Monday, September 5, 2016

Emmy Predictions 2016 - Who Will Likely Win for Directing for a Drama 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 Drama Series.

The Nominees:
  • Jack Bender for HBO's Game of Thrones - Episode: "The Door"
  • Michael Engler for PBS' Downton Abbey - Episode: "Episode 9"
  • Lesli Linka Glatter for Showtime's Homeland - Episode: "The Tradition of Hospitality"
  • David Hollander for Showtime's Ray Donovan - Episode: "Exsuscito"
  • Miguel Sapochnik for HBO's Game of Thrones - Episode: "Battle of the Bastards"
  • Steven Soderbergh for Cinemax's The Knick - Episode: "This Is All We Are"

It's somewhat surprising that Game of Thrones has only been victorious in the race for Drama Directing once before. It was just last year when David Nutter won. It was only the fantasy series third nomination in the category. But it's clear the changes in the voting system to a more popular vote has caused a wave of support for the HBO drama. Now, the show is racking up more nominations than ever before. It got two directing nods a year ago and won. And now, Game of Thrones once again has two directing nods and is the most nominated drama series of the year. It seems like the show will follow the same trajectory it did last year. Directing seems like the easiest thing for the show to win. It's the frontrunner in this race. Anything else winning would be a surprise. And yet, voters still have to decide which episode to support. Both "The Door" and "Battle of the Bastards" are favorites from the season. So, it could be a close race.

Based on its sheer scope, I would have to give the edge to Miguel Sapochnik for "Battle of the Bastards." It's the type of episode the show only produces one of in each season but is very beloved by the audience. It's an epic battle that encompasses so much action. It's a high point for Jon Snow's arc of the season. And this season really was about Jon Snow's arc. It was the framing narrative. The buzz around that character got Kit Harington an acting nomination this year. It could also build support around this episode. "The Door" was nice too but all of its buzz comes from the key twist with Hodor. Again, it was a popular and beloved episode of the season. So, it could have a strong chance of winning as well. Plus, Jack Bender has been nominated a couple of times over the years and never won (for Lost and Northern Exposure). This is Sapochnik's first nomination. At this moment though, I'm predicting Sapochnik if one of the Game of Thrones guys prevails.

Of course, this race isn't a lock for Game of Thrones. It only has two nominations. The other four contenders could surprise. If that were to happen, it would most likely be either Steven Soderbergh or Lesli Linka Glatter. Emmy support for The Knick really doesn't extend beyond Soderbergh. Plus, the awkward limbo state the show is in right now could weaken its chances here. But again, Soderbergh is a beloved director who did another full season of episodes. The direction is the best part of the show. That's all because of Soderbergh's key eye. Meanwhile, Glatter's contributions to Homeland have been invaluable over the years. She has consistently gotten nominations in this category but has yet to win. It's still a debate over whether Season 5 was a comeback season for the show. To me, it started strong but lost steam as it went along. But Glatter's episode was early in the season and was particularly memorable. She may be a veteran of this category. But it's about time that she actually won.

Should Win: Steven Soderbergh
Will Win: Miguel Sapochnik
Dark Horse: Lesli Linka Glatter