2023 Emmy Predictions: Best TV Movie/Limited Series Directing

This year, for the first time ever, multiple limited series have each received two simultaneous directing Emmy nominations. These history-making programs – “Beef” and “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” – are both Netflix productions that have amassed 13 TV academy notices apiece, with this being one of eight categories in which they are directly facing off. While it is true that only one (“Fargo,” 2014) of this category’s previous multi-nominated series actually won, the fact that these two new shows take up a majority of their lineup’s slots might very well yield an unusual result.

Either Netflix series would bring the streaming platform its third limited program directing win, following the success of “Unorthodox” in 2020 and “The Queen’s Gambit” in 2021. Also in the running are the category’s first Hulu original movie, “Prey,” and the FX series “Fleishman is in Trouble,” which also hails from a network that has already prevailed here twice (“Fargo,” 2014; “American Crime Story,” 2018).

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In order to determine the likeliest outcome of this tight race, let’s take a closer look at each nominee. Be sure to visit our predictions center to make your own picks in this and 25 other Primetime Emmy categories.

“Beef” — Jake Schreier
Episode: “The Great Fabricator”

Schreier, who is also nominated as a “Beef” producer, previously helmed episodes of such programs as “Shameless,” “Dave,” and “Minx.” The prolific music video director shepherded six of this series’ 10 installments, including this penultimate one in which feuding lead characters Amy (Ali Wong) and Danny (Steven Yeun) end up on opposite sides of a chaotic hostage situation at the lavish home of the investor who bought her small business.

“Beef” — Lee Sung Jin
Episode: “Figures of Light”

As the creator of “Beef,” Lee wrote half of its episodes (including its Emmy-nominated opening chapter) but directed just this one, which brings an end to Amy and Danny’s intertwining story by having them finally come to understand each other while stranded for over 24 hours in the California wilderness. Before he earned producing, directing, and writing mentions for this series, Lee shared in a 2015 Best Comedy Series bid as a “Silicon Valley” producer.

“Fleishman is in Trouble” — Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
Episode: “Me-Time”

This married couple, whose personal and professional relationships date back to the 1980s, are primarily known for their four feature films (including the Oscar-winning “Little Miss Sunshine”) and dozens of music videos for bands such as R.E.M. and The Smashing Pumpkins. Their first Emmy nomination comes for the seventh entry in this eight-part series, wherein narrator Libby (Lizzy Caplan) learns the intricate details of her friend, Toby’s (Jesse Eisenberg), divorce after encouraging his ex-wife, Rachel (Claire Danes), to privately tell her her side of the story.

“Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” — Carl Franklin
Episode: “Bad Meat”

Franklin, who acted for two decades before turning his focus to directing, now has a chance to follow Charles S. Dutton (“The Corner,” 2000) as this category’s second Black champion. The former drama directing nominee (“House of Cards,” 2014) is seeking this honor for his work on the premiere installment of “Monster,” which serves to familiarize viewers with real-life serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer (Evan Peters).

“Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” — Paris Barclay
Episode: “Silenced”

Barclay’s ninth Emmy nomination gives him the rare distinction of having earned recognition as a comedy, drama, and limited series director. Since he already triumphed twice for “NYPD Blue” (1998-1999), he could now become the first Black director to both win a third Emmy and conquer two categories. In his first of two “Monster” efforts, Dahmer meets and begins an intimate relationship with deaf model Tony Hughes (Rodney Burford), who later becomes one of his victims.

“Prey” — Dan Trachtenberg
Episode: n/a

The seventh entry in the “Predator” film franchise traces the existence of the human-hunting Yautja alien species back to the 1700s, during which time a young Comanche woman defends her people against one of the creatures. Trachtenberg, whose previous TV credits include “The Boys” and “Black Mirror,” also shares a 2023 writing nomination for this movie with Patrick Aison.

So, what will win the 2023 Emmy for Best TV Movie/Limited Series Directing? Although “Prey” being the first telefilm since 2014 to earn recognition for its directing and writing is objectively impressive, history indicates that its possible victory in the former category won’t happen unless it also wins Best TV Movie. While that outcome is somewhat plausible, a decisive 85% of the people who have logged their predictions on Gold Derby are united in the belief that it will come up short in its quest for the program honor.

Since seven of the last nine recipients of this award have also won Best Limited Series, it stands to reason that one of this year’s nominees will do the same. All three of the series in this group are concurrently up for said program prize, but “Beef” is the clear frontrunner there, making it the one to beat here as well. Indeed, even though “Monster” is likely to pull off multiple major wins thanks to its actors, it would be smartest to simply bet on “Beef” following the likes of “Chernobyl” and “The White Lotus” as the next achiever of the limited series, directing, and writing trifecta.

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