EMMYS: The Directors Race
EMMYS: Miniseries/TV Movie Supporting Acting Handicap
Ray Richmond is an AwardsLine contributor
Among the Emmy nominees for directing a drama series, comedy series, and movie/miniseries/special are numerous first-time nominees and several more with multiple noms looking for their first wins. What follows is a look at everyone’s chances:
Tim Van Patten, Boardwalk Empire, “To the Lost” (HBO)
Vince Gilligan, Breaking Bad, “Face Off” (AMC)
Brian Percival, Downton Abbey, “Episode 7” (PBS)
Michael Cuesta, Homeland, “Pilot” (Showtime)
Phil Abraham, Mad Men, “The Other Woman” (AMC)
If you were ever going to say that a guy is due for a win, it’s Van Patten. His Emmy pedigree includes 11 total nominations and five for The Sopranos. Yet his only win was as a supervising producer on the HBO mini The Pacific. Van Patten’s fellow directors could see this and feel like maybe it’s time.
On the other hand, it won’t be easy. Not with people like Vince Gilligan vying for the trophy. Gilligan was nominated for the same episode of Breaking Bad that earned him a DGA Award nom earlier this year. It’s “Face Off,” the fourth-season cliffhanger that found Giancarlo Esposito’s memorable villain Gustavo Fring having half of his face blown off, leading to a final adjustment of his tie moments before he collapses. Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is direction.
Percival, however, will be vying for a second Emmy in as many years for directing the U.S./U.K. coproduction Downton Abbey. He also took home a BAFTA honor. Last year, of course, when Percival won for the show, it was in the movie/mini directing category. It’s a whole new ballgame for him this time going up against the bigwigs of cable drama. This certainly lessens the chances of a repeat performance.
While this is Cuesta’s first Emmy nomination, he was nominated for a DGA honor for the same episode: the much-acclaimed Homeland pilot. Homeland is perhaps closest in pulse-pounding style to another series from exec producers Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon called 24. Jon Cassar won in this category in 2006 for that Fox series, so it would seem to give Cuesta a shot this time—particularly if Homeland can pull off an upset in the top drama category.
That leaves Abraham, who has had six previous Emmy noms, winning once for cinematography on Mad Men. It might also help him that his nominated episode The Other Woman is one that creator-showrunner-Emmy machine Matthew Weiner is nominated for in the writing category. On the other hand, TV Academy voters might have had enough Mad Men at this point.
Prediction: Depending on how much momentum Breaking Bad has generated, this could well be Gilligan’s year after six previous noms without a win. Let’s go with that, although Cuesta looms large.
Robert B. Weide, Curb Your Enthusiasm, “Palestinian Chicken” (HBO)
Lena Dunham, Girls, “She Did” (HBO)
Louis C.K., Louie, “Duckling” (FX)