Monday, August 17, 2020

Emmy Predictions 2020 - Who Will and Should Win for Writing in a Limited Series or Movie?

The nominations have been announced for The 72nd 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 Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special.

The Nominees Ranked By Which Should Win:
  1. Damon Lindelof & Cord Jefferson for HBO's Watchmen - "This Extraordinary Being"
  2. Susannah Grant, Michael Chabon & Ayelet Waldman for Netflix's Unbelievable - "Episode 1"
  3. Tanya Barfield for FX on Hulu's Mrs. America - "Shirley"
  4. Sally Rooney & Alice Birch for Hulu's Normal People - "Episode 3"
  5. Anna Winger for Netflix's Unorthodox - "Part 1"

As I detailed in the write-up for limited series directing, "This Extraordinary Being" was a phenomenal and powerful episode of television. It was the pinnacle of what Watchmen hoped to achieve. It told a story about race and generational trauma while being captivating and searing with its core story. The directorial achievement was profound. The writing was equally compelling. The bold vision was first established in the writers room. Damon Lindelof understood the importance of this story and uplifted the voices necessary to make it the best possible version of itself. However, Watchmen wasn't the only compelling viewing experience of the last year in television. Unbelievable was similarly provocative and gutting. That premiere was especially so. It was a brutal depiction of rape centered on one woman's harrowing story in the pursuit of being believed and respected. The sensitive subject matter was handled with care while never shying away from the brutality on display. Everything worked because of the writing and the willingness to boldly explore this incredible story. Meanwhile, Mrs. America's focus on Shirley Chisholm highlighted the intersectionality of feminism and the need to push for all voices to be heard and validated. It was challenging while highlighting the ongoing fight for progress. History informs so many of these stories. But the connection to the present made for a powerful impact across the board.

The Nominees Ranked by Which Will Win:
  1. Susannah Grant, Michael Chabon & Ayelet Waldman for Netflix's Unbelievable - "Episode 1"
  2. Damon Lindelof & Cord Jefferson for HBO's Watchmen - "This Extraordinary Being"
  3. Tanya Barfield for FX on Hulu's Mrs. America - "Shirley"
  4. Anna Winger for Netflix's Unorthodox - "Part 1"
  5. Sally Rooney & Alice Birch for Hulu's Normal People - "Episode 3"

Unlike several of the limited series categories, no program has more than one nominee here. That may make this race more competitive across the board. It means there will be no vote splitting. As such, the winner in this race could prove to have tremendous support. But it's also just as likely that this could be the category where voters recognize a show that deserves to win somewhere. Unbelievable, Mrs. America and Unorthodox are more than likely going to win an Emmy. It's hard to pinpoint which major category presents their best chances though. Plus, Watchmen is an absolute juggernaut. With the backing of HBO, it could absolutely sweep the board in every category. That would be astonishing. It would be deserved as well. Spreading the love around to include other great series would be just as rewarding though. That first episode of Unbelievable was astonishing and heart-wrenching. This may actually be the best opportunity for Unbelievable to prevail. That's why I have it ranked at the top. Sure, Watchmen has to be seen as a frontrunner. But this feels like the one category where Unbelievable can make it onto the stage to give an acceptance speech. Mrs. America and Unorthodox have those same qualities. And yet, they have slightly more opportunities to win elsewhere. None of these nominees can be counted out. An unexpected outcome could occur. That is always thrilling. But again, the limited series categories are the most competitive races of the year.

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