Three weeks ago, “Chernobyl” was in seventh place in our Best Limited Series Emmy predictions, two spots out of the field of five. Now? It’s rocketed up to second place to sit behind season-long frontrunner “Escape at Dannemora.” Four Experts, two of our Editors and four of our Top 24 Users are predicting “Chernobyl” to win, which would garner another record for HBO: most awarded network in the category.
Currently with nine wins, HBO would tie NBC and PBS at an even 10 apiece should “Chernobyl” take home the prize. And unlike those networks, which dominated the category in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, HBO has been a modern powerhouse in Best Limited Series, nabbing eight of its nine statuettes since 2000 (this does not include its wins for its TV films “Game Change” in 2012 and “Behind the Candelabra” in 2013 when the limited series and TV movie categories were combined into one from 2011-13).
Until “Chernobyl” came along in May, it appeared like HBO’s hopes in this race would rest on “Sharp Objects” and “True Detective,” but neither was ever considered a favorite to win given “Dannemora’s” great precursor run earlier this year. “Sharp Objects” is still predicted to receive a nomination, in fourth place, but “True Detective” has since fallen out of our top five to seventh place.
It’s safe to say “Chernobyl” snuck up on everyone. A dramatization of the devastating nuclear disaster in 1986, the five-part series premiered with minimal buzz besides the usual “this looks like a good prestige HBO project.” And it definitely is, from its superb writing and acting by a cast that includes Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgard and Emily Watson to its bleak, haunting cinematography, but few could’ve predicted just how much it would connect with audiences. It’s now the top-rated show on IMDb, and while that metric is very, very far from being the arbiter of quality, it does show how fast and hard the show hit the zeitgeist.
Plus, if you believe in patterns, then HBO is also “due” to win here again. Since limited series and TV movie were split again in 2014, FX and HBO have alternated Best Limited Series victories, with the latter prevailing in odd-numbered years: “Olive Kitteridge” won in 2015 and “Big Little Lies” struck gold in 2017.
Rounding out our top five predictions are “Fosse/Verdon” in third place and “When They See Us,” another late-arriving contender, in fifth.
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 nominations are announced on July 16. And join in the fun debate over the 2019 Emmy taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.