‘Feud: Capote vs the Swans’ will continue Emmy-winning ways of the franchise

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Feud: Bette and Joan” took the Emmys by storm in 2017, with the first season of the Ryan Murphy anthology show receiving rave reviews for its depiction of the rivalry between actresses Bette Davis (Susan Sarandon) and Joan Crawford (Jessica Lange).

Season two will hope to match that Emmy success (more on that later) with its portrayal of Truman Capote (Tom Hollander) and his falling out with a group of New York high society socialites known as the Swans. Capote wrote a fictionalized account of the Swans’ dramatic lives, leading to the Swans vowing revenge for betraying their confidence.

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The glossy show is typically gorgeous, scandalous, and theatrical while the performances are all top-drawer. Hollander dazzles in the lead role as Capote, which is no mean feat considering the late, great Philip Seymour-Hoffman won the Best Actor Oscar for his turn as Capote in 2005’s “Capote”). Meanwhile, Naomi Watts, Diane Lane, Chloë Sevigny, Calista Flockhart, Demi Moore, and Molly Ringwald all ace their respective roles as the Swans and Gus Van Sant adds gravitas to proceedings as director. Critics have declared this one a sumptuous sweet-and-sour treat.

Alci Rengifo (Entertainment Voice) opined: “One of the more observational shows Murphy has produced, where it is more about the social critique than plot. With Van Sant’s elegant eye, the world of New York elites becomes a sensuous hell where the snacks are delightful but Capote’s soul is sapped.”

Peter Travers (ABC News) stated: “Ryan Murphy’s second go at famous feuds stars Tom Hollander as Capote, the literary gadfly who befriends and betrays the socialites he calls swans. The series veers from delicious to depressing, but Emmys please for Hollander and chief swan Naomi Watts.”

Randy Myers (San Jose Mercury News) explained: “The material could have resulted in pure caricature, but this classy production avoids being crass, shallow and sensational, even with its supporting characters, including Demi Moore’s tragic, rejected Ann ‘Bang-Bang’ Woodward.”

Richard Lawson (Vanity Fair) observed: “Its poignance arrives slowly but gradually envelops, taking us on a tour of fading dynasty and, somehow, drawing relevance to our own basic lives. Those expecting a torrent of nastiness will be disappointed — this is a wistful feud, not a dishy one.”

David Bianculli (NPR) proclaimed: “‘Capote vs. the Swans’ deserves our attention. It’s a good drama, a compelling story with a powerhouse cast — and in this new installment of ‘Feud,’ they all do some very powerful work.”

As a result, “Capote vs the Swans” is right on the precipice of breaking into our predicted lineup of Best Limited Series nominees at this year’s Emmys. Our current predicted nominees are “Fargo,” “Lessons in Chemistry,” “Baby Reindeer,” “True Detective: Night Country,” and “Ripley.” However, “Capote vs the Swans” could easily break up this party and sneak into the lineup itself for several reasons.

Firstly, we already know that Emmy voters adore Murphy’s “Feud” anthology series. The format takes a look at some of showbusiness history’s most infamous scandals and fall-outs and it makes for delicious drama. “Bette and Joan” garnered a whopping 19 Emmy nominations in 2019, including six acting citations and a bid for Best Limited Series. Voters clearly love this show, so it’s not hard to believe that “Capote vs the Swans” could perform as well as “Bette and Joan.”

Emmy voters also love anthology series in general in this category, with the likes of  “American Horror Story,” “American Crime Story,” “Genius,” “Fargo,” “American Crime,” and “The White Lotus” all snagging multiple bids for their various seasons. “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” was also nominated. That is the first series in a new true-crime series about famous murderers from Murphy.

That leads us on to the next point — Emmy voters love the work of Mr. Murphy. “Nip/Tuck,” “Glee,” “American Horror Story,” “The Normal Heart,” “American Crime Story,” “Pose,” “The Politician,” “Hollywood,” “Ratched,” “Halston,” “American Horror Stories,” and “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” were all nominated for (or won) various Emmys. Plus, “American Horror Story,” “American Crime Story,” and “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” were all nominated for Best Limited Series. This is a TV creator who Emmy voters love and he is a master of the limited series format. It would make perfect sense if he were to land yet another nomination with another show this yea.r

We also know that Emmy voters like limited series telling true stories. Just take a look through each nominees lineup in previous years and that will be obvious. The likes of “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” “Pam & Tommy,” “Inventing Anna,” “The Dropout,” “The Underground Railroad,” “Unbelievable,” “Mrs America,” “When They See Us,” “Fosse/Verdon,” “Escape at Dannemora,” and “Chernobyl” all earned bids for Best Limited Series in recent years. “Feud: Capote vs the Swans” could be next.

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