Emmy Predictions: Directing (Drama Series) – ‘Better Call Saul’ and ‘This Is Us’ May Have Submitted Too Many Episodes to the TV Academy

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Variety Awards Circuit section is the home for all awards news and related content throughout the year, featuring the following: the official awards predictions for the upcoming Oscars and Emmys ceremonies, curated by Variety senior awards editor Clayton Davis; Awards Circuit Column, a weekly analysis dissecting the trends and contenders by television editor Michael Schneider (for Emmys) and Davis (for Oscars); Awards Circuit Podcast, a weekly interview series with talent and an expert roundtable discussion; and Awards Circuit Video analyzes various categories and contenders by Variety's leading awards pundits. Variety's unmatched coverage gives its readership unbeatable exposure in print and online, as well as provide inside reports on all the contenders in this year's awards season races.

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UPDATED: June 22, 2022

2022 EMMYS PREDICTIONS:
OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A DRAMA SERIES

AWARDS PREDICTION COMMENTARY:

AMC’s “Better Call Saul” and NBC’s “This Is Us” may have given the TV Academy too many choices, by submitting seven episodes each for outstanding directing for a drama series, with each of them having many of its cast members seeking attention.

“Better Call Saul” has the usual suspects of Vince Gilligan but also has actors Rhea Seehorn and Giancarlo Esposito angling for recognition. For “This Is Us,” multiple cast members are in the running – Jon Huertas, Mandy Moore, Chris Sullivan and Milo Ventimiglia. Strangely, Justin Hartley, who plays Kevin, also directed an episode in this final season and wasn’t among the submissions, rather just seeking his first nom in lead actor (drama) alongside Sterling K. Brown (who didn’t helm an episode). Never nominated for directing and writing, the best shot for the show to finally receive recognition is for the series finale “Us” by Ken Olin.

How many directors from “Succession” can make the cut for the Primetime Emmy Awards? Unfortunately, at the Directors Guild of America, they took up all five available slots. Still, with 230 submissions, seven nominees will be recognized, and you can safely assume two will make the cut, including the DGA winner Mark Mylod (“All the Bells Say”).

There are other series with multiple directing possibilities, such as Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” which has the infamous “Dear Billy” episode helmed by Shawn Levy submitted, alongside the “mid-season finale” of “The Massacre at Hawkins Lab” from The Duffer Brothers.

Also wrapping its television run, Netflix’s “Ozark” could be a safe bet for former Emmy directing winner Jason Bateman, who helmed “A Hard Way to Go” but will now have his lead actress (drama) contending co-star Laura Linney in the mix for her episode titled “Pound of Flesh and Still Kickin’.”

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One overdue director seeking Emmy love is Ben Stiller, who steered one of the best television episodes from this eligibility year with the season one finale of Apple TV+’s “Severance” with the cliffhanging line, “she’s alive!” But, of course, any version of this year’s nominees that don’t include Stiller is a crime against the spirit of recognizing television achievements.

Director Hwang has chosen to submit the pilot episode, titled “Red Light, Green Light” from Netflix’s “Squid Game” instead of the emotional bloodbath of “Gganbu” (episode six). However, it may not be much of a difference as he helmed the entire series, and often, the episode submission is only arbitrary. Therefore, Hwang Dong-Hyuk will need to embrace by the branch of the TV Academy.

“Squid Game” isn’t the only show that submitted pilots for its directors. Karyn Kusama is a strong bet for Showtime’s “Yellowjackets,” while Oscar and Emmy-winner Adam McKay will vie for attention for “Winning Time: Rise of the Lakers Dynasty.” Other series opener helmers also include visionary filmmaker Michael Mann for HBO’s “Tokyo Vice.”

Read moreVariety’s Awards Circuit Emmys Predictions Hub.

The nomination round of voting runs from June 16 to June 27. The official nominations for the 74th Emmy Awards will be announced Tuesday, July 12.

The list of programs and potential nominees listed below is incomplete and is subject to change. The complete television awards season calendar is linked here.

2021 category winner: Jessica Hobbs for the episode “War” from “The Crown” (Netflix)

ALL AWARDS CONTENDERS AND RANKINGS:

THIS IS US — “Us” Episode 618 — Pictured: (l-r) Justin Hartley as Kevin, Chrissy Metz as Kate, Sterling K. Brown as Randall — (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC) - Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC
THIS IS US — “Us” Episode 618 — Pictured: (l-r) Justin Hartley as Kevin, Chrissy Metz as Kate, Sterling K. Brown as Randall — (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC) - Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC

Ron Batzdorff/NBC

AND THE PREDICTED NOMINEES ARE:

RANK

SERIES

NOMINEE(S)

EPISODE

NETWORK

1

“Succession”

Mark Mylod

“All the Bells Say”

HBO/HBO Max

2

“Succession”

Lorene Scafaria

“Too Much Birthday”

HBO/HBO Max

3

“Squid Game”

Hwang Dong-Hyuk

“Red Light, Green Light”

Netflix

4

“Ozark”

Jason Bateman

“A Hard Way to Go”

Netflix

5

“Severance”

Ben Stiller

“The We We Are”

Apple TV+

6

“Stranger Things”

Shawn Levy

“Chapter Four: Dear Billy”

Netflix

7

“Yellowjackets”

Karyn Kusama

“Pilot”

Showtime

NEXT IN LINE

8

“Yellowstone”

Taylor Sheridan

“Keep the Wolves Close”

Paramount Network

9

“Winning Time: Rise of the Lakers Dynasty”

Adam McKay

“The Swan”

HBO/HBO Max

10

“Euphoria”

Sam Levinson

“Stand Still Like the Hummingbird”

HBO/HBO Max

ALSO IN CONTENTION

11

“Ozark”

Laura Linney

“Pound of Flesh and Still Kickin'”

Netflix

12

“Stranger Things”

The Duffer Brothers

“Chapter Seven: The Massacre at Hawkins Lab”

Netflix

13

“Succession”

Robert Pulcini, Shari Springer Bergman

“Lion in the Meadow”

HBO/HBO Max

14

“Better Call Saul”

Michael Morris

“Wine and Roses”

AMC

15

“Better Call Saul”

Rhea Seehorn

“Hit and Run”

AMC

16

“Winning Time: Rise of the Lakers Dynasty”

Tanya Hamilton

“Pieces of a Man”

HBO/HBO Max

17

“Outer Range”

Amy Seimetz

“The Soil”

Amazon Prime Video

18

“This Is Us”

Ken Olin

“The Train”

NBC

19

“Succession”

Andrij Parekh

“What It Takes”

HBO/HBO Max

20

“Yellowstone”

Guy Ferland

“All I See is You”

Paramount Network

ALSO IN CONTENTION

21

“Ozark”

Alik Sakharov

“Ellie”

Netflix

22

“Pachinko”

Kagonada

“Chapter One”

Apple TV+

23

“Wu-Tang: An American Saga”

Mario Van Peebles

“Protect Ya Neck”

Hulu

24

“Succession”

Kevin Bray

“Retired Janitors of Idaho”

HBO/HBO Max

25

“Better Call Saul”

Giancarlo Esposito

“Axe and Grind”

AMC

26

“The Book of Boba Fett”

Dave Filoni

“Chapter 6: From the Desert Comes a Stranger”

Disney+

27

“Better Call Saul”

Vince Gilligan

“Carrot and Stick”

AMC

28

“Succession”

Cathy Yan

“The Disruption”

HBO/HBO Max

29

“Shining Girls”

Michelle Maclaren

“Cutline”

Apple TV+

30

“The Morning Show”

Mimi Leder

La Amara Vita

Apple TV+

UNRANKED CONTENDERS

“61st Street”

Ramaa Mosley

“Barefoot and Dangerous”

AMC

“61st Street”

Darren Grant

“Man on Fire”

AMC

“61st Street”

Ali Selim

“Over the Wall”

AMC

“61st Street”

Marta Cunningham

“Pilot”

AMC

“9-1-1: Lone Star”

John Gray

“In the Unlikely Eveent of an Emergency”

Fox

“9-1-1”

Brad Buecker

“Panic”

Fox

“A House Divided”

Dan Garcia, Mike Mayhall

“Why the Sudden Rush?”

“A House Divided”

Dan Garcia, Honesty J. Edwards

“All Acts Get Old”

“A Million Little Things”

DJ Nash

“Fingers Crossed”

ABC

“All Creatures Great and Small (MASTERPIECE)”

Brian Percival

“Episode 1”

PBS

“All Creatures Great and Small (MASTERPIECE)”

Andy Hay

“Episode 7”

PBS

“American Rust”

John Dahl

“Denmark”

Showtime

“Animal Kingdom”

John Wells

“Freeride”

TNT

“Another Life”

Avi Youabian

“Just a Rat in a Cage”

“Another Life”

Kevin Dowling

“Live to Fight Another Day”

“Archive 81”

Rebecca Thomas

“Mystery Signals”

“Archive 81”

Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead

“Spirit Receivers”

“As We See It”

Jesse Peretz

“Pilot”

Amazon Prime Video

“As We See It”

Jaffar Mahmood

“I Apologize for My Words and Actions”

Amazon Prime Video

“Bel-Air”

Morgan Cooper

“Dreams and Nightmares”

Amazon Prime Video

“Bel-Air”

Tasha Smith

“Pa to La”

Peacock

“Bel-Air”

Dale Stern

“Where To?”

Peacock

“Bel-Air”

Matthew A. Cherry

“Can’t Knock the Hustle”

Peacock

“Better Call Saul”

Gordon Smith

“Rock and Hard Place”

AMC

“Better Call Saul”

Melissa Bernstein

“Black and Blue”

AMC

“Better Call Saul”

Thomas Schnauz

“Plan and Execution”

AMC

“Billions”

Adam Bernstein

“Johnny Favorite”

Showtime

“Blue Bloods”

Bridget Moynahan

“Hidden Motive”

CBS

“BMF”

Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson

“All in the Family”

“Bosch: Legacy”

Adam Davidson

“Always/All Ways”

Amazon Prime Video

“Bridgerton”

Tricia Brock

“Capital R Rake”

Netflix

“Bridgerton”

Tom Verica

“The Choice”

Netflix

“Bridgerton”

Cheryl Dunye

“Harmony”

Netflix

“Chapelwaite”

Burr Steers

“Blood Calls Blood”

Epix

“Chicago Fire”

Daniel Willis

“The Missing Piece”

“Chicago Fire”

Reza Tabrizi

“Two Hundred”

“Chicago Med”

Jonathan Brown

“All the Things That Could Have Been”

“Chicago Med”

Nicole Rubio

“Secret Santa Has a Gift for You”

“Chicago P.D”

Brenna Malloy

“Gone”

“Chicago P.D”

Chad Saxton

“An Affair to Dismember”

“Chucky”

Don Mancini

“Death By Misadventure”

Syfy

“Cowboy Bebop”

Alex Garcia Lopez

“Darkside Tango”

Netflix

“David Makes Man”

Kiel Adrian Scott

“Hurston”

“Dexter: New Blood”

Marcos Siega

“Sins of the Father”

Showtime

“Dexter: New Blood”

Sanford Bookstaver

“Unfair Game”

Showtime

“Evil”

Robert King

“S is for Silence”

Paramount+

“Fantasy Island”

Adam Kane

“Hungry Christine; Mel Loves Ruby”

“FBI: International”

Rob J. Greenlea

“Close to the Sun”

NBC

“FBI: International”

Michael Katleman

“Shouldn’t Have Left Her”

NBC

“FBI: Most Wanted”

Tess Malone

“Gladiator”

NBC

“FBI: Most Wanted”

Ken Girotti

“Run-Hide-Fight”

NBC

“FBI”

Alex Chappie

“All the Glitters”

NBC

“FBI”

Jon Cassar

“Fear Nothing”

NBC

“Flack”

Stephen Moyer

“Danny”

Amazon Prime Video

“Foundation”

David S. Goyer

“The Leap”

Apple TV+

“From”

Jack Bender

“Long Day’s Journey Into Night”

Epix

“Gentleman Jack”

Amanda Brotchie

“I’m Not the Other Woman, She Is”

HBO/HBO Max

“Gentleman Jack”

Fergus O’Brien

“It’s Not Illegal”

HBO/HBO Max

“Gentleman Jack”

Edward Hall

“Tripe All Over the Place, Presumably”

HBO/HBO Max

“Goliath”

Billy Bob Thornton

“New Beginnings”

Amazon Prime Video

“Good Girls”

Ken Whittingham

“Thank You for Your Support”

NBC

“Good Sam”

Tamra Davis

“Pilot”

“Gossip Girl”

Karena Evans

“Just Another Girl on MTA”

HBO/HBO Max

“Grey’s Anatomy”

Debbie Allen

“You Are the Blood”

ABC

“Halo”

Otto Bathurst

“Contact”

Paramount+

“Hanna”

Sacha Polak

“Grape Vines and Orange Trees”

Amazon Prime Video

“Heels”

Pete Segal

“Double Turn”

“Hightown”

Monica Raymund

“Fresh as a Daisy”

“Hightown”

Antonio Negret

“Houston, We Have a Problem”

“Hit & Run”

Mike Barker

“Pilot”

“Home Before Dark”

Howard Deutch

“The Biggest Life”

Apple TV+

“Invasion”

Jakob Verbruggen

“Last Day”

Apple TV+

“Joe Pickett”

Drew Dowdle

“Endangered”

“Kevin Can F**k Himself”

Oz Rodriguez

“Living the Dream”

AMC

“Killing Eve”

Stella Corradi

“Hello, Losers”

BBC America

“Killing Eve”

Anu Menon

“It’s Agony and I’m Ravenous”

BBC America

“Killing Eve”

Emily Atef

“Oh Goodie, I’m the Winner”

BBC America

“La Brea”

Thor Freudenthal

“Pilot”

“Law & Order: Organized Crime”

Fred Berner

“The Christmas Episode”

NBC

“Law & Order: Organized Crime”

John Polson

“Takeover”

NBC

“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”

Norberto Barba

“Silent Night, Hateful Night”

NBC

“Law & Order”

Eriq La Salle

“Black & Blue”

NBC

“Law & Order”

Jean de Segonzac

“The Right Thing”

NBC

“Locke & Key”

Carlton Cruz

“Past is Prologue”

Netflix

“Loki”

Kate Herron

“Journey Into Myrstery”

Disney+

“Long Slow Exhale”

Anton Cropper

“Fast Break”

“Lost in Space”

Jabbar Raisani

“Trust”

Netflix

“Lucifer”

Sherwin Shilati

“Partners ‘Til the End”

“Mayans M.C.”

Brett Dos Santos

“The Calling of Saint Matthew”

FX

“Mayans M.C.”

Elgin James

“Cleansing of the Temple”

FX

“Mayor of Kingstown”

Clark Johnson

“The Devil is Us”

Paramount+

“My Brilliant Friend: Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay”

Daniele Luchetti

“Becoming”

HBO/HBO Max

“NCIS: Los Angeles”

Suzanne Misako Saltz

“Sundown”

“New Amsterdam”

Michael Slovis

“More Joy”

NBC

“New Amsterdam”

Peter Horton

“Death Begins in Radiology”

NBC

“Night Sky”

Juan José Campanella

“To the Stars”

Amazon Prime Video

“Nine Perfect Strangers”

Jonathan Levine

“Earth Day”

Hulu

“One of Us is Lying”

Ben Semanoff

“One of Us is Dancing!”

“One of Us is Lying”

Jennifer Morrison

“Pilot”

“Our Kind of People”

Princess Monique Filmz

“Crabs in a Gold Plated Barrel”

“Our Kind of People”

Joe Morton

“Fathers, Daughters, Sisters”

“Outer Banks”

Jonas Pate

“The Coastal Venture”

“Outer Range”

Jennifer Getzinger

“The Loss”

Amazon Prime Video

“Outer Range”

Lawrence Trilling

“The West”

Amazon Prime Video

“Outlander”

Jamie Payne

“Sticks and Stones”

Starz

“Ozark”

Amanda Marsalis

“The Cousin of Death”

Netflix

“Ozark”

Melissa Hickey

“You’re the Boss”

Netflix

“Pachinko”

Justin Chon

“Chapter Four”

Apple TV+

“Pieces of Her”

Minkie Spiro

“Episode 1”

Netflix

“Power Book II: Ghost”

Shana Stein

“Drug Related”

“Power Book III: Raising Kenan”

Rob Hardy

“Paid in Full”

“Power Book IV: Force”

Carl Seaton

“Trust”

“Queen Sugar”

Shaz Bennett

“And You Would Be One Of Them”

OWN

“Raised by Wolves”

Alex Gabassi

“King”

HBO/HBO Max

“Reacher”

Thomas Vincent

“Welcome to Margrave”

Amazon Prime Video

“S.W.A.T.”

Lina Esco

“Donor”

NBC

“S.W.A.T.”

Alex Russell

“Safe House”

NBC

“S.W.A.T.”

Billy Gierhart

“Vagabundo”

NBC

“SEAL Team”

Christopher Chulack

“All Bravo Stations”

“SEAL Team”

David Boreanaz

“Conspicuous Gallantry”

“See”

Anders Engström

“Rock-a-bye”

Apple TV+

“Servant”

Ishana Night Shyamalan

“Mama”

Apple TV+

“Severance”

Aolfe McArdle

“The You You Are”

Apple TV+

“Sex/Life”

Patricia Rozema

“The Wives are in Connecticut”

“Shining Girls”

Elisabeth Moss

“Offset”

Apple TV+

“Shining Girls”

Daina Reid

“Overnight”

Apple TV+

“Slow Horses”

James Hawes

“Failure’s Contagious”

Apple TV+

“Snowfall”

Ben Younger

“Comets”

FX

“Snowfall”

Alonso Alvarez Barreda

“Fault Lines”

FX

“Snowfall”

Kevin Rodney Sullivan

“The Illad: Parts 1 and 2”

FX

“Snowpiercer”

Christoph Schrewe

“The Original Sinners”

TNT

“Star Trek: Discovery”

Olatunde Osunsanmi

“Kobayashi Maru”

Paramount+

“Star Trek: Discovery”

Jonathan Frakes

“Stormy Weather”

Paramount+

“Star Trek: Picard”

Doug Aarniokoski

“The Star Gazer”

Paramount+

“Star Trek: Picard”

Lea Thompson

“Watcher”

Paramount+

“Star Trek: Strange New Worlds”

Akiva Goldsman

“Strange New Worlds”

Paramount+

“Suspicion”

Stefan Schwartz

“The Devil You Know”

Apple TV+

“Suspicion”

Chris Long

“Persons of Interest”

Apple TV+

“Swagger”

Reggie Rock Bythewood

“#Radicals”

Apple TV+

“Sweet Magnolias”

Norman Buckley

“Casseroles and Casulaties”

“Sweet Magnolias”

Mary Lou Belli

“If Thou Wilt, Remember”

“Tehran”

Daniel Syrkin

“Blood Funeral”

Apple TV+

“The Accidental Wolf”

Arian Moayed

“Cockfight”

Topic

“The Blacklist”

Cort L. Hessler III

“Caelum Bank (No. 169)”

NBC

“The Book of Boba Fett”

Bryce Dallas Howard

“Chapter 5: Return of the Mandalorian”

Disney+

“The Book of Boba Fett”

Robert Rodriguez

“Chapter 7: In the Name of Honor”

Disney+

“The Book of Boba Fett”

Steph Green

“Chapter 2: The Tribes of Tatooine”

Disney+

“The Book of Boba Fett”

Kevin Tancharoen

“Chapter 4: The Gathering Storm”

Disney+

“The Chi”

Katrelle N. Kindred

“Love Jones”

Showtime

“The Chi”

Nancy C. Mejia

“Southside With You”

Showtime

“The Chi”

“The Spook Who Sat by the Door”

Gandja Monteiro

Showtime

“The Cleaning Lady”

Marie Jamora

“Mother’s Mission”

Fox

“The Cleaning Lady”

Michael Offer

“TNT”

Fox

“The Endgame”

Randy Zisk

“Fairytale Wedding”

“The Endgame”

Justin Lin

“Pilot”

“The Equalizer”

Christine Moore

“Chinatown”

CBS

“The Equalizer”

Solvan “Slick” Naim

“D.W.B.”

CBS

“The Equalizer”

Neema Barnette

“Separated”

CBS

“The Expanse”

Breck Eisner

“Babylon’s Ashes”

Amazon Prime Video

“The Gilded Age”

Michael Engler

“Let the Tournament Begin”

HBO/HBO Max

“The Girl in the Woods”

Krysten Ritter

“The Lure”

“The Girl in the Woods”

Jacob Chase

“One Door Closes”

“The Good Doctor”

Mike Listo

“New Beginnings”

ABC

“The Good Doctor”

David Shore

“Sons”

ABC

“The L Word: Generation Q”

Marja-Lewis Ryan

“Late to the Party”

Showtime

“The Lincoln Laywer”

Liz Friedlander

“He Rides Again”

Netflix

“The Man Who Fell to Earth”

Alex Kurtzman

“Hallo Spaceboy”

Showtime

“The Morning Show”

Rachel Morrison

“A Private Person”

Apple TV+

“The Morning Show”

Lesli Linka Glatter

“Laura”

Apple TV+

“The Porter”

Charles Officer

“Episode 101”

“The Porter”

R.T. Thorne

“Episode 108”

“The Resident”

Rob Corn

“The Long and Winding Road”

“The Sinner”

Derek Simonds

“Part I”

USA Network

“The Tourist”

Daniel Nettheim

“Episode Five”

HBO/HBO Max

“The Tourist”

Chris Sweeney

“Episode One”

HBO/HBO Max

“The Walking Dead”

Lily Marlye

“Trust”

AMC

“The Wheel of Time”

Uta Briesewitz

“Leavetaking”

Amazon Prime Video

“The Wilds”

Nima Nourizadeh

“Day 42/15”

“The Wilds”

Ben C. Lucas

“Day 46/26”

“The Witcher”

Stephen Surjik

“A Grain of Truth”

Netflix

“This Is Us”

Jon Huertas

“Four Fathers”

NBC

“This Is Us”

Jessica Yu

“Don’t Let Me Keep You”

NBC

“This Is Us”

Milo Ventimiglia

“The Guitar Man”

NBC

“This Is Us”

Zetna Fuentes

“Miguel”

NBC

“This Is Us”

Chris Sullivan

“Heart and Soul”

NBC

“This Is Us”

Mandy Moore

“The Hill”

NBC

“Titans”

Millicent Shelton

“The Test”

“Tokyo Vice”

Michael Mann

“The Test”

HBO/HBO Max

“Tokyo Vice”

Alan Poul

“Yoshino”

HBO/HBO Max

“Truth Be Told”

Mikkel Nergaard

“Last Exit…Oakland”

Apple TV+

“Vikings: Valhalla”

Niels Arden Oplev

“The Greenlanders”

“Vikings: Valhalla”

Hannah Quinn

“Miracle”

“Virgin River”

Martin Wood

“Jack and Jill”

“Virgin River”

Monika Mitchell

“Take My Breath Away”

“Winning Time: Rise of the Lakers Dynasty”

Salli Richardson-Whitfield

“Promised Land”

HBO/HBO Max

“Winning Time: Rise of the Lakers Dynasty”

Damian Marcano

“Who the F**k is Jack Mckinney”

HBO/HBO Max

“Y: The Last Man”

Louise Friedberg

“The Day Before”

“Y: The Last Man”

Destiny Ekaragha

“Weird Al is Dead”

“Yellowjackets”

Jamie Travis

“F Sharp”

Showtime

“Yellowstone”

Stephen Kay

“Half the Money”

Paramount Network

“Yellowstone”

Christina Alexandra Voros

“I Want to be Him”

Paramount Network

“You”

Silver Tree

“What Is Love?

Netflix

2022 Primetime Emmy Awards Predictions

2022 Creative Arts Emmys Predictions

About the Primetime Emmy Awards (Emmys)

The Primetime Emmy Awards, better known as the Emmys, are given out by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS). Since 1949, the awards have recognized excellence in American primetime television programming. They are divided into three classes – Primetime Emmy Awards, the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards (honors artisan achievements), and the Primetime Engineering Emmy Awards (recognizes significant engineering and technological contributions). The typical eligibility period is between June 1 and May 31 of any given year. The Television Academy comprises over 25,000 members, representing 30 professional peer groups, including performers, directors, producers, art directors and various artisans and executives.

  • The 74th Emmy Awards will take place on Monday, Sept. 12, and air on NBC.

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