“The Night Manager” is AMC’s third limited series, after 2006’s Western “Broken Trail” and 2009’s “The Prisoner” remake. Both of those reaped multiple Emmy Awards nominations and “The Night Manager” is on track to do even better. This acclaimed co-production with the BBC stars Tom Hiddleston in the title role, a man recruited by the British intelligence service to infiltrate the inner circle of a notorious arms dealer (Hugh Laurie). Let’s take a look back at how those two other limited series fared at the Emmys before detailing the likeliest nominations for “The Night Manager.”
“Broken Trail,” which Alan Geoffrion adapted from his novel about an aging cowboy and his nephew who transport 500 horses from Oregon to Wyoming, competed at the 2007 Emmys. That was the year before “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” broke through for the network in the drama races. Previously, the cablecaster had picked up Creative Arts wins for its first two scripted series, the half-hour dramedies “The Lot” (1996–1998) and “Remember WENN” (1998–2001).
“Broken Trail” earned the network its first Emmy nominations in major categories. Of its 16 nominations, it won Best Miniseries, Actor (Robert Duvall), Supporting Actor (Thomas Haden Church) and Casting. It was second only to HBO movie “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” in both wins (6) and nominations (17) that year.
As reviews for the remake of the 1960s cult series “The Prisoner” were so-so (45 on Metacritic compared to 78 for “Broken Trail”), goodwill for the network carried it to a pair of Emmy nominations in 2010: Actor (Ian McKellan) and Cinematography. And given that it had been nominated in the combined Best Movie/Miniseries race by the Producers Guild of America, “The Prisoner” must have been close to an Emmy nomination for Best Miniseries. However, there were only two slots in the category that year; there had been three when “Broken Trail” competed.
“The Night Manager” has better reviews than either (82 on Metacritic) and Best Limited Series now has five slots. And the top race is not the only one in which it could contend. Look for Oscar-winning helmer Susanne Bier (“In a Better World”) to reap a bid for overseeing this sprawling 6-part limited series. Likewise for screenwriter David Farr who did a masterful job adapting John le Carre’s 1993 bestseller. And expect this epic production to earn a slew of nominations in below-the-line categories.
Among the cast, Hiddleston and supporting player Olivia Colman are strong possibilities to reap their first Emmy nominations. Both have had success at home with the BAFTAs. Hiddleston was nominated for the 2011 Rising Star Award after a banner year with supporting performances in the films “The Deep Blue Sea,” “Midnight in Paris,” “Thor” and “War Horse.” And Colman is a three-time BAFTA champ. After losing her first Comedy Actress bid in 2012 for “Twenty Twelve,” she won the following year and also picked up the Best Supporting Actress prize for “Accused.” She claimed her third BAFTA in 2014 as Best Drama Actress for “Broadchurch,” for which she was also nominated for an International Emmy. Her most recent nomination was in 2015 as Best Comedy Actress for “Rev.”
Laurie is a proven Emmy favorite with seven nominations under his belt for starring in and producing “House.” He should squeeze into Best Movie/Limited Supporting Actor, even though he faces internal competition from Tom Hollander, a five-time BAFTA nominee.
And Elizabeth Debicki, best-known for her role in the 2013 film “The Great Gatsby,” could ride a wave of support for “The Night Manager” and reap a bid as well. She would be the third Emmy nominee for acting born in the 1990s, after Comedy Supporting Actor Chris Colfer (“Glee,” 2010–2011) and Drama Guest Actress Rachel Brosnahan (“House of Cards,” 2015).