2018 Emmy race for Best Comedy Directing: What pilots will be nominated?

The Emmy Awards ballot for Best Comedy Directing lists 195 episodes from 105 series, up from 174 episodes from 82 series last year, when the nominees were:

Atlanta” season 1
Winner — “B.A.N.” (Donald Glover)

Silicon Valley” season 4
“Intellectual Property” (Jamie Babbit)
“Server Error” (Mike Judge)

“Veep” season 6
“Blurb” (Morgan Sackett)
“Justice” (Dale Stern)
“Groundbreaking” (David Mandel)

“Veep” did not air this season. Lead “Atlanta” director Hiro Murai was snubbed last year; he has a stronger episode this time and more name recognition from directing the music video for Childish Gambino’s “This is America.”

Having been nominated two years ago for “Silicon Valley” when he last directed it, Alec Berg has submitted his work on the first season finale of “Barry.” He also directed this season’s “Silicon Valley” finale, but Best Comedy Directing is one of only six categories that precludes multiple ballot submissions. Having directed both “Great News” and “Veep” last year, Beth McCarthy-Miller submitted her work on the former here, then won the Directors Guild of America Award for the latter. “Barry” is more likely to be nominated for its pilot by Bill Hader, given the category’s affinity for series premieres. Berg was actually overlooked four years ago for his work on the first season finale of “Silicon Valley,” with Mike Judge instead scoring a nomination for the show’s debut. “Silicon Valley” is one of six comedies this decade that has been nominated for its pilot, the others being “The Last Man on Earth” (2015), “New Girl” (2012), “Glee” (2010), “Modern Family” (2010) and “Nurse Jackie” (2010). “The Last Man on Earth,” “New Girl” and “Nurse Jackie” were never nominated in this category again.

Other pilots in contention include those from “GLOW” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” The latter strategically submitted and campaigned only its pilot, but guest director Scott Ellis (or his representative) submitted his work, so “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” now has two episodes on the ballot. Ellis was previously nominated for guest-directing an episode from the first season of “30 Rock;” that comedy’s pilot was snubbed.

Although it curiously did not submit its series finale, “Episodes” contends for its fifth and final season, having been nominated four years ago for its third season. The last two series finales nominated in this category came from comedies that had not been nominated in two (“30 Rock”) and four years (“Everybody Loves Raymond”). “Curb Your Enthusiasm” was last nominated six years ago, which is the last time that it was eligible. “Curb Your Enthusiasm” curiously did not submit its best-received episode “The Accidental Text on Purpose,” with director Larry Charles opting instead for “Thank You for Your Service.” It might be moot because the favorite from the show is Robert B. Weide, who won in 2003. He has been nominated all five years that the show has been nominated in this category, including three in which he was the show’s only nominee.

A new rule this year mandates that the multi-camera contender with the most votes will occupy one of the category’s six nomination slots, so Best Comedy Directing will feature its first multi-camera nominee since Pamela Fryman for “How I Met Your Mother” seven years ago. Fryman contends this year for “One Day at a Time.” A three-time nominee and two-time winner for “Modern Family,” Gail Mancuso contends again for “Roseanne.” James Burrows contends again for “Will & Grace,” having been nominated for six of the first eight seasons and having won this award for “Frasier” in 1994, “Cheers” in 1991 and 1983 and “Taxi” in 1981 and 1980. If the slot yields a first-time Emmy nominee, it is likely to be Mark Cendrowski, who has reaped two Directors Guild nominations for “The Big Bang Theory.”

Submissions from top contenders:

“Atlanta” season 2
“FUBU” (Donald Glover)
“Teddy Perkins” (Hiro Murai)

“Barry” season 1
“Commit… to You” (Maggie Carey)
“Know Your Truth” (Alec Berg)
“Make Your Mark” (Bill Hader)

“The Big Bang Theory” season 11
“The Bow Tie Asymmetry” (Mark Cendrowski)
“The Neonatal Nomenclature” (Gay Linvill)
“The Tesla Recoil” (Anthony Rich)

“Curb Your Enthusiasm” season 9
“Fatwa!” (Jeff Schaffer)
“Namaste” (Jessie Nelson)
“Never Wait for Seconds!” (Robert B. Weide)
“The Pickle Gambit” (David Steinberg)
“Running with the Bulls” (Bryan Gordon)
“Thank You for Your Service” (Larry Charles)

“Episodes” season 5
“Episode Five” (Jeffrey Klarik)

“GLOW” season 1
“Maybe It’s All the Disco” (Sian Heder)
“Pilot” (Jesse Peretz)

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” season 1
“Mrs. X at the Gaslight” (Scott Ellis)
“Pilot” (Amy Sherman-Palladino)

“One Day at a Time” season 2
“Hello, Penelope” (Phill Lewis)
“Not Yet” (Pamela Fryman)

“Roseanne” season 10
“Eggs Over, Not Easy” (John Pasquin)
“Knee Deep” (Gail Mancuso)
“Netflix and Pill” (Andrew D. Weyman)

“Silicon Valley” season 5
“Chief Operating Officer” (Jamie Babbit)
“Initial Coin Offering” (Mike Judge)

“Will & Grace” season 9
“Rosario’s Quinceañera” (James Burrows)

Make your Emmy predictions, so that Hollywood insiders can see how their shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before nominees are announced on July 12. And join in the fun debate taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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