The official submissions for the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards have been revealed and as with every year, not without some surprises, shocks and controversy. For example, with all of the ballyhoo about the rule changes that happened earlier this year around Guest vs. Supporting performances (guest performers had to have appeared in less than 50% of a total season’s worth of episodes) Joan Cusack (Shameless) shows up in Guest this year despite seeming like the very reason this rule change was put in place. Also, with the elimination of the Variety Performer category a few years ago, sketch performers are now required to submit themselves in the Comedy categories and until recently needed to submit in Supporting even if they were the lead or co-lead in their very own show (Fred Armisen in Portlandia, for example, and has this year as well along with co-star Carrie Brownstein). This year could be a breakthrough in that Amy Schumer is submitted in Lead for her sketch show Inside Amy Schumer. She stands a very good chance at breaking through the variety-performer-as-supporting glass ceiling this year. On the flip side, Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key of Key & Peele are both submitted in Supporting for their own sketch show that bears their names.
And what of the category submission rules for comedies and dramas? Orange is the New Black was submitted in Comedy for its first season, grabbing 10 nominations and winning 3 (including Guest Actress for Uzo Aduba). But now that it must submit in Drama, where will it fall? Could Aduba make history by winning in both Drama and Comedy for the same role in the same show? Or will this transition prove to be a death sentence on the show’s Emmy potential? Both Jane the Virgin and Glee appealed to the Television Academy about the new ‘one-hour show = drama’ rule and won. Orange did not. Speaking of Orange, where last year saw Aduba, Laverne Cox and Natasha Lyonne all nominated in Guest, this year they’re all upgraded (for better or worse) to Supporting. That’s probably not a good thing as no less than 15 actresses from Orange are submitted in Supporting this year, including last year’s nominee Kate Mulgrew. This is especially bad news for Yael Stone who had a perfect submission for Guest had she been eligible.
What Should I Submit and How Many?
Here’s something that is always fun to watch; when a freshman show (and its network/showrunners) are super pumped about their cool, new show and submit 5, 6, 7 or more episodes in the writing and/or directing categories. In theory it would seem like they’re fishing for whatever they can get by offering the most variety possible. But what often happens is that there is no unifying choice among voters and support is split amongst all of those submissions, ending up in no nominations in one or both of those categories. Now, certain shows have been able to stand up against this with multiple nominations from multiple submissions. Mad Men, in its heyday, was able to reap two and three nominations in the Writing category quite easily. Look at The Sopranos; one year they snagged four of the five Writing nominations. But those were strong shows that had broad popularity in other categories and also benefited from the right buzz at the right time. The other way of doing this, and one that has historically proven very successful, is when a show submits only one episode in Directing and Writing (and not even the same one necessarily). Downton Abbey has succeeded with this strategy every year its been on the air and its received Writing and Directing nominations to back it up. It does it again this year, submitting one episode for Writing (“Episode 8”) and one for Directing (“Episode 9”). I have no doubt that it will get in for both as a result.
On the Comedy side, the Showtime series Episodes did the same thing and stands a very good chance of receiving a nomination in each category this year (it’s received Writing nods every year of its first four seasons). The once Emmy hot Glee ended its series run this year with basement-level ratings and nearly the same critical support. Yet, it managed a Directing nomination just last year when the show was on its downward spiral. It’s very likely that it will again this year, for its penultimate episode (titled “2009”), which is largely built on flashes to the first episode and was directed by 8-time Emmy nominee Paris Barclay. He’s also a two-time Emmy winner for Directing (both for NYPD Blue) and has been nodded three times for Glee (in 2010, 2013 and 2014). Jane the Virgin may suffer from the syndrome I mentioned earlier; it submitted 10 (!!) episodes in the Directing category. Now, the Emmys do love to nominate pilot episodes of shows and Jane the Virgin has done well with critics this year and is a hugely buzzed about show but I can’t help but think that this amount of submissions in this category is a bad thing. Had the show submitted just the pilot we’d be looking at a surefire nomination. It did better in the Writing category, submitting only two episodes (including the pilot). Louie, for example, submitted only one episode for Writing (“Bobby’s House”) and one for Directing (“Sleepover”), practically assuring it gets in for both. Curiously, of the two episodes the Amazon show Transparent submitted in Directing neither were the pilot. Brave move. Curiouser still, 5-time Comedy Series champ Modern Family chose to submit a whopping seven episodes for Writing despite not having gotten a nomination in that category since 2011 (where it won). The show submitted only marginally smarter in Directing (where it’s won the Emmy for the last four years), with five, including one that feels like a surefire winner (“Connection Lost”).
Take a closer look at the ballot submissions and you’ll see the disappointing truth that NBC and Saturday Night Live didn’t see fit for a single female host to be considered this year. More than half a dozen men made the cut but Amy Adams, Taraji P. Henson, Scarlett Johansson, Sarah Silverman, and Reese Witherspoon apparently didn’t. It’s even more surprising when you consider that, since 2009, Comedy Guest Actress has featured a female host of SNL every year and both Tina Fey and Betty White have won here. Boo on you, SNL. Really bad move. Also on the snub list: Chelsea Lately and Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson as well as guest stars like Ann Dowd (Masters of Sex), Marla Gibbs (Scandal), reigning Emmy champ Cloris Leachman (Hawaii 5-0).
For the full list of submissions in all categories click a choice below. This first round of voting lasts through June 26th and the nominations will be announced by Uzo Aduba and John Stamos on July 16th at 8:30am PST. The 67th Primetime Emmy Awards will be hosted by Andy Samberg and air September 20th on Fox.
|Host – Reality/Reality-Competition|
|Lighting Design/Lighting Direction|
|Main Title Design|
|Nonfiction Picture Editing|
|Nonfiction Sound Editing|
|Nonfiction Sound Mixing|
|Reality Picture Editing|
|Special Class Program|
|Special Visual Effects|
Check out the Awardwatch Emmy Experts predictions HERE.