Awards Circuit: Emmy Network Spotlight

This article was originally published on behalf of Awards Circuit on April 23, 2019. 

Welcome to the 2019 Emmy Circuit series, where we analyze and predict all your favorite TV series and their chances with the Television Academy (at least at this time of publishing).  The series examines the shows and performances about their awards potential, most notably the Emmy Awards. Emmy nomination voting opens June 10 and closes on June 24.  The official Emmy nominations will be announced on Tuesday, July 16 while the ceremony airs on FOX Sunday, Sept. 22. All Emmy pieces run with the following schedule: Mondays (Dramas), Tuesdays (Network Spotlight), Wednesdays (Comedies), Thursdays (Network Spotlight), Fridays (Limited Series, Variety Series, Below-the Lines).

Comedy Contenders

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” may be Amazon’s golden ticket yet again. The show swept the Emmy’s last year, taking home top prizes for “Outstanding Comedy Series”, in addition to best actress for Rachel Brosnahan, supporting actress for the criminally under-appreciated Alex Borstein, best directing for Amy Sherman-Palladino and best writing. The question is: Can the critical and commercial hit do it again? With a strong sophomore season, it could be a possibility. But part of the reason “Maisel” swept so cleanly last year was because HBO’s “Veep” was ineligible. With “Veep” now in the running again for its final season, there will certainly be a challenge for the quirky Amazon show.

A tete-a-tete

It seems likely “Maisel’s” respective winners last year would be nominated yet again. There’s likely to be a best supporting bid for Tony Shalhoub, who enjoyed a more developed character arc in the second season and was nominated for the category last year. With “Veep” and “Maisel” expected to be rivals, it could be difficult for other shows to break in. Enter Amazon newcomer “Forever.” The Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolphmetaphysical comedy has been a quiet hit, and strong performances by the leads bode well for the show. It could be an excellent contender for best writing as well.

“Fleabag” has bolstered a loyal fan base and could gain some traction. Especially since co-star Sian Clifford told The BBC season two will be the show’s last. It earned Phoebe Waller-Bridge a BAFTA in 2017 for Best Female Performance and this year could be the year that Olivia Colman takes home the Emmy for best supporting actress.

“The Tick” was nominated last year for its admittedly great title music. In a perfect world, “The Tick” would be more of a contender for major recognition. The writing is sharp and biting. The show possesses a self-awareness and light tone that feels refreshing, but it is unlikely to break the “Maisel”“Veep” hype. “Catastrophe,” the dark comedy centering on a dysfunctional married couple in London, may be a sleeper contender, especially since the past season, the series’ fourth, is rumored to be the show’s last. Amazon cancelled “The Dangerous Book for Boys,” co-created by Bryan Cranston and Greg Mottola, just a few months after the premiere. It would seem an unlikely contender.


“Homecoming,” the new half-hour drama from Sam Esmail (“Mr. Robot”) is shaping up to be a strong contender for Amazon. With its signature Esmail-esque style, and strong commercial and critical success the show has a good chance of being nominated for several categories, including best drama and best actress for Julia RobertsElizabeth Olsen could expect a nomination for best supporting. Bobby Cannavale might also be a contender for best supporting as well.

2019 could be the year that Michael Dorman, who plays weary spy John Tavner on “Patriot,” wins in the best actor category. After-all, his performance has continued to be nuanced and gripping for the show, which has gained slow but steady momentum since the first episode aired in 2015. “Goliath,” which earned Billy Bob Thornton a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a TV Drama in 2017, could also see a best actor nomination for the Primetime Emmy’s. “Man in the High Castle” might be in the running for cinematography, especially since it won in that category in 2016.

“Hanna,” a new series to Amazon, is based on the 2011 film of the same name, which starred Saoirse Ronan, and “Lore,” is based off of the podcast from Aaron Mahnke. Both have received mixed critical reviews and might be unlikely to compete competitively in this year’s Emmy’s. “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” also received mixed critical reviews, but it does mark leading man John Krasinski’s welcome return to the small screen.

Limited Series/TV Movie

Amazon’s limited series include “Good Omens,” “Ordeal by Innocence,”“The ABC Murders,” “The Widow,” “Vanity Fair,” and “A Very English Scandal.” The latter, centering on the Jeremy Thorpe affair, could be the network’s biggest contender for the category. It stars Golden Globe-nominated Hugh Grant and is based on the John Preston book of the same name. The show could possibly earn a best actor nomination for Hugh Grantand a supporting actor nomination for Ben Whishaw. For TV movie, “King Lear,” directed by Richard Eyre, is a serious contender. Its deft performances and skillful directing make it an excellent choice for “Outstanding TV Movie.” The anthology series “The Romanoffs,” which has received very mixed reviews, will likely fall short in this category.

Awards History / Precursors

Last year, Amazon took home five awards, the most of any network. Or to put it in another way: a streaming service won the Emmy’s. That’s a landmark moment in television history. We still live in a world where Netflix cannot play at Cannes, but streaming sites like Amazon and Netflix are growing into forces to be reckoned with, and not only for sheer amount of content, but also for prestige TV. Amazon is also the latest streaming platform to be featured at the Emmy’s.

The streaming platform made their first appearance in 2015, with Jeffrey Tambour of “Transparent” winning Best Actor in a Comedy Series and Jill Soloway winning in the directing category. Gaby Hoffmann was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series and Jill Soloway was nominated for writing. “Transparent” continued to be Amazon’s flagship series on the circuit from 2016 to 2017. In 2016, Amazon had two wins, one for Jeffrey Tambour and Jill Soloway, with a total of six major nominations. This included a nomination for “Catastrophe” for writing. The following year, Amazon didn’t receive any major wins, but was nominated in three categories, again for “Transparent.”

The Network Conclusion

Last year, of course, was a landmark year for Amazon. Can they follow up on their historical sweep? With newcomer “Homecoming,” the strong second season of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” and “King Lear,” it looks like Amazon could have a strong showing in the Comedy, Drama, and Outstanding TV Movie categories. In essence, the network has the material for yet another sweep. For this writer, “Maisel” and “Homecoming” especially will be key players.

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