2019 Emmys predictions slugfest: Best Drama Directing

Our combined Emmy odds currently peg “Game of Thrones” as the front-runner for Best Drama Directing for the battle-centric episode “The Long Night” (by Miguel Sapochnik). But what about the other two “Thrones” episodes nominated in this race: “The Last of the Starks” (by David Nutter) and “The Iron Throne” (by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss)? I joined Gold Derby editors Riley Chow and Zach Laws to discuss whether “GOT” is strong enough to overcome vote-splitting or another show could end up ascending the Emmy throne (watch the video slugfest above).

Like our odds, I’m predicting Sapochnik to nab his second Emmy statuette, after winning his first one in 2016 for directing the season 6 “Thrones” installment “Battle of the Bastards.” To defend my prediction, I argue, “Everyone knows that this episode took 55 nights to shoot. Everyone knows it’s one of the biggest battle spectacles we’ve ever seen on TV or in any movie.” Plus, it just earned a record-breaking 32 nominations, so vote-splitting might not even hurt it. But not so fast, because Laws is worried that it will, reminding us that “when they are going to give a show both writing and directing, it tends to be for the exact same episode.” And that would directly favor “The Iron Throne,” which is also up for writing.

Despite admitting, “I don’t think vote-splitting is going to be that big a deal,” Chow is betting on Adam McKay to reap the gold for directing “Succession’s” pilot titled “Celebration.” He believes that “there is a bloc of support within the directors’ branch that is partial to these bigger film directors,” which would favor McKay. Laws, too, has the Academy Award winner in his top slot, citing his recent DGA win for this exact episode and Oscar nominations for his 2018 movie “Vice.” Besides, the fact that the second season of “Succession” is now currently airing may be able to give him a bit of a boost.

But what about “Killing Eve?” “I wonder if that is the alternative [to ‘Thrones’],” Chow admits. Lisa Brühlmann, a Swiss director with mostly European credits, is celebrating her very first Emmy nom, for directing season 2’s fourth hour “Desperate Times.” And speaking of Europe, Chow thinks that the European branch in the TV academy may be the one to push her across the finish line. Finally, I warn about the other two nominees in this race, both of whom are also coming off DGA nominations for their submitted episodes: Jason Bateman for “Ozark’s” season 2 premiere “Reparations” and Daina Reid for “The Handmaid’s Tale’s” “Holly.”

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UPLOADED Aug 14, 2019 8:09 pm