Best Comedy Directing predictions for Emmys 2020: Will newbies or old favorites fill the five open slots?

The Emmy Awards ballot for Best Comedy Directing lists 185 episodes (from 104 series), so there will seven nominees under the new rules. The six nominees last year were:

  • “Barry” season 2: “The Audition” (Alec Berg)
  • “Barry” season 2: “ronny/lily” (Bill Hader)
  • “The Big Bang Theory” season 12: “The Stockholm Syndrome” (Mark Cendrowski)
  • Winner “Fleabag” season 1: “Episode 1” (Harry Bradbeer)
  • “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” season 2: “All Alone” (Amy Sherman-Palladino)
  • “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” season 2: “We’re Going to the Catskills!” (Daniel Palladino)

Only “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is back in contention. It won two years ago over “Silicon Valley,” which was nominated for its fifth (consecutive) season. After an extended hiatus that made it ineligible last year, “Silicon Valley” contends now for its sixth and final season. Nominated for “Barry” last year and for directing “Silicon Valley” in 2016, Alec Berg contends for the “Silicon Valley” series finale. Six series finales were nominated in Best Drama Directing last decade, but only two in Best Comedy Directing: “The Big Bang Theory” last year and “30 Rock” in 2013. Other series finales in contention this year include those from “The Good Place” and “Schitt’s Creek.” Neither has been nominated in this category before, but rank in the top three in Gold Derby’s combined odds for Best Comedy Series.

“Fleabag” won last year after being snubbed for its first season and “Veep” went onto seven nominations in this category after being snubbed for its first three seasons. Among those looking to break in for later seasons include “Better Things,” “Dead to Me” and “Ramy.” “Curb Your Enthusiasm” eyes a comeback, having been nominated 10 times in this race from 2002 from 2012, then snubbed the only year that it competed since then, in 2018.

“Will & Grace” contends for its final season, having been nominated six times in this category from 1999 to 2005. It contends to fill the nomination slot that has been reserved for a multi-camera sitcom since a rule change two years ago. Mark Cendrowski filled it the last two years for “The Big Bang Theory” and contends now for “The Neighborhood.” “One Day at a Time” stands to build on momentum from beating both “The Big Bang Theory” and “Will & Grace” last year for Best Comedy Multi-Camera Editing.

“Dave” and “The Great” contend with their pilots, a successful strategy for seven comedies last decade, including 2010 winner “Glee” and 2018 winner “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” “Dickinson” and “Mythic Quest” have foregone their pilots; six comedies last decade were nominated in their first seasons for episodes other than their pilots, with “Glee” being the only comedy to be nominated twice for its first season. 2015 was the last year that no comedy received multiple nominations in this category.

Submissions from top contenders:

“Better Things” season 4
“Listen to the Roosters” (Pamela Adlon)

“Curb Your Enthusiasm” season 10
“Artificial Fruit” (Cheryl Hines)
“Happy New Year” (Jeff Schaffer)
“The Surprise Party” (Erin O’Malley)

“Dave” season 1
“Ally’s Toast” (Ben Sinclair)
“The Gander” (Greg Mottola)
“Jail” (Tony Yacenda)

“Dead to Me” season 2
“It’s Not You, It’s Me” (Silver Tree)
“You Don’t Have To” (Liz Allen Rosenbaum)

“Dickinson” season 1
“I Felt a Funeral, in My Brain” (Patrick Norris)
“Wild Nights” (Lynn Shelton)

“The Good Place” season 4
“Whenever You’re Ready” (Michael Schur)

“The Great” season 1
“The Beaver’s Nose” (Geeta V. Patel)
“The Great” (Matt Shakman)
“Meatballs at the Dacha” (Colin Bucksey)

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” season 3
“It’s Comedy or Cabbage” (Amy Sherman-Palladino)
“Marvelous Radio” (Daniel Palladino)

“Mythic Quest” season 1
“Quarantine” (Rob McElhenney)

“The Neighborhood” season 2
“Welcome to the Hockey Game” (Mark Cendrowski)
“Welcome to the Vow Renewal” (Jeff Greenstein)

“One Day at a Time” season 4
“Boundaries” (Phill Lewis)

“Ramy” season 2
“Miakhalifa.mov” (Ramy Youssef)

“Schitt’s Creek” season 6
“Happy Ending” (Andrew Cividino & Daniel Levy)

“Silicon Valley” season 6
“Artificial Lack of Intelligence” (Mike Judge)
“Exit Event” (Alec Berg)
“Tethics” (Peter Chatmon)

“Will & Grace” season 11
“We Love Lucy” (James Burrows)

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