Starz’s ‘The White Princess’ looks to acquire more Emmy nominations than prequel ‘The White Queen’

Last year Starz was primed for an Emmy breakthrough, but it only ended up receiving a total of four Emmy nominations, winning Best Sound Editing for “Black Sails.” Perhaps Starz will break through this year thanks to “The White Princess,” a sequel to “The White Queen” (2014), which was one of only two miniseries from the network to receive a Best Miniseries nominations (the other was “The Pillars of the Earth” in 2011). “The White Queen” received four Emmy nominations: Best Miniseries, Best Music Composition, Best Costumes and Best Hairstyling. The sequel, which premiered April 16, hopes to improve their nominations total and possibly score a win.

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Both series are based on the popular Philippa Gregory book series. “The White Queen” told the tale of Elizabeth Woodville (Rebecca Ferguson) who would become the Queen with the assistance of her mother, Jacquetta Woodville (Janet McTeer). But nipping at their heels is Margaret Beaufort (Amanda Hale) who will stop at nothing to see her son become King. “The White Princess” continues the story as Princess Elizabeth (Jodie Comer), the daughter of the Dowager Queen Elizabeth, is forced to marry King Henry VII (Jacob Collins-Levy), the son of Margaret Beaufort. Taking over the role of the Dowager Queen Elizabeth is Essie Davis and Margaret Beaufort is played by “Game of Thrones” alum Michelle Fairley.

“The White Princess” scored a whopping 82% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 71 rating on Metacritic, with many critics singling out Fairley’s fierce mother with claws. Gwen Ihnat (A.V. Club) declares, “Michelle Fairley, previously terrifying as a maternal villain in ’24: Live Another Day,’ is downright chilling as the cruel and calculating Margaret, who cares for little else other than the rise of the Tudors; any feelings or sympathy or compassion just get in her way, so she denies them completely.” And Sonia Saraiya (Variety) praises, “Michelle Fairley plays Henry’s mother, Margaret Beaufort, with icy, God-fearing, goth-queen stature — she might as well be Maleficent, with her rotating black headdresses.”

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Besides potential below-the-line nominations and a bid for lead actress Comer, Fairley, who’s best known for Lady Catelyn Stark who famously met her end at the Red Wedding on “Game of Thrones,” is also in the running for an acting nomination. Since was never nominated for “Game of Thrones,” Emmy voters could seize this opportunity to make it up to her. But there is one problem, as the Starz network has only received one acting nomination ever: fresh off his Oscar bid for “12 Years a Slave,” Chiwetel Ejiofor earned an Emmy nom for Best Limited Series Actor for “Dancing on the Edge” (2014).

“The White Queen” was nominated for Best Miniseries in 2014 along with “American Horror Story: Coven,” “Bonnie & Clyde,” “Luther,” “Treme” and eventual winner “Fargo.” Should “The White Princess” find itself snubbed by the Emmys, there is a silver lining in the form of the Golden Globes. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association frequently embraces Starz, nominating many of their programs. “The White Queen” received three nominations in 2014: Best Miniseries, Best Miniseries Actress (Ferguson) and Best Miniseries Supporting Actress (McTeer), so “The White Princess” could always get a second chance at recognition at the Globes.

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