The made-for-TV movie was a programming staple for the broadcast networks in the 1970s and 1980s. While it fell out of favor in the 1990s and was even dropped as an Emmy Awards category for three years beginning in 2011, it has been on an upswing as of late. This year, 41 telefilms are in contention for the five nominations that will be revealed on July 13; last year only 28 TV movies were submitted.
All 22,000 plus voting members of the TV academy have until June 28 to cast their 2021 Emmy Awards nominations ballots for their favorite TV movies. In the past, voters were limited in the number of telefilms that they could put forth. In 2017 that cap (which was usually 10 per category) was lifted. And, as opposed to the Oscars, voters for the Emmys do not rank their choices and nominees are determined by a simple tally.
“As Luck Would Have It”
Lindsey travels to Ireland to acquire land that is perfect for a resort. She decides to enter the town’s matchmaking festival to prove her investment and win over a handsome local. Filmed on location in Ireland.
Starring: JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Allen Leech
“Assault On VA-33”
Marine Jason Hill meets his wife for lunch at the Veteran’s Affairs hospital where she works. When she is called away for consultation with a four-star general, the hospital is taken hostage by terrorists. Jason becomes the only hope, battling the terrorists and his PTSD to save everyone.
Starring: Sean Patrick Flanery, Mark Dacascos, Abigail Hawk, Gerald Webb, Gina Holden, Weston Cage Coppola, Michael Jai White
In the near future, during a 12-hour period when all drinking and drug laws are abolished, three high school seniors must avoid their insane principal (Vince Vaughn) while navigating their way through the chaos of the evening to get to the ultimate party.
Starring: Skyler Gisondo, Dexter Darden, Eduardo Franco, Vince Vaughn
After losing his wife and his memory in a car accident, a single father undergoes an experimental treatment that causes him to question who he really is.
Starring: Mamoudou Athie, Phylicia Rashad, Amanda Christine, Tosin Morohunfola
Bliss is a love story following Greg who, after being divorced then fired, meets mysterious Isabel, a woman living on the streets, convinced that the polluted, broken world around them is just a computer simulation. Doubtful at first, Greg eventually discovers there may be truth to Isabel’s wild conspiracy.
Starring: Salma Hayek, Owen Wilson
“Books Of Blood”
Based on Clive Barker’s horror anthology book series, Books of Blood is a journey into uncharted territory through three tales tangled in space and time.
Starring: Britt Robertson, Anna Friel, Rafi Gavron, Yul Vazquez, Freda Foh Shen, Nicholas Campbell, Kenji Fitzgerald, Paige Turco, Saad Siddiqui, Brett Rickaby
Stuck in a time loop, doomed to repeat the same day over and over again while being hunted by dozens of deadly assassins, a man struggles to find a way out of his strange predicament.
Starring: Frank Grillo, Mel Gibson, Naomi Watts, Michelle Yeoh, Will Sasso, Ken Jeong
When a hopelessly romantic high school senior falls for a mysterious new classmate, it sets them both on an unexpected journey that teaches them about love, loss, and most importantly themselves.
Starring: Lili Reinhart, Austin Abrams, Sarah Jones, Adhir Kalyan, Kara Young, Coral Peña
“The Christmas Doctor”
Zoey is a traveling doctor assigned to a small-town clinic two weeks before Christmas. She is greeted by the town’s colorful residents, as well as handsome software engineer Luke. As the holiday nears, Zoey’s charmed by the town and its people and is surprised to feel at home there.
Starring: Holly Robinson Peete, Adrian Holmes
“The Christmas House”
When TV star Mike Mitchell’s parents ask him to bring back a revered family tradition, he revisits the Mitchell family magic of Christmases past.
Starring: Robert Buckley, Ana Ayora, Treat Williams, Sharon Lawrence, Jonathan Bennett, Brad Harder, Mattia Castrillo
Inspired by a true story, Clouds is an ode to the life of Zach Sobiech, a seventeen-year-old, fun-loving student with raw musical talent living with osteosarcoma.
Starring: Fin Argus, Sabrina Carpenter, Neve Campbell, Lil Rel Howery, Madison Iseman
This socially-distanced movie features characters from New York to Los Angeles as they grapple with politics, culture, and COVID-19. Bette Midler, Dan Levy, Issa Rae, Kaitlyn Dever and Sarah Paulson play characters that navigate the deeply divided political landscape and universal pursuit of human connection during the current pandemic.
Starring: Bette Midler, Dan Levy, Issa Rae, Kaitlyn Dever, Sarah Paulson
“Dashing In December”
When Wyatt returns home for the holidays to convince his mother to sell off their family’s struggling horse ranch to his boss, a romance unexpectedly ignites between Wyatt and dashing ranch-hand Heath, who has a different plan to save the ranch’s Winter Wonderland attraction and reawaken the spirit of Christmas.
Starring: Andie Macdowell, Peter Porte, Juan Pablo Di Pace
“Dolly Parton’s Christmas On The Square”
Seasonal cheer comes to a screeching halt when a cold-hearted woman tries to sell her hometown’s land. Can music, magic and memories change her mind?
Starring: Treat Williams, Dolly Parton, Christine Baranski, Josh Segarra , Matthew Johnson, Jenifer Lewis, Jeanine Mason, Mary Lane Haskell
A superstitious mother is convinced that her daughter’s new boyfriend is the reincarnation of a man who tried to kill her 30 years ago.
Starring: Sarita Choudhury, Sunita Mani, Omar Maskati, Bernard White
“Flora & Ulysses”
Flora & Ulysses is a comedy-adventure about 10-year-old Flora, an avid comic book fan and cynic. After rescuing a squirrel she names Ulysses, Flora is amazed to discover he possesses unique superhero powers which take them on humorous adventures that ultimately change Flora’s life forever.
Starring: Alyson Hannigan, Ben Schwartz, Anna Deavere Smith, Danny Pudi, Benjamin Evan Ainsworth, Janeane Garofalo, Katie Micucci
Get Duked! is an anarchic, hip-hop inspired comedy that follows four city boys on a wilderness trek as they try to escape a mysterious huntsman.
Starring: Viraj Juneja, Samuel Bottomley, Lewis Gribben, Rian Gordon, Eddie Izzard, Kate Dickie, Georgie Glen, Alice Lowe, Jonathan Aris, Kevin Guthrie, Brian Pettifer, Kathryn Howden, James Cosmo
“Girl In The Basement”
Sara is imprisoned in the basement by her controlling father Don who convinces his wife that Sara ran away. He would visit to torture and rape her, resulting in Sara giving birth to several children. After decades of captivity, Sara finally escapes, and her family learns the devastating truth.
Starring: Stefanie Scott, Judd Nelson, Joely Fisher
A young, inexperienced fairy godmother-in-training is bound and determined to give a 40-year-old widowed mom who has given up on the idea of “happily ever after” a happiness makeover, whether she likes it or not.
Starring: Isla Fisher, Jillian Bell
“Holly & Ivy”
When Melody’s neighbor, Nina, learns that her illness has returned, Melody promises to keep Nina’s kids, Holly & Ivy, together. To adopt the children, she must renovate her new fixer-upper, which she does with the help of contractor, Adam.
Starring: Janel Parrish, Jeremy Jordan, Marisol Nichols, Sadie Coleman, Piper Rubio
A detective makes it her unwavering quest to bring justice for a young girl who is murdered by her family for falling in love with the wrong man.
Starring: Keeley Hawes
“I Hate New Year’s”
Rising music star Layne heads home to Nashville for New Year’s Eve to break her writer’s block and discovers that sometimes you find inspiration – and love – where you least expect it.
Starring: Dia Frampton, Ashley Argota, Candis Cayne
When their teenaged daughter confesses to impulsively killing her best friend, two desperate parents cover up the horrific crime with a web of lies and deception.
Starring: Joey King, Peter Sarsgaard, Mireille Enos
A Cuban immigrant struggles with their transgender identity while searching for their missing sister in New York City’s underground sex industry.
Starring: Rafael Albarran, Christine Rosario Lawrence, Celia Harrison
Inside the halls of an elite arts academy, a timid music student begins to outshine her more accomplished and outgoing twin sister when she discovers a mysterious notebook belonging to a recently deceased classmate.
Starring: Sydney Sweeney, Madison Iseman, Jacques Colimon, Ivan Shaw
Oslo is based on a true story of negotiations between implacable enemies. The film follows the secret backchannel talks, unlikely friendships, and quiet heroics of a small but committed group of Israelis and Palestinians, plus one Norwegian couple, that led to the 1993 Oslo Peace Accords.
Starring: Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott
“Pink Skies Ahead”
Set in Los Angeles in 1998, Pink Skies Ahead follows Winona who is diagnosed with anxiety disorder. Skeptical of her doctor’s opinion, Winona carries on with her wild lifestyle. Only when things begin to truly unravel around her does she reluctantly decide to see a therapist and face her truths.
Starring: Jessica Barden, Marcia Gay Harden, Michael McKean, Lewis Pullman
“Psych 2: Lassie Come Home”
After Santa Barbara Police Chief Carlton Lassiter is ambushed and left for dead, Shawn and Gus return to help him and find themselves embroiled in a case involving the personal, the professional — and even the supernatural.
Starring: James Roday Rodriguez, Dulé Hill, Maggie Lawson, Kirsten Nelson, Timothy Omundson, Corbin Bernsen
“Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia”
Born in New Orleans, Mahalia Jackson began singing at an early age and went on to become one of the most revered gospel figures, melding her music with the civil rights movement. Jackson sang at numerous rallies including the March on Washington in 1963 alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Starring: Danielle Brooks, Jason Dirden, Rob Demery, Joaquina Kalukango, Olivia Washington
Safety is a drama inspired by the story of former Clemson University football safety Ray McElrathbey, whose dedication and persistence, along with his teammates and the community, help him to succeed on the field while simultaneously raising and caring for his 11-year-old brother Fahmarr.
Starring: Jay Reeves, Thaddeus J. Mixson, Corinne Foxx, Matthew Glave, Hunter Sansone, James Badge Dale
Salt-N-Pepa details the journey of Cheryl “Salt” James and Sandra “Pepa” Denton. Salt-N-Pepa made a huge impact as one of the first all-female rap groups. The movie follows the group as they become the first female rap act to go platinum and experience ground-breaking success.
Starring: GG Townson, Laila Odom, Cleveland Berto, Jermel Howard
When terrorists try to seize control of a Berlin-Paris flight, a soft-spoken young American co-pilot struggles to save the lives of the passengers and crew while forging a surprising connection with one of the hijackers.
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Aylin Tezel, Omid Memar, Carlo Kitzlinger
When an all-powerful Superintelligence chooses to study the most average person on earth, Carol Peters, the fate of the world hangs in the balance.
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Bobby Cannavale, Brian Tyree Henry, Jean Smart
A New York marketing executive returns to her small hometown following a family tragedy and becomes the unlikely guardian of her niece and nephew. As they all mourn, she and her family come together to figure out the new normal for the kids and for each other.
Starring: Lacey Chabert, Tyler Hynes, Gregory Harrison, Jesse Moss, Teryl Rothery
When a young woman meets an aspiring saxophonist in her father’s record shop in 1950s Harlem, their love ignites a sweeping romance that transcends changing times, geography, and professional success.
Starring: Tessa Thompson, Nnamdi Asomugha, Alano Miller, Aja Naomi King, Lance Reddick, Eva Longoria
“There Is No ‘I’ In Threesome”
Newly engaged couple Zoe and Ollie agree to try out an open relationship and self-document every moment of their risqué experiment: the hookups, the jealousy, the vulnerability… and the shocking ending that you’ll never see coming.
Starring: Jan Oliver Lucks, Natalie Medlock
“The Ultimate Playlist Of Noise”
After learning he must undergo brain surgery that will render him deaf, Marcus, an audio-obsessed high school senior, decides to seize control of his fate by recording the Ultimate Playlist of Noise — a bucket list of all his favorite sounds.
Starring: Keean Johnson, Madeline Brewer, Ian Gomez, Rya Kihlstedt, Bonnie Hunt
In 1973, when Frank Bledsoe and his 18-year-old niece Beth take a road trip from Manhattan to Creekville, South Carolina for the family patriarch’s funeral, they’re unexpectedly joined by Frank’s lover Walid.
Starring: Paul Bettany, Sophia Lillis, Peter Macdissi, Judy Greer, Steve Zahn, Lois Smith, Margo Martindale, Stephen Root, Lois Smith
When her picture-perfect world verges on collapse after discovering she’s pregnant, Ivy-League bound Veronica enlists her chaotic ex-BFF Bailey to drive her 1000 miles to carry out a decision she never imagined she’d have to make.
Starring: Haley Lu Richardson, Barbie Ferreira
When a gambling addict and violent criminal loses a bet, he is transported back in time to relive past events from the perspective of his victims.
Starring: Cameron Arnett, Jim Gloyd, Bishop Stevens, John Wells, Ty Shelton
“Wendy Williams: The Movie”
This Wendy Williams biopic reveals the highs and lows the talk show host has experienced throughout the years. The movie follows her from her upstart days in radio to the success of her syndicated talk show.
Starring: Ciera Payton, Morocco Omari
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