Critics love “When They See Us.” The Netflix limited series premiered to rave reviews when it dropped on Friday, May 31. But its Emmy hopes will be determined by industry esteem: these awards are voted on by television insiders including actors, directors, writers and more., and critics don’t get a say. The good news for the true-crime drama is that, based anecdotally on social media responses, the praise from writer-director Ava Duvernay‘s peers seems strong. Scroll down for a sampling of tweets from high-profile stars who have been banging the drum for the series.
“When They See Us” tells the true story of the five teenagers who were arrested in 1989 for the rape of a jogger in Central Park. Questioned for hours without representation, they were coerced into false confessions, brought to trial and convicted. They weren’t exonerated until 2002, after which they sued New York City, which finally settled in 2014 and paid the wrongly incarcerated men $41 million.
The premiere date for the series was also the very last day to qualify for this year’s Emmys, which can be a double-edged sword. It will be fresh in mind when voters start marking their ballots on June 10, but will enough of them have seen it by then? The nearly five-hour series pulls no punches in its depiction of the torturous treatment the young men received from when they were aged 14 to 16 until they were adults facing the inescapable stigma of being convicted sex offenders. It’s not “feel-good” viewing by any means, so getting industry members to set aside time for it might have been a challenge.
But Netflix is supporting it with a prime spot during their Emmy FYSEE program with DuVernay, executive producer Oprah Winfrey and the real men the series is based on. And it’s getting raves from a wide array of celebrities, including Oscar and Emmy winner Viola Davis, who calls it a “must-see,” Oscar and Emmy winner Guillermo Del Toro, who says, “Ava is here to stay — and to wield truth and power.” Emmy nominee Kerry Washington thinks it’s a “heartbreakingly necessary work of brilliance.” And Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain says, “This is what I’ve been waiting for. Thank you for sharing your light.” A wide range of stars including Janelle Monae, Ella Mai, Meek Mill, Ken Burns and LeVar Burton have also joined the chorus, all in just the first few days of its release.
Is “When They See Us” looking good for Emmy nominations, and perhaps Emmy wins? Check out some of the glowing comments below, and make or update your Emmy predictions here.
— Jessica Chastain (@jes_chastain) June 1, 2019
— Viola Davis (@violadavis) June 1, 2019
Ava is here to stay- and to wield truth and power. https://t.co/2lnXjAL4e5
— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) June 1, 2019
I had to keep breathing. Episode #1 nearly broke my heart, however I’ll keep watching. This is essential viewing for EVERY American! As essential to your understanding of America as was, ROOTS! #bydhttmwfi
Bravo @ava @WhenTheySeeUs pic.twitter.com/jwNOjpq3Qb
— LeVar Burton (@levarburton) June 2, 2019
— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) June 2, 2019
i really just want to commend everyone that played any type of part in the making of @WhenTheySeeUs .. this story is so important. you all SMASHED it! 🗣
— Ella Mai (@ellamai) June 2, 2019
Hope everyone watches tonight. Congrats to all involved – Ava DuVernay goes deep on Central Park Five Netflix series When They See Us | https://t.co/wL2tuasa65 @ava @UNUMKenBurns @sarah_l_burns https://t.co/6UBzZxeSsC
— Ken Burns (@KenBurns) May 31, 2019
“When they see us” is super emotional if you been thru the system! Thank you Ava and all the creators of this series!
— Meek Mill (@MeekMill) June 1, 2019
— Janelle Monáe, Cindi (@JanelleMonae) June 1, 2019
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.