Queens, nerds, and feel-good families vie for Emmy crown

Television still: The Crown starring Claire Foy. PHOTO: NETFLIX

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A British queen, a group of nerdy kids, a defiant handmaiden and a heart-tugging trio of siblings vie for the top prize on Sunday when the Primetime Emmy Awards will crown the best in a booming era of television.

The television industry, already disrupted by streaming platforms Netflix Inc and Amazon.com Inc, is on edge.

A drama series Emmy for Netflix's supernatural mystery Stranger Things or its royal series The Crown, or Hulu's terrifying The Handmaid's Tale, would mark the biggest breakthrough in the television industry so far for a streaming service.

Holding out hope for traditional broadcasters is Comcast-owned NBC's emotional family drama This Is Us, which would be the first drama series from one of the four main U.S. broadcasters to take home the Emmy since thriller 24 in 2006.

"It's like the last gasp of broadcasting in the top Emmy race," said veteran awards watcher Tom O'Neil, founder of goldderby.com. This Is Us also has acting nods for stars Sterling K. Brown, Chrissy Metz and Milo Ventimiglia.

Elisabeth Moss looks a sure bet for playing a woman forced into sexual servitude in The Handmaid's Tale, which would mark the first big award for Hulu, a joint venture between Time Warner Inc, Walt Disney Co, Fox and Comcast Corp.

HBO's two-time Emmy champ Game Of Thrones is out of the running this year because of a later broadcast date for its seventh season.

Sunday's ceremony in Los Angeles is also likely to feature a slew of familiar faces on the winner's podium as A-list stars flock to the creative freedom offered by streaming and cable television.

Robert De Niro is competing for his first Emmy for his role as disgraced financier Bernard Madoff in HBO's The Wizard of Lies. Nicole Kidman's battered wife in HBO's Big Little Lies is seen as leading the field in the limited series category that features three other Oscar winners: Reese Witherspoon (also forBig Little Lies), and Feud stars Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange. "This is the battle of the Oscar queens," said O'Neil.

Several records are up for grabs on Sunday. Julia Louis-Dreyfus looks headed for a sixth win as a self-absorbed presidential loser in HBO's Veep, which is also favorite to win best comedy series for a third year.

At 13 years old, Millie Bobby Brown, the breakout supporting star of the young cast of Stranger Things, could become the youngest person to win a Primetime Emmy for acting.

The 69th Emmy Awards airs live on Monday (Sept 18) on StarWorld (StarHub TV Channel 501, Singtel TV Ch 301) and on video streaming service Fox+, from 7am onwards.

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