Saturday, July 05, 2014

Emmy Predictions: The Miniseries

This Thursday the Emmy nominations will be announced, and all of the internet will be abuzz over a series of snubs and "how did that get nominated agains?"  More than all other awards shows, the Emmy awards bring out something collectively in the internet that is both exciting (I love when people get into awards shows) and infuriating.  Entertainment Weekly, for example, is at its most annoying during the Emmys, as they will somehow celebrate every single nomination that's just been announced and yet list another thirty people that should have been nominated.  A dirty little secret of awards shows?  Not everyone can get nominated, because there is a finite number of slots available.  That's what makes it an honor just to be nominated.

Anyway, that's my annual diatribe against the Emmy awards.  Since the nominations are this Thursday, I figured now was the perfect time to start predicting, and I wanted to start with the Miniseries/TV Move nominations not because I get a chance to see all of them, but because they feature movie stars, and potential future EGOT winners.  These are always my favorite parts of the telecast because you get to see cinematic stars whom Oscar hasn't courted in a while come forward and get some rewards.  Without further adieu, then, let's start discussing them.  Below I'll number the predictions from most to least likely to score a nomination.


1. Fargo
2. American Horror Story: Coven
3. Luther
4. The White Queen
5. Dancing on the Edge

The Lowdown: The really stunning thing about this category (aside from the fact that it exists again-miniseries and TV movie no longer are competing against each other) is that HBO has absolutely no horse in this race.  With True Detective competing in the Best Drama Series category, HBO has no candidates to run, so instead this is a PBS/BBC and FX dominated field.  I still don't 100% get how Luther gets to qualify here since by all normal accounts it's an actual, regular TV series, but it seems it's eligible so I say it's in.  The only real names that could show up that aren't on this list are The Hollow Crown (which seems old hat and doesn't seem to have garnered a lot of it's pretty old, even by Emmy standards) and Bonnie and Clyde (which came and went with little fanfare).
The Winner?: Predicting winners before you even have the nominees is a fool's errand, and I normally don't do it, but I figured that in the miniseries/movie categories, at least, you can make some solid guesses.  Fargo seems to have sucked up most of the buzz in this field, and without an HBO juggernaut to stop it, should be the victor, giving the Coen Brothers a great chance to add an E to their EGOT chances.

TV Movie

1. The Normal Heart
2. The Trip to Bountiful
3. Sherlock: His Last Vow
4. Killing Kennedy
5. Clear History

The Lowdown: The top three seem near certain-they have that right mix of prestige, star quality, and press that the Emmys require in a category like this.  However, this isn't a three-wide field, and so I have to dig a little deeper.  There is no part of my body that doesn't hate myself for predicting an adaptation of a Bill O'Reilly book in this category, but Killing Kennedy has enough press and this isn't a particularly robust field for TV Movie category.  The final nomination could go to Lifetime's A Day Late and a Dollar Short or yet another BBC adaptation with Burton and Taylor, but both of those films seem more likely to land their lead actresses nominations than get in the top prize.  Instead I am guessing that HBO, with no pony in Miniseries, doubles down here and gets the final nomination with Clear History.
The Winner?: A closer field than Miniseries, the top three on this list all have arguments to lend toward themselves.  The Normal Heart is HBO and will almost certainly lead the nominations, though it's reviews were hardly universally positive and Ryan Murphy doesn't usually sail at the Emmys.  The Trip to Bountiful is a very tiny production and essentially just a filmed play.  And Sherlock: His Last Vow is one of a series (and Cumberbatch is coming back for another film, as was just announced).  At this point The Normal Heart seems the victor, but that could change if it gets a frostier than anticipated reception from the Emmys, or if one of these other films over-performs.

Actor (TV Movie/Miniseries)

1. Billy Bob Thornton (Fargo)
2. Mark Ruffalo (The Normal Heart)
3. Martin Freeman (Fargo)
4. Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes: His Last Vow)
5. Chiwetel Ejiofor (Dancing on the Edge)

The Lowdown: This is essentially a six-man race for five slots.  With the exception of Ruffalo and Thornton, any of the remaining three could fall to Idris Elba in Luther, but I just can't quite pin whom it would be.  Freeman is the main lead in the biggest contender of the year, Cumberbatch is a burgeoning movie star who is probably not long for television, and Ejiofor was just the lead in the Oscar Best Picture nominee.  Ejiofor's film is the smallest of the bunch, arguably smaller than Luther, and is probably the most vulnerable, but I think Elba is going to be one of those snubs everyone complains about.
The Winner?: I cannot help but think that, after years in the cinematic wilderness, Billy Bob will be welcomed back with open arms and not only an Emmy, but a Golden Globe and SAG Award later this year for his critically-acclaimed work in Fargo.  He seems more Emmy's speed than Ruffalo, and Fargo has to win an acting trophy somewhere.

Actress (TV Movie/Miniseries)

1. Cicely Tyson (The Trip to Bountiful)
2. Jessica Lange (American Horror Story: Coven)
3. Helena Bonham Carter (Burton and Taylor)
4. Rebecca Ferguson (The White Queen)
5. Whoopi Goldberg (A Day Late and a Dollar Short)

The Lowdown: Of all six races, this one certainly seems to be the most competitive.  In addition to the five women above, you could easily make a case for Sarah Paulson (coming off of both a major role in the Best Picture winner and back-to-back Emmy nominations) and Minnie Driver (it may be Lifetime, but the Emmys could want to celebrate her recent success on About a Boy as well).  I am skipping them both in favor of Ferguson (who is the title character in her film) and Goldberg (who is a much bigger star than either of these two), but honestly any combination of these four women for those final two slots would make sense.
The Winner?: None of these women have that obvious contender vibe that usually comes with a winner here.  Claire Danes, Kate Winslet, and Julianne Moore all had a stampede through the awards shows aura to them, but that's not the case here.  I sort of wonder if they'll go repeat (Lange again?) or prestige (Tyson winning for the role that won her a Tony).  This is one of those categories I'm going to wait and see which of the final four women get in (Ferguson could theoretically pull a Kelly MacDonald and win here).

Supporting Actor (TV Movie/Miniseries)

1. Matt Bomer (The Normal Heart)
2. Martin Freeman (Sherlock: His Last Vow)
3. Jim Parsons (The Normal Heart)
4. John Goodman (Dancing on the Edge)
5. Frank Langella (Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight)

The Lowdown: The biggest question with TV Movie and Miniseries acting categories is usually whether the Emmys are going to favor their big stars or over-nominate their favorite films.  This can lead to a situation like Mildred Pierce where EVERYBODY gets nominated or one where we see favorite names like Goodman and Langella.  At the moment I'm favoring the big name theory (with Alfred Molina in Return to Zero just out of reach), but if they go the smaller name route, you could see Denis O'Hare in American Horror Story or especially Colin Hanks in Fargo get nominations.  Colin's father Tom has won five Emmy Awards in his career, but has never even been nominated for acting on television, so this could be the place where he actually one-ups his pops on the awards circuit.
The Winner?: It feels like Bomer will be the victor here-he's got a showy role, and more importantly, is a television staple that hasn't received much awards-love throughout his long career on cable.  This would be a great way to reward a solid TV player, and a gay actor playing a gay part (classy!).

Supporting Actress (TV Movie/Miniseries)

1. Julia Roberts (The Normal Heart)
2. Kathy Bates (American Horror Story: Coven)
3. Ellen Burstyn (Flowers in the Attic)
4. Alison Tolman (Fargo)
5. Jacqueline Bisset (Dancing on the Edge)

The Lowdown: Acceptance speeches matter more than you would expect during the run-up of an awards season, and Bisset's famously awful one at the Globes makes me wonder if she'll get skipped entirely at the Emmy Awards (she's near certain to lose, even though she's an icon who has never won an Emmy).  I'm keeping her in for now, though, because that Globe win was still a win, and she is very famous.  Most of her competition is set in stone: Roberts "slumming it" in television is a guarantee for a nomination (and likely a win), and the Emmys can never get enough of Kathy Bates or Ellen Burstyn so they're also nominated.  Tolman's role is integral to Fargo and though she's not as famous as her potential competitors I think that should be enough.  Other names that could take out either Tolman or Bisset include Angela Bassett in Coven or Janet McTeer in The White Queen, though I'm intrigued to see if the push to get Audra McDonald nominated for The Sound of Music will pay off. McDonald was easily voted best-in-show in her film and the movie itself was a HUGE ratings hit, even if it was critically-lambasted.  Will Emmy want to acknowledge one of the biggest events of the television year, particularly since it was on network television?  We'll see, but this is its only shot at a high-profile nomination.
The Winner?: At this point Roberts is the clear on-paper frontrunner, though part of me feels a little bit like this is a leader who could get toppled.  If Alison Tolman manages a nomination (not even close to a certainty), she feels like the sort of supporting player who would get enough "Should Wins" from the press to actually translate into a surprise win.  Emmy skipped Roberts once before for Guest Actress at the peak of her fame to go with a character actress (Debra Monk)-could history be repeating?

And those are my Miniseries/TV Movie predictions.  We'll hit Drama and Comedy later this week before the Thursday announcement, but in the meantime-what do you think will be nominated for Miniseries/TV Movie?  Who are you rooting for?  Share in the comments!

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