Can ‘American Horror Story’ scare away controversy to win at Emmys?

A scary thing happened this year when Emmy nominations were announced. Controversial anthology series “American Horror Story” tied Emmy favorite “Mad Men” to secure 17 total nominations, the most of any other program for the 2011-2012 season.

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When “AHS” head honcho Ryan Murphy made the decision to switch categories from the Drama Series race to Movie/Miniseries, he created quite a stir. Not only did the program begin with a standard “Pilot,” but the show had already been picked up for a second season, a rarity for a traditional Miniseries. Furthermore, “AHS” had competed at the Golden Globes and SAG Awards as a Drama Series, and even performed quite well for a new show with Jessica Lange winning a trophy at each ceremony.

So why the switch over to Movie/Miniseries at the Emmys?

Murphy announced at the end of the first season that “AHS” was actually an anthology series, meaning each season would be a self-contained original story with all-new characters. Emmy chairman Bruce Rosenblum defended the switch by saying, “If a show qualifies in more than one category that producer is entitled to choose which category they want to submit. The way the show is designed, it’s a very close-ended series this year. Our academy was convinced that this belonged in the Miniseries category and voted accordingly.”

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Another reason for the Emmy move is more obvious. Murphy wisely decided to enter the Movie/Miniseries race because the competition there was much less, well, scary. Instead of facing off against Drama Series frontrunners like “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad,” “Downton Abbey,” “Homeland,” “Game of Thrones” and “Boardwalk Empire,” Murphy’s new rivals are “Game Change,” “Hatfields and McCoys,” “Hemingway and Gellhorn,” “Luther,” and “Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia.”

This year’s Emmy host Jimmy Kimmel disagrees with the switch. He recently joked, “It’s not a Miniseries, let’s be honest. I’m going to try to qualify [“Jimmy Kimmel Live“] as a Miniseries next year. It seems like a soft category.”

According to Gold Derby’s Experts, Editors and Users, “AHS” is currently in second place to win the top prize with odds of 3 to 1. “Game Change” remains the frontrunner with odds of only 10 to 9. It remains to be seen how the controversy will help or hurt the program come Emmy time.

Below, the 17 nominations earned by “American Horror Story,” with episode titles listed where applicable:

BEST MOVIE/MINISERIES

BEST MOVIE/MINISERIES ACTRESS
Connie Britton as Vivien Harmon

BEST MOVIE/MINISERIES SUPPORTING ACTOR
Denis O’Hare as Larry Harvey

BEST MOVIE/MINISERIES SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Frances Conroy as Moira
Jessica Lange as Constance Langdon

BEST MOVIE/MINISERIES ART DIRECTION
“Pilot”
“Open House”

BEST MOVIE/MINISERIES or SPECIAL COSTUMES
“Halloween, Part 1”

BEST MOVIE/MINISERIES SINGLE-CAMERA PICTURE EDITING
“Birth”

BEST MOVIE/MINISERIES or SPECIAL SOUND EDITING
“Piggy, Piggy”

BEST MOVIE/MINISERIES SOUND MIXING
“Piggy, Piggy”

BEST MOVIE/MINISERIES or SPECIAL CASTING

BEST MOVIE/MINISERIES HAIRSTYLING

BEST MOVIE/MINISERIES MAKEUP (NON-PROSTHETIC)

BEST MOVIE/MINISERIES MAKEUP (PROSTHETIC)

BEST STUNT COORDINATION

BEST MAIN TITLE DESIGN

OTHER EMMY NEWS:

‘Mad Men,’ ‘American Horror Story’ lead Emmy Award nominations

Emmy Awards: Complete list of nominations

See how you did predicting Emmy Awards nominations 

Surprise! Which Emmy nominees did you fail to predict?

Emmy snubs include ‘Parks and Recreation,’ ‘The Good Wife,’ Kelsey Grammer, Jeff Probst

One thought on “Can ‘American Horror Story’ scare away controversy to win at Emmys?

  1. I’m not sure why this is such a heated discussion. Family guy also chose to compete in the comedy category instead of the animation category. I really think the best drama and comedy should separate and go short form drama (13 episodes or less) and long

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