The Television Academy released their nominating ballots to the public yesterday, giving non-members a first chance to fully dissect this year’s Emmy® race.
Voting for the 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards began yesterday. As always, the Television Academy of Arts & Sciences released the nominating ballots to the public. These ballots are the first real indicator of the Emmy race. The ballots show final category placement for performances, what episodes were submitted for any specific show in writing and directing, and the final reveal of any surprise contenders. The nominating ballots in PDF form can be found here. Here’s what stood out upon first glance:
- Alexis Bledel submitted as a guest actress for The Handmaid’s Tale despite being credited in eight out of the ten episodes.
- Jill Soloway, 2-time Emmy winner for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series, did not submit for Transparent this year. Instead, she submitted for her new series I Love Dick.
- Fan favorite Barb (Shannon Purser) of Stranger Things submitted as a guest performer #justiceforBarb.
- Netflix submitted the episode Art and Life of their series Easy as a TV movie.
- Amazon did not submit the Woody Allen limited series Crisis in Six Scenes despite having briefly campaigned with FYC material.
- Netflix chose to submit the Black Mirror episode San Junipero in the Outstanding TV Movie race as well as for writing recognition. They then submitted the episode Nosedive for directing recognition.
- Saturday Night Live did not submit host Louis CK in the Guest Actor in a Comedy Series race even though he has previously been nominated three times for hosting in the past.
- Maya Rudolph submitted for four different performances in the Guest Actress in a Comedy Series race.
- There was some confusion about what category Joseph Fiennes would be submitted in for The Handmaid’s Tale. In the end, Hulu submitted him as a supporting actor.
- Gugu Mbatha-Raw submitted as a supporting actress for Black Mirror: San Junipero even though she was initially believed to compete as a lead actress.
- The Netflix film The Most Hated Woman in America starring Melissa Leo became an unexpected TV Movie contender.
- Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg submitted as co-hosts for Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party.
- Emmy favorite Beau Bridges submitted as a supporting actor for the final season of Bloodline.
- Bravo submitted an installment from the Real Housewives franchise in the Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program for the first time, Real Housewives of Atlanta.
- There is a significant jump in the number of short form/online submissions. The Outstanding Short Form Comedy or Drama Series category rose from 39 submissions to 64. Outstanding Short Form Variety Series rose from 14 to 19 and includes Buzzfeed favorite The Try Guys and Drag Race staple Fashion Photo Review. The Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series rose from 39 to 57.
Writing & Directing Submissions, A Strategy
The number of episodes a network submits for a show for writing and directing has a huge impact on the likelihood of nominations. If a network submits too many episodes of a given show, they risk the chance of vote splitting and the show being shut out of the race entirely. If they don’t submit enough episodes, they risk not everyone from their creative team being eligible for an award. In recent years we’ve seen shows submit way too many episodes and be entirely shut out (Better Call Saul, House of Cards, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt). Other shows were able to get fans within the voting body to rally behind a single episode (Catastrophe, The Americans, Master of None).
Still, there are certain episodes voters will always make room for like pilots and finales. The directing ballots are even more interesting because they list director’s names as well which benefits big cinematic names like Steven Soderbergh for The Knick and television staples like Lesli Linka Glatter for Homeland and Gail Mancuso for Modern Family .
Learning from past mistakes, most shows have scaled back the number of episodes they submitted. New shows, especially in the writing categories, only submitted a single episode like The Crown, Stranger Things, and Fleabag. The biggest mistake this year might be from the This Is Us team which submitted five episodes in the writing race and an astounding eight episodes for directing. It will be interesting to see if the NBC drama is able to overcome vote splitting. Or will it will lose out on some key nominations in holding onto its frontrunner status for Outstanting Drama Series?
Some of the A-List names in the directors race that voters might fall for are Louis CK (Better Things), Judd Apatow (Crashing), Barry Jenkins (Dear White People), Andrea Arnold (Transparent), Stephen Daldry (The Crown), Tom McCarthy (13 Reasons Why), Ava Duvernay (Queen Sugar), and Baz Luhrmann (The Get Down).
The overall tally from this year’s contenders is:
One Episode – The Americans, Billions, The Crown, Fleabag, Girls, Handmaid’s Tale, I Love Dick, Schitt’s Creek, Silicon Valley, Stranger Things, Westworld
Two Episodes – American Gods, Atlanta, Better Things, Homeland, House of Cards, Insecure, The Leftovers, Master of None, Transparent, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Veep
Three Episodes – Mr. Robot
Five Episodes – Modern Family, This Is Us
Seven Episodes – Better Call Saul
One Episode – The Americans, Billions, The Crown, Mr. Robot
Two Episodes – American Gods, Atlanta, The Get Down, Insecure, Silicon Valley, Stranger Things
Three Episodes – Dear White People, Handmaid’s Tale, Homeland, Master of None, Modern Family, Ray Donovan, Transparent, Veep, Westworld
Four Episodes – The Leftovers, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Five Episodes – Girls
Six Episodes – House of Cards
Seven Episodes – Better Call Saul
Eight Episodes – Black-Ish, This Is Us
After taking a look through the various 2017 Emmy nominating ballots what stood out to you? Sound off in the comments below!