The Directors Guild of America will announce nominations in three final categories on Friday: Best Drama Directing, Best Comedy Directing and Best Variety Special Directing. These were set to be revealed this past Monday with the other TV categories, but an electronic issue prompted a re-vote. As almost all of the directors’ branch of the TV academy number among the DGA membership, these groups tend to nominate the same shows.
However, the two awards differ in their eligibility periods; the DGA uses the calendar year as opposed to June to May. All six of the comedy and drama episodes that the DGA nominated one year ago that had not contended at the 2018 Emmys scored Emmy nominations this past summer.
The best bet for a nomination among dramas is “Game of Thrones,” having taken three slots for each of its last eligible seasons at DGA and the Emmys. Defending their slots are “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Succession,” which are the two dramas that won DGA after “Game of Thrones” won twice. These three lost at the last Emmys to “Ozark,” which did not air in 2019 and was nominated by the DGA last year for its Emmy-winning episode.
“Big Little Lies,” “The Crown,” “Mindhunter” and “Stranger Things” are back in contention after skipping 2018. “The Crown” seeks its first DGA nomination, having won the 2018 Emmy; “Big Little Lies” won DGA and the Emmy for its first season, which contended as a limited series; “Mindhunter” was barely a factor at awards for its first season, but its second season has broken through with the American Cinema Editors and Writers Guild of America; “Stranger Things” scored both DGA and Emmy nominations for both of its previous seasons. “The Morning Show” and “Watchmen” hope to follow the lead of “Stranger Things,” which the DGA nominated for its debut ahead of the Emmys, directly opposite the debut season of “Westworld” both times.
“Veep” won the last three times that it contended for DGA, but it has had a rough awards run for its final season. The show was shut out at the Emmys after failing to repeat its nominations in several categories, including Best Comedy Directing. More recently, it was snubbed by the Screen Actors Guild for Best Comedy Ensemble and Best Comedy Actress, having won both races for its previous season. “Fleabag” supplanted it as the industry’s favorite comedy and now contends to break through with the DGA as it did at the Emmys, going from a first-season snub to a second-season win. The latter came at the expense of two episodes of “Barry,” which looks to defend its DGA crown.
“Fleabag” also won at the Emmys over two episodes of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” both of which the DGA nominated last year. “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” contends for its third season and first DGA Award, having won only the Emmy for its pilot. “Russian Doll” is positioned best of new comedies, but the DGA has not nominated a new comedy that the Emmys previously snubbed for Best Comedy Directing since the 1988 debut of “The Wonder Years.”
The Best Variety Special Directing nominees that 2018’s “Springsteen on Broadway” defeated at the Emmys are eligible: “Carpool Karaoke,” “Homecoming,” “Live in Front of a Studio Audience” and “The Oscars.” They stand to challenge “The Grammys,” which won DGA last year over three-time victor “The Tonys.” “Full Frontal” is eyeing a comeback on a smaller scale, having been snubbed last year after holding a slot for two years. One stand-up special is nominated on average; comedians in contention include Aziz Ansari, Dave Chappelle, Desi Lydic, John Mulaney, Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Ramy Youssef.
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