Awards

drama actor race

Jalal looks at the Oscar nominees battling for a drama actor race nomination and the surprise actor on his way to becoming the most popular man on TV.

With Bloodline not returning until the summer, one new name will enter the the Lead Actor in a Drama series race. Without a clear frontrunner, at least four Oscar winners and nominees are battling it out against a surprising new Emmy favorite. In fact, there are so many fresh names in contention this year that it raises the question of what old favorites are most vulnerable in the drama actor race?

Top Contenders

Rami Malek, Mr. Robot Mr. Robot Season 2 received a controversial reaction, but the one element everyone seems to agree on is that Rami Malek’s performance has gotten even better. Thinking of his performance, I immediately replay that horrifying scene of him digging through vomit to find that pill he re-swallows. So, even if Mr. Robot misses out on a second drama series nomination, the acting branch seem certain to carry Malek into frontrunner status again with a performance most actors would kill to have.

Matthew Rhys, The Americans – After breaking into the Emmy race in a big way last year, it’s hard to imagine Emmy voters dropping The Americans in any race, including Matthew Rhys in the lead drama actor race. In fact he might even have a higher profile with Emmy voters this year after a chilling guest spot in the “American Bitch” episode of Girls, which might just be remembered as the single best episode of television in 2017.

(Photo: USA)
Possibilities 

Sterling K Brown, This Is Us – Over the past year, Sterling K. Brown became one of the most beloved actors consistently working in television. After winning an Emmy as well as two SAG nominations, he seemed like an obvious contender for supporting actor for his ensemble work on This Is Us. Recently, though, murmurs persist of him potentially submitting in the lead race. Brown’s Randall quickly became the most endearing new character of the TV season, juggling the perfect family with issues of adoption, long lost parents, and anxiety issues. As a member of a large ensemble, he might have a harder time breaking into a lead acting race, but if voters fall in love with This Is Us he might just become a surprise contender to win. Is Sterling K. Brown the most popular actor on TV?

Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan Somehow without anyone ever admitting to religiously watching Ray Donovan, Liev Schreiber has been an awards staple with multiple nominations from the Emmys, Golden Globes, and Critics Choice. Still, the eligible season will be nearly a year old by the time voters fill out their ballot, giving many new actors the chance to gain a bit of buzz while Schreiber and Donovan fade to the background.

Tom Hardy, Taboo – While Taboo originally appeared to be a limited series, Hardy announced earlier this week that the show received a second season renewal. Taboo doesn’t seem like the type of show that will compete at the Emmys, but the dark period thriller was a surprise hit for FX. The popularity of the show mixed with Hardy’s undeniable star power might bring him to a surprise first Emmy nomination.

Jude Law, The Young Pope – Last year, Emmy voters surprised everyone by proving they won’t blindly vote for an HBO show simply because it’s in contention. That might be bad news for The Young Pope, although voters might be swayed by the movie star charm of Jude Law (if even still has it?). As pretentious and surprisingly enexciting as The Young Pope may be, it’s still the best material Law has had to work with in years which might be enough for voters to welcome him back to an awards show.

(Photo: HBO)
Worth Mentioning

Anthony Hopkins, Westworld – Hopkins hasn’t been nominated for an Emmy since before I was born, but if anything is going to push the Oscar winner into awards consideration, it’s an HBO hit like Westworld. Hopkin’s Dr. Robert Ford is the mastermind behind the entire first season, but surprisingly he doesn’t have a lot of awards friendly material. While the rest of the massive ensemble has the robotic physicality as well as the western terrain to play with, Hopkins is consistently cool and collected. He would have been a much surer bet in the supporting race, but if voters really respond to Westworld, he could make it in.

Billy Bob Thornton, Goliath – He may have won the Golden Globe, but that feels like an HFPA anomaly. Amazon streamed Goliath for five months now, and I have yet to interact with someone who can confidently tell me what the show is about (after a quick Google search it appears to be about a once successful lawyer now alcoholic). If the show had any more buzz around it, Thornton might be able to earn an Emmy nom, but there needs to be proof that anyone besides a foreign journalist has tuned in.

Paul Giamatti, Billions Giamatti used to be the type of character actors that Emmy voters adored, even nominating him for small guest spots on shows like Inside Amy Schumer and Downton Abbey. However, for whatever reason, voters ignored him in the first season of Showtime’s Billions. In a year with at least one spot up for grabs, Showtime might be able to sneak Giamatti in, although there likely won’t be any passion behind him.

(Photo: FX)
Yet to Premiere

Kevin Spacey, House of Cards – Kevin Spacey just lost the SAG award for the first time in three years. However, as the biggest movie star (and two time Oscar winner), he isn’t going anywhere at the Emmys. Netflix is holding off on releasing the fifth season of House of Cards until the end of May, which might keep the show even more so at the forefront of voters’ minds. Depending the Season 5 reception, he might actually become a contender to win his first award.

Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul – Season 3 premieres in April. Still, if the guilds provide any indication, Better Call Saul‘s passionate and determined fanbase will likely lead to Odenkirk earning his twelfth career nomination.

Justin Theroux, The Leftovers – HBO had a rough start releasing the first season of The Leftovers. Initially, fans and critics cooled to the show’s bleak premise, and Emmy voters ignored the show. The second season earned a huge boost from critics (15 points on Metacritic) that resulted in a surprise cult following. Now for the third and final season, HBO gave the show the spring slot generally reserved for Game of Thrones hinting at a TV sendoff worthy of awards contention. If his material is anywhere close to crawling out of a bathtub naked again, Theroux might be able to end his time on The Leftovers with the first nomination of his career.

Early Predictions

1. Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
2. Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
3. Matthew Rhys, The Americans
4. Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
5. Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
6. Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us

———————
7. Tom Hardy, Taboo
8. Jude Law, The Young Pope
9. Justin Theroux, The Leftovers
10. Anthony Hopkins, Westworld 

2017 Emmy dates

The Television Academy published today the official 2017 Emmy dates including nomination round voting, final round voting, and dates for the ceremonies.

The Television Academy announced final 2017 Emmy dates, today. Everything falls pretty much into expected alignment leading up to September 17’s final broadcast. The Emmy eligibility window ends May 31 with first round voting kicking off June 12. See below for the list of official 2017 Emmy dates.

The Television Academy also announced today category placement for two shows. Granted, these shows most likely won’t be in contention for top awards (with one potential exception). Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, despite being an hour-long show, will enter as a comedy. Amazon’s Z: The Beginning of Everything will enter as a half-hour drama. As a reminder, hour-long series enter into contention automatically as dramas unless the production petitions otherwise. The 9-member Television Academy reviewing panel approved these executions.

The reclassification likely won’t change Z‘s Emmy fortunes other than degrade it further. The series met with a mixed critical reaction when it premiered, and drama entries face an uphill battle due to packed categories. That’s especially true after The Young Pope and The Handmaid’s Tale appeared to move into the drama race. They originally appeared to land in the limited series categories, which wouldn’t have helped there either. Limited series continues to be the toughest category of the Emmys. 

Unfortunate‘s Neil Patrick Harris most directly benefits from the change as he now has a path toward a Comedy Actor Emmy nomination.

Here are the official 2017 Emmy dates as confirmed by the Television Academy:

  • March 20: Online entry process begins (Emmys.com)
  • May 1: Entry deadline
  • June 12: Online voting begins for nomination round
  • June 26: Online voting ends for nomination round
  • July 13: Nominations announcemed
  • August 14: Online voting begins for final round
  • August 28: Online voting ends for final round
  • September 9 & 10: Creative Arts Awards and Ball
  • September 17: 69th Primetime Emmy Awards and Governors Ball

Comedy Series Race

With possibly all seven of last year’s nominees returning, Jalal looks at what might be shaping up to be the most boring comedy series race in recent years.

Unlike this year’s drama series race, the comedy series race at the Emmys doesn’t have many new options for voters to choose from. In fact, the options might be so thin that the only choice voters will have to make is which of last year’s nominees are they going to bump out to make room for Atlanta.

Top Contenders

Atlanta – Just about every awards group from the HFPA to PGA agreed that Atlanta was the best comedy of 2016, turning Donald Glover’s new show into Veep’s biggest competition in just about every major category including comedy series, directing, and writing. Months ago, we questioned whether or not the show was too edgy for older more conservative voters, but guild voters have proven that theory wrong.

black-ish – In the middle of its third season black-ish has finally started to receive the widespread praise it deserves. Tracee Ellis Ross won her first Golden Globe and the cast earned their first SAG ensemble turning the Johnsons into the most popular TV family. Now that voters have started paying attention to black-ish, they’ll continue rewarding it with nominations. The only question is whether or not they’ll celebrate the comedy with even more nominations including recognition in writing and directing.

(Photo: Amazon)
Possibilities

Modern Family – For the past few years, Emmy voters have been slowly dropping Modern Family nomination by nomination to the point where it’s only a matter of time until Emmy voters drop the show altogether. Once again however Modern Family earned some guild support including a SAG ensemble nomination as well as another sound mixing award. These nominations might hint at voters that will mark the show off on their ballots no matter what.

Transparent – In the past, Emmy voters have eventually turned on dramedies in the comedy race and this year Transparent seems to be quickly losing steam. The guild support for the show simply wasn’t there even though it’s still one of the best shows on TV even if it’s not a comedy. The lackluster enthusiasm in the end might simply be because voters haven’t actually watched the third season yet and will get around to it once Amazon sends out screeners.

(Photo: HBO)
Worth Mentioning

Girls – Emmy voters have mostly moved on from Girls, but over the past five seasons the show has earned 15 nominations and two wins, including a surprising win for Peter Scolari last year after he was named as a replacement nominee. If the final season of Girls continues delivering some of the best episodes of the entire series, then enough voters might feel inclined to reward Lena Dunham for six years of work.

Insecure – If critics had their way, the first season of Insecure would be a massive contender. Unfortunately Issa Rae’s debut comedy didn’t seem to make a big impact, especially at the guild awards. HBO has a great track record of selling their new shows to Emmy voters, and if they utilize an underwhelming comedy race Insecure could become a surprising dark horse contender.

Yet to Premiere

Veep – It’s almost impossible imagining any other show usurping Veep in its farewell season unless the show completely jumps the shark now that Selina Meyer is out of the White House. Until Veep comes back for a final time in April the safe bet is just to assume Veep will continue its recent Emmy streak.

Silicon Valley – The odd industry obsession with Silicon Valley is frustrating at times simply because their love for the show doesn’t waiver based on the quality of the season and every group seems to love the show including the Art Directors Guild. Unless the upcoming fourth season somehow upsets voters it will likely return.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – The third season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt doesn’t premiere until mid-May but the teaser trailer of Titus destroying his boyfriend’s truck à la Beyoncé’s “Hold Up” at least promises we’ll have another season full of Titus & Mikey. The second season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt had a bit of a slump at the Emmys but surprisingly had a comeback throughout the guild awards hinting at support for the show throughout the industry. If Tina Fey keeps the show consistent throughout the third season it will likely return and if Netflix becomes more strategic with their episode submissions the show might even earn its first writing and directing nods.

Master of None – Netflix has yet to announce a premiere date for the highly anticipated second season of Master of None but it has been highly reported that it will be eligible for this year’s Emmys. If Netflix waits to release the second season until the eleventh hour they risk Emmy voters not having enough time to watch it and remind themselves how much they love the Emmy winning series. From the little that is known about the second season Lena Waithe’s Denise will likely have a  bigger role and Angela Bassett is even signed on in a guest role as her mom so if voters respond well to the sophomore season the show has the potential to expand its Emmy recognition as well.

 

Early Predictions
1. Veep
2. Atlanta
3. black-ish
4. Silicon Valley
5. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
6. Modern Family
7. Transparent
———————
8. Master of None
9. Girls
10. Insecure
What comedies are you predicting to make the cut this year? Are we underestimating any comedies this year? Could a new streaming show like Fleabag or the third season of Catastrophe earn a nomination out of nowwhere?

NBC Universal

NBC Universal hosted an Emmy lunch featuring their top players in the 2017 Emmy season. AwardsDaily TV’s Jazz Tangcay covered the event.

NBC Universal made a start with their Emmy campaign this week with a luncheon at Ysabel’s in Hollywood. In attendance was a who’s who of TV, Jennifer Lopez sat in on corner representing her NBC show, Shades of Blue. Ben Feldman and America Ferrera sat in another talking about their comedy Superstore. Derek Hough dazzled talking about Hairspray Live. Milo Ventimiglia, Justin Hartley, Chris Sullivan and Ron Cephas Jones from This is Us also attended.

This is Us emerged as the surprise breakout hit of the season and the number one show at NBC. It’s an emotional and compelling drama and a huge hit with viewers as well as critics. Sullivan and Ventimiglia didn’t divulge any spoilers about the show. Both praised fans on social media for keeping silent on the show when it airs, only expressing surprise or grief as reactions to what happens in an episode. Both actors also said they were enjoying their break during filming, joking about how they were looking forward to having tacos and discussed their favorite local taco spots. Ventimiglia’s arm was in a cast and will be back in action when the show starts filming Season 2 later this year.

I caught up with Tituss Burgess from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, a favorite of the AwardsDaily TV gang. I also had a chat with Carol Kane who revealed her character will have a new boyfriend when Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt returns on May 19. She didn’t divulge much more than that, so we’ll just have to wait until the new season premieres.

Writer Michael Schur was at another table with the cast of The Good Place, Ted Danson and Kristen Bell. Schur and all were thrilled that the viewer never quite knows what’s going to happen from one episode to the next. That’s just how he likes it. If you haven’t seen the Season 1 finale, you’re in for quite the surprise with what happens. He is already back writing the next season, due to start shooting in April.

I sat down with Jennifer Lopez, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas and Jack Orman who were there representing Shades of Blue which premiered Season 2 on Sunday night. It won the time slot for NBC, and that was something everyone was delighted about. Goldsmith-Thomas discussed the tweet party Lopez held at her house on Sunday night to celebrate the new episode airing inviting cast, crew and friends for a viewing and tweeting party. Thomas pointed out how the crew, “Protects each other. They love each other. They shoot two episodes at once. It’s hard.”

Lopez added, “Everyone’s in it to win it. Me and them (Thomas and Orman) set the tone that we’re doing work that is important to us and that we’re proud of. Everybody takes a great sense of pride in the show that we’re making.”

Thomas mentioned that she came to TV because “the best writing is on TV and we’re making 13 little movies a year.”

The cast of Shades of Blue makes for phenomenal Sunday night viewing and includes Lopez, Ray Liotta, Drea De Matteo as the crooked NYPD cops all working on the anti-corruption Task Force. Warren Kole plays the FBI agent assigned to the task force and challenges their loyalty. I joked that after watching the premiere I wanted to punch him. Lopez replied, “He gets better and better every episode. I loved him from the beginning when he came in to audition and watching him create this character and get so comfortable in it, and really push the envelope, it’s so impressive.” Orman added jokingly, “My son said to me, “You found a new way to make him more creepy.”

Lopez and Thomas both said it’s an exciting time to be at NBC and on TV. “Jennifer is fearless and wanted to dive into it because it’s a great role.” Lopez has already started thinking about Season 3. Aside from Shades of Blue, Lopez is in the second year of her Vegas residency at Planet Hollywood. She’s also developing World of Dance, a dance competition series for NBC, and at the end of the year will star and produce the live TV production of Bye Bye Birdie. I asked if she was up for directing an episode of the show, she said, “We talk about it. Maybe. It might be time. It has to be at a time when I’m not doing anything else.”

I also had a brief sit down with my friends over at Gold Derby, Tom O’Neil and Marcus Dixon, who were with the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt cast, joined by Jane Krakowski. O’Neil was explaining how the Oscar and Emmy voting systems work much to everyone’s fascination. Krakowski and Kane had no shortage of questions for O’ Neil.

As much as Clarence would have liked me to, sadly, I didn’t get the opportunity to talk to Kerry Ehrin who was there talking about Bates Motel. So, I couldn’t find anything out about the new and final season.

And so we move forth with Emmy campaigning.

drama series race

In a first look at the Emmys drama series race, Jalal lays out what shows are competing for top drama series and what shows are falling from grace.

Not even a week after the most significant moment of our lifetime (Moonlight, people. Moonlight.),  and we’re jumping right into Emmy season. For the first time in years, the drama series race is wide open with three new shows competing against popular favorites that have been waiting years for the chance at the top award now that Game of Thrones is in hiatus.

Top Contenders

Stranger Things – After winning the top SAG and Producers Guild awards of the year, Stranger Things seems poised to become the most unlikely Emmy winner in the history of the award. Popular genre hits don’t usually get anywhere close to major Emmy awards, but America has gone crazy for the upside down and Millie Bobby Brown to the point where no one can escape. The show’s only major detractor is how early in the year the first season premiered, but Netflix has done a great job at keeping the show relevant with constant appearances by the actors at awards shows and talk shows as well as updates on the second season.

The Crown – As the first major costume drama to premiere post Downton Abbey, it’s automatically assumed that The Crown will be a major contender, but just how popular will it be? The show is clearly a hit with costume designers, art directors, and actors. The big question is whether or not Netflix will campaign the The Crown to the same extent they will push their other major dramas on the other voters?

WestworldWestworld premiered as HBO’s answer to the eventual end of Game of Thrones. It offered a 10-week first season that seemed to be spiraling into a cultural phenomenon and began the season as a potential front runner in a year without any of the voters’ old favorites. After being nominated by every award group without any major wins, it seems that voters are more likely to admire the show than they are to reward it. That’s similar to Game of Thrones first few seasons.

Possibilities

Mr. Robot – It’s crazy to think that, after a breakout first season where some critics hailed the show as the future of television, that Mr. Robot might be forgotten in a classic sophomore slump. The second season premiered last summer to great reviews, but an usually tepid reaction from fans resulted in the show being virtually shutout from just about every major guild as well as the top award at the Golden Globes which it had won just the year before. Voters typically stick with a show for a few years once they bring it into the club, but in a year with so many more accessible new shows Mr. Robot could get left out of the top award.

Homeland – The one time best drama winner has had a fickle relationship with Emmy voters over the past six years. It went from one time favorite to being left out in a truly awful year to sneaking back into the drama series race. Now with Homeland constantly dwindling in terms of nominations this might be the year where it gets booted for good.

This Is Us – No network drama has been nominated for best series since The Good Wife in 2011 (unless you count Downton Abbey). With television quality at an all time high, it would take a pretty special show to standout to voters. Voter snobbery aside, there seems to be a lot of people in 2017 with a need for a sentimental family drama. However, there is a bigger chance the show shows up in other races like supporting actor, writing, and casting, while still missing out on the top award.

Worth Mentioning

Ray Donovan – The focus has been on the plethora of new dramas this year, but there is a chance that an old favorite might sneak in. Over the years voters have shown that they love Ray Donovan, especially last year when in the third season the show earned three acting nominations as well as a directing nod.

The Young Pope – Oscar winning director Paolo Sorrentino’s first attempt at television is definitely a prestige series starring Jude Law and Diana Keaton about the bizarre inner workings of the Vatican but European pretension doesn’t necessarily translate into a successful Emmy series. My initial impression of the show is that it isn’t provocative enough to excite Emmy voters especially in a drama series race overflowing with pop culture phenomenons and crowd pleasers but if anyone knows how to push a show like The Young Pope it’s HBO. In the end their best bet at a nomination is probably with the show’s cast whether it be Jude Law or Diane Keaton. Note: This show could be submitted in the Limited Series category.

drama series race
(Photo: FX)
Yet to Premiere

Better Call Saul – AMC pushed back the third season of the Breaking Bad spinoff to April, which is probably a good sign for the show’s Emmy chances. Saul has been a constant Emmy player for the past two years and constantly fills up various guild awards including 3/5s of one ACE Eddie category and four WGA nominations.

The Americans – After a breakout year at the Emmys last year, there were some questions on whether or not the Russian spy saga could become a major contender to actually win this year in such a wide open race. Now that the Writers Guild named it the best drama of 2016, there is at least proof that there is enough excitement behind the show. In a year dominated by sci-fi and fantasy shows, The Americans might seem important enough to pull ahead depending on how well-liked the upcoming fifth season is after it premieres next week.

House of Cards – The borderline campy political thriller has had an interesting couple of years at the Emmys, always over-performing in terms of nominations (especially with actors) but almost always failing to actually win an award. Even actors might be moving on from the show after the fourth season was left out of the drama ensemble race at SAG. Netflix isn’t releasing the newest installment of the show until the day before the Emmy eligibility window ends, which might help keep the show at the forefront of Emmy voters minds or not give them enough time to actually watch the show before voting.

Early Predictions

1. Stranger Things
2. The Crown
3. Westworld
4. The Americans
5. Better Call Saul
6. House of Cards
7. Mr. Robot
———————
8. Homeland
9. This Is Us
10. Ray Donovan
11. The Young Pope

The first six seem like obvious Emmy choices. The only unknown is how new seasons of Better Call Saul, The Americans, and House of Cards are received. Underwhelming seasons of Mr. Robot and Homeland will probably be battling it out for the final slot. In the end, even with lukewarm reactions, voters will probably bring Mr. Robot back for the second season simply because the show feels important and voters aren’t so quick to abandon shows they once loved so quickly.

What drama are you predicting to take the top award? Are there any dramas being underestimated right now?

Primetime Emmy

The Television Academy announced two new categories for the Primetime Emmy ceremony in music and reality casting categories.

The Television Academy announced today the addition of two new categories for the Primetime Emmy ceremony. As if they needed more categories… Artists involved with Outstanding Music Supervision and Outstanding Casting in a Reality Series will receive Emmy consideration for the first time. The Television Academy also announced oher 2017 rules and procedure modifications.

Here is the official Television Academy press release detailing the changes.

TELEVISION ACADEMY ANNOUNCES NEW PRIMETIME EMMY® CATEGORIES: OUTSTANDING MUSIC SUPERVISION AND OUTSTANDING CASTING IN A REALITY SERIES

As Emmy season approaches, the Television Academy Board of Governors announced today new rules changes for this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards competition.

A new Emmy category, Outstanding Music Supervision, will acknowledge the creative contributions made by the music supervisor to the music of any television program. In addition, Outstanding Casting in a Reality Series has been added to recognize casting directors responsible for identifying and assembling ensemble casts for structured, unstructured or competition programs within the Reality genre.

“In our ever-changing world of television, it’s important to annually evaluate and refine the rules of Emmy competition,” said Hayma Washington, Television Academy Chairman and CEO. “We are keeping pace with industry innovators, and recognizing excellence within new and changing genres and platforms.”

In addition, other approved Primetime Emmy Awards rules and procedures modifications for 2017 include:

  • Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series is now split into Cinematography for One–Hour Series and for Half-Hour Series.
  • Converted, retitled and redefined former juried awards into new interactive media category awards:
    • Outstanding Interactive Program (Existing category award)
    • Outstanding Original Interactive Program (New category award)
    • Outstanding Creative Achievement In Interactive Media Within A Scripted Program (New category award)
    • Outstanding Creative Achievement In Interactive Media Within An Unscripted Program (New category award)
    • Outstanding Innovation In Interactive Programming (New juried award)

Guild Awards

The major guild awards are all announced. What shows have gained an upper hand from the various voting guilds? Jalal Haddad analyzes the recent winners.

Last weekend the guild awards season wrapped up with the WGA awards, and some shows are beginning to emerge as the frontrunners of the year, especially for best comedy and drama series.  This time last year, Game of Thrones and Veep gained momentum at the guild awards, and no other shows could beat them once Emmy season began. These shows boast the most momentum heading into spring.

Comedy Series 

Veep continued racking up awards from the directing and editing guilds as well as another SAG award for Julia Louis-Dreyfus. It’s hard to imagine the show not entering the Emmy race as the clear frontrunner for its upcoming final season, but surprisingly a clear alternative has emerged with Donald Glover’s Atlanta. The FX comedy won the top comedy award at the PGAs as well as two WGA awards for best comedy series and best new series. Months ago Atlanta seemed too edgy to be embraced by Emmy voters, but after massive support from the Golden Globes, the critics, and various guilds, the auteur-driven comedy seems likely to go head to head against Veep in multiple races including directing and writing.

A big part of being nominated for and winning a directing or writing prize at the Emmys is strategy. Episode selection often proves critical in receiving that coveted nominations. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s WGA win for an individual comedic episode only further proves that element of the race. WGA voters singled out the episode “Kimmy Goes on a Playdate!” as the best comedic episode of 2016, and surprisingly it wasn’t even the Tina Fey penned one. This proves that, if Netflix stopped submitting six or seven Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt episodes in a given season, the show might just earn its first writing nomination.

Other than multiple awards for Veep and Atlanta, the other major comedies failed to earn recognition throughout the winter awards season. Past favorites like Transparent, Silicon Valley, and Black-ish all repeatedly lost various awards. Surprisingly Modern Family continued its streak at the Cinema Audio Society Awards while a string of dramedies (Orange is the New Black, Shameless, Mozart in the Jungle) won random awards here and there. In the end none of them are going to make a dent in the major comedy series races.

Guild Awards
(Photo: Netflix)
Drama Series

When HBO announced that Game of Thrones was going into a yearlong hiatus, the Emmy race for best drama series became its most unpredictable since before the days of Mad Men and Breaking Bad. Guild awards season is basically over, and the most unlikely of frontrunners has emerged, Netflix’s Stranger Things. Both the Producers Guild and the Screen Actors Guild awarded the sci-fi show top honors – very telling seeing as the PGA award has matched up with the Emmy choice twelve of the past sixteen years. Now that the Emmys are decided on a wide scale Academy vote as opposed to a blue ribbon panel, it makes sense that a cultural phenomenon like Stranger Things picks up steam. It may not have the critical appeal like past winners, but it dominated popular culture all of last summer. As with the Oscars, voters seem to be in the mood for something fun and exciting.

Last weekend, the Writers Guild singled out This Is Us’s “The Trip” as the best dramatic episode of 2016, proving that the family network drama is popular and acclaimed enough to go head to head with any premium or streaming network show. Singling out “The Trip” also shows that the show is at its most powerful when highlighting Sterling K. Brown’s Randall. If NBC wants to ensure This Is Us becomes a major Emmy player, they might want to consider sending every voter screeners of the episode as well as last week’s “Memphis.”

The Crown won everything it was expected to including two SAG awards, a Costume Designer’s Guild award, and a bunch of Golden Globes. It proves that the British period drama will fill the void left by the end of Downton Abbey. Now that Claire Foy has swept every actress award, she has also become the frontrunner in the best actress race, especially with Maslany out of contention this year and Viola Davis losing steam. The Americans won the top WGA award hinting that the show’s breakthrough at the Emmys last year wasn’t a fluke.

HBO might want to reconsider a strong campaign for Westworld, the sweeping sci-fi epic that was supposed to be the alternative in a year without Game of Thrones. The Westworld team went home empty handed  at the PGA, DGA, SAG, WGA, ACE, and even the Golden Globes, although it did win a couple of awards for makeup and art direction. At the rate, Westworld doesn’t appear to resonate with voters, and it might only be a major contender to win in the craft categories.

Guild Awards
(Photo: HBO)
Limited Series

Talking about the limited series race at this point is basically futile since the biggest titles haven’t even premiered yet. It is worth noting that HBO’s The Night Of won a few guild awards over the past couple of weeks including a DGA award as well as an ACE Eddie. It’s already been seven months since the crime series premiered, and there was initially some concern that there would be a case of “out of sight out of mind” when it came to Emmy voters filling out their ballots. If the guilds are any indicator, The Night Of will remain a big part of the conversation even up against juggernauts like Big Little Lies, Feud, and the third season of Fargo.

 

Readers, what were your takeaways from the guild awards? Is Stranger Things unbeatable in drama series? Will The Night Of be remembered nearly a year after it premiered?

Limited Series Actress

Sorry Sarah Paulson, you’re last year’s news. This year’s Limited Series Actress race is jam-packed with serious contenders.

Remember last year when we commented on the stuffed category known as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie? It turned out a moot point since Sarah Paulson spent most of her time these last few months snatching trophies, but it was refreshing to see a lot of strong work from many fine actresses. It’s only February and it appears that 2017 might have 2016 beat in terms of  the number contenders (to be fair, anything beating 2016 in any form is a welcome thought) competing for this year’s prize in the Limited Series Actress race.

The Women Of Big Little Lies

We aren’t going to stop talking about the juicy HBO series any time soon, so just take a seat and let me gush over the cast of this remarkably addictive show. Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Laura Dern are the holy trinity for me right now. I expect Dern to receive a hardcore Supporting Actress campaign, and Shailene Woodley might receive the same even though she’s one of the main characters. She might get pushed to the supporting race since both Witherspoon and Kidman are much bigger names (helloooo category fraud), but the entire cast is top-notch. Witherspoon is better here than she has been in some of her big screen projects (she’s loose, charming, and looks like she’s having a ball) while Kidman really grounds her scenes when her arc could have been a total cliche. Both women rightfully earn their buzz.

(Photo: FX)
The Gaggle Of Feuding Starlets

You can’t talk about the Limited Series actress category without mentioning Jessica Lange. Thanks to Ryan Murphy (and, you know, her legendary acting chops), she’s received two Emmy Awards for her performances in American Horror Story. She has a slot pretty much saved for her for Feud: Bette and Joan where she plays Hollywood royalty Joan Crawford. The highly anticipated show is wall-to-wall actresses playing actresses, so this one is going to be a doozy (early word is that it’s an accomplishment). It’s not that Lange will go unchallenged, however. Susan Sarandon plays Bette Davis, and we don’t need to remind readers that Davis was the one nominated for an Oscar for Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? Sarandon hasn’t really had a significant role on a television series before, so her involvement is pretty big. A word to the Television Academy: have the balls to put both women up for lead Limited Series Actress. Don’t pull some bullshit and try to put one in Lead and one in Supporting. That would be a disservice to the story. Also, the cast features Sarah Paulson, Judy Davis, and Catherine Zeta-Jones, so don’t be surprised if Feud leads the limited series nominations (being a period piece with gorgeous costumes and sets can’t hurt either).

(Photo: ABC)
Third Time’s A Crime

ABC’s American Crime is the only limited series from a major network that can hold its own against its cable counterparts. After the critically lauded second season, John Ridley’s American Crime returns in early March with a cast of respectable performers. Felicity Huffman has been nominated the last two years, so she’s a threat to be honored again while we don’t know the size of of the other actresses’ roles (Huffman has been given top billing in the first main trailer). Lili Taylor, a deserving nominee from last season, will return as will Emmy winner Regina King. Sandra Oh and Cherry Jones also join this year. The trailer shows us that the third season will focus on labor issues in North Carolina, and it feels like it will land a definite punch.

(Photo: Fox)
Shots Fired Across The Bow

While ABC has cornered the limited series market for network television, FOX is throwing itself into the ring with the 10-part miniseries Shots Fired from Gina Prince-Bythewood and Reggie Rock Bythewood. When an African-American officer shoots a white college student, things start to fall apart in a small North Carolina town (sheesh, what’s going on in North Carolina). Sanaa Lathan plays a special investigator who tries to piece together the entire story, and Helen Hunt appears as a governor who is trying win a re-election campaign. Hunt is given top billing but listed on FOX’s site as a guest star, and that Southern twang is mighty inviting. Is Lathan going to get a push? FOX isn’t known for getting into the Limited Series categories at the Emmys (no performer for the network has ever been nominated in this category), so is it time for them to step up? Or is Shots Fired a more commercial play?

(Photo: Hulu)
Give Her A Hand… And An Emmy!

Fact: Elisabeth Moss has never won an Emmy Award. We all should be ashamed of ourselves! Ms. Peggy Olson may have strutted down the hallways at the end of Mad Men, but she never managed to take home any gold for her role on the respected AMC drama. She returns to television for Hulu’s adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale, and audiences are dying to see this one. Set in a dystopian future where men stripped women of most of their rights, and they use handmaids strictly for fertilization. Could these troubling times make Handmaid’s a huge hit and usher Moss (finally) to the Emmy stage? NOTE: This series may be submitted as a Drama Series. 

(Photo: HBO)
The Big O To Land The Big E? (Ok, I’m done…)

Oprah Winfrey doesn’t need another Emmy (she’s won 10 for work on her daytime talk show and one Primetime Emmy for producing), but she’s never won for acting . With The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Winfrey stands a chance to get nominated for playing the daughter of the medical pioneer. It was adapted and directed by George C. Wolfe, and it stands a chance to be a front-runner in the TV Movie category (get out of here Sherlock). The cast is rounded out by Hamilton star and Tony Award winner Renee Elise Goldsberry as the title character, Courtney B. Vance, and Rose Byrne.

(Photo: Sundance)

Surprise! More Moss! More Kidman!

The second season of Top of the Lake (titled China Girl) hasn’t been given an official release date for a US release on Sundance, but I just wanted an excuse to look at Nicole Kidman in that wig again. I can’t imagine that Elisabeth Moss would land more than one nomination, and it’s probably not within the window of eligibility. But, seriously, that wig. Yes.

(Photo: Netflix)
Uh…Sure…Why Not?

I don’t think Lauren Graham will get nominated for Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, but never say never right? Are Emmy voters missing Stars Hollow that much? They never seemed to care before…

(Photo: Lifetime)
Viola Davis For Every Category, Please

Davis made history two years ago for winning Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, but can she take another one home for Lifetime’s Custody? I’m sorry, I said Lifetime and threw up in my mouth a little bit. Excuse me. The plot of Custody is textbook Lifetime (Davis plays a judge who presides over, you guessed it, a custody hearing), but the film played at the Tribeca Film Festival to lukewarm reviews. Davis received most of the praise, natch, so maybe she can be the shining star from this drama? Or maybe she wanted a change from playing a devious, slick lawyer and wanted to sit on the other side of the courtroom for a change. Hey, if I can sit through Suicide Squad for Davis (here comes that vomit again…), I can check out Custody.

(Photo: HBO)

Awards Return For The Pfeiffer?

Sweet merciful crap let this happen. Michelle Pfeiffer, one of the most beautiful and underawarded actresses EVER, will play Ruth Madoff alongside Robert De Niro in The Wizard of Lies. Last year, we had the great Madoff starring Richard Dreyfus and Blythe Danner, but that didn’t go anywhere near the Emmys. Will she campaigned in Supporting? Is she only a supportive wife? All I know is that I need to see her at some awards shows pronto.

2017 DGA AWARDS

Here are your winners in the television categories at the 2017 DGA Awards.

The 2017 DGA Awards TV winners were announced tonight. Here are your winners in the television categories. For winners in the film categories, click on over to Awards Daily main.

Drama Series

Miguel Sapochnick, Game of Thrones, “Battle of the Bastards”

Comedy Series

Becky Martin, Veep

Movies for Television and Mini-Series

Steven Zaillian, The Night Of, “The Beach”

Commercials

Derek Cianfrance

Chase, Nike Golf – Wieden + Kennedy Portland

· First Assistant Director: Rick Lange
· Second Assistant Director: Ethan Ross

Doubts, Powerade – Wieden + Kennedy Portland

· First Assistant Director: Mariela Comitini
· Second Assistant Director: Brad Robinson

Expectations, Powerade – Wieden + Kennedy Portland

· First Assistant Director: Mariela Comitini
· Second Assistant Director: Brad Robinson

Manifesto, Squarespace – Anomaly
· First Assistant Director: David Backus
· Second Assistant Director: Josh Voegelin

Variety/Talk/News/Sports – Specials

Glenn Weiss, The 70th Annual Tony Awards

Variety/Talk/News/Sports – Regularly Scheduled Programming

Don Roy King, Saturday Night Live “Host: Dave Chappelle”

Children’s Programs

Tina Mabry, An American Girl Story – Melody 1963: Love Has to Win

Reality Programs

Rupert Thompson, American Grit, “The Finale ‑ Over the Falls”

2017 SAG AWARD WINNERS

AwardsDaily TV has your 2017 SAG Award winners in television categories updated here as the awards are announced live on TNT.

And the 2017 SAG Award winners are below. Check out Awards Daily main for winners in film categories.

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series

Stranger Things

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series

Claire Foy, The Crown

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

John Lithgow, The Crown

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

Orange is the New Black

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series

William H. Macy, Shameless

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series

Sarah Paulson, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series

Bryan Cranston, All the Way

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series

Game of Thrones

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