Five Key Takeaways – IndieWire

This year’s Primetime Emmy nominations prove once again how difficult it is to keep up with the changes in the television landscape. If the narrative last year was about too much TV coming out of the pandemic, it’s turned in the opposite direction this year, with shows being canceled and pulled from their home platforms within months of airing, and a full-scale work stoppage is expected from the Writers Guild strike, and the SAG- AFTRA negotiations are still going downhill. It’s almost fitting that the final season of “The Succession,” a beloved satire that pokes fun at corporate greed so minutely that it’s about the streaming service’s fluctuating ratings, should be the most-nominated show of the year.

Below are five key takeaways from the 2023 Emmy nominations that spell both doom and gloom, and offer some silver linings for the future of award-winning TV.

The Last of Us episode 9 finale ending with Joel and Ellie

A man and a woman lean against a rock with their backs, looking intently at something they cannot see;  still from it "Andrew."

1. New rules, same voters

Two young heterosexual couples toast with champagne in a harbor in front of the sea and mountains;  still from it
“The White Lotus”HBO

This year, the Television Academy has been very intentional about rule changes that force its voting body to change and adapt. “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” was dropped from the current Outstanding Talk Series category to allow the Emmys to better support traditional late-night talk shows, which need to produce episodes with much greater frequency. Top Oscar-nominated documentaries like “The Territory,” “Moonage Daydream” and “Last Flight Home” are back in the Emmy race.

These changes were largely the way the Academy apparently wanted them to go. A less noticeable change, seen by everyone in the hope that more shows would be recognized, was the restriction of nomination voting. Members of the TV Academy were previously given a free hand to choose the actors they thought deserved a nod, but this year they could only vote for as many candidates as there would be in the end (e.g. if there were five places for Best Actor). in a comedy series, a voter could only suggest five candidates).

Even if it’s possible to pick as many nominees as you want and then narrow the list down to select finalists, categories like Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series prove that TV Academy voters just don’t think about dividing the fortunes equally. except Emmy fans do. And it’s not exactly an incomparable train of thought. If ‘Succession’ and ‘White Lotus’ are the preeminent drama series in people’s eyes, why put further restrictions on which stars deserve the award? As much as it would be great to see the TV Academy open up to more deserving shows and networks, only one of them wins the category. A nomination shouldn’t be the only prize on the show.

2. Some of the big streaming breakthroughs have come from unexpected places

“Weird: The Al Yankovic Story”Aaron Epstein / Roku

The lack of major Emmy nominations for some of the main contenders in the streaming wars, such as Peacock and Paramount+, might lead you to believe that voters only watch shows on a few channels, but the TV Academy members honored a wider range of platforms than they did. gave credit. Just look at how many nominations the Roku Channel received in the short form and limited or anthology series or movie categories. Projects like “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story” and “Die Hart 2: Die Harter” have exceeded expectations, proving that the streaming device maker is playing smart with its entry into original content and building a name for itself in the ever-changing on TV. Movie space and gives you the corresponding Quibi purchases.

Seeing the BET+ series, “The Ms. Pat Show” comedy series Outstanding Directing for the second year in a row, or “My Transparent Life” streaming for free on Tubi, for some reason an outstanding documentary or nonfiction film gets a special nod. like Hulu’s “Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields,” whose campaign was supplemented by a Sundance premiere, gives hope that the right projects will be considered, regardless of their scope. But all of this, mixed with an Outstanding Comedy Series nomination for Amazon FreeVee’s surprise hit “Jury Duty,” points to a major push for accessibility. Of the aforementioned services, only BET+ charges a subscription fee (although six dollars is well below the average price). FreeVee and Tubi are ad-based video-on-demand platforms, so anyone with an account and internet access can watch them. A Roku account comes with most smart TVs, so The Roku Channel can be accessed directly from the device’s home page.

Emmy voters seem to prefer to consider all kinds of shows that aren’t particularly keen on paying a subscription fee to watch them.

3. TV movies have finally found their feet.

PREY, from left: Amber Midthunder, Dane DiLiegro as Predator, 2022. ph: David Bukach / © Hulu / Courtesy Everett Collection
“Sacrifice”©Hulu/Courtesy Everett Collection

While it’s all about Roku and the success of “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story,” it’s reassuring to see TV movies being recognized in more than just their own categories at this year’s Emmy nominations. It wasn’t that long ago that limited or anthology series and television movies shared a category, so when it came to recognizing the actors, writers, and directors behind them, there was a regular mix of projects that fit those categories. However, between split categories and the boom in limited series, this rarely happened (even though TV-movie nominees were still in the same potential category as series contenders).

Seeing that the category for Outstanding Writing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie is split evenly among three limited series, with “Fire Island,” “Prey” and “Wird: The Al Yankovic Story” showing that the TV movies there is still room in the field. lots of potential. The latter two films, which received surprise nominations for Outstanding Direction in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie, and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie, are the cherry on top. It’s taken years to adjust to the streaming environment and the blurred lines that define what makes a streaming movie the same as a theatrically released movie versus a TV movie, but Emmy voters have found their way back to giving due attention and recognition to these projects that they deserve it.

4. TV must set a precedent

Jessica Chastain as Tammy Wynette in GEORGE & TAMMY, Weíre Gonna On.  Photo: Dana Hawley/Courtesy of SHOWTIME.
Jessica Chastain in “George & Tammy”.Dana Hawley / Courtesy of SHOWTIME

Many of the “takeaways” already mentioned, and more related to these takeaways, such as HBO’s “Reality,” which, as expected, did not receive an Outstanding Television Movie nomination, are in part due to the respect for TV as a medium. can be attributed to its absence. While HBO was once a dominant player in the made-for-TV category, often winning for the true-story films they produced, it has recently become customary for film festivals to acquire nominations for primary outstanding television films. While 2020 has paid off with “Bad Education,” a Sundance premiere, similar films like “The Survivor,” a TIFF acquisition, and now “Reality,” which picked up at this year’s Berlinale, have been hard to shake off. the notion that TV was never intended by launch pad filmmakers for their projects.

While “Prey” and “Fire Island” in particular have taken similar tortuous paths to TV, the talent involved made it seem like Hulu was always the intended destination for their films — and that really makes a difference. Compare Jessica Chastain, who flew back and forth from Broadway to Los Angeles to promote Showtime’s limited series George & Tammy, with 1923’s Helen Mirren and Harrison Ford, who starred in films like Fast X and Captain America : Brave New World” even prevented them from doing many award shows. Both couples are primarily known as movie stars, so part of their awards campaign required a lot of work to convince Emmy voters that they find their TV work just as satisfying. The Emmy Awards are voted on by peers in the TV industry, and voters take their profession very seriously. Established talent seeking an Emmy nomination really needs to pound the pavement to show that TV isn’t just a quick detour for them, especially with winners like Zendaya proving that prestige television can now launch global superstars.

5. Diversity is a step forward

The Last of Us Episode 6 Joel Ellie
“The Last of Us”Liane Hentscher/HBO

Writing about diversity wins can be a double-edged sword, because even though four black women were nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in the same year — the most black women ever nominated in an Emmy category — she deserves a round of applause. , the Primetime Emmys have been around for 75 years. At least, we’re mostly talking about people who are the second or third actors to be nominated based on their racial or ethnic background, indicating that the Emmys have become more inclusive.

This is a particularly big year for Latin stars. Pedro Pascal isn’t the only Latino nominated for the most in a year, with nods for his star turn in “The Last of Us,” hosting “Saturday Night Live,” and narrating the documentaries “Patagonia: Life on the Edge of the Edge of the.” Világ” – he is also the second Latino to be nominated for the outstanding lead actor in the drama series. Likewise, “Wednesday” star Jenna Ortega is now the third Latina in history to be nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, following in the footsteps of Rita Moreno (“9 to 5”) and America Ferrara (“Ugly Betty”). . The former Disney star turned modern scream queen is also the second youngest nominee in the history of the category. Finally, Aubrey Plaza, who is half Puerto Rican, is the third Latina to be nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama.

Even the consolation that actors Selena Gomez and Diego Luna only became executive producers of “Just Murder in the Building” and “Andor” helps make Latinos, the largest minority group in the United States, bigger players in the Emmys space.

There are still plenty of unique achievements to highlight, such as “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” director Paris Barclay becoming the first black person to be nominated in all three series directing categories, or “Beef” star Ali Wong as one of the film’s standout leads. Nominated for Limited or Anthology Series or Film, she becomes the second Asian-American woman ever to be nominated in the lead actress competition, but diversity means more than just race and ethnicity.

“The Last of Us” star Bella Ramsey is only the second nominee who identifies as non-binary, and their co-star Keivonn Montreal Woodard has the distinction of being the second deaf actor ever to be nominated for an Emmy, and 10 is the youngest male actor ever to be nominated for an Emmy. Compare this, for example, with the 97-year-old “World History, II. part” with its creator/star Mel Brooks, who earned a nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Character, and it makes you feel better to know that this is a tough year even for television. , Emmy voters continue to make room for deserving talent, regardless of age, race, gender identity, etc.

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