Jalal’s Take: The TV Movie Emmy Race

Jalal Haddad takes a look at the TV Movie Emmy race in a series of posts leading up to the Emmy nomination announcement on July 14th. Over the next week, Jalal will be providing his own expert analysis in individual races and covering the top ten contenders in each category.


 1. All The Way  

TV movie
Photo courtesy of HBO.

All The Way is a completely uninspired TV biopic that really benefits from a weak batch of contenders in a category that has awarded the prestige HBO movie every year since 2003. The film features a lot of Emmy friendly names including Bryan Cranston, Bradley Whitford, and director Jay Roach whose political TV movies have a high success rate with the Emmys (2 for 2). Emmy voters could be bored by dull caricatures, but they don’t have many alternatives from which to choose.


2. Sherlock: The Abominable Bride 

Photo courtesy of Masterpiece.

Sherlock won a shocking seven Emmys in 2014 (with a total of 12 nominations) most notably two acting awards and a writing statue, although it ended up losing the TV Movie race at the end of the night. The fan base throughout the various television branches is massive, and I have questioned whether or not the popularity has disappeared since the last season. In such a weak year in the TV Movie race, the show’s passionate fans could push it to a surprise win for the series.


3. Confirmation 

Photo courtesy of HBO.

Confirmation, the other HBO political drama of the season, hasn’t received as much attention as All The Way even though its subject matter and portrayal of the political climate is arguably more relevant. Confirmation is looked at as an Emmy vehicle for Washington and in the final round of voting HBO will probably be campaigning more strategically for All The Way. In the end I’m just grateful Confirmation exists since I found out most of my generation doesn’t even know why Anita Hill is significant.


4. Luther 

Photo courtesy of BBC America.

Luther is probably best described as a sleeper hit. Over the years, it gained an almost invisible fan base off of increased love for Idris Elba and viewers discovering the British import on Netflix. Emmy voters love to embrace British imports, especially detective series, and in such a weak year Luther will be nominated again, making it the third different outstanding program category it will be recognized in.


5. Special Correspondents 

Photo courtesy of Netflix.

Special Correspondents is unfortunately a terrible film that might break into the TV Movie race simply because the competition is so weak. Perennial Emmy nominee Ricky Gervais starred in the film as well as having produced, directed, written, and composed its score. While browsing through the very limited options in the TV Movie list, voters will probably see Gervais’ name on the ballot, read the listed synopsis, and mark off Special Correspondents without ever having streamed the film.


6. 7 Days in Hell 

Photo courtesy of HBO.

7 Days in Hell is by far the most hilariously stupid film eligible for the TV Movie Emmy, and that’s exactly why so many of us who follow the race are rooting for it. In a list of dull biopics and British imports, 7 Days in Hell is refreshingly original for not taking itself seriously. The only problem is that the 40 minute film might not feel as important to voters when they are filling out their ballots. Voters who take themselves too seriously will probably feel better by marking off HBO’s other contenders.


7. Funny or Die Presents Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal: The Movie

Photo courtesy of Funny or Die.

In such a weak year, some voters might not feel passionate about any of the 29 submitted TV films and decide to vote for the Funny or Die video as a protest vote against Donald Trump’s candidacy. Some voters might have apprehensions about voting for what is essentially a long viral video or be turned off by Depp’s recent domestic abuse scandal. However, voters’ disgust with Trump will probably overshadow anything else. As unlikely as it is, a nomination for Funny Or Die’s video would be the most interesting protest vote in the history of the Emmys.


Worth Mentioning: The Dresser, A Deadly Adoption, A Very Murray Christmas, Marco Polo: One Hundred Eyes, Wallander: The Troubled Man


I only listed seven contenders because of the sad state of the TV movie race. If the category continues to be this bare next year the television academy should seriously consider going back to combining the Limited Series and TV movie race. Whether or not Emmy voters embrace a comedy like 7 Days in Hell or a viral video like the Donald Trump sketch, the TV movie lineup is going to consist of a couple odd nominees. The race is really down to All The Way and Sherlock, depending on how well both do in terms of overall nominations. History has shown that All The Way is almost certain to win but if Sherlock does well with craft nominations and All The Way under performs in the acting, writing, and directing races there might be a chance for an upset.

Readers, what do you think?

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