When the Emmy nominations were announced on Thursday morning, July 12, it looked like it might have been a complete shut out for “Twin Peaks.” The Showtime revival was snubbed for Best Limited Series and Kyle MacLachlan was also missing from Best Movie/Mini Actor. But when the entire list was released it turned out the show had done pretty well for itself in behind-the-scenes categories. It picked up nine total bids including Best Movie/Mini Directing for David Lynch and Best Movie/Mini Writing for Lynch and Mark Frost. Could the show still win those categories despite its snub in top categories? Yes, because “The Hour” is at hand.
It’s very rare for a movie or miniseries to win for its writing or directing without a corresponding nomination in the top category, but that’s exactly what “The Hour” did in 2013 when it pulled off one of the biggest shockers in recent Emmy history. That British period drama about 1950s TV journalists for the BBC only ever received three Emmy nominations during its two-year run: Best Movie/Mini Writing in 2012 and 2013 and Best Movie/Mini Casting in 2013.
In 2013 the overwhelming favorite to win was “Behind the Candelabra,” penned by Oscar nominee Richard LaGravenese (“The Fisher King”). Indeed, “Candelabra” ended up winning 11 Emmys, including Best Movie/Miniseries, Best Movie/Mini Actor (Michael Douglas) and Best Movie/Mini Directing (Steven Soderbergh). But instead Abi Morgan snatched the writing prize for penning all six episodes of “The Hour,” even though she was also up against a couple more Oscar heavyweights: David Mamet (“Phil Spector”) and Jane Campion (“Top of the Lake”).
Lynch and Frost are like Morgan in that they wrote the entirety of “Twin Peaks” — all 18 hours of it. That’s more nominated material than the rest of the Movie/Mini Writing category combined: the seven-part “Godless” by Scott Frank, the five-part “Patrick Melrose” by David Nicholls, the “Black Mirror” episode “USS Callister” by William Bridges and Charlie Brooker, and one episode apiece of “American Vandal” (“Clean Up” by Kevin McManus and Michael McManus) and “The Assassination of Gianni Versace” (“House by the Lake” by Tom Rob Smith).
Lynch might have an even better chance in the Movie/Mini Directing race, where 18 hours by a single director would be the biggest — or at least lengthiest — achievement rewarded by far. There he’s up against Edward Berger for helming all of “Patrick Melrose,” Scott Frank for all of “Godless,” Ryan Murphy for an episode of “Versace” (“The Man Who Would Be Vogue”), Craig Zisk for an episode of “The Looming Tower” (“9/11”), David Leveaux and Alex Rudzinski for the live telefilm “Jesus Christ Superstar,” and Barry Levinson for the telefilm “Paterno.”
The last three winners for Best Movie/Mini Directing have been single directors of an entire limited series: Lisa Cholodenko for “Olive Kitteridge” (2015), Susanne Bier for “The Night Manager” (2016) and Jean-Marc Vallee for “Big Little Lies” (2017). Can Lynch make it four in a row?