‘When They See Us’ expected to deliver Netflix its first series prize at the Emmys

In 2013, Netflix became the first streaming service to receive a series nomination at the Primetime Emmy Awards when “House of Cards” made the Best Drama Series lineup. But it has since been beaten to the podium by not one but two streaming rivals, as Hulu broke through in 2017 with a Best Drama Series statuette for “The Handmaid’s Tale” and Amazon Prime followed in 2018 with a Best Comedy Series victory for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Netflix is still chasing that elusive series Emmy, but it could finally come this year.

It wouldn’t likely be in the top two series races of comedy and drama, where Netflix has three nominations combined, but rather for Best Limited Series, which the streamer’s four-part “When They See Us” is favored to win in our early odds. A dramatization of the Central Park Five case, “When They See Us” was late entry to the Emmy race — it dropped on the last day of eligibility, May 31 — but that didn’t hurt it as it scored 16 nominations, including an unexpected eight for its ensemble cast of actors. The support, at least from the actors, is there for the Ava DuVernay project and its powerful, resonant exploration of the hardships and biases African-Americans faced — and still face — in the criminal justice system.

SEE The Central Park 8: ‘When They See Us’ is tied for second most acting Emmy nominations for a limited series

But unlike last year’s weak limited series field, “When They See Us” will have to take out some stiff competition to make history for Netflix, whose biggest program prizes so far are two Best TV Movie wins for “Black Mirror: San Junipero” and “Black Mirror: USS Callister” the past two years. HBO’s surprising worldwide phenomenon “Chernobyl” leads the limited series field with 19 nominations and is in second in our odds. “Escape at Dannemora,” which netted a trio of acting awards for Patricia Arquette and the Directors Guild of America Award for Ben Stiller earlier this year, is in third, followed by “Fosse/Verdon” and “Sharp Objects.”

As for Netflix’s chances in the drama and comedy series races, well, you are a brave soul if you’re going against “Game of Thrones” in drama. Netflix’s “Ozark” and “Bodyguard” are in third and eighth place there, and “Russian Doll” is in fifth in comedy.

PREDICT the Emmys now; change them until September 22

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 Emmy taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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