Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is having a great January, picking up major wins at the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Awards. The series and star Rachel Brosnahan won Best Comedy Series and Best Comedy Actress at both ceremonies, cementing itself as a threat in the corresponding Emmy categories. With reigning two-time champ “Veep” reportedly not returning within the Emmys eligibility window, Amazon could land its first series win thanks to “Mrs. Maisel.”
Precursor victories and the Emmys don’t necessarily go hand in hand like they do with the Oscars, likely due to the Emmys being eight months later than said precursors. We’ve seen countless instances of actresses like Gina Rodriguez (“Jane the Virgin”), Carrie Coon (“The Leftovers”), Ruth Wilson (“The Affair”) and Katey Sagal (“Sons of Anarchy”) win at the Golden Globes and/or Critics’ Choice but not even get nominated at the Emmys. One of the most notable examples is Rachel Bloom (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”), who won at both kudos but was not able to overcome the CW bias to get nominated for Best Comedy Actress at the Emmys.
It’s possible that Brosnahan and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” could suffer the same fate, especially considering it streamed in November so it won’t be fresh in Emmy voters’ minds. But what could make the difference compared to those other performances and shows is that “Maisel” has become a huge hit with industry guilds. The series is nominated at the Directors Guild of America, the Producers Guild of America and the Costume Designers Guild, and the first two are huge, especially for a new show. It is also worth noting that Rodriguez, Bloom, Coon and Sagal’s shows did not also win series prizes, and while Wilson and “The Affair” won at the Golden Globes, that show did not have the kind of guild support “Mrs. Maisel” has.
Amazon has had up and down success at the Emmys since “Transparent” first broke through in 2015. The series was nominated twice in a row in Comedy Series but was dropped in 2017, while Jeffrey Tambor, Bradley Whitford and director Jill Soloway have picked up wins. The only other Amazon series to earn attention on the main Emmys telecast is “Catastrophe,” with a single writing nomination. But now that Hulu has broken through with “The Handmaid’s Tale” to become the first streaming service to win a series award, Amazon might be next with “Maisel.” Even with “Veep” out of the running the show might face some tough competition from series like “GLOW,” “Atlanta,” “Black-ish,” “Silicon Valley” and revived shows like “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Will & Grace” and “Roseanne.” Meanwhile, an ineligible Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep”) could make Brosnahan the first person other than JLD to win Best Comedy Actress since Melissa McCarthy (“Mike & Molly”) way back in 2011.
“Maisel” has so many things going for it in Best Comedy Series as well, from its feminist subject matter to its stunning visuals to the pedigree of creator/writer/director Amy Sherman-Palladino (“Gilmore Girls”). Despite being set in the 1950s it feels like a show for tomorrow, with commanding women both in front of and behind the camera. “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Big Little Lies” were the shows that won alongside “Maisel” at both the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Awards, and collectively they send a strong message. They prove that female-centric stories are some of the best on TV today. In particular, these are stories about women overcoming oppression and abuse set in place by men, which mirror the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements that have sprung up over the past year.
While “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is certainly more lighthearted than those other shows, when we see the titular Mrs. Maisel break free from the constraints of what society expects from a woman we become just as invested in her uprising as with Offred in “The Handmaid’s Tale” or Celeste in “Big Little Lies.” And just like we saw with those shows at last year’s Emmys, voters might not be able to resist Mrs. Maisel.
Be sure to make your SAG predictions so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on January 21. And join in the fierce debate over the 2018 SAG Awards taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our TV forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.