The Primetime Emmy Awards are on Sunday, September 23rd, and that means it’s time for our predictions, both of what will win (and based on my own very shabby track record in this area, I would advise against wagering actual money based on my picks), and what should. We’ll be running one or two posts per day over the next week, starting with a category that remains in a state of both flux and controversy: Outstanding Miniseries or Movie.
Logic finally forced the Emmys to shift “Downton Abbey” to the drama series category, but there are still several anomalies here, including FX’s “American Horror Story” (which the TV Academy says qualifies because it’ll be a whole new story with new characters next season), an episode of PBS’ “Sherlock” (which doesn’t produce enough episodes per season to qualify for drama series, and therefore submitted a single episode as a movie), and BBC America’s “Luther” (which also had a low episode count).
“American Horror Story”
“Hatfields & McCoys”
“Hemingway & Gellhorn”
“Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia”
Alan’s pick: This whole category is ridiculous, as befits a genre that seemed to be on the outs in television – and therefore didn’t have enough legitimate, quality nominees – until “Hatfields & McCoys” started breaking ratings records. “Sherlock” doesn’t really belong here, but “Scandal in Belgravia” is easily my favorite of these nominees, whereas the others were all flawed to varying degrees.
Dan’s pick: Like Alan said, it’s a stupid category and at press tour, I even got the head of the Academy to admit as much. You have two continuing series, one continuing series that only submitted on installment as a movie, one legitimate miniseries, one legitimate TV movie that everybody hated and nobody watched, plus “Game Change,” which drew mixed reviews at best. Leaving aside what “deserves” to be here and what “belongs” here and what represents a travesty of Emmy classification, “A Scandal in Belgravia” is my favorite of the things that were nominated here. So there you go. That’s my pick. [I’d have picked “The Hour” here, except for that whole “not being nominated” problem.]
Alan’s pick: My money’s on “Hatfields.” Emmy voters are an older bunch, who can remember a day when splashy miniseries with big-name stars like Kevin Costner were a staple of television. Nostalgia and a desire to reward a project that’s good for the image of the business – what our colleague Rich Heldenfels likes to call his Chamber of Commerce theory for showbiz awards – gives it an edge over something like “American Horror Story,” which I suspect will be polarizing among the Academy.
Dan’s pick: There’s an Old Guard versus New Guard thing that’s going to happen here. The Old Guard is going to want to reward “Hatfields & McCoys,” which is a clear throwback. It’s also pretty mediocre and History is unproven when it comes to making an Emmy push in scripted categories. On the other side, you have “American Horror Story,” which is a violation of the spirit of the category, but also represents something completely new, as an edgy, disturbing “anthology” series. FX hasn’t been a huge Emmy juggernaut over the years, but the network knows how to capture a trophy or two. It doesn’t matter if a minority of Emmy voters hate “American Horror Story” if those who like it, LOVE it. I think the New Guard probably loves “American Horror Story,” or at least they love what they think pretending to love “American Horror Story” says about them. I’m taking “American Horror Story” here and yes, I’m doing it just to be different from Sepinwall.