The Directors Guild of America Awards was the first group to reward “Succession,” handing Adam McKay the drama series win last year for the pilot “Celebration” in an upset (not to mention, temporarily jolting awards fanatics who thought he may have won the feature category for “Vice” at the mere sight of his name as a winner). But it will be far less of a surprise if “Succession” pulls out a second straight win on Saturday, as it’s expected to do.
“This Is Not for Tears,” the Season 2 finale directed by Mark Mylod, is comfortably out in front in our predictions with 16/5 odds. In second is “Game of Thrones'” “The Long Night, by Miguel Sapochnik, followed by two episodes of “Watchmen” (Stephen Williams‘ “This Extraordinary Being” and Nicole Kassell‘s “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice”) and another “Game of Thrones” hour, “The Last of the Starks,” helmed by David Nutter. (Yes, the entire field is HBO.)
“Succession” was an ostensible underdog last year — it was in fourth place in our odds, with the series finale of “The Americans” expected to prevail — but what a different a year makes. Since then, the “eat the rich” satirical dark comedy has become one of the most buzzed-about and renowned series, thanks to its stellar second season. Earlier this month, it scored series prizes at the Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice and Producers Guild of America Awards, along with a drama actor Globe for Brian Cox and a drama actor Critics’ Choice Award for Jeremy Strong. And before that, the first season nabbed two Emmys in September for Nicholas Britell‘s addictive theme and drama writing for series creator Jesse Armstrong. McKay was Emmy-nominated, but lost in one of the night’s biggest shockers to Jason Bateman (“Ozark”), whom he had beaten at DGA. Luckily for “Succession,” “Ozark” is not eligible this year.
In other words, the show’s been on a roll, with its only hiccup coming at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, where it didn’t even get nominated, but the SAG Awards can be infamously behind the curve/rubber-stamp-y with their established favorites.
While “Succession” doesn’t boast the technical razzle dazzle of a “Game of Thrones” episode (but the season finale was on a yacht!), it’ll probably also benefit from its HBO brethren’s nomination windfall. The double bids for “Game of Thrones” and “Watchmen” could cause a double vote-split, paving a clean path for Mylod, who previously worked on “Game of Thrones.” Last year, Bill Hader emerged victorious on the comedy side at DGA for “Barry” in a field of two episodes of “Atlanta” and two episodes of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”
“Succession” would become the 10th show to win this category twice, joining a group that includes “Game of Thrones,” “Breaking Bad,” “Mad Men,” “The Sopranos” and “The West Wing.” “Hill Street Blues” holds the record with four, while “ER” and “Lou Grant” are tied at three apiece.