Awards Watch With Math Teacher Movies – July 13th, 2021: Emmys Best Limited Series

Awards analysis is provided by Sean from @MathTeacherMovies.

Ted Lasso belongs to the Comedy categories, The Crown belongs to the Drama categories, but Best Limited Series is a bit more of a toss up with several leaders that could and should receive the nomination and the award. 

The Queen’s Gambit was a popular show that hit in the middle of the year and was beloved by critics and audiences alike. Mare of Easttown caused the world to stop every Sunday, which is rare these days. 

I May Destroy You may not have been as popular with audiences but it was probably one of the best limited series of the year and it’s Emmy nomination can hopefully make up for its criminal (yet unsurprising) snub from the Golden Globes. 

The Underground Railroad was far too good for the Emmys to ignore, but it was not a hit with  audiences. At the other end of the spectrum, Wandavision was so popular with audiences and that popularity will cement its nomination. These two shows will probably round up the nominations.

The possible upsets begin with Small Axe, which has been suffering from rather confusing category placements as each episode was first advertised as a separate movie and now it’s a limited series. They are now being advertised as a limited series. This categorization feels much more appropriate and will give the show a chance of a nomination.

It’s a Sin was a large sleeper hit on HBO Max that was one of the best of the year and might garner some attention come nomination time. Finally, The Undoing was a popular murder mystery that has since lost a lot of momentum and attention since its release, but was still interesting enough to possibly get in the top five. 

With the rise of streaming and its acceptance within the Oscar community, Best Television Movie has become one of the strangest categories. It feels like it’s disappearing, but there are some strange qualifiers this year.  

Sylvie’s Love, Uncle Paul, and Unpregnant were controversially considered television movies when they probably should have been considered for Oscars. These three will definitely be nominated. 

After those two nominations, it would really be anyone’s guess. Oslo is a recently-released political film which could always be popular. Christmas on the Square is a fun Christmas special with a blended musical figure in Dolly Parton.

Anya Taylor Joy sprung to the top like a rocket when she led Queen’s Gambit and she will certainly be a lead nomination for Best Actress in a Limited Series or Movie. You should also expect to see Kate Winslet receive a nomination for her performance in Mare of Easttown. She knocked it out of the park in performance quality and garnered quite a bit of attention. 

The driving force of I May Destroy You is the terrific performance of Michaela Coel who should and will also be recognized. It would be unconventional to see Elizabeth Olsen get a nomination for a Marvel Series in Wanadavision, but it would also be well deserved. She will most likely receive a nomination. 

The fifth spot is pretty much up for grabs. Nicole Kidman was notable in The Undoing but outshined by her costars. Cynthia Erivo garnered attention and, pardon the pun, respect for her role as Aretha Franklin in Genius. Finally, Thuso Mbedu drives the main emotion of The Underground Railroad, although this might be a long shot. 

Ethan Hawke in The Good Lord Bird and Hugh Grant in The Undoing are at the tops of their talent in their prospective roles and both have a shot at winning the Emmy for Best Actor in a Limited Series or Movie.

Paul Bettany seemed to have a blast with his role in Wandavision and he received as much praise and attention as the show itself received. There is a debate surrounding how to categorize the recorded version of Hamilton, but it’s being considered a TV movie, so expect to see Lin Manuel Miranda get a nomination. 

Jeff Daniels nobly faced off against Brendan Gleeson’s showy and imposing Trump in The Comey Rule. Daniels has received past awards for this category and is very likely to receive a nomination. 

Finally, there are two long shots who may get nominated for this category: Bryan Cranston for his performance in Your Honor and Joel Edgerton for his performance in The Underground Railroad.

Kathryn Hahn is having quite the year and she shows no signs of going away. She is beloved in everything but shines in Wandavision and will be nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie.  Marielle Heller, a great director, grabbed plenty of attention for her performance in The Queen’s Gambit, and will probably receive a nomination. 

Jean Smart is another actress having an amazing year and while she does not do much in Mare of Easttown, everything she does is wonderful in the most subtle of fashions. Given much more to do in the same show, Julianne Nicholson gave a powerful performance towards the end of the series and while she is right on the edge, she will probably receive a nomination as well. 

Small Acts is getting much less love than it deserves and often it is because anthology series can get difficult to categorize appropriately. One clear nomination will be Letita Wright for the first episode of the series Mangrove as a way to honor the series.

Teyonah Parris could possibly be nominated for WandaVision as well, but it does not seem as likely. Weruche Opia gives a fascinating and complicated performance in I May Destroy You but it might be difficult for her performance to stand out. Finally, Jessie Buckley had a great performance in Fargo and I think she will ultimately receive enough attention to get a nomination.

John Boyega not only gives a tremendous performance in his episode of Small Acts with an episode that is a true stand out, but he also is active in social justice in real life, which is the central theme of that episode. For all of these reasons Boyega will most likely lead to a nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie.

Bill Camp has been around as a character actor for quite some time and is beloved and finally getting his due with a potential nomination in Queen’s Gambit. He is not in the series for long, but he is the moral center and makes the experience count. Donald Sutherland was a huge stand out in The Undoing and a  well-respected actor and legend, so it seems very likely that he will be nominated. 

Two of the next three actors will be nominated but it’s difficult to say who: Daveed Diggs is high up on the list for his performance in Hamilton, but it still seems difficult to call this a television movie. Brendan Gleeson had the difficult task of playing Trump and rises to this task in an original fashion in The Comey Rule. Finally, Evan Peters had a tremendous year and while he was merely a red herring in Wandavision, he gave passion and nuance to his performance in Mare of Easttown and could easily be the fifth nomination. 

Tomorrow the nominations will be announced and my reaction will be given next week, so get excited and be sure to see what happens next in this celebration of this year of television.

Follow Sean on Instagram at @MathTeacherMovies

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