Who will take home Best Drama Directing at the Emmys? All of the expert TV journalists we’ve polled agree that “Game of Thrones” will prevail in this contest for the second year in a row after winning in 2015 for the episode “Mother’s Mercy.” But which episode will take top honors this year? “Game of Thrones” is nominated for both “Battle of the Bastards” (directed by Miguel Sapochnik) and “The Door” (directed by Jack Bender).
The majority of our experts — 12 out of 13 — are betting on the epic, action-packed “Battle of the Bastards,” giving it leading 2/5 odds: Debra Birnbaum (Variety), Eric Deggans (NPR), Joyce Eng (TV Guide), Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Robert Rorke (New York Post), Matt Roush (TV Guide Magazine), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), Anne Thompson (Indiewire), Ken Tucker (Yahoo), Adnan Virk (ESPN) and Jarett Wieselman (Buzzfeed).
While this is the first Emmy nomination for Sapochnik, “The Door” director Bender is an Emmy veteran, with five nominations in this category including bids for “Lost” and “Northern Exposure.” He won an Emmy for Best Drama Series as a producer of “Lost” in 2005. One expert, Kerr Lordygan (Rotten Tomatoes), is predicting him to win, which translates into 4/1 odds.
Does any other helmer have a chance? Perhaps Michael Engler who reaped a bid for his direction of the “Downton Abbey” series finale, “Episode 9.” This is his third Emmy nomination for directing, but first for drama. He previously contended for helming episodes of the comedies “Sex and the City” (“I Love a Charade,” 2003) and “30 Rock” (“Rosemary’s Baby,” 2008). Based on our experts’ overall rankings, Engler is third with 6/1 odds.
Next up with 16/1 odds is “Homeland” helmer Lesli Linka Glatter for the episode “The Tradition of Hospitality.” This is her fourth nomination for directing, including two past bids for “Homeland” and one for “Mad Men.” She was also been nominated for Best Drama Series as a producer of “Homeland” in 2015 and 2016.
Steven Soderbergh gets 20/1 odds for directing the episode “This is All We Are” from “The Knick.” Soderbergh is the best-known in this category, an Oscar-winner for “Traffic” (2000) and a seven-time Emmy nominee, with wins for directing and editing the telefilm “Behind the Candelabra” in 2013. But “The Knick” has yet to be recognized in any other top races; this year it only has three other nominations in Creative Arts categories, so Soderbergh may be at a disadvantage against shows with greater academy support.
Rounding out the category is surprise nominee David Hollander for the “Ray Donovan” episode “Exsuscito.” This is Hollander’s first Emmy nomination and the first directing bid for “Ray Donovan.” The Showtime series exceeded expectations with five total nominations this year, but in this category it’s a 50/1 underdog.
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