Saturday, November 26, 2022

How To Win Your Emmy Pool: Outstanding Limited Series/TV Movie Writing & Directing

By Amanda Spears 

​I’m going to take you television fans through how to methodically make your Emmy predictions and win your pool. Previously we looked at Outstanding Comedy & Drama Writing and DirectingNext up, the hard to predict Outstanding Limited Series/TV Movie Writing and Directing categories.

Five years ago, the Emmys moved to a plurality vote replacing the more level playing field of 80-100 person panels. Since we spend more time watching television than a film, it’s easier to let our personal preferences affect our predictions as we try to manifest a win for our favorites.

Like the Best Drama Writing and Directing categories, the Limited Series/TV Movie races are harder to predict. Let’s take a look at the nominees and try to predict the winners for Best Limited Series/TV Movie Directing and Writing based on recent trends.

OUTSTANDING LIMITED SERIES/TV MOVIE DIRECTING NOMINEES
“Find a Way,” “Little Fires Everywhere” directed by Lynn Shelton
“Episode 5,” “Normal People” directed by Lenny Abrahamson
“Unorthodox,” “Unorthodox” directed by Maria Schrader
“It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice,” Watchmen” directed by Nicole Kassell
“Little Fear of Lightning,” “Watchmen” directed by Steph Green
“This Extraordinary Being,” “Watchmen” directed by Stephen Williams

OUTSTANDING LIMITED SERIES/TV MOVIE WRITING NOMINEES
“Shirley,” “Mrs. America” written by Tanya Barfield
“Episode 3,” “Normal People” written by Sally Rooney
“Episode 1,” “Unbelievable” written by Susannah Grant
“Part 1,” “Unorthodox” written by Anna Winger
“This Extraordinary Being,” “Watchmen” written by Damon Lindelof and Cord Jefferson

Continuing with the trends we’ve seen in both Best Comedy/Drama and Drama Directing and Writing, let’s begin with eliminating all nominees that do not come from a nominated series…

“Find A Way,” “Little Fires Everywhere” directed by Lynn Shelton
“Unorthodox,” “Unorthodox” directed by Maria Schrader
“It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice,” Watchmen” directed by Nicole Kassell
“Little Fear of Lightning,” “Watchmen” directed by Steph Green
“This Extraordinary Being,” “Watchmen” directed by Stephen Williams

And for writing…

“Shirley,” “Mrs. America” written by Tanya Barfield
“Episode 1,” “Unbelievable” written by Susannah Grant
“Part 1,” “Unorthodox” written by Anna Winger
“This Extraordinary Being,” “Watchmen” written by Damon Lindelof and Cord Jefferson

Now, we’re going to eliminate episodes for Best Limited Series/TV Movie Directing with the least amount of below-the-line nominations. While it’s not a guarantee that an episode has support across multiple branches of the television academy, it is at best a sign that they’ve seen the episode.​

“Unorthodox,” “Unorthodox” directed by Maria Schrader
“It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice,” Watchmen” directed by Nicole Kassell (4)
“This Extraordinary Being,” “Watchmen” directed by Stephen Williams (8)

​We’re only able to narrow the directing field down to three possible winners. “Unorthodox” has the advantage of having all four of its episodes directed by the same person. In the past five years, four series have won for the entire series: “Olive Kitteridge” (2015), “The Night Manager” (2016), “Big Little Lies” (2017), and “Chernobyl” (2019). With the exception of “The Night Manager,” each of the Directing winners would go on to win Best Limited Series. Ironically, “The Night Manager” bested three episodes from the eventual Best Limited Series winner, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.” But the 2016 race was a lot more competitive than the 2020 race. Add in that “Watchmen” is a technical marvel and “This Extraordinary Being” is it opus, but “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice” is the series opener and happens to be the recent DGA winner over “This Extraordinary Being.” It is entirely possible “Watchmen” could cancel themselves out.​

The Writing category is one of the most diverse categories in this year’s lineup. Each has its pluses and minuses. Lindelof may be the most well-known in the category, but he’s never won an individual Emmy. His only win comes as one of the producers of “Lost” (2005). Should he and his co-writer Jefferson win, Jefferson would be only the second African American winner in the category after David Mills won for “The Corner” (2000). But look for Barfield and “Shirley” to sneak off with the prize. “Shirley” focuses on Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to Congress and the first Black candidate of a major party for President. With Kamala Harris making history as the first African American woman on a major party ticket as the Democrat Vice President candidate, this episode seems timelier than ever. Should Barfield win, she would make history as the first African American woman to do so.

OUTSTANDING LIMITED SERIES/TV MOVIE DIRECTING NOMINEES
1. “Unorthodox,” “Unorthodox” directed by Maria Schrader
2. “This Extraordinary Being,” “Watchmen” directed by Stephen Williams
3. “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice,” Watchmen” directed by Nicole Kassell
4. “Little Fear of Lightning,” “Watchmen” directed by Steph Green
5. “Episode 5,” “Normal People” directed by Lenny Abrahamson
6. “Find A Way,” “Little Fires Everywhere” directed by Lynn Shelton

OUTSTANDING LIMITED SERIES/TV MOVIE WRITING PREDICTIONS
1. “Shirley,” “Mrs. America” written by Tanya Barfield
2. 
“This Extraordinary Being,” “Watchmen” written by Damon Lindelof and Cord Jefferson
3. 
“Episode 1,” “Unbelievable” written by Susannah Grant
4. 
“Part 1,” “Unorthodox” written by Anna Winger
5. 
“Episode 3,” “Normal People” written by Sally Rooney

Do you agree or disagree with my logic? What are you predicting to win the Emmys for Outstanding Directing and Writing for a Limited Series/TV Movie? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below or on our Twitter account. Stay tuned for more articles on the Emmys as I finalize my predictions.

You can follow Amanda and hear more of her thoughts on the Emmys and TV on Twitter at @msamandaspears

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