Emmy Spotlight on ‘Downton Abbey’

Will Emmy ring for Downton Abbey on awards night?

Year after year Emmy voters surprise everyone with how much they loved PBS’s Downton Abbey when the rest of popular culture has moved on. The Television Academy’s fascination with Downton Abbey began in 2011 when the show dominated the awards and beat HBO’s Mildred Pierce in the miniseries categories. Since then the show has moved from the limited series race to the drama race and won 13 Emmys out of 59 nominations as well as four SAG awards and ten nominations.

The success of Downton Abbey at the Emmys most likely stems from the fact that it has a huge fan base amongst older voters who aren’t drawn to sexier awards contenders like Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones. Now that Downton Abbey wrapped its final season (and won their 3rd SAG ensemble award) older industry voters are sure to want to vote for the show even more this year. It would be foolish not to predict Downton Abbey in just about every major category.

The actors’ branch has nominated eight different actors from the ensemble over the years (which is more than Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, AND Homeland) in every category except for guest actress. The voters clearly watch the show too since the actors waver in and out depending on that season’s material. However, no other actor has been consistently nominated as Jim Carter. The love for Carson is easy to understand. He’s the loveable curmudgeon that has been around the Downton estate longer than some of the residents. He also benefits from having a name at the beginning of the alphabet which is extremely helpful in overstuffed categories.

downton cast

The inclusion of a dame in any awards race is the least shocking element of any awards race and that is why Maggie Smith quickly became the face of Downton Abbey. She has won two Emmys, a Golden Globe, and an individual SAG award for her performance as the Dowager Countess. Even though voters left her out of the lineup last year they will probably bring her back for the final season. It only helps that she gets the final line of the entire show. While Smith stands out for her unique quips, Froggatt broke into the Emmy race for season two because of her dramatic and endearing storylines like her marriage to Bates, his murder trial, her sexual assault, and her struggle with possible infertility. She won a Golden Globe and voters even singled her out last year as the female performance over industry favorite Smith. Fatigue has set in recently with her overly dramatic storylines so voters may leave her out. She’ll probably stay in, though, with a much weaker supporting category this year.

The nicest surprise of the final season was how much it focused on wrapping up the storyline of continual shit stirrer Thomas Barrow. In the final season, we watched as Thomas struggled to find new employment, attempted suicide, and on a happier note ended up replacing Carson as the head butler of Downton. If there is a lot of support for the show in its final season, then Rob James-Collier could easily receive his first Emmy nomination.

downton thomas

Some of the performances that Emmy voters have moved on from over the years include Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, and Elizabeth McGovern. The lead drama races have become especially barren and lazy voters could easily name check both Bonneville and Dockery if they get caught up in their love for the final season. The final performance to keep an eye on his Laura Carmichael as Lady Edith, who is essentially the Janet Brady of Downton. Audiences and critics found her to be whiny and obnoxious in the first couple seasons. Yet, recently, Carmichael has finally been given great material to work with. I wouldn’t be surprised if voters rally behind Lady Edith in the penultimate episode when she called her older sister a bitch which sent shockwaves across the Downton blogosphere.

Unless a crop of new shows impress Emmy voters, they will probably congratulate the final season of their favorite PBS costume drama with a good amount of nominations. Readers, who do you think will be nominated for the final season of Downton Abbey? Or do you think Emmy voters will finally move on?

Guaranteed Nominations

Drama Series
Jim Carter, Supporting Actor
Maggie Smith, Supporting Actress
Production Design

Probable Nominations

Rob James-Collier, Supporting Actor
Joanne Froggatt, Supporting Actress

Possible Nominations

Hugh Bonneville, Lead Actor
Laura Carmichael, Supporting Actress (PBS is pushing her in the Lead race)
Michelle Dockery, Lead Actress

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