Guild awards, although six months removed from the Emmys, are one of our only indicators of how the industry is reacting to certain shows. They can be the first big indicator that a show is picking up steam (like the first season of Stanger Things) or that a show is in danger of being forgotten (the shutout of Mindhunter). This week we take a look at what shows came out of the guild awards with the momentum to last through September and what shows are at risk of being forgotten.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel followed up its success at the Emmys with the single most successful guild run for any comedy ever. The period comedy earned major awards from PGA, WGA, and three SAG awards as well as two DGA nominations. The second season also nearly swept the craft guilds with wins for its art direction, editing, costume design, sound Editing, make-up, hair-styling, and sound mixing. Its strength across the board is unprecedented and might be an indicator that the reigning comedy might in fact be the front runner even with an upcoming final season of Veep.
The biggest surprise coming out of the SAG nominations was just how popular Ozark has become in its second season. The crime drama earned four nominations for ensemble, Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, and most surprisingly Julia Garner. The love from SAG voters could have easily been dismissed as their overwhelming Netflix bias but then Ozark went on to earn nominations from PGA, DGA, ACE, and ADG – proving its one of the most popular dramas in contention this year. With so many of the usual contenders out of the conversation this year, Ozark has the opportunity to breakout in a major way, especially since it might be Netflix’s biggest player.
For whatever reason Better Call Saul is always underestimated at the Emmys. This year the Breaking Bad spin-off continued to rake in guild nominations for its producing, writing, editing, sound, and Bob Odenkirk. The year was also noteworthy as it marked the first time the cast of Better Call Saul received a nomination for its ensemble at the SAG Awards. Is this a sign that the show is picking up steam with actors? Is Bob Odenkirk a contender? Is someone else from the supporting cast finally going to be nominated beyond Jonathan Banks?
Three seasons in The Good Place has finally broken out in a major way among industry voters. The fan favorite was singled out by both PGA and WGA as one of the best comedies of the year. The creative teams were also nominated for their art direction, editing, and sound editing. The widespread guild support and its two Golden Globe nominations are huge indicators that multiple Emmy nominations might finally be in the show’s future.
Escape at Dannemora and Sharp Objects were two of the most buzzed about limited series of 2018 so it came as no surprise when they picked up countless nominations. There was in fact a third limited series that picked up just as many, if not more nominations that isn’t getting as much buzz – Netflix’s Maniac. The mind bending series proved to be a difficult watch for some audiences, but it managed to pick up nominations from all four major guilds (PGA, DGA, SAG, and WGA) as well as recognition for sound editing and art direction. The guild support is a lot stronger for Maniac than it has ever been for a Netflix limited series, even ones that went on to win multiple Emmys like Godless. It’s rare for a show to earn that many nominations and then be left out by Emmy voters, so Maniac is one to keep an eye on even if the response seems muted.
Chuck Lorre comedies are a constant staple at the Emmys so it should come as no surprise that The Kominsky Method is already gaining Emmy buzz. The industry comedy about aging has already won SAG and Golden Globe awards, and it’s bound to stand out for being Lorre’s most apparently personal project to date. Beyond those two groups the new comedy was entirely ignored. Is The Kominsky Method gearing up to be a major Emmy player or was its popularity among SAG voters the result of their outstanding Netflix bias?
Succession is a show that seemed to come and go without any excitement last summer. Even without any strong online buzz, the new drama kept popping up throughout awards season. Kieran Culkin was nominated at the Golden Globes. Adam McKay won a DGA award for directing the pilot. WGA voters celebrated the drama with two nominations for drama series and new series. Some of these nominations can be individually explained (HFPA’s obsession with Hollywood families and McKay’s name recognition alongside Vice) but all of the nominations combined shows that Succession clearly has fans within the industry.
What do you make of a network drama like This Is Us that tragically fell victim to a sophomore slump at last year’s Emmys? The Pearson family won their second consecutive SAG ensemble award, but between the two wins the talented cast was largely left out by Emmy voters. WGA voters also nominated another individual episode but that doesn’t usually translate to wide support. The one saving grace of the third season was that it was finally nominated for a PGA nomination so a comeback at the 2019 Emmys isn’t entirely out of the question.
GLOW was instantly successful among critics and audiences when it premiered and went on to earn seven Emmy nominations including for series and supporting actress. Unfortunately its omissions were glaring with snubs for writing, Marc Maron, and Alison Brie. This year for every major guild nomination it missed out on something else. PGA nominated the wrestling comedy for the first time and earned another WGA and SAG nomination. At the same time it earned less SAG nominations than last year and was left out by the ACE Eddies. Going forward the industry’s response might go either way but the PGA nomination means that it remains a major part of the conversation.
Killing Eve was one of the best reviewed shows of 2018 and even topped the year end lists of over half of the ADTV staff. Sandra Oh herself went on to sweep the acting awards winning a Critics Choice, Golden Globe, and a SAG award. Beyond that the breakout hit has been mostly forgotten by most guilds except for a surprise ACE Eddie win. Without top nominations from any of the four guild groups its difficult to gauge its award chances, but if the second season is received well Killing Eve might be a major player in the 2019 categories.
Pose and Homecoming are polar opposites both thematically and aesthetically but the one thing the two freshman dramas have in common is their surprisingly similar awards trajectory. Both dramas are some of the best reviewed and most buzzed about be shows of 2018. They both went on to earn multiple Golden Globe nominations and then surprisingly both went home empty handed. From there both dramas were unfairly forgotten by SAG, PGA, and DGA. Both shows did earn a WGA nomination in the new series category. Homecoming was singled out for some of its craft including editing, art direction, and sound editing. Pose unfortunately was shut out by nearly every below-the-line guild except by the music supervisors. Pose missing out on costume and art direction nominations was surprising especially since the ballroom period drama featured some of the flashiest designs of the year.
The first season of Westworld was universally praised by just about every individual group. The polarizing second season was mostly met with confusion and frustration and that clearly affected the various guild nominations. Actors, producers, directors, and writers all abandoned the once beloved epic. Below-the-line guilds still singled out the individual craft of the show. Westworld isn’t returning in time for the upcoming Emmys but the departure of the major guilds is worth noting for its Emmy chances in future seasons.
For the past three seasons Silicon Valley has been fully embraced by PGA, DGA, and WGA no matter its cultural impact or critical consensus. So when the tech bro comedy was shut out by all the major guilds this year it was clear that voters are ready to move on. Silicon Valley is taking the year off so either way it won’t be a part of this year’s conversation, however it will be interesting to see if it makes a comeback with voters when it returns for season 5.