2017 Drama Writing Emmy slugfest: It’s true — all 6 contenders are potential winners

“This category blows my mind, it is so fantastic,” Gold Derby senior editor Rob Licuria declares in our video chat (watch above) about the competitive Best Drama Writing lineup at this year’s Emmys. Joining Licuria to analyze this race in detail are Gold Derby contributing writers Charles Bright, Riley Chow, Zach Laws and Tony Ruiz. The nominees in this category are:

Joe Weisberg & Joel Fields, “The Americans” (“The Soviet Division”)
Gordon Smith, “Better Call Saul” (“Chicanery”)
Peter Morgan, “The Crown” (“Assassins”)
Bruce Miller, “The Handmaid’s Tale” (“Offred”)
Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer, “Stranger Things” (“Chapter One: The Vanishing of Will Byers”)
Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, “Westworld” (“The Bicameral Mind”)

“I see this as a split between ‘The Crown’ and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’” Ruiz argues. “Peter Morgan is an award-winning writer, he’s won everything. And this episode of ‘The Crown’ particularly is almost like a three-act play. On the other hand, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ has the literary cache.”

“Part of me is drawn to ‘The Crown’ because the Emmys do love their British writers,” Bright agrees. “But one that I think is being lost in this is the ‘Better Call Saul’ episode ‘Chicanery.’ The dialogue is so tense and then Michael McKean’s beautiful delivery of that monologue is so beautiful. Part of me can see this as one of those big upsets that we don’t see coming.”

Laws backs Bright up by pointing out that “Better Call Saul” is the dark horse. “It is such a writerly episode,” he declares. “It’s basically like a stage play where it’s all about the dialogue. It may not be an upset if it won. Maybe we’re predicting ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ or ‘The Crown,’ these newer shows to win, but if they all take votes away from each other, ‘Chicanery’ might win.”

“All of these shows are getting really good at playing the Emmy game,” Chow notes. “For the last 12 years, we have seen shows get nominated for two, three, four slots each. Whereas now everybody wants to win because they recognize that vote-splitting is a thing.”

Licuria isn’t fazed however, backing the Hulu drama as the likely winner. “Bruce Miller adapted a really famous novel and he really hit it out of the park, and I think he’ll be rewarded for that, and seems like the most obvious. But I tell you what, this is one of very few categories where if any of these six won, I would not be disappointed. I would be standing up and clapping for any of them, because they’re all very very very deserving.”

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UPLOADED Aug 12, 2017 4:38 pm