TV movies suffer historic Emmy shutout in acting, writing and directing categories

For the first time since the Emmys started formally considering limited series and movies separately from continuing dramas in 1971, no movies are nominated for their acting, writing or directing. The 2019 nominations announcement revealed that this is also the first year that three of the Best TV Movie nominees — “Brexit,” “King Lear” and “My Dinner with Hervé” — have no other nominations. Each contends to be the second Best TV Movie winner without any other nominations, after “Day One,” which tied with “Roe vs. Wade” in 1989. “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” and “Deadwood: The Movie” are nominated only in Creative Arts races.

“Bandersnatch” is the latest installment in the “Black Mirror” anthology, which won Best Movie/Limited Writing the last two years and picked up additional above-the-line nominations last year for lead actor Jesse Plemons and supporting actress Letitia Wright. “The Movie” is the revival to the “Deadwood” series that premiered in 2004 and was cancelled in 2006. Its pilot won Best Drama Directing for Walter Hill and was nominated for Best Drama Writing. The first season also scored nominations for supporting actor Brad Dourif and supporting actress Robin Weigert; the second season scored nominations for director Gregg Fienberg and lead actor Ian McShane.

Movies had been falling out of favor at the Emmys for years before this historic nadir. Perhaps the cracks started showing in 2011 when the Best Movie/Limited Supporting Actress category shut out movies for the only time since 1973, when supporting actresses in movies and limited series competed directly with dramas in a combined category that had only three nomination slots. 2016 marked the only previous movie shutout in Best Movie/Limited Writing. The Emmys came closest to shutting out movies above the line outside of the Best TV Movie category in 2017, which featured the only previous movie shutouts in both Best Movie/Limited Directing and Best Movie/Limited Actress. 2017 was also the second year of four running now in which Best Movie/Limited Supporting Actor comprised performances from limited series exclusively; the category previously shut out movies in 1979, 1983 and 2006. This is the first time that Best Movie/Limited Actor has not nominated any movie performances.

SEE why “Black Mirror” is ineligible for Best TV Movie 2020.

Only 21 movies submitted for consideration this year, down from 34 last year, which was down from 40 in 2017, but above the 2016 low of 29. 38 entered in 2015 and 37 in 2014. Movies competed in a combined Best Movie or Miniseries category from 2011 to 2013; 33 movies submitted in 2013, 41 in 2012 and 31 in 2011. Movies earned just eight nominations this year outside of the Best TV Movie category, down from 15 last year, but even with the eight in 2017. Movies had 16 nominations in 2016, 19 in 2015, 38 in 2014, 41 in 2013, 41 in 2012 and 25 in 2011.

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