is so deserving of an Emmy!” — Leigh Belz Ray, features and news director
2. Lead Actress in a Limited Series: Sarah Paulson, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
“I am rooting for Sarah Paulson for Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for The People v. O.J. Simpson. In my opinion, Paulson actually became Marcia Clark, the prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson trial, during the filming of this series. She not only nailed Clark's look--with her hollowed out eyes from lack of sleep, her curly hair, '90s business suits and incessant chain smoking—she also perfectly captured Clark's fierceness and intelligence, her weaknesses, and her fragility. Clark was in the spotlight for her role in one of the most sensational trials of our time at the same moment that her personal life was falling apart. Paulson's nuanced performance expertly embodied how all of this took a toll on the pressured prosecutor. I will definitely be cheering for her on Emmys night!” —Glynis Costin, West Coast bureau chief
3. Lead Actor in a Drama Series: Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
"I’m hoping Kevin Spacey scores an Emmy for his role in House of Cards—not only because I’m obsessed with the show but also because I think he would totally nail a Frank Underwood–style acceptance speech." —Christina Shanahan, senior editor
4. Drama Series: Downton Abbey
“I’ve been a Downton Abbey fan since the very first cuppa tea was poured and can’t wait to see the series (or at least Dame Maggie Smith) get its due on Emmy night. The beloved show's final season was just as dramatic (Thomas’s suicide attempt) as it was touching (Edith is finally happy!) and creator Julian Fellowes wrapped up every character’s storyline perfectly. Whether they win or lose, my fingers are still crossed for the rumored Downton movie!" —Jennifer Ferrise, senior editor
5. Lead Actor in a Drama Series: Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
“I became full-on obsessed with Mr. Robot after its first season—so much so, that I watched all 10 episodes again before Season 2 premiered this summer. The USA series is unlike anything else on TV right now, and Rami Malek’s performance as mentally unstable hacker Elliot Alderson is pure genius. From his slowly delivered off-camera lines when addressing his audience 'friend' to his meltdowns when suddenly realizing key forgotten facts (you know, like the identity of his sister), Malek’s portrayal as the fsociety leader is as intriguing as it is endearing. Needless to say, I’ll be rooting for Malek as I watch this year’s Emmys—and I’ll be wearing my fsociety mask (yes, I really do have one) while I do so. JK, kind of.” —Samantha Simon, assistant editor
6. Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones
"Maisie Williams kicks major butt as young Arya Stark on Game of Thrones. I loved watching her last season—she was still finding herself and figuring out how to survive Braavos, but her girl power kicks in at the end of the season. Go Arya!" —Janelle Grodsky, associate editor
7. Comedy Series: Master of None
“After devouring Aziz Ansari’s book about romance in the Internet age, I had an inkling that his new Netflix show would deliver—and deliver it did. For the uninitiated, the series is like a millennial version of Louie, where the comedian plays a struggling actor in New York navigating his way through the vast abyss of bars, concerts, and brunches heavily documented on Instagram. In one memorable episode, he whisks his onscreen love interest off to Nashville as an atypical first date—a bold move, but one so charming and simultaneously hilarious that I admittedly had to replicate the entire experience last Valentine’s Day. Oh, and did I mention that Ansari is the FIRST EVER South Asian actor nominated for playing a lead role? It’s about time he gets some recognition.” —Claire Stern, associate editor
8. Lead Actress in a Drama Series: Taraji P. Henson, Empire
"I guess you’re looking for a reason other than the fact that I want to be Cookie Lyon when I grow up, right? This is just one of those rare instances where I watch Taraji P. Henson on this show every week and think to myself, 'There’s absolutely no one else on the planet who could play this role, this well.' She just kills it and it’s been fun watching her peel back the layers of Cookie, because that’s a complex woman right there. —Courtney Higgs, editorial assistant
9. Lead Actor in a Drama Series: Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
"I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest television watcher—but I can honestly say that I've loved every single episode of Ray Donovan I’ve caught. It’s enough for me that the show is full of the scandalous behavior of the rich and famous, but to add in rugged, ruthless Liev Schreiber as the lead and the lawyer who makes all of the elite’s problems disappear? Well, it just makes the show that much better." —Lindsay Dolak, editorial assistant