“When They See Us” is the odds-on front-runner to win major 2019 Emmy Awards like Best Limited Series and Best Movie/Limited Directing, but curiously not Best Movie/Limited Writing. As Zach Laws explains to me and our fellow Gold Derby contributor Luca Giliberti in a joint slugfest about our predictions in the latter two categories (watch the video above), “These awards rarely go together, even when we have a big sweeper.”
Laws rationalizes about why “Chernobyl” is ahead instead in the Writing race, “When people look at the achievement of what Craig Mazin did with ‘Chernobyl’ — writing all five of these episodes, the amount of research that he had to do, being able to take all of this scientific mumbo jumbo and turn it into comprehensible dialogue, making it dramatic, making it suspenseful, making it moving and all of that stuff — people could really go for that.” He argues about why “When They See Us” under Ava DuVernay is trailing, “People are going to look at that more of an achievement of directing, simply because she’s more famous in that regard and also because of the fact that because she used other co-writers for each episode.”
Giliberti agrees, but I am more cynical about the academy spreading the wealth because individual voters do not have that option; only the directors’ branch votes on the Directing categories and only the writers’ branch votes on the Writing categories. “They only get to vote in one or the other, so they’re just going to pick their favorite,” I argue about how individual voters will not consider whether something is more director- or writer-driven. What we all agree on is that if there is an upset brewing, the beneficiary will be “A Very English Scandal.” This is the first Emmy nomination for BAFTA-winning screenwriter Russell T Davies, who is best known for reviving “Doctor Who.” I add, “It’s clearly disproportionately liked by the writers as opposed to the whole academy, seeing as it doesn’t have a Series nomination.”
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