Beyonce (“Homecoming“) and Ava DuVernay (“When They See Us”) made history with their Emmy nominations this year. By earning bids as directors they became the first black women in Primetime Emmy history to receive multiple directing noms in their careers. And if they prevail they would be the first ever to win.
“Homecoming” is Beyonce’s music documentary about the making of her 2018 Coachella concert inspired by historically black colleges and universities. It has six total Emmy nominations, four of which are for Beyonce herself: Best Variety Special (Pre-Recorded) as a producer as well as Best Variety Special Writing, Best Variety Special Directing and Best Music Direction. That brings her to a career total of eight Emmy nominations; one of her previous bids was for Best Variety Special Directing for her “Lemonade” visual album in 2016, but she has yet to win in any category.
Meanwhile, “When They See Us” is a limited series telling the true story of the five boys who were wrongly convicted of a brutal rape in Central Park but weren’t exonerated until more than a decade later. It’s nominated for 16 Emmys, which makes it one of the year’s most honored programs. And like Beyonce, DuVernay is nominated for writing, directing and producing it. She’s already an Emmy winner, having claimed Best Documentary Special and Best Nonfiction Writing in 2017 for “13th.” She was also up for Best Nonfiction Directing but lost that prize to Ezra Edelman (“O.J.: Made in America”).
Only three other black women have been nominated for directing, and they were only nominated once: Debbie Allen (Best Variety Directing for “The Debbie Allen Special,” 1989), Millicent Shelton (Best Comedy Directing for “30 Rock,” 2009) and Dee Rees (Best Movie/Mini Directing for “Bessie,” 2015). So it would be unprecedented if DuVernay and Beyonce win, and even more so if they manage to win as writers and producers too.
Based on the combined predictions of Gold Derby users as of this writing, DuVernay is the front-runner to win Best Movie/Mini Directing as well as Best Limited Series, while “Chernobyl” is tipped to win Best Movie/Mini Writing. Beyonce is our current front-runner to win Best Variety Special, though she trails the Oscars telecast in our predictions for Best Variety Special Directing, and “Hannah Gadsby: Nanette” has the advantage for Best Variety Special Writing. So it’s looking like both women will come away from the Emmys as winners, though only one of them is expected to make history in the directing race. How many prizes do you think they’ll take home?
Be sure to make your Emmy predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before winners are announced on September 22. And join in the fun debate over the 2019 Emmys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.