MORE SLOTS, MORE EMMY SHOTS
We’re assuming that your DVR, like ours, contains enough television to last you through the second term of the next ( pick one) Clinton/ Bush administration. And more television equals more Emmys. Last year, thanks to increased programming and new platforms, the Television Academy restored TV movies and miniseries ( now called limited series) to their own separate Emmy categories. Now, for the first time, variety series has been divided between talk and sketch shows. Who wins in this ever- widening landscape? Let’s look ...
“Olive Kitteridge” “American Horror Story: Freak Show” “The Honorable Woman” “Wolf Hall” “American Crime”
Prime contenders: “The Missing,” “Texas
Bubbling under: “Houdini,” “24: Live Another Day,” “The Book of Negroes,” “Sons of Liberty”
Analysis: Slam- dunk favorite “Fargo” took the Emmy in 2014, but this year the category is wide open, with a consensus unlikely to form behind any one of the contenders. HBO and PBS have dominated this arena for years, making “Olive Kitteridge” and “Wolf Hall” early favorites. ABC’s “American Crime” could have a chance, though, for the provocative and nuanced way it’s examined race relations. The network has renewed the critically acclaimed series despite low ratings, and we’d like to think that kind of faith deserves a reward.
“Bessie” “Nightingale” “Derek — the Final Chapter” “Killing Jesus” “A Poet in New York”
Prime contenders: “Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Curtain, Poirot’s Last Case,” “Worricker: Salting the Battlefield,” “Whitney”
Bubbling under: “Foyle’s War: Elise, The Final Mystery,” “Stockholm, Pennsylvania”
Analysis: This year’s “Derek” one- off special moves Ricky Gervais’ show from the comedy series category to TV movie. Gervais won an acting nod last year, and even though voters prefer serious fare here, there might be room for at least one entry that doesn’t involve kidnapping, domestic strife or crucifixion. Once the nominations are in, look for one of the HBO entries — the Bessie Smith biopic or “Nightingale,” David Oyelowo’s mesmerizing showcase — to prevail. Neither quite ranks with the network’s best, but HBO owns this category.
MOVIE/ LIMITED SERIES ACTOR
David Oyelowo, “Nightingale” Richard Jenkins, “Olive Kitteridge” Mark Rylance, “Wolf Hall” Bill Paxton, “Texas Rising” Adrien Brody, “Houdini” Ricky Gervais, “Derek — the Final Chapter”
Prime contenders: Timothy Hutton, “American Crime”; James Nesbitt, “The Missing”; David Suchet, “Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Curtain, Poirot’s Last Case”; Kiefer Sutherland, “24: Live Another Day”
Bubbling under: Evan Peters, “American Horror Story: Freak Show”; Nathan Lane, “The Nance”; Bill Nighy, “Worricker: Salting the Battlefield”; Jason Isaacs, “Dig”
Analysis: It’s hard to figure how big History’s “Texas Rising” will score. Everyone underestimated the network’s “Hatfield & McCoys” three years ago and it landed 16 Emmy nominations. But critics weren’t kind to “Texas,” and viewers didn’t particularly warm to it, either. That could be bad news for Paxton in a category with no shortage of interesting contenders, among them Nesbitt’s desperate father on Starz’s “The Missing.”
MOVIE/ LIMITED SERIES ACTRESS
Queen Latifah, “Bessie” Frances McDormand, “Olive Kitteridge” Maggie Gyllenhaal, “The Honorable Woman” Jessica Lange: “American Horror Story: Freak Show” Felicity Huffman, “American Crime” Frances O’Connor, “The Missing”
Prime contenders: Aunjanue Ellis, “The Book of Negroes”; Anna Gunn, “Gracepoint”
Bubbling under: Helena Bonham Carter, “Worricker: Salting the Battlefield”; Saoirse Ronan, “Stockholm, Pennsylvania”; Yaya DaCosta, “Whitney”
Analysis: Gyllenhaal won the Golden Globe for this category earlier this year, though “Bessie” hadn’t yet been broad- cast. Queen Latifah’s gutsy turn as the inf luential blues singer stands as the Emmy favorite, with Gyllenhaal and the always formidable McDormand sure to garner plenty of votes too.
VARIETY TALK SERIES
“The Colbert Report” “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” “Late Show With David Letterman”
Prime contenders: “Real Time With Bill
Bubbling under: “Conan,” “Late Night With Seth Meyers,” “The Late Late Show With James Corden,” “The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore”
Analysis: When it was just one, all- encompassing award, the variety show Emmy field would consist of five talk shows and “Saturday Night Live.” And then “The Daily Show” would win ... until “Colbert” broke that 10- year streak in 2013, and now it has won two years running. Oliver’s brilliant news satire should join the field in its first year of eligibility. The real question: Will Letterman be among the nominees in his last?
VARIETY SKETCH SERIES
“Inside Amy Schumer” “Saturday Night Live” “Portlandia” “Key and Peele” “Comedy Bang Bang” “@ Midnight”
Prime contenders: “The Soup,” “Drunk History,” “Kroll Show”
Bubbling under: “Tosh. 0”
Analysis: “Saturday Night Live” is the brand name, but this wasn’t one of its better seasons. With its long Emmy history, “SNL” will still be nominated, but the academy should go in a fresher direction when choosing the Emmy winner. Schumer’s show dominated the cultural conversation this spring, with each new episode delivering perfectly honed, biting social commentary. There wasn’t a better halfhour of television this year than Schumer’s spot- on “12 Angry Men” re- creation, which sent up misogyny in all of its idiocy and made you want to watch the Sidney Lumet film again. That’s a pretty neat trick.
WATCH OUT for the always formidable Frances McDormand and her HBO limited series “Olive Kitteridge.”
THE SPOT- ON “12 Angry Men” re- creation on the comedian’s “Inside Amy Schumer,” with Dennis Quaid, marks the best half- hour on television this year.
JAMES NESBITT’S desperate father on the vanished- child drama “The Missing,” which ran on Starz, should spark plenty of attention from Emmy voters.
DAVID LETTERMAN’S gone, but hopefully not forgotten by academy.
“NIGHTINGALE” is a mesmerizing showcase of David Oyelowo’s talents.
QUEEN LATIFAH is among the Emmy faves with her gutsy “Bessie.”
JOHN OLIVER’S brilliant “Last Week Tonight” should make the cut.