Sunday, September 3, 2017

Emmy Predictions 2017 - Who Will Likely Win for Directing in a Drama Series?

The nominations are in for The 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. The final round of voting has occurred. So, it's time to speculate on who is likely to win in each major category. Next up for analysis is Directing in a Drama Series.

The Nominees:
  • The Duffer Brothers for Netflix's Stranger Things - "Chapter One: The Vanishing of Will Byers"
  • Stephen Daldry for Netflix's The Crown - "Hyde Park Corner"
  • Kate Dennis for Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale - "The Bridge"
  • Vince Gilligan for AMC's Better Call Saul - "Witness"
  • Lesli Linka Glatter for Showtime's Homeland - "America First"
  • Reed Morano for Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale - "Offred"
  • Jonathan Nolan for HBO's Westworld - "The Bicameral Mind"

I want to resist the urge of believing that The Handmaid's Tale is going to win for writing, directing and as a series. And yet, I realistically believe it has the odds of prevailing in all three - in addition to some of the performer categories. If so, it would confirm that Hulu is a player in the war for best platform out there. However, if the show were only to win in one of these technical categories, it needs to be for its direction. It is one of the most visually satisfying and distinctive shows currently on the air. It's certainly the best nominated in this category. As such, Reed Morano should win for having the vision to bring this world to life in such a specific way that fosters intimacy with the characters while also making it seem like there is so much space between people even when they are in the same room. It's a marvelous achievement. The show has two nominations in this category too. That makes it seem likely to win. But multiple nominees here don't always lead to victory. It's probably a problem with vote splitting. As strong as "The Bridge" is though, Morano's work on "Offred" should be the winner here. It's tremendous.

Of course, this has been a category of pure spectacle over the past few years. The winner has either been the director of the big action sequences on Game of Thrones, a director helming an entire season of episodes or a feature film director helming the premiere of a noteworthy new show. The episodes nominated this year don't really follow that familiar pattern. However, a reasonable case could be made for Jonathan Nolan winning for his work on the finale of Westworld. It's interesting how Westworld got most of its technical nominations for the finale instead of the premiere. But it's an expansive show that looked amazing throughout the season even when the structure of the storytelling was a little lackluster. But it could definitely appeal to the block of voters looking to be wowed by spectacle. It's big and over-the-top. A case could also be made for The Duffer Brothers. They took inspiration from a specific decade and the films made in the '80s. They incorporated those sensibilities while still putting their own unique spin on them. It wouldn't be my top choice for the trophy but they definitely have a solid shot of pulling off an upset as well.

Of course, Stephen Daldry has gotten several Academy Awards nominations for directing. He may be a stealth choice in this race too. The Crown is the type of show that appeals to Emmy voters. It may not be the most buzzed about show this year. But it clearly has support and was beautiful to look at as well. Furthermore, Vince Gilligan and Lesli Linka Glatter are deserving largely because they've been nominated in this category several times over the past decade but have never won. They always deliver great episodes. They are also wonderful to watch. They are two strong directors. And yet, there is never the urgency to pick them over the rest of the directors in the category. That's a shame. But again, it's understandable given the competition they are up against for younger shows that got more overall nominations this year.

Should Win: Reed Morano
Will Win: Reed Morano
Dark Horse: Jonathan Nolan