Will DGA champ Rian Johnson (‘Breaking Bad’) get free pass to Emmys?

Now that “Breaking Bad” helmer Rian Johnson has prevailed at the Directors Guild of America Awards as Best TV Drama Director for the popular episode “Fifty-One,” is he the frontrunner for the Emmy?

Based on recent history, Johnson has a fifty-fifty chance of taking home Emmy gold. Since 2000, the DGA winner for Best TV Drama Director has prevailed at the Emmys six times, despite the different eligibility periods of these kudos.

In an oddity for the two awards shows, five out of the past six Emmy winners weren’t even nominated by the DGA, including last year’s champ Tim Van Patten (“Boardwalk Empire“). This reflects a major disconnect between the TV Academy and the Directors Guild. In other words, Johnson’s chief rival at the Emmys may be someone completely overlooked by this precursor.

Johnson’s TV Drama competitors at DGA were Michael Cuesta (“Homeland“), Jennifer Getzinger (“Mad Men“), Lesli Linka Glatter (“Homeland”) and Greg Mottola (“The Newsroom“).

The corresponding TV Comedy DGA went to Lena Dunham, who made awards history by becoming the first-ever female comedy champ.

The winning episode “Fifty-One” was one of “Breaking Bad’s” most buzzed-about offerings in years. In the episode, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and his wife Skyler (Anna Gunn) have a marriage-defining argument that reveals Skyler wants his cancer to come back. (Watch the video below.) There’s also a very memorable shot of Skyler jumping into the swimming pool in an attempt to make her family believe she’s gone suicidal.

Here are the six champs since 2000 who prevailed at the DGA and the Emmys in the same year. Will Johnson become the seventh?

2000/2001 — Thomas Schlamme for “The West Wing” (DGA episode “Noel”; Emmy episode “In the Shadow of Two Gunmen”)

2001/2002 — Alan Ball for “Six Feet Under” (episode “Pilot”)

2003 — Christopher Misiano for “The West Wing” (episode “Twenty Five”)

2004 — Walter Hill for “Deadwood” (episode “Pilot”)

2006 — Jon Cassar for “24”  (episode “Day 5: 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.”)

2010/2011 — Martin Scorsese for “Boadwalk Empire” (episode “Pilot”)

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