“Black Mirror” is the defending Emmy champ for Best TV Movie, having won in 2017 for its standalone episode “San Junipero.” Now Gold Derby contributor Riley Chow is expecting the anthology series to triumph once again. “I think you’re going to have a lot of Emmy voters who are just catching up on [the previous] season now,” he explains, “or maybe haven’t even seen or heard of these other [nominees].” Chow recently joined fellow contributors Amanda Spears and myself to dissect the category, which will be presented at the Creative Arts ceremony a week before the primetime telecast. Watch our entire slugfest above.
When the acclaimed episode “San Junipero” won the top prize last year it also claimed the award for Best Movie/Mini Writing (Charlie Brooker), which was its only other nomination. This year “USS Callister” is expected to repeat according to the combined predictions of hundreds of Gold Derby users, who give it leading odds of 4/11. And for good reason: “Callister” has more than triple the nominations “San Junipero” had, competing for seven prizes including Best Movie/Mini Actor (Jesse Plemons) and Best Movie/Mini Writing (Brooker and William Bridges).
Rounding out the category are three HBO films — “Fahrenheit 451,” “Paterno,” and “The Tale” — and the Lifetime original “Flint.”
“It’s such a shame that we get a great TV movie like ‘The Tale,’ and then the Emmys just ignore it,” bemoans Chow. Indeed, the film only managed one additional nomination for lead actress Laura Dern, even though it looked like it would be a strong contender in the supporting categories (Ellen Burstyn and Jason Ritter) as well as writing and directing (Jennifer Fox).
Overall, the other contenders paled in comparison to “Black Mirror” in terms of their overall support from the TV academy. “Fahrenheit 451” managed five bids due to its strong showing in tech categories. “Paterno,” meanwhile, has just one additional nomination in Best Movie/Mini Directing (for former Emmy and Oscar champ Barry Levinson), while lead actor Al Pacino, who seemed like a sure thing for a Best Movie/Mini Actor nomination, was snubbed. “Flint” only competes for Best TV Movie.
Original television movies seem to be out of fashion these days, but even though an anthology series is poised to win this category for the second year in a row, Spears believes “TV movies are down, but I don’t think they’ll ever be out. We thought limited series were out a couple years ago, and they found a way to come back” in the form of star-studded programs like “Big Little Lies” and anthology series like “American Horror Story” and “American Crime Story.” So Spears believes this medium is “just treading water until we get a great one.”
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