'One-inch barrier' no more?

Three years ago, South Korean film "Parasite" won best picture at the Oscars, overcoming what its director Bong Joon-ho called the "one-inch barrier of subtitles." Could this be the year television does the same?

"Squid Game," a violent satire in which society's marginalised compete for cash in fatal versions of children's games, is Netflix's most-watched series ever.

"It's formidable. I'd be surprised if it's not among the two or three top vote-getters in terms of nominations," said Deadline awards columnist Pete Hammond.

Also shot largely in Korean is Apple TV+'s acclaimed series "Pachinko." A separate International Emmys ceremony has been held since 1973, but no foreign-language show has ever broken into the prestigious Primetime Emmys drama ranks.

Crowded drama, comedy fields

The total number of dramas and comedies competing for Emmys this year is much higher than it was last year, when the pandemic delayed production of many award-winning shows.

After skipping a year, 2020 best drama winner "Succession", the saga of a powerful, backstabbing family, returns in drama, as do Netflix's crime series "Ozark" and AMC's spin-off "Better Call Saul."

In comedy, Amazon Prime's former winner "The Marvelous Mrs Maisel", about a 1950s housewife-turned-comedian and HBO's Bill Hader vehicle "Barry" both come back.

They will collide with last year's big winner "Ted Lasso", following the uplifting antics of an out-of-his-depth soccer coach, and the acclaimed second season of Jean Smart's "Hacks."

Can 'Yellowstone' rope in voters?

Soapy neo-Western "Yellowstone", which stars Kevin Costner and racked up 11 million views for its fourth season premiere, is an undeniable juggernaut. But it has only ever earned one Emmy nomination, in a minor technical category.

Voters may have been put off by its slot on Paramount's relatively small cable network, or its ostensible conservative leanings -- though the show has recently gripped the more liberal US coasts as well.

"We'll see if pure popularity plays in this race this year," said Hammond.

"If it does, 'Yellowstone' will have its day in the sun. It's watched everywhere. We'll see if it's being watched by the Television Academy,” Hammond added.

High hopes for Hulu

HBO and Netflix tend to dominate the nominations, but 2022 could be a banner year for Disney-owned Hulu.

The US-only streamer, specializing in more adult-oriented content than Disney+, creates originals such as 2017 drama winner "The Handmaid's Tale," and has been ramping up production.

This year, it has limited series frontrunner "Dopesick," in which Michael Keaton plays a doctor embroiled in the US opioid epidemic.

In the same category, Amanda Seyfried plays disgraced biotech star Elizabeth Holmes in "The Dropout," and "Pam and Tommy" recounts the theft of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee's infamous 1990s sex tape.

Comedy "Only Murders in the Building," starring Selena Gomez, Steve Martin and Martin Short as an unlikely trio of true-crime podcasters, is also tipped to rack up nominations for Hulu.

Limited slots for limited series

Once the neglected distant cousin of drama and comedy, the limited series category at the Emmys become more and more competitive and stuffed with quality each year.

Alongside Hulu's contenders, HBO's "The White Lotus", a satirical look at hypocrisy and wealth among the visitors to a luxury Hawaii hotel, is wildly popular, while Netflix offers heartbreaking domestic abuse saga "Maid."

Despite the wealth of riches, limited series categories typically offer just five nomination slots, compared to eight in drama and comedy.

"They need to change the rules. It’s the strongest area of the Emmys, and this year is no exception, " said Hammond.