Monday, September 5, 2016

Emmy Predictions 2016 - Who Will Likely Win in Directing for a Comedy Series?

The nominations are in for The 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. The final round of voting has occurred. So now, it's time to speculate on who is likely to win in each major category. Next up for analysis is Directing for a Comedy Series.

The Nominees:
  • Chris Addison for HBO's Veep - Episode: "Morning After"
  • Aziz Ansari for Netflix's Master of None - Episode: "Parents"
  • Alec Berg for HBO's Silicon Valley - Episode: "Daily Active Users"
  • Mike Judge for HBO's Silicon Valley - Episode: "Founder Friendly"
  • David Mandel for HBO's Veep - Episode: "Kissing Your Sister"
  • Jill Soloway for Amazon's Transparent - Episode: "Man on the Land"
  • Dave Stern for HBO's Veep - Episode: "Mother"

Much like in Comedy Writing, the directing category for comedies is dominated by HBO's Veep and Silicon Valley. In a list of seven nominees, Veep has taken up three slots while Silicon Valley has two. That's very impressive. In previous years, both were only able to get just one spot on this list. And now, they have a commanding presence in the category. More than any other category, Comedy Directing seems like the place for HBO comedies to shine. It's a list where voters really loved what those two shows did in their last seasons. "Mother," "Morning After" and "Kissing Your Sister" are all strong episodes for Veep. "Daily Active Users" and "Founder Friendly" were equally great for Silicon Valley. It's difficult to single out any one of those as significantly better than the rest.

And yet, voters may not need to single out one nominee from Veep or Silicon Valley. The nominees this year also includes last year's winner Jill Soloway for Transparent. She managed to take down some serious competition a year ago - including the pilot of The Last Man on Earth and the "Testimony" episode of Veep. And now, she may have an even stronger episode as her submission. She did a number of great episodes of Transparent in its second season. "Man on the Land" was the best episode of the season because it brought the intersection of the past and the present together in exciting and climatic ways. It was at times an alienating experience for Maura at a festival where she didn't feel she belonged. Because of Soloway's excellent direction, the audience was able to be on that journey with Maura through all of its ups and downs. It was a stunning achievement and should be singled out as the winner here.

Aziz Ansari did some exceptional work on Master of None as well. The first season proved that he is more talented than just his acting work - which found a new level on the show too. "Parents" worked as effectively as it did because of just how simple its setup was in both its writing and directing. Simple isn't a criticism either. Its because of that simplicity that it makes such an impact. It's a familial story being told in a different way to an audience who has never really thought about the subject. It was a profound statement in a season full of them. But it has also had a lasting cultural impact long after it first debuted. That's a stunning achievement. It may be difficult to win against flashier competition. But it was solid work that deserved this nomination nevertheless. Plus, it's one of the few episodes here that was also nominated for writing. That list includes "Parents," "Mother," "Morning After" and "Founder Friendly." That signals across-the-board support and could mean a win for any of them.

Should Win: Jill Soloway
Will Win: Jill Soloway
Dark Horse: Mike Judge