‘Black Bird’ poised to make Emmy history for Apple TV+

After breaking into the comedy series and drama series categories at the Emmys, thanks to “Ted Lasso” and “Severance,” respectively, Apple TV+ is now finally expected to foray into the limited series race with “Black Bird.”

The six-part crime drama currently sits in third place in our limited series odds, behind only “Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” and “Fleishman Is in Trouble” (“White House Plumbers,” “George & Tammy” and “Daisy Jones and the Six” round out the top six in that order). The show, which premiered last summer, is one of the most critically acclaimed limited series of this Emmy cycle so far, with a Rotten Tomatoes approval rating of 97 percent (based on 79 reviews) and a Metacritic score of 80 (based on 29 reviews), whose early release has given it a head start in the race. While it was shut out of all major guilds sans the Screen Actors Guild Awards — where it nabbed bids for Taron Egerton and Paul Walter Hauser — over the winter, it did receive noms from the Critics Choice and Golden Globe Awards, including Best Limited Series from the latter. In any other year, it would likely struggle as an early bird with such little industry support, but since the back half of last year yielded only few viable contenders and the myriad spring candidates risk cannibalizing each other, it could get in on sheer visibility.

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Outside of series, the show is also forecasted to scoop up nominations for some of its cast members, including leading man Egerton, who sits in second place in the limited series/TV movie actor odds. He, apart from projected frontrunner Evan Peters (“Dahmer”), seems like the only safe bet in the category at this point, by virtue of “Black Bird’s” presumed standing in the series race and the actor’s own precursor haul, which is rounded out by Globe and BAFTA TV Award citations. Although Egerton turns in a rather understated performance as James Keene, a one-time high school football star and decorated policeman’s son-turned-drug dealer who is forced to befriend a suspected serial killer (Hauser) to avoid a lengthy prison sentence, his character’s strong rooting factor could make him stand out in a category filled with people portraying, uh, not the most sympathetic of characters.

Also predicted to be nominated are Hauser and the late Ray Liotta, who are in second and fourth places, respectively, in the limited series/TV movie supporting actor odds. Hauser, who is essentially a co-lead to Egerton and has the baitiest role on the series in alleged serial murderer Larry Hall, is likely “Black Bird’s” best shot at both a nomination and a win. Not only was he the single supporting player in the sole limited series/TV movie actor category at SAG, but he also won at Critics Choice and the Globes as the show’s lone victory at each occasion. Liotta, with just a Critics Choice nom for “Black Bird” under his belt and the smaller part on the series, will probably have a more difficult time breaking into the lineup than his co-star, especially with the restricted ballot now in place. But if members of the TV academy’s acting branch go all in on the crime drama, don’t be surprised to see him get swept up in the love for his devastating turn as Keene’s concerned, dying father. Not to mention, bestowing a posthumous bid on the actor would be a perfect way for voters to pay their last respects to a legendary peer whom they all lost too soon.

SEE How ‘people-watching’ helped Paul Walter Hauser prepare to play a serial killer on ‘Black Bird’ [Exclusive Video Interview]

Even if “Black Bird” doesn’t bring Apple TV+ its awaited inaugural Best Limited Series nomination this year, it stands a very good chance at, at the very least, earning the streamer its first above-the-line recognition in the limited series/TV movie field.

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