Tuesday, April 23, 2024

A Look At The 2024 Emmy Awards Season Contenders

After an unusually long Emmy season, we are already in the midst of another. Unlike last season, which felt sewn up among the major three categories over the year, this year’s Emmy season is quite sporadic. Whether it’s a bone-dry selection of series in the Drama categories or the overabundance of choices in Limited Series, there’s a lot to break down. Here’s a preview of this year’s TV awards season and what could be perceived as the current frontrunners.

The reign of “Succession” has come to an end, and this year’s drama series contenders are sparse. Many returning series will miss this Emmy season due to hiatus or delays in filming from the recent strikes. Previous drama series nominees such as “The Boys” and “House of the Dragon” will return this year, but they won’t air until after the Emmy’s contention deadline. This allows multiple series that have never been nominated in series to contend, such as “The Gilded Age,” “Slow Horses,” and yes, even “Loki.”

There are also plenty of new series in the mix, such as Showtime’s “The Curse,” which is currently looking to be pushed into the drama categories and could be a series contender across multiple categories such as series, writing, and acting. Fresh off her recent Oscar win, Emma Stone could use that momentum to contend for the Lead Actress win. Also, Amazon’s “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” could make a splash in this year’s drama race, depending on where it’s pushed. Donald Glover and Maya Eskrine are both previous nominees, and the show could land nominations for guest acting, writing, directing, and drama series.Apple TV+ could also capitalize off this weak year and aggressively push “The Morning Show.” While not a stranger to nominations, especially in acting, “The Morning Show” could earn a slew of nominations this year, including series, despite mixed reception for the latest season. At this point, it’s looking like “The Crown” is the current frontrunner for Outstanding Drama Series as it has reached its final season. Sure, the critical reception isn’t up to the series’ standard, but without other serious contenders, it’s looking like it’s on the right track. Also, as of now, Elizabeth Debicki is most likely winning Supporting Actress in a Drama Series as she is fresh off winning Golden Globe and SAG.

On the comedy side, things are looking relatively normal. Expect “The Bear” to continue its momentum and be a dominant force for its second season in this Emmy race. The show will easily over-perform, earning a slew of acting, guest acting, writing, and directing nominations. There’s a strong chance that Jeremy Allen White, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, and Ayo Edebiri can repeat as Emmy winners. It’ll be more challenging for Edebiri as, not only will she be competing in Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, but she’ll be competing against Jean Smart for the newest season of “Hacks.” While Edebiri’s category change for this season hasn’t slowed her down at any precursor, Smart has won the actress category for the previous two seasons of “Hacks” so far. “Hacks” will be a big contender this year as the series is returning for its third season and has only grown in appreciation.

“Only Murders in the Building,” of course, will be back as talents like Paul Rudd and Meryl Streep (who’s the frontrunner in Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series) have now joined the mix. Other series, such as “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “What We Do in the Shadows” will play a more significant role this upcoming season. While there are still plenty of choices here compared to drama, there’s plenty of space, as series like “Barry,” “Atlanta,” and “Ted Lasso” all came to an end last year. It’ll be interesting to see how “Abbott Elementary” performs in nominations this season as it shockingly underperformed after a successful first season with the Emmys. While it’s very much in the conversation for Outstanding Comedy Series and other categories, the question remains if it’ll bounce back or remain the same as last year.Now, Limited Series is where things start to become difficult to predict. There’s so much to pick from that there will be many snubs when it’s all said and done. FX alone has three series that could be major contenders in the Limited Series categories. One series that I expect to be a major player across the board is “Feud: Capote vs. the Swans.” The terrific second season of the Ryan Murphy-produced series will earn a ridiculous amount of acting nominations comparable to that of something like “The White Lotus.” It’s a show perfectly geared towards the Television Academy, with great actors such as Tom Hollander, Diane Lane, and others delivering some of their best work in years.

Another FX series is Emmy’s favorite, “Fargo,” which has had raves for its fifth season and is considered by many a return to form. Expect nominations for Juno Temple, Jennifer Jason-Leigh, and Jon Hamm, who not only delivers his best work since “Mad Men” but is also the frontrunner for Lead Actor in a Limited Series. The show’s writing and direction are as sharp as ever, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it landed nominations in almost every major category. The last FX series that is getting serious attention is “Shōgun.” While this isn’t typically something the Television Academy would lean towards, it’s hard to deny the craftsmanship behind the series. The critical support behind “Shōgun” is there, too, as it not only delivers one of the most immersive television experiences since “Game of Thrones” but will most certainly be on most critics’ best-of lists when the year comes to an end. It’ll be harder for the performances to get nominated as talents like Hiroyuki Sanada and Anna Sawai aren’t as popular with this voting body.

One series that could pop up in the Limited Series categories is Amazon’s newest series from filmmaker Lulu Wang, “Expats.” While the show earned critical raves, “Expats” most likely won’t be an overall contender due to the lack of conversation around the show. Nicole Kidman could earn a Lead Actress in a Limited Series nomination, but it wouldn’t be surprising if she misses. “Expats” could either perform like “Station Eleven,” earning writing, directing, and acting nominations, or like another Amazon series, “The Underground Railroad,” and score nominations only in series and directing.For Apple TV+, “Lessons in Chemistry” seems like something that would be a sure thing to appear in multiple categories in Limited Series. Even if it misses Outstanding Limited Series and underperforms, Brie Larson will most certainly earn a nomination for Lead Actress as she has been nominated in every precursor this season (Golden Globe, SAG, and CCA). It’s just a very traditional performance that is not only some of the best work Larson has done in years but is also something that the Television Academy is generally keen to acknowledge. “Masters of the Air” might show up, but the series hasn’t lived up to the reception of the previous series it was closely associated with (“Band of Brothers” and “The Pacific”). If anything, it’s a directing and series play. Austin Butler and Callum Turner could show up in the acting races, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

HBO, playing second fiddle this year in the Limited Series categories, could lean heavily into “True Detective: Night Country.” Despite not having the best reception by many, including myself, the show was a ratings juggernaut for the network. It wouldn’t be shocking to see Jodie Foster earn a nomination for Lead Actress in a Limited Series. Another HBO series is “The Regime,” which, based on its mediocre reviews, could be Kate Winslet or bust. Here’s hoping HBO put their chips towards another limited series they will release soon, Park Chan-wook’s adaption of “The Sympathizer.” The series could earn nominations for previous Emmy nominee Sandra Oh and former Emmy nominee and recent Academy Award winner Robert Downey Jr., who will give a performance playing multiple parts (somewhat similar to that of Mark Ruffalo for HBO’s “I Know This Much Is True”). “The Sympathizer,” if it lives up to expectations, could perform somewhat like “The Night Manager,” earning nominations for acting, writing, directing, and series. At the end of the day, it will all just depend on what HBO thinks will play out the best for them on nomination morning.

In previous years, there was always the feeling of a possible series that could come out of nowhere. This year that doesn’t seem like a possibility. We’re only just beginning to see the ramifications of studios unwilling to cooperate quickly enough with the writers and actors who were on strike for months. Not only will it affect television, but film as well. As drastic as it looks, this could’ve been far worse. This will also probably make voters in the Television Academy lean more towards series they either already watch or have the most conversation around. Hopefully, voters will take the time to seek out the fascinating and quality television that’s holding us down before everyone’s favorites eventually return.What do you think are the big Emmy contenders this year? What are some of your favorite shows you’ve watched for this season so far? Please let us know in the comments section below or over on our Twitter account, and be sure to check out our latest Emmy predictions which will be arriving later this week. We will also be bringing back the Next Best Series Podcast and conducting a number of interviews with Emmy contenders throughout the awards season.

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Giovanni Lago
Giovanni Lago
Devoted believer in all things cinema and television. Awards Season obsessive and aspiring filmmaker.

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