Few conclusions are as foregone as Steven Soderbergh winning the Primetime Emmy for Best Movie/Miniseries Directing for HBO’s “Behind the Candelabra,” according to our predictors. The Academy Award winner has three Emmy nominations this year, as he also contends for editing and cinematography for “Behind the Candelabra”; he has two prior Emmy nominations in recent years for producing nonfiction specials (“Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired” in 2009, “His Way” in 2011), but he has yet to win.
Soderbergh spent years shopping this Liberace biopic, headlined by fellow Oscar winners Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, to film studios, but only HBO would foot the bill, ultimately budgeting $23 million to shoot. The film, however, enjoyed theatrical distribution internationally and even competed for the prestigious Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Now, Soderbergh has announced an indefinite hiatus from films and will instead be directing Clive Owen in a new television drama for the cable network Cinemax.
With odds only a ninth as good as Soderbergh’s, Jane Campion and Garth Davis rank second for directing the fifth episode of Sundance Channel’s seven-part “Top of the Lake.” Davis is a first-time nominee, while Campion — another Oscar winner — is also nominated as a writer and executive producer of the miniseries. “Top of the Lake” is a New Zealand-set mystery starring Elisabeth Moss (of AMC’s “Mad Men“) and Oscar- and Emmy-winner Holly Hunter. With a score of 86 on Metacritic, “Top of the Lake” has the strongest reviews of any program in this category, so it could theoretically upset based on merit. It’s also notable as the only miniseries nominated in the category, as well as the only original story; the other four nominees depict real-life 20th century figures.
Two-time Oscar nominee David Mamet ranks third for directing Oscar-winners Al Pacino and Helen Mirren in the HBO docudrama “Phil Spector“; he is also nominated for producing and writing this controversial account of Spector’s trial for murder. Mamet has no previous Emmy nominations.
Julian Jarrold receives his first Emmy nomination for directing the BBC co-production “The Girl,” which portrays Alfred Hitchcock as a sexual predator to his leading lady Tippi Hedren; they are played respectively by Toby Jones (nominated for Movie/Miniseries Actor) and Sienna Miller.
This is the only primetime telecast nomination for Lifetime’s “Ring of Fire,” which earned three other bids in Creative Arts categories. Allison Anders is a first-time nominee, and “Ring of Fire” received a score of just 46 on Metacritic, which makes its nomination here a bit of an anomaly and explains Gold Derby’s lack of faith in it: it currently ranks last in our racetrack odds. The film recounts the relationship between legendary singers Johnny Cash and June Carter, similar to 2005’s Oscar-winning “Walk the Line.”