Thursday, August 15, 2019

Emmy Predictions 2019 - Who Will and Should Win for Writing in a Drama Series?

The nominations have been announced for The 71st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. So now, it's time to speculate on who will and should win in each major category. Next up for analysis is Writing for a Drama Series.

The Nominees Ranked By Which Should Win:
  1. Peter Gould & Thomas Schnauz for AMC's Better Call Saul - "Winner"
  2. Jesse Armstrong for HBO's Succession - "Nobody Is Ever Missing"
  3. Bruce Miller & Kira Snyder for Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale - "Holly"
  4. Emerald Fennell for BBC America's Killing Eve - "Nice and Neat"
  5. Jed Mercurio for Netflix's Bodyguard - "Episode 1"
  6. David Benioff & D.B. Weiss for HBO's Game of Thrones - "The Iron Throne"

Better Call Saul, Succession and The Handmaid's Tale crafted some powerful episodes of television this past year. The finales of Better Call Saul and Succession were absolutely pivotal and showcased the many ways in which such careful plotting can come together in extremely rewarding and surprising ways. That delicate attention to detail is what truly makes the best scripts come alive. They provide phenomenal material for the actors to mold into their own. Those three episodes were universally acclaimed and should be seen as the best nominees in this race. Conversely, the Game of Thrones finale was incredibly divisive for a number of reasons. That response shows how some storytellers struggle when it comes to delivering what the fans believe they want. It's not always about crafting an ending that satisfies everyone who watches it though. That would be incredibly boring. But some creative decisions were made that proved to be very questionable in hindsight. It didn't prevent the show from still getting nominated though. It's just unfortunate that the best written episode of Game of Thrones in its final season - "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms" - wasn't nominated here.

The Nominees Ranked by Which Will Win:
  1. David Benioff & D.B. Weiss for HBO's Game of Thrones - "The Iron Throne"
  2. Jesse Armstrong for HBO's Succession - "Nobody Is Ever Missing"
  3. Peter Gould & Thomas Schnauz for AMC's Better Call Saul - "Winner"
  4. Bruce Miller & Kira Snyder for Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale - "Holly"
  5. Emerald Fennell for BBC America's Killing Eve - "Nice and Neat"
  6. Jed Mercurio for Netflix's Bodyguard - "Episode 1"

For all its faults, it still seems reasonable to expect a Game of Thrones victory for its series finale. Benioff and Weiss have won twice before for writing. It also didn't matter that their winning episodes were better directorial achievements than written ones. Of course, the Emmy voters go back-and-forth on whether to be sentimental about awarding shows for their series finales. Friday Night Lights and The Americans won for their first times here for their final episodes. But there are also examples of that strategy not working out - especially for past winners like Mad Men and Downton Abbey. Those two shows were huge favorites of the voters. But they weren't as massively beloved as Game of Thrones has clearly been. It has to be considered a frontrunner in every race it is nominated in. In fact, it may be a strong contender here because it isn't competing against itself like it is for drama directing. But there is still the potential for a surprise. Sometimes the best written episode really does prevail in this race - like Breaking Bad winning for "Ozymandias" instead of "Felina." Better Call Saul, Succession and The Handmaid's Tale could easily follow that same trajectory. 

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with my predictions? Let me know in the comments below!