Emmy Experts Typing: Figuring out the scattershot limited series categories

Welcome to Emmy Experts Typing, a weekly column in which Gold Derby editors and Experts Joyce Eng and Christopher Rosen discuss the Emmy race — via Slack, of course. This week, we discuss the limited field, where nearly every category feels up for the grabs.

Christopher Rosen: Hello, Joyce! If it’s a day of the week that ends with the letter “y,” you’ve probably correctly predicted a future event. After you’ve been saying for weeks that “White House Plumbers” would have to premiere on May 1 were it going to compete in the 2023 Emmys Best Limited Series race, HBO formally announced that “White House Plumbers” … will premiere on May 1. So, my first question to you is: Who’s going to win the World Series this year and is my meager $5 wager on the Mets going to pay off? My second question is: Is “White House Plumbers” maybe this year’s “Mare of Easttown”? As we’ve talked about with our voices, this year’s limited series category is fairly diffuse, particularly with “The White Lotus” having upgraded to the drama designation. In our combined odds, it’s the Netflix monster “Monster” that leads the way, with my beloved “Fleishman Is In Trouble” holding firm at No. 2. “Black Bird,” “White House Plumbers,” “George & Tammy,” and my other beloved, “Daisy Jones & the Six,” rounds out the top six. Beyond this being the year of the ampersand, that seems like a category without a true frontrunner. That’s why I was heartened like Tommy Wambs when “White House Plumbers” finally officially landed its date. As you know, I stubbornly refused to predict something that didn’t exist — not that it stopped me from putting “Blitz” at the top of our early Oscar predictions. (I contain multitudes, is the thing.) But having seen the trailer and heard secondhand from someone who saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors that the show is really fun, I’m ready to push it well into my predictions. Series, Woody Harrelson, Lena Headey, potential double nominee Domhnall Gleeson… why not? At the very least, there’s a wide opening in limited series for one show that catches lightning in a bottle to kind of dominate. I’m mostly talking nonsense, so help me out. Do you expect “White House Plumbers” to pay off the Adam McKay-ness of its trailer to awards favor, or am I overthinking a category that most voters might not — which means “Monster” could just kind of win two or even three awards?

joyceeng: The Mets are obviously going 162-0 with or without Justin Verlander. Definitely won’t Mets it up. Unlike you, I’ve always had “White House Plumbers” and several of its actors in since it very much did exist prior to yesterday. Lest we forget, HBO dropped a teaser in December announcing a March premiere. That didn’t happen, duh, but we had way more info — and real footage! — on that than, say, “Full Circle,” a truly nonexistent show as we enter April that’s still heavily predicted. Basically, yesterday didn’t really change much for me. I already had Gleeson in for “The Patient,” and with how feeble that category is, I may pop him in for this too for double Dom noms. Rude of you to exclude Justin Theroux and Justin Theroux’s mustache. G. Gordon Liddy was a colorful showman and Theroux is serving in that trailer. They could fraud him in supporting, but he’s obviously a co-lead and that category is also open enough for both him and Harrelson to make it. I don’t think the show will be this year’s “Mare,” but HBO is probably hoping it can be this year’s “Chernobyl,” another five-episode historical drama that debuted on the first Monday in May. In 2019, Sundays were occupied by HBO’s top dog, “Game of Thrones,” which was in its final season. That’s “Succession” this year. “Chernobyl” kinda quietly debuted on a Monday, a lower profile slot, and quickly amassed a passionate following that grew weekly just because it was so damn good. I’m not saying that will happen to “White House Plumbers,” especially with a billion shows now that no one has the time to watch, but if it gets good reviews, it’s positioned well to do that between the pedigree behind and in front of the camera and the HBO brand. “Monster” is not a super strong frontrunner — it lost PGA to “The Dropout” and Evan Peters lost SAG to Sam Elliott for “1883.” Its safest bet for a win right now is arguably Niecy Nash-Betts. But I know you’re backing Claire Danes with her one-episode “Fleishman” bazooka “Me-Time.” If “White House Plumbers” really takes off, will it finally be Headey’s time? That’ll certainly make Cersei stans happy.

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Christopher Rosen: Because I’m me and nothing if not mercurial when it comes to these predictions, I’ve actually moved off Danes in supporting actress, instead opting for Nash-Betts. We’ve spent a lot of time talking about so-called “difficult women” like Shiv Roy and Wendy Byrde and how that impacts the chances of their deserved actresses. Well, it’s easy to imagine Danes’ Rachel Fleishman as the platonic ideal of a female character male voters simply don’t want to see. The twist of “Fleishman” is that spends three-quarters of its length letting the viewer demonize Rachel — and then forces a massive reevaluation of the character, show and audience response in the final accounting. So I don’t have faith a nuanced read of the show and character will necessarily shine — even if Danes is a knockout. So, Headey could be a sneaky good pick — she’s kind of dominating that trailer, at the very least. I also wondered, again based on nothing but a slick piece of marketing material, if someone like Kathleen Turner could find her way into this category too. As for Theroux, I didn’t mention him but by the time we get to the end of this sentence, I’ll probably have him in as well. That would mean punting my fave Jesse Eisenberg for “Fleishman,” but, again, maybe that’s for the best — especially since it’s a personal favorite and I’m not picking Emmy nominees. Eisenberg nails Toby Fleishman, but it’s hard to argue he’s likable — and he’s certainly not throwing as much heat as Theroux in his mustache. Let’s shift to the actress race here, however, before we close our tabs out. Jessica Chastain is the frontrunner for “George & Tammy,” especially after her upset Screen Actors Award win that I maybe mushed into happening by finally predicting Amanda Seyfried. I’m all in on Lizzy Caplan for “Fleishman,” because I stan. Same goes for Riley Keough, who absolutely rules on “Daisy Jones & the Six.” Then I rounded out with Dominque Fishback for “Swarm,” and the “WandaVision” reunion we’ve been waiting for: Elizabeth Olsen for “Love & Death” and Kathryn Hahn for “Tiny Beautiful Things.” That’s probably chaos magic, so what are you thinking here?

joyceeng: I would, of course, love to live in a multiverse with a “WandaVision” reunion and am currently hopedicting it, but in reality that probably won’t happen. I do have Olsen in first though. She and Theroux are similar in my mind in that they’ve been putting in fantastic work for years with little hardware to show for it (he does have two Emmys for producing “Live in Front of a Studio Audience”), so if “Love & Death” hits, she can become the favorite. I also don’t think last year’s “Candy,” about literally the same case, will be a detriment since it didn’t really make a splash and only got one nomination, for its main titles, in the end. You didn’t even name Amazon’s other two hopefuls and its most high-profile names, SAG nominee Emily Blunt for “The English” and double Rachel Weisz for “Dead Ringers.” Of the four, “Dead Ringers” is the only one yet to drop (out April 21), and if it were, like, 10 years ago, Weisz feels like someone everyone would’ve immediately penciled in for a nom/win just because she’s an Oscar-winning actress coming to TV playing twins in a remake of a David Cronenberg film. But as it stands, she’s currently in 13th place. Are we all underestimating Weisz in an open field? While you ponder that, I’ll note that Paul Walter Hauser finally took over the top spot in the supporting actor odds this week. “Black Bird” as a whole had a poor guild run, but will PWH be immune and soar to a win?

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Christopher Rosen: I’m personally not going to put Weisz in my predictions — the noise around “Dead Ringers” isn’t really ringing loudly at the moment (sorry), and it feels like Amazon might have other priorities. Including “The English,” like you mentioned, with Blunt. She’d be an easy nominee to predict — in fact, I dropped her out for Hahn this week — so it feels like, of the two, she’s the better bet. As for PWH, I’m here for that! He rules on “Black Bird,” a slam-dunk creep performance for the ages. I think he can go all the way, and my galaxy brain pitch for that is his upcoming role on our fave “The Afterparty,” which Apple will drop in July, can help with visibility. I can feel you rolling your eyes at me, so I’ll quit while I’m behind and leave you with the last word on the limited series race. If you had to guess right now, what ends up winning Best Series?

joyceeng: Well, the noise around “Dead Ringers” isn’t ringing loudly because it isn’t out yet and reviews are embargoed for another three weeks. “Swarm” wasn’t that noisy until two weeks ago either, but I agree Amazon is juggling a lot of contenders in a category it’s never cracked (#justice4thusombedu). Seeing as how our beloved “The Afterparty” got zero (0) noms last year, it probably won’t impact him that much, though it obviously wouldn’t hurt either (I have seen some of the new season and PWH is expectedly excellent in his genre). I currently have “Love & Death” in first and “White House Plumbers” in second, mostly because HBO rules the limited series category. “Monster” has shown some red flags, controversy aside, so if either show lands, it can be a big night for the Home Box Office in drama and limited.

Emmy odds for Best Limited Series
Who will be nominated?

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