HomeStreamingHow Many Emmys Should ‘Beef’ Actually Win? – IndieWire
How Many Emmys Should ‘Beef’ Actually Win? – IndieWire
August 2, 2023
Time was that the Emmy’s limited series category was itself limited.
A decade ago, “Outstanding Limited Series” was actually “Outstanding Limited Series or Television Movie,” a category that had to be split in two because of the drastic increase in eligible submissions. The 2022-2023 television season saw 51 shows submit for Outstanding Limited Or Anthology Series, with only five garnering nominations before one winner is selected by Television Academy voters.
Lee Sung Jin’s “Beef” leads the race, tied with Ryan Murphy’s “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” — two Netflix juggernauts with 13 nominations apiece. For “Beef” (which is also produced by A24) those are spread across 11 categories, with double nominations in Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie and Outstanding Directing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie. Other nominations include costuming, editing, sound mixing, writing, acting, and of course Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series. IndieWire’s Ben Travers praised the performances, especially leads Ali Wong as Amy and Steven Yeun as Danny. In spring, Yeun and director Jake Schreier spoke with IndieWire about the challenges of externalizing these characters’ inner conflicts throughout the tense series.
The Emmys themselves are a long way off — indefinitely postponed due to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes — but how many awards should “Beef” actually win when that night arrives? Below, IndieWire breaks it down category by category, race by race, nominee by nominee, to determine how many Emmys the show should win.
Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Limited Or Anthology Series Or Movie
Maria Bello’s nomination is a fun surprise, as was her appearance in the show overall (her ending…less so). My instinct is that she isn’t a big enough part of “Beef” to win this category, especially against actors like Claire Danes, Juliette Lewis, and Niecy Nash-Betts. Bello’s Jordana ends up critical to the series’ events, especially the last two episodes, but she herself is more incidental.
Outstanding Limited Or Anthology Series
I swear, if this one goes to “Dahmer”… “Beef” is everything an Emmy-winning limited series should be. It’s wholly original, engaging, watchable and rewatchable, and makes a lasting impression on the viewer. “Fleischman is in Trouble” and “Daisy Jones & the Six” are based on a book, “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” on a murderer, and “Obi-Wan Kenobi” on the idea of a show. None of this disqualifies the other nominees, but “Beef” is doing so much and doing it so well. A win for the series is a win in part for all its other nominations, as well as the crafts and performances that were submitted but didn’t ultimately make the shortlist.
Outstanding Sound Mixing For A Limited Or Anthology Series Or Movie
“Beef” submitted Episode 9, “The Great Fabricator,” for this category, a.k.a. the robbery and subsequent fallout. When it isn’t overlapping shouts and shrieks, it’s pounding footsteps, destruction of expensive property, echoes in a mansion — and a severed human torso. It is absolutely the right episode for the “Beef” team — Penny Harold, Re-Recording Mixers Penny Harold & Andrew Garrett Lange and Production Mixer Sean O’Malley — to have submitted, but it’s also up against the cacophony of “Weird” (the Mexico scene!) and the powerhouse technical teams at Lucasfilm for “Obi-Wan Kenobi.”
Outstanding Writing For A Limited Or Anthology Series Or Movie
No — but it’s not unworthy.
This might be one of the most aspirationally stacked Emmy categories; one in which every nominee is not only impressive, but deserving. “Beef” submitted the series premiere, which starts out with Danny and Amy’s pivotal, high-octane car chase, and culminates in him tracking her down and peeing all over her bathroom (followed immediately by the Hoobastank needle drop heard ’round the world). In between, it introduces these broken characters and their disparate lives, setting up a rich world as the series’ canvas.
But the other nominees are no slouch. There’s “Stung,” the introductory episode of Donald Glover and Janine Naber’s “Swarm; the exceptional seventh episode of “Fleischman is in Trouble” (“Me-Time”), and three films — “Fire Island,” “Prey,” and “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story” — all with distinct voices. Of the three limited series, “Beef” has the strongest chance at winning its overall category, so a writing win for “Swarm” or “Fleischman” would be an appropriate way to honor those works.
Outstanding Lead Actor In A Limited Or Anthology Series Or Movie
Yes (I’m sorry, Dan Radcliffe).
As difficult as this is for me, I have to award this Emmy — which I totally have the power to do — to Steven Yeun, and not Daniel Radcliffe (one of whom went to my high school and one to the magical high school I secretly wished I was attending). Radcliffe’s biggest competition is probably Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer, this time with an entirely new voting body that loves Ryan Murphy.
Both Radcliffe and Peters play real people, albeit Radcliffe’s is an exaggerated version to fit the film’s satirical tone. The performances still require matching speech patterns and body language.
Then there’s Danny Cho, a furious, forlorn man who has given up on living when we meet him — but channels his despondence into white hot rage. Yeun’s performance is both grounded and wildly heightened, as the character demands, one of the most imperfectly human depictions of his specific, roiling emotions. It should be his. Make it his.
I mean, do it for the church scene alone.
Outstanding Contemporary Costumes For A Limited Or Anthology Series Or Movie
“Beef” was a great sampling of what contemporary costuming can look like; from Amy’s sophisticated event outfits ranging to Danny and his friends’ daily garb, it does feel like the type of clothing viewers can own and relate to. Helen Huang, Austin Wittick, YJ Hwang, and Mark Anthony Summers delivered… but they’re up against the world of Dolly Parton.
Outstanding Casting For A Limited Or Anthology Series Or Movie
Charlene Lee and Claire Koonce did an exceptional job casting the series, from the double-header of a major TV/movie star with a beloved comedian to top-tier Asian American actors throughout the ensemble and guest roles from familiar faces.
The category also includes “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” “Daisy Jones & the Six,” “Fleischman is in Trouble,” and “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story” (stunt casting!). “Dahmer” and “Weird” are probably the top competitors here due to sheer star power (and stunt casting, in the case of “Weird” — remember Lin-Manuel Miranda?), but “Beef”s mix of knowns and unknowns is part of what makes the series so immersive. The same is true for “Fleischman,” packed with recognizable New York actors, but I suspect that show will be largely overlooked across the board, which is a shame.
One key detail bolstering the casting team’s prowess is that “Beef” has multiple acting nods — and where would those be without quality casting directors? The award belongs here, right next to the Tamago.
Outstanding Directing For A Limited Or Anthology Series Or Movie
In an absolutely maddening category, “Beef” has two nominations — one for Lee Sung Jin’s finale and one for Jake Schreier’s penultimate episode — as does “Dahmer.” I fear that both shows will split their own votes, but instead of making room for the very worthy “Fleischman is in Trouble” “Me-Time” or Dan Trachtenberg’s “Prey,” the award will go to the lesser “Dahmer” episode (even with the best ones, I would argue that Ryan Murphy’s stamp weighs too heavy on his directors, sometimes to the detriment of the product). But Schreier and Lee did an outstanding job directing “Beef” — the latter in his first directing gig, during which he briefly contracted COVID and couldn’t be on set. They’re both deserving even if neither wins.
Outstanding Picture Editing For A Limited Or Anthology Series Or Movie
Another “Beef” vs. “Dahmer” faceoff, but one that belongs to my beloved “Ms. Marvel.” Good editing isn’t always flashy and stylized — but sometimes it is! The “Beef” finale submitted for this category is one of the show’s most surreal and abstract episodes, with Danny and Amy hallucinating or hearing each other’s voices without speaking. No disrespect to “Beef” editors Nat Fuller and Laura Zempel, but if we’re awarding innovation, let it be the illustrations, narration, and VFX of “Ms. Marvel,” expertly interwoven in the edit.
Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Limited Or Anthology Series Or Movie
No; it’s an honor just to be nominated.
This one was a surprise — and a double surprise! Both Joseph Lee and Young Mazino were recognized or their roles as George and Paul, respectively; two wholly different but equally magnetic performances.
As Amy’s level-headed husband, George has to be a straight man, which often puts Lee in the position of more muted actions and line readings when paired with Wong — as well as strategically timed comic relief. Mazino gets more comedy and absurdity at first, but ends up being a casualty of his brother’s volatile emotions, which gives the actor more drama to play with in later episodes. They’re both excellent, but also nominated against Murray Bartlett, Paul Walter Hauser, Richard Jenkins, and Jesse Plemons. IndieWire’s Marcus Jones predicts Hauser will score the statue, but Mazino will thrive on momentum — that said, he and Lee will inevitably split some votes for “Beef” and likely diminish each other’s chances. Enjoy the nice party, boys.
Outstanding Lead Actress In A Limited Or Anthology Series Or Movie
No, but it’s a close call.
I was cautious to predict Emmy nominations for “Beef,” but knew this would be one of them if it broke through. In fact, based on the contenders, I would have picked Wong as my frontrunner — but then Dominique Fishback surprised us all. “Beef” is some of Wong’s best work, but “Swarm” is also Fishback’s. The meek and naïve Dre introduced in the pilot is almost unrecognizable as the murderous superfan she quickly becomes, yet both seamlessly coexist in the performance (not to mention in Toni, the alias she later adopts). A win for Wong will still be a net win in my book, but I’d love to see Fishback take this one home.
Too bad they’re both competing with Jessica Chastain.