The Best TV Movie/Limited Series Writing ballot this year lists 56 submissions from 43 programs. While one program taking multiple Emmy nomination slots is the norm in the Best Drama Writing and Best Comedy Writing categories, it has only happened once in Best Movie/Mini Writing. After all, most movies and miniseries are limited to a single submission because they only have a single writer.
But the Movie/Miniseries races are changing dramatically, such that they have been renamed as Movie/Limited Series categories. This change was prompted by the surge in anthology series that are produced like drama series, but have closed-ended stories like miniseries. This means that more programs are making multiple submissions for Best Movie/Limited Writing — a day of reckoning is coming this Emmy season for movies and traditional miniseries.
“The People v. O.J. Simpson” and “Fargo” have enough submissions between them to fill all six nomination slots and they just might do it. Emmy voters are notoriously lazy and vote for their favorites over and over. In Best Drama Writing, “The Sopranos” received 21 nominations across seven years and occupied four of the five available slots in 1999, 2001 and 2004.
The 2010 miniseries “The Pacific” is the only program ever to take two Movie/Mini Writing slots, although multiple submissions in this category have only been allowed since 2005. Indeed, all seven of the writers for “Band of Brothers,” the spiritual predecessor to “The Pacific,” were included in its single 2002 nomination that recognized all of the writing across its 10 episodes.
Critical darlings that struggle at the Emmys overall often find solace in the writing categories, so look for the uncommercial “Show Me a Hero” among the nominees here even if it is snubbed for Best Limited Series and Best Actor for Oscar Isaac, as it was earlier this year at the Producers Guild and Screen Actors Guild Awards respectively. The miniseries was co-written by David Simon, who was nominated twice for co-writing “The Wire,” which was infamously snubbed in Best Drama Series despite being hailed by critics as television’s all-time best.
British imports also fare disproportionately well in this category. This category recently saw nominations for “Parade’s End” in 2013 and “Upstairs, Downstairs” in 2011 despite both being snubbed in the program and directing races. “Sherlock” won in 2014, but lost the program and directing races; “The Hour” staggeringly won in 2013 with its only other nomination being for casting.
First among the British contenders this year are “Sherlock” and “Luther,” as they have five past nominations between them in this category. New miniseries include “The Last Panthers,” “London Spy” and “River;” all were nominated at the BAFTA Awards earlier this year, albeit none for writing. “The Dresser” fared similarly at the BAFTAs, but was not submitted at the Emmys for its writing. “The Night Manager” will be eligible at next year’s BAFTAs, but has already picked up a nomination from the Television Critics Association for Best Movie or Limited Series.
Submissions from top contenders are:
“All the Way” (Robert Schenkkan)
“American Crime” (John Ridley): “Season Two: Episode Seven”
“Confirmation” (Susannah Grant)
“Fargo” (Bob DeLaurentis): “Loplop”
“Fargo” (Noah Hawley): “Palindrome”
“Fargo” (Noah Hawley & Matt Wolpert & Ben Nedivi): “Did You Do This? No, You Did It!”
“The Last Panthers” (Jack Thorne)
“London Spy” (Tom Rob Smith)
“Luther” (Neil Cross)
“The Night Manager” (David Farr)
“The People v. O.J. Simpson” (Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski): “From the Ashes of Tragedy”
“The People v. O.J. Simpson” (Joe Robert Cole): “The Race Card”
“The People v. O.J. Simpson” (D.V. DeVincentis): “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia”
“River” (Abi Morgan)
“Roots” (Lawrence Konner & Mark Rosenthal): “Night One”
“Roots” (Alison McDonald): “Night Two”
“Roots” (Charles Murray): “Night Three”
“Sherlock” (Steven Moffat & Mark Gatiss)
“Show Me a Hero” (William F. Zorzi & David Simon): “Part Six”
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