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  • James Kunovski

2019 Emmys: Thoughts on Limited Series

Chernobyl roars into the game. Sharp Objects makes a grounded statement. When They See Us impresses the actors branch. Let’s take a look at the idiosyncratic nominees for limited series and television movie.

Limited Series


Escape at Dannemora


Sharp Objects

When They See Us

Will Win: Chernobyl

Should Win: Chernobyl

Glaring Omission: Maniac

Chernobyl scored nineteen nominations this year and has the support of the branch members to propel it to a win. It would be the cherry on top of HBO’s cake; the perfect prize to the show’s surprise success, resonance and acclaim. Sharp Objects and When They See Us are the underdogs.


Television Movie

Bandersnatch (Black Mirror)


Deadwood: The Movie

King Lear

My Dinner with Hervé

Will Win: Bandersnatch (Black Mirror)

Should Win: Deadwood: The Movie

Glaring Omission: Native Son

Maybe it’s time to go back to merging this with limited series because, oh boy, this is pretty average. The top nominees are Bandersnatch and Deadwood. I am backing Deadwood because it was a resolute final note for an iconic series. Now, Deadwood (the series) aired a while ago, and perhaps Emmy voters have lost touch. Its lack of nominations in other categories echoes this. Bandersnatch will win. Voters have shown their love for Black Mirror, especially in this category, and there’s a chance they liked its interactive quality, even if it alienated others.


Lead Actor

Mahershala Ali, True Detective

Benicio del Toro, Escape at Dannemora

Hugh Grant, A Very English Scandal

Jared Harris, Chernobyl

Jharrel Jerome, When They See Us

Sam Rockwell, Fosse/Verdon

Will Win: Jharrel Jerome, When They See Us

Should Win: Jared Harris, Chernobyl

Glaring Omission: Ian McShane, Deadwood: The Movie

Jerome shares an emotional range that comes with maturity and adaptability. He goes from desperate in court to stone-faced in prison, but through his conviction we see that he never lost what the judicial system tried to squeeze out. Harris plays his lines with quiet certitude. We believe what he says and his cause. He is under the thumb of a massive political system that works against him yet he stands, if not literally but figuratively, tall. Both great performances of characters amidst bold social and political blockades.


Lead Actress

Amy Adams, Sharp Objects

Patricia Arquette, Escape at Dannemora

Aunjanue Ellis, When They See Us

Joey King, The Act

Niecy Nash, When They See Us

Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon

Will Win: Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon

Should Win: Amy Adams, Sharp Objects

Glaring Omission: Emma Stone, Maniac

Amy Adams proves with her performance that subtly is powerful. Michelle Williams embodies Gwen Verdon through accent and manner. The implications of the femininity that form Verdon and her relationship with Fosse are enough to prick the voters' ears. Patricia Arquette has been awarded several times for her transformative depiction of Joyce in Dannemora, though given her dual-nominations, voters might shy away from rushing to award her.


Supporting Actor

Asante Blackk, When They See Us

Paul Dano, Escape at Dannemora

John Leguizamo, When They See Us

Stellan Skarsgård, Chernobyl

Ben Whishaw, A Very English Scandal

Michael K. Williams, When They See Us

Will Win: Ben Whishaw, A Very English Scandal

Should Win: Asante Blackk, When They See Us

Glaring Omission: Scoot McNairy, True Detective

Whishaw has captured the award circuit with confidence for his performance as Norman Scott. However, the award should go to Asante Blackk for his heart-wrenching evocation of stolen youth. He carries himself throughout with a crushing sadness, his shoulders hunched, voice weary. Through his language and manner, he reminds us, that at the end of the day, the accused were children.


Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette, The Act

Marsha Stephanie Blake, When They See Us

Patricia Clarkson, Sharp Objects

Vera Farmiga, When They See Us

Margaret Qualley, Fosse/Verdon

Emily Watson, Chernobyl

Will Win: Patricia Clarkson, Sharp Objects

Should Win: Patricia Clarkson, Sharp Objects

Glaring Omission: Jessie Buckley, Chernobyl

Patricia Clarkson as Adora Crellin (fantastic name) exudes an overbearing quality that sits well in the show’s Southern gothic theme. She is truly an awful mother, but one, so painfully regal about her poise and delivery. It’s a poisonous blend that Clarkson masterfully executes.




Escape at Dannemora

Fosse/Verdon, Glory

Fosse/Verdon, Who’s Got the Pain

A Very English Scandal

When They See Us

Will Win: Chernobyl

Should Win: Chernobyl

Glaring Omission: Sharp Objects

Categorically atmospheric and painted with heavy strokes of bleak genius, Chernobyl shines above its company. The show blossoms in its own desolate mood and that can be drawn back to director Johan Renck’s expertise.




Escape at Dannemora, Part 6

Escape at Dannemora, Part 7

Fosse/Verdon, Providence

A Very English Scandal

When They See Us, Part Four

Will Win: Chernobyl

Should Win: Chernobyl

Glaring Omission: Deadwood: The Movie

Funnily enough, Chernobyl writer Craig Mazin was originally a comedy writer. He curates the intentions of his leads as they calculate their surroundings and toil their way through the unprecedented crisis. Included are plenty of nail-biting sequences to boot. In this blend of surreal drama versus rich character development he hits the nail on the head, and in the process, gives us one of the best shows to hit the small screen.


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