Best Casting Emmy previewed Best Comedy Series win for ‘Fleabag’

Chernobyl” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” led all limited and comedy series in Emmy nominations, then each led in Creative Arts wins without taking their respective Best Casting races. “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” finally moved into the front-runner position for Best Comedy Series, which it proceeded to lose to “Fleabag,” which had won the casting prize. “Chernobyl” won Best Limited Series over casting champ “When They See Us.”

The Best Casting categories were once immaculate bellwethers and presaged all of the Best Comedy, Drama and Limited Series winners in 2015 and 2016, the first two years in which the Emmys were decided by broad-based popularity votes instead of blue-ribbon judging panels. That 2015 change coincided with the academy opening up voting on the Casting categories to the directors’ and producers’ branches in addition to the casting directors’ branch.

Between having more voters and those voters having diverse professions, the Casting categories began to preview the Series races that were voted on by the academy at large. The Casting categories that had awarded new shows almost every year and rarely nominated shows past their third seasons were suddenly citing “Game of Thrones” and “Veep” repeatedly in their later years at the expense of new shows with diverse casts like “Mr. Robot” and “Transparent.” The Casting nominees this year come exclusively from Series nominees, which had never happened before 2015.

“Fleabag” went on to win Best Comedy Series, extending Best Comedy Casting’s streak to five years of awarding the Best Comedy Series. “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” picked up two additional awards at the main ceremony, making this the second time that this comedy has won eight Emmys in a single year.

“When They See Us” is only the second show in the last 15 years to lose Best Limited Series after winning Best Movie/Limited Casting, after “Mildred Pierce” lost to “Downton Abbey” in 2011. In hindsight, “When They See Us” won its Casting award on merit and not because of a groundswell. Taking Casting as gospel led Gold Derby astray two years ago, when “The Handmaid’s Tale” won Best Drama Series after losing Best Drama Casting to “Stranger Things,” which had a large ensemble of children like “When They See Us.”

“Chernobyl” won seven Creative Arts Emmys, putting it on track to be the first ever to win that many and lose Best Limited Series. The last limited series to win seven Creative Arts Emmys was “The Pacific,” which capped off at eight with its Best Limited Series win in 2010. “John Adams” won eight Creative Arts Emmys in 2008, then added five more, including Best Limited Series, to set the record for most Emmys in a single year.

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “When They See Us” were justifiable predictions individually, but questionable in tandem. “Chernobyl” was stronger than “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (seven Creative Arts wins versus six) and had a weaker competitor (“When They See Us” with one Creative Arts win versus “Fleabag” with two), yet “Chernobyl” had longer odds. “Fleabag” did not even rank second, as it was behind “Veep,” which was shut out this year.

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