5 things to watch for on Emmys night

After a year off, HBO's wildly popular fantasy epic ‘Game of Thrones’ - which earned a whopping 22 nominations - is expected to make a big comeback.

A scene from the seventh season finale of 'Game of Thrones'. Picture: HBO

LOS ANGELES - Hollywood's A-listers will don their black-tie best on Monday for the 70th Emmy Awards, which honour the best in television.

After a year off, HBO's wildly popular fantasy epic Game of Thrones - which earned a whopping 22 nominations - is expected to make a big comeback. It already won seven Emmys in technical categories.

But evergreen NBC sketch show Saturday Night Live is close behind with 21 nominations, and it too scooped up seven awards ahead of the main ceremony.

And The Handmaid's Tale, Hulu's flagship drama based on Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel of the same name and last year's best drama winner, is certainly in the hunt for more statuettes, with 20 nominations and three awards so far.

Here are five things to watch for on Monday night:

1. How will #MeToo be handled?

The #MeToo movement erupted after last year's Primetime Emmys, meaning it is likely to hover over this year's event.

The departure from CBS of its powerful CEO Les Moonves under a cloud of sexual misconduct allegations will not go unnoticed at Monday's gala.

Female-driven programmes like The Handmaid's Tale, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel and The Crown are among the top nominees this year.

Elizabeth Moss stars in 'The Handmaid's Tale'. Picture: Hulu

Elizabeth Moss stars in 'The Handmaid's Tale'. Picture: Hulu

But earlier this month, the Women's Media Center released a report showing that 70% of the non-acting nominations went to men - and only six percent of the nominated directors were women, down from 10% in 2017.

2. How much will Trump weigh on gala?

With _SNL _stars Colin Jost and Michael Che hosting the Emmys, and Alec Baldwin once again nominated for his portrayal of President Donald Trump, this year's gala is once again likely to be a political one.

Jost told Vanity Fair that he and Che hope to make the show "less political than normal," but if recent awards shows are any indication, that might be difficult in resolutely Democratic Tinseltown.

At the Tonys in June, Robert De Niro got a standing ovation for using an expletive to condemn Trump. At the Oscars in February, Mexican director Guillermo del Toro made a plea for immigrants.

Robert De Niro speaks onstage during the 72nd Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on 10 June 2018 in New York City. Picture: Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions/AFP

Robert De Niro said 'F*ck Trump' onstage at the 72nd Annual Tony Awards in June 2018 in New York City. Picture: AFP

3. Will Netflix break through?

In July, the streaming giant finally wrested the top spot from premium cable network HBO in terms of most nominations - 112 to 108. But will that translate into more actual trophies?

Last year, HBO took home 29 Emmys, to Netflix's 20. After the Creative Arts Emmys - the technical awards handed out ahead of the main event - HBO had a slim lead, 17 to 16.

HBO has Game of Thrones and Westworld in its stable, while Netflix heads into battle with The Crown, Stranger Things and 1980s women's wrestling comedy GLOW.

4. Can stars of The Americans win?

Critical darling _The Americans _- a sweeping saga about sleeper Soviet agents in America - has earned 18 nominations over its six-season run, but only two wins - both for guest actress Margo Martindale.

Series stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys are both nominated for the third time this year for their work in the acclaimed drama.

Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell star in 'The Americans'. Picture: FX Networks

Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell star in 'The Americans'. Picture: FX Networks

Can one - or both - of them finally take home a final hurrah Emmy, as Jon Hamm did for Mad Men?

Awards prediction site Gold Derby currently has Rhys as the odds-on favourite, but Russell is only in 4th place, lagging behind last year's winner Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid's Tale), Sandra Oh (Killing Eve) and Claire Foy (The Crown).

5. Another big night for Donald Glover?

On the comedy side of the Emmys, the field is wide-open, with perennial winner _Veep _out of the picture. Can _Atlanta _- Donald Glover's funny take on the rap scene in the Georgia capital - take top honours?

Last year, Glover won twin statuettes for acting and directing, after capturing two Golden Globes.

It's been another big year for the multi-talented 34-year-old, who raps under the name Childish Gambino and took home a Grammy in January for best traditional R&B performance.

He lit the internet ablaze in the spring with his controversial single This Is America and its wacky video. He co-starred in the latest Star Wars movie. And last week, he launched a US concert tour.

A few more Emmys, including the best comedy prize, could be the icing on the cake of a ferocious 2018.