2017 Emmy race for Best Drama Directing: What series premieres and finales will be nominated this year?

There are 284 episodes from 129 series on the 69th Emmy Awards nominating ballot for Best Drama Directing. There were 244 episodes from 100 series on the ballot last year and the six lucky enough to be nominated were:

  • “Downton Abbey” season 6: “The Finale” (Michael Engler)
  • “Game of Thrones” season 6: “The Door” (Jack Bender)
  • Winner — “Game of Thrones” season 6: “Battle of the Bastards” (Miguel Sapochnik)
  • “Homeland” season 5: “The Tradition of Hospitality” (Lesli Linka Glatter)
  • “The Knick” season 2: “This is All We Are” (Steven Soderbergh)
  • “Ray Donovan” season 3: “Exsuscito” (David Hollander)

Only “Homeland” and “Ray Donovan” are eligible again this year, as “Game of Thrones” is taking an extended hiatus and both “Downton Abbey” and “The Knick” were nominated for their series finales. This category nominated six other series finales in the last decade. All of those came from series that had been nominated previously in this category, which bodes poorly for “The Leftovers.” However, all but “The Knick” lasted at least five seasons. The final season of “The Leftovers” is its third and there have been five dramas in the last decade that were first nominated here for their third or fourth season, including “Ray Donovan” last year.

The Americans” is contending to be the first drama to receive its first directing nomination for its fifth season since “CSI” in 2005, which also contended for the finale of its fifth season. What distinguishes “The Americans” on the ballot this year is that they have kept to a single submission, which will concentrate support more than when they had four episodes on the ballot in 2013, nine in 2014, two in 2015 and three in 2016.

The Crown” is entering the field with the same savvy strategy, submitting only one of their four directors for consideration: Stephen Daldry, who has already reaped a BAFTA nomination for his submitted episode. Daldry is not contending for the debut episode of the series, which is a curious choice in light of this category’s love of pilots.

14 have been nominated in the last decade, although none last year. “Mr. Robot” seemed a strong contender then, but it is not to be counted out this year, as it has only one director on the ballot this year, down from five. Sam Esmail directed the complete second season, almost unprecedented for American television, except for the first season of “True Detective,” for which Cary Joji Fukanaga won this award three years ago.

Pilots in contention include those from “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Legion” (by Noah Hawley, 2016 Best Limited/Movie Directing nominee for “Fargo”), “Stranger Things” and “13 Reasons Why” (by Tom McCarthy, 2015 Oscar Best Director nominee for “Spotlight”). The “Stranger Things” pilot was nominated at the Directors Guild of America Awards for Best Drama Directing earlier this year opposite the “Westworld” pilot, but the latter’s director Jonathan Nolan has opted to submit the first season finale instead for Emmy consideration. “This is Us” pilot director Ken Olin also opted for his finale. There are seven additional “This is Us” episodes on the ballot, despite this category having only six nomination slots.

Submissions from top contenders:

“The Americans” season 5
“The Soviet Division” (Chris Long)

“The Crown” season 1
“Hyde Park Corner” (Stephen Daldry)

“The Handmaid’s Tale” season 1
“Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum” (Mike Barker)
“The Bridge” (Kate Dennis)
“Offred” (Reed Morano)

“Homeland” season 6
“Sock Puppets” (Dan Attias)
“America First” (Lesli Linka Glatter)
“R is for Romeo” (Seith Mann)

“The Leftovers” season 3
“Don’t Be Ridiculous” (Keith Gordon)
“It’s a Matt, Matt, Matt World” (Nicole Kassell)
“The Book of Nora” (Mimi Leder)
“The Most Powerful Man in the World” (Craig Zobel)

“Legion” season 1
“Chapter 7” (Dennie Gordon)
“Chapter 1” (Noah Hawley)
“Chapter 5” (Tim Mielants)
“Chapter 6” (Hiro Murai)
“Chapter 8” (Michael Uppendahl)

“Mr. Robot” season 2
“eps2.0_unm4sk.tc” (Sam Esmail)

“Ray Donovan” season 4
“Rattus Rattus” (David Hollander)
“Fish and Bird” (Daisy von Scherler Mayer)
“Girl with Guitar” (Liev Schreiber)

“Stranger Things” season 1
“Holly, Jolly” (Shawn Levy)
“The Vanishing of Will Byers” (The Duffer Brothers, pictured)

“13 Reasons Why” season 1
“Tape 7, Side A” (Kyle Patrick Alvarez)
“Tape 1, Side A” (Tom McCarthy)
“Tape 6, Side B” (Jessica Yu)

“This is Us” season 1
“Pilgrim Rick” (Sarah Pia Anderson)
“The Trip” (Uta Briesewitz)
“The Best Washing Machine in the World” (Silas Howard)
“Last Christmas” (Helen Hunt)
“Moonshadow” (Ken Olin)
“Memphis” (John Requa & Glenn Ficarra)
“The Game Plan” (George Tillman, Jr.)
“Career Days” (Craig Zisk)

“Westworld” season 1
“Chestnut” (Richard J. Lewis)
“The Bicameral Mind” (Jonathan Nolan)
“Trompe L’Oeil” (Frederick E.O. Toye)

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